John: Bread

John 6:22–59

Reading this passage makes me hungry. At least until the bits about flesh and blood at the end. But before that.

Bread. Donuts. Biscuits. Rolls. Muffins. Baked goods of pretty much any kind. Hot out of the oven. Steam rising from the tops. Melted better cascading over the sides. I’m not very sure how I could live without bread.

I am the bread of life.

Yes. Sign me up. Bread is life, right? Heaven could be a little hole-in-the-wall, mom-n-pop bakery, yeah?

In the Old Testament, back after the exodus, when the Israelites are wandering the wilderness, every morning they woke up to find manna, this strange bread-like substance, on the ground. There are no grocery stores in the Sinai Desert. And there’s no wheat growing in the desert, either, that they can grind up to bake bread. They depended on the daily provision of this magical, mysterious manna. Survival depended on it. And God faithfully provided.

Jesus has just magically, mysteriously fed 5,000 with… you guessed it… bread. And if we’re one of these people in the crowd, we would have been good 1st century Jews and known our history and remembered the stories of Moses and manna. We would remember that God feeds his people. And we might wonder if God was doing this whole exodus thing all over again with Rome as the new Egypt.

And just like Nicodemus, who thought he had to crawl back into his mother’s womb, and just like the Samaritan woman, who had her jar ready for the “living water,” Jesus’ listeners don’t get it.

Curiously, John in his Gospel does not record the Lord’s Supper, the bread and wine of communion before the crucifixion. That’s a pretty big detail to leave out. This is the passage that John records Jesus urging his followers to eat his body and drink his blood. It’s quite a different context.

I am the bread of life.

What about you? What do you see?


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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