Feeding the Hungry

September 16, 2011

John 1:9-13

9) There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10) He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11) He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13) who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.


I know that some may question why lately we are going to such lengths to dig below the surface of a scripture to see what the Greek words are and what their meaning is.  But the more I dig, the more I find that it does make a difference.


The Greek language is so much more exact than our language.  Love for instance is a word that we casually throw around and yet also use for our dearest devotion.  We know that in the Greek language there is a word for each and every varying kind of love.  So when we read the scriptures in our English language it is interesting to see it in the way it was first written.


There is an example in the passage above of one word in the English being use in two various degrees.  That word is received.  In verse 11 it talks about Jesus coming to His own, the Jews, and they did not ‘receive’ him.


Here the word receive is a very passive type of word.  It actually means they did not acknowledge him.  As if being in a group and someone walks in and they are ignored and no one notices that they are there.


The next verse, verse 12 says that as many, meaning anyone – Jew or Gentile who received Him were given the right to become children of God.  In this verse received is totally different than the verse before.


This word is a very active and even aggressive word.  It means to aggressively take hold of something.  In our English we have a watered down version of this word in this usage.


This study this week has answered many questions that I’ve had for a long time.  Questions like why do some people agree to their need for Jesus, say the sinners prayer and then go on their own way as if nothing ever happened, living that same old lifestyle.  Then in others we see an immediate and radical change.


I believe one key is here.  Let’s take this and move it to something more familiar to get a strong visual on the subject.


For a person who eats on a regular basis, sometimes life distracts us and we get busy and for hours we don’t even realize that we are hungry.  In fact because we are so well fed on a regular basis our hunger is just a slight reminder.  It is one that can be easily ignored when we are engaged in things we find more interesting and entertaining.


But there are so many out there that never eat regularly and are really starving.  Eating is their only thought and they long for it and crave it every second of every day.  Just a morsel to eat, just a scrap, they will take it eagerly.


Many times I’ve cooked for someone and when the food was ready they were engaged in something that they wanted to finish before eating.  I would bring them their food and they would acknowledge it and ask me to just set it down and they would get to it when they were done.


They received, or acknowledged the food.  But their receipt of it was very passive. 


Let’s contrast that with feeding truly hungry people.  We’ve seen pictures of missionaries who bring food to starving countries in trucks and as they are coming down the road the people run to them and when the food is passed out they aggressively take it, many times fighting for even a small share of the food.  This is much different than the ‘received’ above.


So now we have a visual in our minds so let’s move back to the spiritual application of it.  Jesus says that those who received (actively take hold of) Him…


I believe that the difference in one’s life transformation when receiving Jesus is their degree of hunger.  How many people have been pushed by guilt or peer pressure to answer an alter call when they have not yet reached a point of true spiritual hunger?  They passively accept Jesus, but have no true hunger for Him.  As we see in verse 12, it is those who receive him aggressively that He gives the authority to transition into the children of God.


We know that Jesus is the way and we are hungery still for more of Him. We ‘cook’ a good meal and are eager for them to eat.  But they are not hungry.  So they receive it by acknowledging it, I believe out of duty, obligation or pressure and then set it aside.  And there it sets getting cold.  By passively accepting it they will not be transformed.


To our credit we have experienced the hunger and the satisfaction of being filled spiritually and that experience brings with it and eagerness for others to experience it.  So we push, we manipulate and we engineer places and times so that they too, will accept Jesus.


But from what I am seeing here, if that person does not have a true hunger on their own, then it will not transform their life.  It will be set aside and in my opinion do more harm than good because it will have no affect on them while they continue to do life their way.


Our example can be taken from Jesus himself when He walked on this earth.  He was the bread of life yet He never forced Himself on anyone at anytime.  He knew He possessed life and yet he did not force feed anyone.  But to those who aggressively sought Him out and actively pursued Him, He fed.


Many walked away from Him, but He never ran after them attempting to explain Himself and what He was providing, so that they would come back and receive.


Many might say that passive reception is better than no reception.  But I believe Jesus would disagree.  He wants to feed those who are hungry, really hungry.  He wants to see their ‘life denying hunger’ and then satisfy it.


So as followers of Christ who have experienced this very thing, what are we to do?  Well we are not to push and manipulate others to get them to ‘say the sinners prayer’.  We are to create a hunger within them by living a life that is filled with the bread of life.


Jesus lived it and loved them and they came!  And they came in droves.  Since He is our example, why are we trying to improve on His design?  Because it is easier to do it our way than it is to live it His way.  Living it His way, just seems to take too long.  We are more concerned about quantity than quality.


If we eat of the bread of life daily and are loving and kind and giving…  If we allow the joy of the Lord to truly be our strength…  If we live a life of abundance when the world is in lack…  Then, maybe then, they will begin to hunger for what we have.  They will see the contrast, not by what we say, but by how we live humbly with our gift of life, and they will begin to hunger for the bread of life that we partake of on a daily basis.


No matter what your beliefs are, I want to thank you for visiting my Christian bible study blog!


4 thoughts on “Feeding the Hungry

  1. Linda says:

    Yet again, you have written clearly on something that has been on my mind for months–Jesus didn’t run after them–he fed those who sought him…keeping “what would Jesus do” as our focus in everyday serving…you nailed it, Nancy!


    • Nancy says:

      Thanks Linda!! We must break out of old habits that were not exactly correct. Let us learn to renew our minds to the truth and live accordingly!! Thank you for your comment!!


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