Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In John chapter six, Jesus refers to himself as the bread of life. He also says that those who believe him will not be thirsty. He is the one who is satisfying. The words of Jesus here would seem fairly metaphorical. He’s the fulfilling one. We’re all right with that. But the Jews would have been fine with that also. Teaching from God is fulfilling. There’s no problem there.
Jesus doesn’t leave it there. The Jews start complaining about him in verse 41, because of his claim that he came down from heaven. They know where Joseph and Mary lived. They saw Mary pregnant. They would have seen Jesus toddling around except that Joseph and Mary suddenly moved to Egypt for a while when he was young.
Rather than pushing the limits of the Jews’ understanding with his teaching, rather than walking it back a little, Jesus pushes on. He emphasizes the idea of bread of life, of the manna in the wilderness, of God using him, the bread of life, to deliver people, and then throws a few gallons of gasoline onto the fire by saying that it is by eating him, the bread of life, in the flesh, that people live forever. This is a recipe for an explosion.
The events in John chapter six are pivotal in the life and ministry of Christ. He draws a line. Either people will believe he is exactly who he says he is, the Messiah of God, God dwelling in human flesh, the one who can take their sins upon himself and atone for them, the one who give himself to be consumed by them, thus feeding them to eternal life, or the people will have to reject him utterly. There is no mediating the view. There is no walking it back.
This talk was offensive to many in the crowd. They rejected him. Yet Jesus never walked his statements back, not one step. He still identifies himself as the Christ who has come for you and for me. He still identifies himself as the only one through whom we receive life. He makes no bones about it. But we find on top of all of these claims that he died as was prophesied and that he rose from the dead. The Christian faith is built on these factual happenings. He said he could lay his life down and take it up again. He then proceeded to do so. This critical fact tells us that we accept or reject all his claims together. If he is reliable in the fact of the resurrection we are going to assume he is otherwise reliable as well. The apostle Paul says that the resurrection is the crucial event in Christianity. It has not been disproven. Nobody has ever been able to do so. We are then left with the question. Do we want to reject Jesus’ claim that he is the bread of life? Wouldn’t we rather take him at his word? He, after all, is the reliable one. Let’s not be like the Jews who took offense at Jesus in John six. Let’s recognize that he is trustworthy.
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