The Old Testament is filled with vivid imagery. It is powerful and beautiful. It’s striking, the kind of thing that will stop you in your tracks and make you think. For me, this kind of imagery is found in Jeremiah 15:16 (NIV) during one of Jeremiah’s conversations with God: “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.”
I’ve always heard a lot about teaching the word of God, hearing the word of God, and believing the word of God. Not so much about eating the word of God. But what a memorable, meaningful image, made even more so by Jeremiah’s description of the effect of eating God’s words. “They were my joy and my heart’s delight.” They were spiritually delicious. They gave Jeremiah the sustenance to deliver the message of the Lord God Almighty.
When you read Jeremiah 15:16 and think about it, another passage of scripture and its imagery may come to mind, this time from the New Testament. In Matthew 26:26-28: “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat: this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (See also Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-29.)
When we celebrate communion, these are the words we hear and eat. These words create an unforgettable image of the salvation we have received through the sacrifice of our Lord (called the Word in John’s gospel). We receive the bread and cup and feed on Christ in our hearts.