June 13

1 Kings 6:7 (NIV) 7In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.

Imagine the precision that had to be used to have the stones perfectly fit when they arrived at the temple site! Three-dimensional exactness had to be obtained at the quarry, for no pounding of any iron tool was to be heard at the site. Each block was custom made for an exact location to fit with the blocks beside and below.

Peter refers to believers as living stones. What kind of parallel can we see here? Jesus is the real builder of the temple of God, as the author of Hebrews declared. He must shape us to perfectly fit the place God has for us and that includes fitting in with those around us. Each of us has a calling and a place in the temple. But what does this noiseless activity represent?

The pounding and shaping, the noisy activity, should go on outside the temple site. When we gather to worship is not the time to hash out our differences. There we quietly behold His glory or sing His praises. There, our focus is not on our fit with the stone next to us but the wonder of our Savior. O come let us adore Him. Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

The hammering and shaping should go on in the quarry. One on one with the Lord, we should allow ourselves to be shaped. The places in our life that do not fit with the other living stones must be chiseled away. That noisy and often painful activity goes on in the quarry with Jesus so that we do not disturb the focus of others as we gather to worship corporately. Are you letting Him remove from you the protrusions in your life that keep you from fitting perfectly with the rest of the building?

Take time alone with God to let Him make some reductions in you so that you fit with the other stones.

June 13

John 6:53, 63, 68 (NIV) 53Jesus 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.

63The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.

68Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

After the miraculous feeding of the 5000, the people wanted Jesus to regularly provide food for them like the manna in the wilderness. Jesus told them that there was something much greater to seek after. He encouraged them to look for food that lasts forever. Then He explained that it came through His body and blood. This was a thought so difficult for them to grasp that many turned away convinced that He was not the One. After all, the law that God gave forbade such a thing. But as we see so frequently in John, the people are taking a spiritual expression to literal extremes.

John explained to us, in the first verses of this gospel, that Jesus is the Word made flesh. Some have taken these words just as the Jews of Jesus' day and said that the bread of communion is transformed into the flesh of Jesus and the wine becomes His blood. We must read on to verse 63 to see that Jesus is clearly referring to His Word and His Spirit. Notice the word "life" in these verses. Verse 53 says that life comes through His flesh and blood. Verse 63 explains that life is from the Word and the Spirit. We see the same thing in John 4; worshippers must worship in Spirit and truth.

This ended the popular period of Jesus' ministry. The crowds would not be back until Jesus goes south in the last month of His earthly life. Why did Jesus make it so hard? People were coming to Him for the wrong reason. They wanted food and health, not the Spirit and truth. But there were a few who were desperate for the words of life. When Jesus asked if even His closest would leave too, Peter answered, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

Consider: Why do you follow? Are you desperate for Spirit and truth? Do you see that as life itself?