Summary: A sermon for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 15, Series B Jesus is the Bread of life, whose flesh is food indeed
11th Sunday after Pentecost (Pr. 15) August 20, 2006 “Series B”
Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for your gift of creation and for establishing life on this planet we call earth. We thank you for revealing your will for our life, through the words of the Torah and the Prophets, spoken by those whom you had anointed to speak on your behalf. But most importantly, we thank you for coming among us in the person of Jesus the Christ, who is your Word made flesh, who through his gift of life, has redeemed us from our sin, and offers us the hope of new life in your heavenly kingdom. In Christ’s name we thank you. Amen.
This morning, our Gospel lesson continues the Bread of Life Discourse, as is recorded in the 6th chapter of John’s Gospel. This chapter began with our Lord’s miraculous feeding of over 5000 people with just five small loaves of bread and two fish. When the people whom Jesus had fed followed him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, he challenged them to look beyond the physical aspect of the miracle, to behold it as a sign, an event that pointed out to the people that in Jesus, the kingdom of God had come into their midst.
In light of this, our lesson for last Sunday focused on Jesus claiming to be the Bread of Life that came down from heaven. And as I pointed out in my sermon, by the time that this was written, the Word of God had come to be associated with bread, the basic staple of life, which needed to be consumed on a daily basis, in order to sustain our spiritual life and relationship with God. Thus, in referring to himself as the Bread of Life, Jesus was claiming to be God’s incarnate Word, God’s creative and authoritative revelation of his will for our life, in human flesh.
Throughout the past few weeks, I have also stated that even though John does not record Jesus instituting the sacrament of Holy Communion, this 6th chapter of John’s Gospel reflects the author’s understanding of the Eucharist, and its place in the worship life of the church. In our lesson for this morning, this chapter becomes rather specific.
So let us start with our opening verse, the verse that ended our lesson from last Sunday. Jesus says: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
I believe that this chapter in John’s Gospel contains a double message for our life of faith as Christians. First, John tells us that in Jesus, the very Word of God has come to live among us. This means that as we behold the life and teachings of Jesus, we are, in reality, beholding the will of God for our lives.
Jesus was not simply another prophet. As he interpreted the Scriptures of the Torah and the prophets, Jesus was not simply giving us another way, among many, to view these ancient texts. He was giving us God’s interpretation, the truth of God’s will for our lives.