- 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33 and Psalm 130 OR
- 1 Kings 19:4-8 and Psalm 34:1-8
- Ephesians 4:25-5:2 •
- John 6:35, 41-51
Thoughts on the Word:
John 6:35, 41-51
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
In today's Gospel we continue our reading of John 6, which focuses on the idea of Jesus as the bread of life. Jesus re-iterates his contention that he is indeed the bread of life, he brings to the attention of his Jewish audience that their ancestors ate manna in the desert (while grumbling much as the crowd before him was!) but that manna did not stop them dying. He contrasts himself with the manna, by declaring that by eating this new bread, which comes from heaven they will not die!
What he says next though is something that as we will see next week causes much disillusion in the crowd. He says that the bread that he will give is his flesh. Now the allusion to the Eucharist here is inescapable, Jesus gives of his flesh and blood for all of us, and in the Eucharist we gather to partake of that body and blood. But more on that next week! This week I want us to focus on the broader meaning in Jesus' words. Jesus in declaring he is our bread of life, is calling us to follow him, he gives us the clearest example of what living a life of dedication to God looks like.
A life dedicated to God leads to one not only declaring God's love and forgiveness, but living it! Jesus calls us to ingest the message of his life, death and resurrection, to absorb it and use it as our energy source. He calls us to make his life, death and resurrection a part of us. Jesus means for us to eat of him, for all people in the world to taste his goodness, to be filled with his mercy, to believe that the Father has sent him among us, so that filled with the bread of heaven, his promise to raise us up will be our destiny*.
So with Jesus we as Christians must stand for the weak against oppression, we must confront hypocrisy, we must declare love - true love which is honest and confronting to be the force which guides our lives. If we have truly taken Christ into our hearts, and made him our energy source (our bread of life) then we must live as he did. By becoming one with Him we become one with the Father, and the Spirit also.
Have you eaten of the bread of life? Is Jesus your energy source?
God bless you this week.
* I took this sentence from a sermon by Amy C. Schifrin here: http://www.predigten.uni-goettingen.de/aktuell-index.html