The Bread of Life… (John 6: 24-35)

I often wonder if Jesus ever offered anyone a straight answer…

When did you come here, they ask…

You are looking for me for the wrong reasons, Jesus says.

I fed you, and all you want is more food.

Isn’t that just like Jesus – people are making conversation –

maybe they just want to know how the trip across the lake was

(frightening for some – uneventful for Jesus, but that’s another story),

and Jesus wants to talk Theology…

well – it doesn’t start off sounding like theology – but Jesus always turns the talk to God in the end.

The people had been amazed by the abundance of bread and fish.

The people had been clamouring for a sign –

for some proof that Jesus’ God talk was leading to something earth-shaking.

Perhaps this excess of food was that sign, who knows,

but Jesus isn’t interested in signs.

The people want a sign God’s people are always looking for a sign;

for some evidence that giving their allegiance to God has not been a mistake.

God seems to have been more than obliging in the past – Abraham got a sign.

Joseph got a sign. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos – they got signs – not that anyone listened –

but the people remember that, once upon a time, there were signs.

Moses fed us in the desert, they tell Jesus. What’s your trick?

Jesus trick is simple – and it’s no trick. Believe in God – believe also in me.

Believe in the one whom God has sent.  Tthat is what God requires of you.

Do this work of God, folks, and God will work wonders in you, with you and for you.

The people want bread – the people are bound by their hunger.

They’re stuck in the past and the past will not feed them…

and Jesus calls them to the present.

Moses was then, Jesus says, but here I AM.

God calls you (us) to live in the present – to deal with this reality –

and God is ready, willing and able to work among you (us) –

What you say Moses did – manna  from heaven – was really God’s doing.

If you could appreciate that for what it was –

if you were really seeing God at work in that old Moses story,

then you wouldn’t be hungry any longer –

for the things of God – the mighty acts of God among, within and around the people of God,

are truly all around you, and they will completely satisfy.

Our hunger is like their hunger.

We will go nearly anywhere to find nourishment –

to be “filled” – some go to church; some go to school.

Some to business,others to pleasure

all seeking the same thing – Satisfaction.

And Jesus says to us the same thing he says to them:

work for food that endures – strive for that which gives life.

That sounds as good today as it did in Jesus day,

but we are still struggling with the words Jesus used to sum up this teaching:

I am the bread…”

We hear this talk, and our stomachs take over. We eat, (in this country), and are satisfied.

Very few of us go without food in abundance, and as a result, we think with our bellies.

But there’s more to life than physical hunger.

The act of eating lets us continue to live – and to hunger for other things…

we hunger emotionally, socially, spiritually.

We long to be connected to something that will do more than just occupy us

we want to be completely satisfied – we want our lives to have purpose and direction.

So we claim to live life to the fullest – which means we chase after things, causes, people, activities

so our lives (our calendars) might be full.

Some call this “living”.

But Jesus invites us to live – and when Jesus talks of living – of life –

it is a multi-dimensional experience that involves our physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual selves.

God created us as complete beings,

and Jesus invites us to live out our completeness

by following his example – by acknowledging his living presence.

So what does it mean to be complete?

Can we be completed by our worship – our work – our rest – our play?

Are we born complete, destined to spend our lives squandering that fullness?

Does completeness come only at the end of our lives, leaving us to mourn that it didn’t come sooner?

Or is completeness one of those rare and wonderful conditions

– like “love” – like “hope” – like “faith” – like God’s own nature –

that has no beginning and no end – that just is…

Believe in me and in the one who sent me, Jesus says

and we are promised that if we believe, we can (will!) be changed.

Our emptiness will finally be filled,

not by joy of our own making, but by the “living Bread from heaven”.

We can and we have filled our lives with all sorts of activities,

some good and meaningful and marvellous –

but each of them leaves us longing for more –

none of them can really make us complete.

Jesus insists that if the activities in (of) our lives are God directed and God focused,

we can (and will!) be complete,

not just for a moment, but for eternity.

Jesus’ invitation is to enjoy the fullness of God’s grace that is always there;

a fullness that we cannot create for ourselves,

but has been opened to us by Jesus living, dying and rising.


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