Wrapping up our look at Jesus’s sermon where he declares that he is the bread of life. Things go from the gentle claim that to eat of it means to not hunger for eternity. (Who wouldn’t want that? Give us this bread.) To a more intimate commitment.
Jesus then gets specific. “I’m not Moses, who called on God to send bread. I am the bread. Sent from the father. Descended from heaven.” The Jews responded by murmuring, “Wait? What? We know your parents. How can you say that?”
Jesus countered with, “Stop, you’re missing the point. It’s about spirituality, not the body. It’s about the will of the father, not mine. It’s about belief, not experience.”
As we continue, Jesus lays it on and gets graphic.
Spine of a Bible ca. 2001, “Used with permission from Microsoft.”
6:45 Jesus quotes from the prophets, a source that would be familiar to his audience. He claims all will be taught directly by god. All the believers, the elect that is, those who are watching and hearing him preach.
How can we believe, if we weren’t alive back then to see or hear him? Even those not alive to see Jesus have a direct word from God through scripture, and the chain of testimony of believers through the years. If you are among that crowd of “All” who hear, you can count yourselves among Jesus students. Because you come to the father, through Jesus.
Why through Jesus?
6:46 No man has ever clearly seen the father. The exception is the one who started out with the father. Jesus is claiming his authority.
Jesus is declaring his divine nature. Is this clear enough yet?
6:47 “amen amen I say to you,” Jesus tells it truly, with his highest authority that the one who believes in him will live eternally.
Not just having knowledge of him, but the one expressing, exercising faithfulness in him, and putting that faith into action, it’s that person who will live forever.
6:48 Jesus again claims “I am the bread.” Not that he will ask for it, or he will send it, but that “I am the bread.”
6:49 The forefathers of the Jews had been eating manna. It kept them alive during the time in the desert. Now they are all dead.
Jesus wants to get back to the topic of living bread.
6:50 Jesus backs up and runs at it again. He doesn’t explain what this bread from heaven is, He explains what it does. The one eating from it does not die.
Are the people getting it? Do they understand? Jesus is about to take it to the next level.
6:51 Jesus again claims to be the living bread, descended from heaven. Got it? Good.
He repeats his promise that the person eating the living bread will have a lifetime in heaven’s eternity.
Get ready, buckle your seats. Just what is this living bread? Jesus says, “it’s my flesh.”
He gives over his flesh to cover the world (the cosmos). It’s a voluntary gift. One powerful enough to blanket the globe.
Here it comes. How did the Jewish listeners accept this news?
6:52 Grumbling? No way. The word is warring. The Jews went into a huddle and were at war among themselves. They heard right. Eat flesh? Does Jesus mean to eat his own flesh? This was, and still is a detestable thing among any civilized culture.
Mind blown. But Jesus has more.
6:53 Jesus continues with his mind-blowing statement. Truly, if you do not eat, or do not drink, there is no power for life. We don’t have the power, or authority inside us to achieve eternal life on our own.
Jesus gets repetitive to emphasize his point.
6:54 There’s a subtle word change. Not just eat, but to crunch. Or to be corrosive like rust. Jesus restates its the eater and drinker of his body and blood who will live eternally. It’s those elect who he will stand upright on the last day.
We pause to address a challenge to verses 53 and 54. Namely, whether we should consider this a literal statement regarding physically eating the flesh of Jesus.
In short, it’s still a literal statement that uses a figurative …