If you missed the first of this series, you can find it here.

John 6:51 “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Looking for the reflection of the cross in our lives. Photo: Jim Renke

Where are you finding fulfillment? Have you thought of the word, “fulfillment?” It literally means “to fill full.” We live day after day, trying to fill our lives. Possessions, people, and passions fill our lives. We think having more attachments will make our lives feel meaningful. What we see in Jesus and the cross is that love doesn’t fill itself. Love empties.

In the discourse of John 6, Jesus identified himself as the Bread of Life. As the Bread of Life, he showed us that he gives and sustains eternal life. And in verse 51, he shared what that looked like for him. The bread is his flesh which he gives for the sake of the world.

Bread only nourishes, as it gives itself. As long as bread is whole, no one benefits from it. It smells good and looks promising, but it cannot give life until it’s offered up for us to eat. Jesus taught that his death was the same for us. He gave his own flesh for our life. And not just our lives, but for the life of the world.

How could he do that? Why would he do that? Because that’s what love does. Love empties itself of self. Love gives. Love offers. Love provides.

The self-emptying love of Jesus is described again in Philippians 2. “Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6-7).

Jesus let go of his place and his privilege. Becoming one of us, he took his place in the Creation he made long ago. He did this knowing it would need to end up on the cross. In emptying himself, he shared the truth of God. He shared the power of God in miraculous healing. He suffered scorn and shame. He knew rejection and the pain of shallow love from those proclaiming their undying allegiance. And as he hung on the cross, he called on the Father to forgive. He did this without concern for himself because love empties.

The cross calls me to do two things. It drives me to give thanks to the Christ who came to give his flesh that I might have life. And it drives me to ask the question, “What am I emptying myself of, for the sake of love for God and love for others?” Because, we see in Christ, love empties.

Find the next devotional here. LOVE SUBMITS