12 July 2017

John 6:41-51

“Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.” (v. 47)

Psalm: Psalm 35:9-18


When it comes to gifts, are you better at giving or receiving? I don't think I am that good at either. In receiving I always think I don't deserve it, and in giving I tend to be less imaginative than I wish I could be.

In today's passage the Jews find it hard to receive what is being offered to them. Rather than hearing and receiving the gift God offers (ie Jesus), their focus turns to the boy who'd grown up in Nazareth - just another kid, with nothing heavenly about him.

Once again the people of Israel make the mistake of failing to receive a gift offered to them from God. Of course this is not new, centuries before we see them struggling with the gift of freedom offered to them through the call of Moses.

Not that it's the easiest gift to unwrap. Moses had offered their ancestors manna (Exodus 16), the bread that would keep them alive throughout their journey in the wilderness. Now Jesus was offering them his own self, the bread of heaven. But more than that, by receiving the gift God was including a golden ticket for everyone, the gift of eternal life. This isn't just a promise of life to come beyond death - although we see later in Jesus' life, death and resurrection this is included. Eternal life eludes more to the quality of life to be lived in this life, both before and beyond the grave - which we often refer to as 'life in God's kingdom'.

To Ponder

  • God is constantly offering us gifts. What are you failing to see because of your prejudice to the medium (a person, a church, a form of worship) it is being offered through?
  • In what ways is your picture of Jesus so earthly bound that you are blinkered in seeing what God has offered you?
  • When people look at you, to what extent can they see that you are living your life in a way that suggests you have received something that is precious and will last forever?

Bible notes author

The Revd Paul Wood

Paul is a presbyter serving in the Connexional Team as Coordinator for Ministry Development. He grew up in Derbyshire and has served in Durham and Coventry.