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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels

Chapter 65 - John 6:51 - Christ's Flesh the World's Life Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius




Christ's Flesh The World's Life.


"My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."-John 6:51.



     Of the Word, the eternal Word of God, it is said, "In Him was life" (John 1:4). It was as the Word, or Son, that He was the life. In Him, as the second Person of the Godhead, is the infinite fountainhead of life.

     But between Him and us there is a great gulf. This divine well of life is inaccessible to us so long as "the Word" remains simply "the Word." For the communication of the life, He must be something more than the Word. The fountain is infinite; but it is unapproachable by us. We cannot climb to the heaven of heavens. A well must be dug on earth into which the heavenly waters may flow, so as to be within our reach. Earth cannot ascend to heaven; heaven must descend to earth, bringing with it all its riches of life.

     "The Word was made flesh;" and thus life was brought down to us. A man, with flesh and blood such as we have, was made the depository or storehouse of the life. As "the Word" he was the life; but only as "the Word made flesh" is He our life.  As the Son of God he is "light;" but only as the God-man is he the "light of the world," the "light of men." It is as the Word made flesh that He speaks when He says, "The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give as the life of the world;" and again, when He says, "My flesh is meat indeed; ...except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, ye have no life in you."

     But meat of itself does not produce or commence life; it only sustains and nourishes it. Dead men cannot eat; the dead body digests no food, however excellent. But He who is the Word made flesh actively quickens, as well as passively feeds. "The Son quickeneth whom He will." As the Creator of the universe, He speaks and it is done; He creates all things new. From himself goes forth directly the quickening power by which souls are raised from the dead. And having been made alive from the dead, they begin to feed on Him,-and find in this meat their daily life, and strength, and growth.

     Thus He is "the life of the world." It is as "the world's life" that we have fellowship with Him. It is as "the world's life" that faith recognizes Him and rejoices in Him. "Christ our life"! This is our watchword and experience. To say that Christ is our life is not only to say there is life in Christ for me,  but that life is flowing down for me and into me. It is just such life as we need in all respects, recovering and refreshing the soul; not only rescuing it from the death of condemnation, but acting with resurrection-power in restoring it to right spiritual feeling and action. It is life which, when it comes in, fills up the void within as well as comes down like rain upon the mown grass, and like showers that water the earth. It is life most full and ample; it is life abiding and unbroken; it is life undeserved and unpurchased; it is life which no power of death nor influence of disease can affect or impair.

     I. It is connection with Christ that brings the life into us. Cut the wires of the electric telegraph, and all communication ceases between city and city. Restore them, and the intercourse is resumed; the current flows again. So, it is connection with Christ our life that vitalizes, quickens us spiritually. He is in heaven, and we are upon the earth; but the greatness of distance matters not, provided there be connection, the connection, as it were, of a single wire. That single wire is faith. This is the one connecting medium. Not love, nor holiness, nor goodness, nor earnestness, but faith, simple faith. Our belief of the divine testimony concerning the Christ of God is the one thing that links us to Him. Other things follow upon this; but they are not the connecting wire. Faith, as the only grace which admits of being thoroughly insulated and separated from earthly things, is the true and only conducting wire. Unbelief is the great non-conducting medium which arrests, in a moment, all communication between heaven and earth. Faith only restores this,-establishing the surest and most blessed of all connections between Christ and the soul, between heaven and earth.

     II. It is connection with Christ that continues the life. The life is not like a treasure of gold brought to us, and deposited with us, to serve us for a lifetime. It is not like a lake or cistern of water formed within us, rendering us independent of all without us. It is something laid up for us in heaven, and transmitted down to earth, hour by hour, as light is deposited in the sun, and at each successive moment emitted from him to us. The connection between us and Christ must be kept up unbroken, else the life in us will fail. It is not said, he that "hath believed," but he "that believeth," hath everlasting life. There is a well near Jerusalem, called by the Arabs Bar Eyub, and by the Jews the well of Nehemiah, which is chiefly fed by the rain. When the showers fall abundantly, and the Kedron flows like a river, this well is filled and the city rejoices. But this is only once or twice in the year. But there is a deep well underneath the temple, which is fed by water from the great pools of Solomon, near Bethlehem. This is always full, being fed from a perennial spring whose waters fail not. Only when the aqueduct is broken which leads the water along, mile after mile, into Jerusalem, can this temple-cistern fail. Such is to be the manner of our life. It is not like the inconstant well fed by an intermitting stream; but like the great temple cistern, ever full, because fed from a never failing spring. Faith is the aqueduct that brings the water from the pools of our true Solomon into us his spiritual temples. Every moment this divine aqueduct should be discharging the waters of life into our souls from the unfailing fountain above. By day and night, in calm or storm, through gardens or barren hillsides, that stream flows on, and shall flow on forever! Time has broken Solomon's aqueduct and interrupted the communication between the fountain and the temple-cistern, but no time can break the connection between us and the heavenly fountain; for who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  "Because I live, ye shall live also." Thus the soul is kept always full and fresh.

     III. Connection with Christ introduces us into the everlasting life hereafter. For the present is but the earnest of the coming life. It is into a glorious flower that the present bud expands; and its future expansion it owes to that same connection which quickened it and nourished it here. For faith is the substance of things hoped for; and it is into these "things hoped for" that faith introduces us at last. The fullness of the life is yet to come. "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory." And it is for eternal life and glory that our present course of faith on earth is the preparation. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be"; but we know that the future life of vision, into which the present life of faith is leading us, will be as unutterably blessed and glorious as it is abiding and everlasting.

     Such is the beginning, the middle, and the end, or at least the consummation, of this life. And this threefold blessing is linked with the one thing-faith. Our belief of the divine testimony concerning Christ, our life, is the one connecting link or line between the past, the present, and the future of our better life. He that believeth hath Christ for his life, now, and for evermore. He that hath the Son hath the life; and he that hath the life, the adoption; and he that hath the adoption, hath the kingdom and the glory.

     This connection with the living One, with Christ our life, works in many ways. Having been thus brought to the life, or rather the life having been brought into us, every thing about us partakes of this life. As every part of the flower or tree gets the sap, so every part of our being gets this life out of the divine fullness of life deposited in the living One. Our religion becomes a living religion; our prayers living prayers; our praises living praises; our service living service; our words living words; our labour living labour: our whole being is now pervaded with life, spiritual life, divine life. How different every thing is now to us! For it is life that looses our bondage and brings in the liberty. It is life that casts out the darkness and fills us with light. It is life that gives us eyes to see, and ears to hear, and feet to run in the heavenly way. The coming in of Christ, our life, is the new creation of the man! And what is there that that new creation will not work within us!

     This life is that of the Word made flesh. It is a new and divine life; for we are "made partakers of the divine nature"; we are "made partakers of Christ." And it is as if the same blood that flowed through his veins flowed through ours. It is not a restoration to us of the first Adam's life; it is the impartation of a far higher life from the second Adam; for the first Adam was made a living soul, but the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

     Nor is it simply the flesh or body of Christ that is our life, but that flesh or body broken. It is not merely an incarnate Christ, but an incarnate Christ crucified! That flesh of the Son of man, in order to be the food of our souls, must be bruised! And that in which we find our food and life is the broken body and shed blood of the Lord. On this flesh and blood we feed when we receive the Father's witness concerning it, and dwell upon the truths which that testimony contains. Thus Christ's flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed.

     Consider this life under the following aspects and bearing:

     1. It is life from the dead. Like Lazarus, we are dead and buried. The living voice of the Word made flesh speaks to us and says, Come forth. We hear it and obey. We arise from the dead at the call of Him who is the resurrection and the life. This is conversion. This is the new birth; a resurrection from the dead.

     2. It is life in the midst of death. From the day of conversion the life is like a spark in the midst of a stormy sea, or like our body exposed to the polar frost. Everything is against its continuance; and, were it not divine, it could not remain. But it is divine; and maintains its vigor in the midst of a world of death.

     3. It is life in death. On a deathbed the life shines out in its brightness; and when death seizes us, this life remains untouched. Over it the last enemy has no power. Nor can the grave extinguish it. It is life which survives mortality and corruption; life which defies the tomb; life which he, who has the power of death, cannot reach.

     4. It is resurrection life. For a while it becomes invisible, while soul and body are parted. But it soon rekindles, or rather re-appears, like a returning star, as soon as soul and body are re-united. It never indeed leaves the soul, even when the body crumbles down. But it remains unseen by us till the resurrection-day. Then it rises like a sun,-a sun to shine for ever! When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory.

     Take these lessons:

     (1.) Despise not this life. Some have too long slighted it. Trifle no more with a thing so glorious.

     (2.) Receive it now. For this we make known the divine testimony; for it is with our reception of it that the life is connected.

     (3.) Cherish it evermore. Let it reign within you, triumphing over death; and making you feel, and act, and speak as living men!

     (4.) Anticipate the resurrection day. Then we shall know that life in a way such as we have never known it here. It will be infinitely fuller, mote blessed, and more glorious!