5 August 2012

John 6:24-35

"I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (v. 35)


Prayer life in a nutshell! You ask the Lord what seem to be perfectly sensible questions, and instead of answering them he takes you off into totally new ways of thinking. Sometimes you end up with bigger questions than when you started!

In the earlier parts of John 6, Jesus has fed 5,00 people in the wilderness at the start of the Passover season (John 6:1-14). That has made them remember the first Passover (Exodus 12) when God saved his people from the oppressive circumstances in which they were living, and fed them as they journeyed through the wilderness under the leadership of Moses (Exodus 16). So they think of Jesus as being a 'prophet like Moses', but then assume that that means that they must force him into being an earthly type of king. To avoid that, Jesus goes away alone (John 6:15). His disciples set off in a boat, but find it difficult to get on with things without him (John 6:16-21). Jesus comes moving over the face of the waters like the Spirit of God in Genesis (Genesis 1:1-2). As soon as he is with them again, they reach dry land.

Then the crowds come looking for Jesus. They know he did not leave with the disciples. They want to know when and how he got across the lake. But they again reduce everything to banalities and miss the real point. Jesus puts them straight. Being God's people is not about running after miracles that will make our daily life a bit easier (verses 26-27). It is not about fulfilling a set of requirements in order to gain those miracles as a reward (verse 28). It is about coming to Jesus and having faith in him. Jesus is not just the one who teaches the truth about God and God's ways. He is the embodiment of God's wisdom and as we relate to him we are nourished into living wisely and being the people of God in this world and the next (verse 35).

To ponder

  • When we pray "Give us this day our daily bread", to what extent do you just want a repeated miracle to make life easier, like the crowds do in this story?
  • How have you experienced being nurtured by God's wisdom through knowing Jesus?
  • When have you felt led from your questions into new ways of thinking? What happened?

Bible notes author

Ken Howcroft

Ken Howcroft was designated by the Conference in 2013 to be the President of the 2014 Conference. He is currently a minister of the British Conference of the Methodist Church seconded to the Methodist Church in Italy to look after the English-language Methodist Church in Rome.