Tuesday

20 April 2010

"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)

Background

This passage comes after the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000 and is an explanation of Jesus saying "I am the bread of life". Jesus is reported by John to have made several 'I am' sayings which offer a challenge and inspiration to the development of our spiritual lives.

In this short passage John is weaving the story of Jesus into the history and story of the Jewish people. For many, the identity of the Jews as a people began when they escaped, under the leadership of Moses, from the Egyptians and made a journey to the Promised Land. During the journey, which lasted 40 years (which could simply mean 'a long time') they experienced many difficulties. One of these was hunger. This problem was solved in a miraculous manner when the people discovered a white substance on the ground which they called manna (Exodus 16). It was edible and they called it "bread from heaven" (Exodus 16:4). They believed this manna was God-given.

Jesus, in this passage, identifies himself as the bread of life which has come from God. He is making a direct link with the time that the Jewish people were made God's very own people, affirming that God will do new things through him. These include the nurturing of the whole world and implicit in that is affirming the place of allpeople as the people of God.

We are invited to share in a wider and deeper understanding of God's love. Instead of caring and nurturing just one people, God is caring and nurturing the whole of creation. No one is excluded from the possibility of being part of the people of God. It is part of what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ.

To Ponder

If we are all the people of God, what are the characteristics we need to value which mark our diversity?

How are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jews, atheists, agnostics and Christians - all peoples and all faiths - part of the people of God?

What things are truly essential in order to be a person of faith?

Bible notes author: Revd Malcolm Peacock

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