Psalms: 69:1-23(24-30)31-38 & 73
OT: Jer. 22:13-23
NT: Rom. 8:12-27
Gospel: John 6:41-51
There are times when Jesus says things that make you scratch your head. He is one subversive dude. Jesus doesn’t hesitate to say something to make a person feel uncomfortable. He shakes up the status quo. He rattles cages and doesn’t even care. No, Jesus was so committed to his mission of directing folks to the Father that he didn’t mind upsetting a few apple carts.
In John 6 he says something shocking, and kind of gross. He tells the people that his flesh is bread and they need to eat it.
Wait a minute, Jesus, what was that?
Check it out…
So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will 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 he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:41-51, ESV)
Jesus is basically saying, “Eat me.” Who knew that Bart Simpson didn’t come up with this clever phrase?
We can get caught up in the metaphor, just like the Jewish people did and not pay attention to the amazing things that Jesus said in this little passage. First, he says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” This is so freeing for those of us who take Jesus’ command to “make disciples of all nations” seriously. We are not called to be salespeople or marketers for Jesus. We are called to be ambassadors and proclaimers. There is no pressure to convince people or win arguments. The Father takes care of that, we are simply witnesses to what has happened in our own lives.
Second, he promises to “raise him (the one who comes to Jesus) up on the last day.” There is a hope of eternity. This hope is not based on blind faith. The hope of glory is based on the promise of Jesus himself. He will not fail in this thing that he has promised. Those who come to him will be raised up. We can take that to the bank.
Third, our access to the promise is through belief. There is nothing that we do to earn the favor of God. We are simply to asked to believe. Our belief brings us eternal life. This life is where we will “all be taught by God.” Eternal life will be a life of walking with God in the cool of the day. There will be a direct interaction with God again like Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden. Jesus is undoing the curse and reconciling the world back to his Father.
How does this happen? Through his broken body. This is a foreshadowing of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection. You cannot eat bread without breaking it. Jesus’ flesh can’t be eaten without it breaking. Our belief in him is like eating his flesh. When we believe, we are taking in his life, we are becoming new. We are reconciled.
Reconciliation brings about eternity. Reconciliation comes from belief. Belief comes from the Father who has called.