Bread of life -- John 6:26-40, Common English Bible
26 Jesus replied, “ I assure you that you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate all the food you wanted. 27 Don’t work for the food that doesn’t last but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Human One will give you. God the Father has confirmed him as his agent to give life. ”
28 They asked, “ What must we do in order to accomplish what God requires? ”
29 Jesus replied, “ This is what God requires, that you believe in him whom God sent. ”
30 They asked, “ What miraculous sign will you do, that we can see and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
32 Jesus told them, “ I assure you, it wasn’t Moses who gave the bread from heaven to you, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 The bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. ”
34 They said, “ Sir, give us this bread all the time! ”
35 Jesus replied, “ I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I told you that you have seen me and still don’t believe. 37 Everyone whom the Father gives to me will come to me, and I won’t send away anyone who comes to me. 38 I have come down from heaven not to do my will, but the will of him who sent me. 39 This is the will of the one who sent me, that I won’t lose anything he has given me, but I will raise it up at the last day. 40 This is my Father’s will: that all who see the Son and believe in him will have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. ”
I have been thinking about this text for a couple of weeks now, seeing as it is a continuation of what I preached on last week. I probably will preach about Jesus being the "Bread of Heaven" but that's not what is capturing my imagination today.
I struggle and wrestle with something a lot of people think is really simple - how much aid do I give a family in need? I know of some people who would say "none" and then some who say "all." My tendency is probably to give way more than most. I don't say this to show myself up in a good light or to flatter myself - my need to give probably arises more from my need to be liked and wanted than real agape love.
I have given away too much this year to one particular family. It got to the point that I believe that I was enabling them to live in their lifestyle without having to take responsibility for their own actions. I know that I have done this several times in the past and probably will do it again in the future. I've thought about the Traveller on the road to Jericho who was attacked by thieves (maybe they were zealots, who knows?) and the Good Samaritain who stopped and gave aid. However, what if the Traveller when healed just went back out and jumped in the ditch again? What if the Traveller got so used to being rescued that's all that the Traveller knew?
This story this week has helped me. Jesus fed the 5000. He retreated across the water, the people chased him. When they all convened on the other side, he rebuked them and did NOT feed them a second time. Instead he told them to look for the food that endures for eternal life. This story has been balm on my soreness. Thanks be to God!
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.
A Prayer of St. Augustine