Sunday 19 August 2018

Bible Book:

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (v. 51)

John 6:51-58 Sunday 19 August 2018

Psalm: Psalm 34


Jesus is speaking about two different kinds of bread that God sent from heaven – the manna provided to feed the Israelites in the wilderness, and himself as the “living bread”. The manna was given by God to satisfy the physical hunger of the Israelites but the “living bread” satisfies all human need. Those who eat this bread receive the gift of eternal life. No one need hunger and thirst again because this “living bread” is life-giving.

In verse 51 Jesus gives three layers of meaning to the “living bread.” Firstly, Jesus is saying that God’s gift is more than food for today; the gift is Jesus himself, the Incarnation – “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14). Secondly, the greatest gift that God can give to the world is Jesus; Jesus’ greatest gift is himself. He will suffer and die in order to give his followers eternal life. Thirdly, Jesus invites us to remember this loving sacrifice for all people, in the sacrament of Holy Communion.

Participation in Holy Communion draws each person in the church community into a relationship with Jesus which is an extension of the relationship of God with Jesus. Those who share in what the Church calls the Eucharistic feast of bread and wine symbolically receive life because they share in the life-giving relationship of God and Jesus. For the writer of John, Holy Communion does not belong exclusively to Jesus’ death, but belongs to all of Jesus’ life. We see verse 51 does make the link with Jesus’ death, but participation in the sacrament marks more than Jesus’ gift of his life in death. It marks our full participation in the whole of the Incarnation, including Jesus’ loving relationship with God. In Holy Communion all who believe are brought into this relationship in its fullest and most exquisite manifestation.


To Ponder

  • As you reflect on this passage which words, phrases, verses grab your attention?
  • Most urban and some rural communities have foodbanks which rely heavily on contributions of food and time from local churches. This social action is clearly part of our engagement with God’s mission. In the light of this passage, how do we go deeper and offer the “living bread” Jesus is offering?
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