Sunday, August 6, 2015

John 6: 41-51

“Let’s Admit It!”

“What is the proof by which one may know that this heavenly bread is his and that he is invited to such a spiritual supper? He needs only to look at his own heart. If he finds it so disposed that it is softened and cheered by God’s promises and is firm in the conviction that it may appropriate this bread of life, then he may be assured that he is one of the invited; for as one believes, even so is it done unto him.” (Martin Luther)

Dear Broad Street Family,

What did Jesus mean when He said, ‘I am the Bread of Life’ (John 6:35)?” This statement is one of the seven “I Am” statements of Jesus. These seven declarations define who Jesus is and his saving relationship toward the world. All appear in the book of John.

John 6:35 says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” In Scripture, bread is considered a basic need. You can survive, if need be, for a long time on only bread and water. Bread was the gift given to the Jews wandering in the desert, a major part of the passover feast and a focal point in our communion service.   We even use the phrase “breaking bread together” signifying the significance of a shared meal.

All of this plays into the scene being described in John 6 when Jesus used the term “bread of life.” He was trying to get away from the crowds who followed him relentlessly. He had crossed the Sea of Galilee, and the crowd followed Him. After some time, Jesus inquires of Philip how they’re going to feed all of these people. Philip’s answer displays his “little faith” when he says they don’t have enough money to give each of them the smallest morsel of food. Jesus then feeds the multitude with a few fish and loves of bread provided by a child.

Then we get to the heart of the real problem. When Jesus and His disciples cross back to the other side of Galilee, the crowd follows Him again. In this teachable moment, He accuses the crowd of ignoring His miraculous signs and only following Him for the “free meal.” Jesus tells them in John 6:27, “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” In other words, they were so enthralled with the food, they were missing out on the fact that their Messiah had come.

The crowd asks for a sign. They tell Jesus that God gave them manna during their exodus from Egypt. Jesus responds by telling them that they need to ask for the true bread from heaven that gives life. Intrigued, they ask Jesus for this bread. Then comes Jesus’ startling reply, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Booooom! First, by equating Himself with bread, Jesus is saying he is essential for life. Second, the life Jesus is referring to is not physical, but eternal. Jesus’ desire is to move the crowd from thinking of the physical realm and into a holy one.

Its amazing how full we can be and still be hungry. No wonder Jesus invites us to the table.

 

Blessings, dear ones,

Pastor Lou