Always Give Us This Bread!

Always Give Us This Bread!

Seven years ago I stood on the church platform and looked out to the back television for the first time as a vocalist on the worship team. I immediately leaned over to one of the other vocalist beside me and complained quietly. “Why don't they make the words bigger back there? I can hardly make them out. And its not very clear either, is it?” The lovely young woman beside me looked puzzled, and gently offered her assessment “its perfectly clear to me.”

Later that week as I sat in the optometrist's office, he explained to me that the kind of near-sightedness I had would likely have been something I've experienced my whole life. He said, “you've needed glasses since you were about 17, you just didn't know it.”

In the same way I was unaware of my need for glasses, the religious leaders of first century Judaism were quite unaware of their need for righteousness, having long since abandoned its pursuit for a prize they felt was more attainable – to be right. Right all the time. And if you are to be right all the time, you are going to be changing the rules to suit you all the time. Its like playing a new game with my son sometimes – it leaves me wondering if he's just making it up as he goes, because the rules he keeps explaining always seem to give him the advantage.

Do we even understand what righteousness is? Ultimately righteousness is a relational word. It implies that we are found in right relationship with God, and as a result, that right relationship pours out into our relationship with others, and we are also set to right relationship with the world.

Jesus said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Ultimately righteousness is a relational word.

Jesus' Kingdom is not filled with posers. It is not for those who look like they have it together. It is not for those who are comparatively doing well. It is not for those who put on a good face Sunday mornings, while secretly living lives of quiet desperation. Jesus' Kingdom is filled with those who, having long since given up on the notion that they can make themselves right with God. Kingdom people come before God greatly aware of their great need. They come to Jesus, and hear from Him the truth they have long hoped is true – that there is a bread that will satisfy their spiritual hunger that comes not at their own achievement, but rather is given to those who come empty, yet desiring. “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” (John 6: 34).

Righteousness is not the same as being right. Righteousness is not the same as being religious. Righteousness is not about who we are – it is about Christ in us.

Paul explains “I have put aside all else, counting it worth less than nothing, in order that I can have Christ, and become one with him, no longer counting on being saved by being good enough or by obeying God’s laws, but by trusting Christ to save me; for God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith—counting on Christ alone. (Eph 3:8-9)

Righteousness is about God's way of making us right. Here, then, is a great promise of grace for each of us today: those who hunger to be made right by Jesus will be filled. Oh, Jesus – always give us this bread!

This is an excerpt from the message "Hunger No More" given by Pastor Kyla Ward on January 28th, 2018.  To hear the full message, please visit here.