Discourse on the true bread of life

Jesus and the disciples slip away from the crowds. They find them in Capernaum and as Jesus for clarification. The answer is probably not what they expected.
John 6:22-59

Thoughts about serving others

This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.

My prayer is for you to join me on this journey. Subscribe to this blog below to get an email when a new post is available.

Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

One Reply to “Discourse on the true bread of life”

  1. The very next day, some of those in the crowd realized that Jesus and the disciples were gone. I can only guess that some 10,000 people on a hillside is quite the management problem, so Jesus and his disciples slipping away was not a big problem. It didn’t take long to figure out where they had gone and it seems they weren’t that far.

    The conversation quickly moves from acknowledging the miracle of feeding so many to things that are much more important. Jesus uses their questions to make them think deeply, to make us think long and hard about our choices.

    1. Rabbi, when did you get here?

    Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.

    There’s no denying the miracle, but Jesus is not looking for affirmation, he is using this as a teachable moment. Don’t work for temporal solutions, work for things that are eternal.

    2. What must we do to do the works God requires?

    Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

    3. What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?

    For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

    At this point, it seems they are tracking with Jesus. Moses didn’t provide the Manna, God did. No doubt. They want the bread that gives life to the world, so they simply ask: always give us that bread. The Greek work pantote means “at all times.” They respect the wisdom of the teaching and ask politely, what he says next was completely unexpected. Jesus declares,

    I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away…For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

    Jesus shifts from philosophical words they were tracking with to words that are impossible to accept. Their reaction, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?”  Suddenly, they go from one extreme to the other, from nodding their heads in agreement to shock and horror that this man would claim to be sent from God.

    For the second time, Jesus says, “I will raise them up at the last day.” They are asking themselves lots of questions now: Who is this that stands in front of them to make such a claim? How will you, this son of Joseph, raise anyone up? Their confusion is spinning out of control. Jesus hears all of this, so he provides clarification:

    Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.

    The Jews are lost and in a daze at this point. They’re not tracking with the metaphorical language or able to understand the difference between eating food and accepting Christ–completely. Jesus knows they aren’t really listening at this point. Perhaps he’s speaking to the few that can hear clearly, that aren’t trapped in their own pious thoughts. I like to believe there were some who got the message even when most walked away confused. I think of peer pressure in our culture and how it moves crowds from one place to another.

    It’s easy to get trapped in going with the majority without even trying. I recall a time of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I was probably just a teenager at the time. The crowds gathered along the street wildly waving at the passing floats for simple trinkets. When we arrived I was astonished at how grown-ups would push their way to the front to grab a string of plastic beads or a cheap aluminum coin called a deblume. Unbelievable. As we stood there, the crowds began to have an impact on us. Gradually, I went from disbelief to accepting the concept that this was fun and a good time. After all, the deblumes were kinda cool. Their intricate designs were interesting. I liked them and made some effort to collect a few. Then I noticed some beads were more interesting than others, so those became a target. Before I knew it I was part of the crazed crowd jumping for simple trinkets. In the end, I had a stash of stuff that I kept from many years, all with fond memories.

    The simple story of Mardi Gras may have been innocent fun or it may be part of a scheme that leads to sin. In any case, it is a testimony to how groups of people can make that which at first glance appears foreign to that which becomes the norm. This is a dangerous, slippy slope that the Jews found themselves sliding down on very quickly.

    Going with the crowd is almost always a bad idea. At the very least, it’s difficult to maintain objective perspective, but that’s just what we are called to do, what we must do. Through the noise and confusion of things that demand our attention, we must accept that Jesus is the bread of life. Anything else that distracts us from this truth will serve to undermine our faith, our hope and our trust that God has our wellbeing in mind.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.