Most assuredly, I say to you, 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………. John 6 53-54

Today, we are a world of sound bites.  If someone gives a fifteen or thirty minute speech about some important topic; we are lucky if we get to hear 5-7 seconds of that speech replayed.  If someone writes a news article or posts a blog that is several paragraphs long, we are again lucky to see a line or two reprinted somewhere else.  And when these replays and reprints happen, whoever is deciding what few bits to grab is doing so to promote their own message.  Do we not experience this daily in our world?  Do we not hear conversations where someone will ask:  “Did you hear what so and so said; or did you read what so and so wrote?”

So imagine how Jesus Christ’s statement in John could be taken if we didn’t know the greater context?  Actually we don’t have to imagine, John tells us that many of his followers turned away, saying that this statement was hard and could not be understood.  And again with believers and unbelievers alike, do we not find that a statement about how women are to be treated or a particular sin handled, is sometimes trotted out to be used as a justification of some extreme position and then backed up with the argument :  “its in the bible!”  One of the greatest weapons the enemy has is not coming up with new words or arguments but twisting the Words of Truth and Life to make us question or go off in a different direction.  Did not Satan start his temptation of Eve with the words:  Has God indeed said………….”  Genesis 3:1

So it must be that we strive to understand the individual parts of the message in the greater context of the entire message.  Before we take one piece of something said or written as “gospel”  we must strive to find the other piece’s of the message to get the entire picture.  As far as interpretations of scripture are concerned; do they tie back into the basic premise of the two great commandments:  That we are to love God with all our heart, soul, body and mind and love each other as ourselves?  Do the interpretations uphold the indisputable Sonship of Jesus Christ as Our Heavenly Father’s true and only begotten Son?  In a more general sense, is the thing written or said consistent with the behavior of the person saying it?  Did Jesus’ behavior indicate that he would be into literal eating of people’s flesh or drinking their blood?  When we hear or read things that we don’t understand; what is our reaction, to walk away or to try and dig deeper?  Think of what those other disciples besides the twelve walked away from because of the offense they took.

Finally, first understand that trying to even find let alone understand the context of things takes time and effort.  It is not easy to communicate let alone understand the full context of an idea in 140 characters (the space provided in several social media sites).  Ironically, at the same time we have a culture of soundbites we have the greatest ability and flexibility at finding information in history.  When it comes to things dealing with scripture, we need to know we have resources beyond just our own knowledge and mental ability to grasp.  Jesus Christ promised us the Holy Spirit; who will guide us into all truth.  Jesus tells us through prayer; if we seek we will find.  We should also know that there are mysteries beyond our direct understanding; the Trinity, the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ in taking on our sins upon Himself, or the exact point of Christ’s second coming, to name a few.  In the end, do we approach these things in the context of faith?

May it be that as we think about secular things of this world, as well as the things of Holy Scripture, that we do not jump to conclusions but take the time to understand the greater context and meaning of the message.  May we keep in prayerful study of God’s Word helping us to see more clearly, God’s leading and blessings for us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the reliance on the salvation from Jesus Christ.  May the things that we communicate, be backed up by the context of our behavior in love and humility.  That we in all things and all ways, may Glorify the Name of our Heavenly Father and live in the warmth of His Love.

Amen

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