When we talk about God’s Word, our minds go to the Bible. And that is appropriate, for the Bible is God’s Word. But the term ‘God’s Word’ is used in another sense as well. John’s Gospel opens this way: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:1-5 NIV)
Just as John says, God’s creative Word has been active right from the beginning. The very first words in the Bible are, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” (Genesis 1:1-3 NIV)
If the the role of God’s Word had been limited to the creation, it still would have been fantastic and awesome. But there is more. Much more. John goes on to say, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NIV) John is speaking, of course, about Jesus. Before Bethlehem, the person we know as Jesus was God’s Word. By taking on flesh, He showed us who God is.
The Word (that is Jesus) was not only involved in the creation, He sustains us today. After the feeding of the 5,000 the people expected Jesus to keep on providing free meals. After all, hadn’t Moses fed the people manna in the wilderness? “Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:32-35 NIV)
The people didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about, so He explained further, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.” (John 6:51-56 NIV)
They still didn’t get it. They thought that Jesus was teaching some form of cannibalism. So Jesus had to explain what He was talking about in plain terms. “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63 NIV) I think what Jesus was saying is that just as food and drink sustain our physical bodies, so it is His Word which sustains us spiritually. We cannot live unless we eat and drink of the living Word of God.
I think it is interesting that when it came time for Jesus to leave this earth, He selected two things as a memorial to what He has done for us and of the New Covenant He established with us. Bread and fruit of the vine. He said that they represented His body and His blood which were sacrificed on our behalf. These are the same two things He referred to after the feeding of the 5,000.
Today as we eat and drink the Communion, commit yourself again to the Bread of Life – the living Word of God – who sustains our life.