Ninth Sunday after Trinity 5.8.12 John 6.24-35

29 07 2012

True Bread

We are going to spend a few weeks in John’s sixth chapter.  In fact we don’t escape until September. Not all preachers will see this as a benefit. However, it gives an opportunity both to examine a theme in depth and to engage your imagination with some of the symbolism and imagery that John explores in this chapter.  There is deep and real nourishment to be found here: true bread.

John 6.24-35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

Four loaves.

25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ 26Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ 28Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ 29Jesus answered them, ‘This isthe work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ 30So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” ’ 32Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ 34They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’

35 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Reflections and Questions

‘not because you saw signs’ v 26

We see Jesus looking into their motives here. The ‘reason why’ seems to be more important than the action.

Why would it be better if the people were motivated more by what they had seen than by what they had eaten?

‘Do not work for food that perishes’  v27

John’s gospel does not seem at all interested in things that perish – that is, things that are of significance in the world of space and time.

What do you think puts the meaning into meaningful? Can you think of perishable things that are meaningful?

‘gave…gives.. gives’ v  32&33

Whether it was from Moses or God the manna, like true bread, was given. But it is only the true bread that gives life.

What story can you tell about being given a life-giving gift?

‘I am the bread of life.’ v 35

This is only one of Jesus’ ‘I am’ sayings in John. He is also: ‘light of the world’, ‘gate’, ‘good shepherd’, ‘resurrection and life’, ‘way, truth and life’, and ‘true vine’,

What might a visual representation of all these together look like? Why not design an ‘I am’ stained glass window’ or write an ‘I am’ poem?  Let your imagination go!



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