Hello everyone. This week’s sermon on “I am the Bread of Life,” is a little late in getting up. We have had a rather traumatic incident at St. Philip’s. About three months ago, we had a refugee family from Mozambique join our parish. They are government sponsored, but come from the Anglican church in Mozambique.
They have been a great addition and blessing to our parish. Last Saturday though, three of the teen boys in the family were returning home from playing soccer nearby where they live. At some point they were accosted by five people in a black SUV. Two of the boys managed to escape, but the third was mugged and shot in the foot.
He has had surgery and is recuperating. However, it has been a great shock to him and his family. We are continuing to support and pray for the family. I invite those among this blog who practice prayer to add this family to your time of prayer. Thank you very much.
I am The Bread of Life
Let the words in my mouth and the meditation of all of our hearts be acceptable in your sight. Oh Lord our God, our strength, and our redeemer. So, our gospel reading this week in the Lectionary ends with a bit of a cliffhanger. Because we end with this statement from Jesus: “I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
And then we just leave it there. And that’s what I’m going to be doing today as well. I’m going to be leaving that there because we’re going to be taking on more of this topic in the next two or three weeks. And don’t worry if for some reason you’re not able to make it. The sermons are all going online so you know if you want a little bit of beach reading for the for the summer, because nothing says beach reading, like theologically dense sermons. But today I want to talk a little bit more about the crowd, and the crowd’s response.
We get a couple of verses before we get into today’s reading. And last week we had Jesus feeding the 5000 and everybody being satisfied everybody having enough to eat. And it appears inverses 22 and 23 which we didn’t read today. They were so satisfied that they just hung out at that site overnight. They had their fill. They were satisfied. And they had a good sleep right where they were.
Which when you think of it fits in well with the feast. When you’ve had a good feast. What you want to do is you want to relax. And have a nap or maybe have a good night’s sleep.
But I think there’s something else going on here too. They want to be ready for whatever they think Jesus is going to do next. They’re going to stick close to Jesus. And so they wake up in the morning and they find that Jesus is gone. The boat that had the disciples Got into left, but they’re not sure about Jesus, because they didn’t see Jesus get into the boat.
So they’re wandering around. Where’s Jesus. They may have mistaken him for Waldo at the moment. But eventually some other boats come and they go across the sea to where Jesus is and this is where the nature of Jesus’s encounter with the crowds and the crowd’s expectation changes.
They ask him the question: When did you come here? and as with a lot of the questions Jesus gets asked. He doesn’t bother to actually answer the question they asked, but rather what’s behind that question.
And he says to them OK you’re not here because you saw the sign. You’re here because you had a really good meal. You got filled up were satisfied. And this is actually an important thing to hear is that the statement that Jesus said you’re not here because of the sign.
We talked about this last week. The sign is something that points to something greater, something more important. We want to keep the sign in mind because when we come up against it later on in this reading as well.
Then he says don’t work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for internal life eternal life which the son of man will give you. For it is on him that the father has set his seal. Then they ask him what what do we need to do to perform the works of God. He says this is the work of God that you believe in him whom he has sent.
Here again we come to this question of the sign. What sign are you going to give us. Apparently the fact that you are giving them a sign wasn’t enough. But the question about a sign is also in this question a question of authority. As you read all the Gospels. The crowd is always questioning Jesus’s authority. What business do you have saying these things.
So they go back. and bring up Moses. They say Moses fed us in the wilderness with manna. So what are you going to do. What are you going to do to show that you’re going to give us the same kind of thing that Moses gave.
Then Jesus answers. Well actually no it wasn’t Moses. Moses didn’t give you that. It was God that gave you that step back a little bit to Verse 27. He talks about Jesus as just saying to them don’t work for food that perishes. One interesting thing when we think of it, is that the that they received in the desert. It was about as perishable, as perishable can be.
Because if you remember when the Israelites are told to collect the manna. They are told to collect that manna for that day. Except. On Friday. Where they collect enough for Friday and for the Sabbath. So they don’t have to go out thereon the Sabbath to gather.
If you also think back to that story you’ll know that there are those who, despite being told. God says don’t collect. more than enough manna for one day, pick up for more than one day. Then what happens? They open the container the next day and it’s all gone.
But there’s another thing about the manna and the manna being perishable. And that is. When we get to the book of Joshua and we talk about the Israelites crossing the Jordan and into the Promised Land. What happened there? On that day the manna ended. The manna was only for that time when they were traveling through the wilderness to get to the Promised Land.
And another thing about perishing. If you remember. When the Israelites refused to go into the Promised Land for the first time. After Joshua and Caleb come back and say it’s a great land. But other people go no, There’s too many giants and things like that That’s when they start wandering in the wilderness. For 40 years until that generation have perished. So the generation that first received the manna, didn’t actually make it to the Promised Land. The manna itself was perishable. But so did that generation end up perishing. Ending up missing out on the promise. Because they had failed to go forward in trust.
So, here’s the people now saying to Jesus you know Moses gave us the manna in the wilderness and maybe there’s a little bit of something in Jesus reply reminding them. Yeah, but you know what? You weren’t really happy about that. You didn’t really get the message. You didn’t realize that the God who brought you all of Egypt who was going to take you to the Promised Land was going to be with you that whole journey.
But that’s what they’re looking for. And they still don’t seem to get it. When Jesus says my father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of heaven is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
They said to him, Sir: Give us this bread always. And Jesus says to them. I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never thirst. This idea of the Bread of Life and coming to Jesus, and never thirsting. This isn’t the first time in John’s Gospel. We hear Jesus at the first performance of his first miracle of turning water into wine. This is also echoed back just a couple of chapters. Where Jesus goes and meets the Samaritan woman at the well, and offers her, living water, to drink.
A new life. A different kind of life. One where the past is not held against us. One where we’re not judged on what we have done right or wrong. But we are held in God’s love. Where we are fed by Jesus, And on Jesus.
This is what Jesus is offering when he says: “I am the Bread of Life.” He’s talking anew life. A new source of food. A different kind of food. As we say in one of the prayers “those things that are requisite for the body and for the spirit. But this is again is also not something for us to possess. The crowd wants something they can count on. Something that fits into a nice, neat schedule, and a nice neat order.
We get up every morning. And there’s bread for us. One of the interesting things about entering into the Promised Land is that though the land was abundant, the field still had to be worked. The food had to be grown. The crops weeded, and harvested.
The bread of life is not meant for us to sit there and do nothing. It is bread that is meant. To fill us. Not just physically. But fill us with the one who is the source of our life. To allow us to live like the one who is the source of our life. The Bread of Life is to give us renewed life. To share. As Jesus breaks the bread and feeds 5000, our life has to be given, so that others may be fed.
Our life is to be fed by Jesus. So that we will never hunger. Or thirst. Because. The source of that life. That source of our being that life giving water in Jesus is there for us. At all times. This is not connected to the idea that we can skip as many meals as we want, because we’re being fed on the bread from heaven.
But it’s looking to a life beyond simply our physical life. Our physical life is important. And we see that demonstrated in the feeding of the 5000. But Jesus is saying to the crowds when he’s saying that I am the Bread of Life that our life goes beyond just the physical. It goes beyond making sure we get enough calories during the course of the day that we get our vitamins and minerals. It’s living into the new life that is offered in Christ.
I’ve said before. And it’s a good time to remind ourselves again that when. Jesus talks about eternal life. He’s not so much talking about time, but the quality of our life.
A life founded in God’s love. A life lived out in God’s love A life shared with others in God’s love.
I am the Bread of Life. Jesus offers us that bread. To take. And to eat. To be filled. To be satisfied. And as I said last week, dissatisfaction is one of the ways we are easily kept from God.
From loving God and loving God’s purposes. We are invited to take Jesus as the Bread of Life. And next week, we will talk more about what that means. But for today. I invite you to taste and see. See who Jesus is. See and taste this bread of life, and allow it to transform your life.