Devotional Thought : Hebrews 13:9
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. Hebrews 13:9
Judaism taught that eating ceremonial food strengthened people spiritually. In the regulations in Leviticus (7:11-18) the people were instructed to eat the peace offering (or fellowship offering). They believed that physically eating this offering and participating in these rituals was, of itself, a spiritual benefit. However these rituals were symbolic and ultimately pointed to Jesus’ sacrificial death.
Under the new covenant we feed spiritually on Jesus who by his death on the cross is our strengthening, that is our source of the saving and sustaining grace of God.
The crowds were offended when Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51). They did not understand that we are to rely on God to sustain us spiritually the way we rely on food to sustain us physically. We need our hearts to be strengthened by the grace God gives not by attending ceremonies or completing rituals.
When Jesus instituted what we now call communion, he again parallelled bread with his body. “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me’ (1 Corinthians 11:23-24).”
Jesus is to be like bread to us, a daily necessity for health and strength. We draw on this my having a humble attitude which acknowledges our limitations and the need of his grace.