Sunday, April 14, 2024

Bible lives, breathes and guides us

by CAROL SHIRK KNAPP / Contributing Writer
| March 27, 2024 1:00 AM

What an amazing, believable, God-breathed book is the Bible.

The human hands — about 40 different people — who wrote it did so in three languages over a period of 1500 years (with some time pauses). And it all connects. In fact, there are — in its 66 books —a total of 63,779 cross references. This could not possibly have occurred had not God been the voice in the words. 

With the upcoming Easter weekend, I'm thinking literally about a “cross” reference. Way back when the Israelite nation was stuck in the Sinai desert — having been freed from servitude in Egypt — they wanted bread. God provided manna from heaven. Every morning this flake-like substance could be gathered from the ground and eaten. It tasted “like wafers with honey.” 

Fifteen centuries later Jesus declared, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

Jesus did just that. When He broke bread with His disciples in their last meal together He said, “This is My body which is given for you.” It is the most someone can do, give their life for another. On the battlefield, they are honored as heroes.

When it is God in the flesh who does it because He wants His creation to live forever, a privilege only He can bestow; it is beyond comprehension. It is what I am both sorrowing over and celebrating this weekend. Celebrating that He would do it, would want me with Him that much, and sorrowing over how He did it. There is no mistaking the agony of Jesus in the garden as He was about to be crucified in a few hours.

I can't leave that alone, act like it is no big deal, or cast it off as something that didn't happen. I especially cannot say that it was not necessary — that He died for no good reason. It is a spit in His face, every bit as much as from the Roman guards who were doing the crucifying.

If this is what it took in God's mind to make living forever with Him possible, and to receive His fabulous offer of life beyond what I can think or imagine, why would I not accept. I know I can't live perfectly. That means never being angry or greedy or lustful or impatient or critical or selfish or overindulgent — or hundreds of other things that come naturally to being human. Over and over the Bible says it is impossible for people to save themselves. I can see why — we humans aren't that sacrificial.

Jesus is the one who came to save — to be that living bread. His offer of abundant life begins the moment I believe I need His bread. He could give His life for me because He alone lived perfectly the life I could not — and granted me the same in His name. Therein begins a feast. 

I love that Jesus' grave is empty. My mother — as she was leaving this earth — said, “Death is the last enemy we fight.” Jesus took on that battlefield for the world — and rose a hero, filled with glory. It's all there for me — the whole weekend from that last supper to the cross to the vacant tomb — if I want it enough to open my life and say yes.