Note: This topic is taken in part from my presentation at White Station Baptist Church on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008. I have chosen to expand on one section here, from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12 (New King James Version) with comments I did not have time to explore in that service.
Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?
Ravens were considered “unclean” under the Old Testament classifications of animals. They were seen primarily as scavengers, coming in contact with rotting carcasses, and were seen as filthy creatures from both practical cleanliness and ceremonially/spiritual standpoints. In asking His listeners to consider the ravens, Christ uses an example that His audience will think of as “the lowest of the low” in the animal kingdom.
The ravens “neither sow nor reap,” yet the Lord feeds them. They have “neither storehouse nor barn,” but they remain well fed. I don’t know about you, but I have never seen a raven – or any other bird for that matter – consumed with worry over where its next meal is located. As long as they continue to perform the work they are called to do on this planet, there will be food for them to eat.
Of how much more value are we than the birds, Christ asks. Oh, of so much more value! Christ, who is speaking to the crowd, will later provide the ultimate demonstration of how much more when He suffers and dies for the sins of humanity! It was not for the beasts of the earth that the Savior suffered, but for men and women!
The ravens are fed by God, but they remain “unclean” even after they eat. Believers, on the other hand, are given the ultimate gift of value through the atoning death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The believer’s previously-flawed individual righteousness is substituted with the pure, matchless righteousness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Made clean through the substitution of His righteousness, we are allowed to have a relationship with God that goes far beyond the simple “feeding” the ravens receive each day.
We are “fed” spiritually with the person of Christ, and unlike the food normally eaten through the course of a day, once we are fed with Christ we need not worry about starving spiritually. As Christ Himself said in John chapter 6,
“Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.”
– end –