Eleventh Sunday after Trinity 19.8.12 John 6.51-58

11 08 2012

Jesus’ Unless

The set passage today is very short, and overlaps in terms of content with previous weeks and next week.  Maybe it is time to dig a little deeper into things.

John 6.51-58

Jesus said, ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

Bread rolls

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ 53So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’

Reflections and Questions

‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven’ v51

This is a development of the earlier refrain, ‘I am the bread of life’.  The point is being hammered home. There is nothing more important to say than this. See also v 51 ‘I am the living bread’.

How can you develop what you have said previously to get this point across?

‘the bread that I give for the life of the word is my flesh’  v51

These few words resonate deeply with words from the opening verses of the whole gospel – the prologue. They are close to the heart of John’s good news.

How can you most helpfully reference the prologue of John – which many people know well but associate exclusively with Christmas? Why not consider starting your sermon there and ending up here?

‘unless’ v53

This word often sounds like a threat. But it is more subtle than that.

Does the word ‘unless’ appear in your preaching very often? What might a sermon which focussed on ‘Jesus’ Unless’ look like?



One response

19 08 2012

The John 6 discussions started with a focus on the ‘barley loaves’ that were multiplied. Barley loaves were for that period quite basic stuff.
We may well contrast this with the ultimate of finest quality of the bread available to us in Jesus Christ.

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