Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:25-30, John 3:16, John 6:41-50, Philippians 2:5-11
Among my friends, I am notorious for tweaking recipes.
I’m out of baking soda? Oh, maybe a little extra baking powder will do the trick.
I only have one egg and the recipe calls for two? One egg will do, and just a little extra oil for moisture.
When it comes to baking, precision is required to get the correct result. But my impatience gets in the way again and again. Rather than going to the store and getting what I lack, I make do. And because of this, my baking creations have been known to elicit such comments as, “This tastes like feet.”
That’s what happens when you defiantly mistrust the recipe. What comes out of the oven is never what you intended.
After pages of Scripture full of laws and edicts recorded in the Old Testament, salvation is boiled down to one ingredient: “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
His only begotten Son.
He is it.
Scripture lays it out so clearly. I know that Jesus is at the center. Only He brings salvation. Only He brings hope. Only He is the bread of life (John 6:41). Yet, I try to tweak the recipe.
I feel lonely? Perhaps finding the perfect man will satisfy this longing.
I feel out of control? Perhaps prayer and my to-do list will put my mind at ease.
I feel anxious? Perhaps Jesus plus a little wine could help.
I try making substitutes to the recipe, adding to it, tweaking it. But regardless of my improvisation, the result is never what I wanted. Something is always missing. Some anxiety always remains. Something always tastes… off.
Perhaps this is why Scripture is so insistent upon the centrality of Christ. Because God knew our tendency to mistrust the recipe, to want to add to it or make our own substitutions. So again and again God’s Word homes in on this: Jesus is the only way. There is no need to complicate things any further.
So many days I settle for a little of Jesus and a lot of my own strength, while Christ is standing before me, saying, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28,30).
I look to the cross and then turn to every other earthly promise for fulfillment, and all the while Jesus is standing before me saying, “Truly I tell you, anyone who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life” (John 6:47-48).
The clearest, most life-giving recipe of all is one name, repeated over and over again.
That is it, my friends. He is it. Don’t try to add to Him. Don’t substitute Him for something else. Without Him, we perish. With Him, and only with Him, we have eternal life.
Thanks be to God for our Savior Jesus Christ. To believe and trust in Him is to feast on the bread of life sent to us from heaven. He alone brings nourishment for our souls today, and the promise of relationship with Him, both now and forevermore.