Real Bread – John 6
This is John’s extended reflection on the story of the feeding of the 5000. In it, the crowd’s questions are ways by which Jesus reveals himself as the bread of life (so our questions are good things, which can nurture faith).
1. Eternal things In v.22-25, the crowd track Jesus down on the other side of the lake, at Capernaum, and ask: “why did you come here?”. Jesus uses their question to speak of eternal things – for their searching points not to physical need but spiritual need. Our desire for things spiritual should flow from our desire for eternal things, not things that perish. This is a word to our culture of throw-away consumerism, as well as reflecting the questions of those beyond the walls of the church who are looking for something more.
2. Jesus is the fulfilment. Jesus’s relationship with the prophets is a theme of the gospels – for many people saw him as a prophet (someone who calls people to right living and sees things are they truly are). So when Jesus speaks about Moses, people listen. And whilst Moses gives bread for food (as part of a journey of liberation for the the people of Israel) , Jesus offers a different kind of bread, through which real freedom can be had, which “gives life to the world”
3. Jesus and the Father. In John, Jesus is particularly the one who is the Father’s Son and the relationship between Jesus and the Father is explored. Here Jesus says that his entire will is that of God. Accepting Jesus as the human \ divine face of God is essential to faith. He is the son of Joseph (v.42) but far more – and his call is to share the divine life found in him “no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him”. Notice that it is God who draws people through Jesus, not Jesus himself. God raises Jesus up, God offers full life. We need a Trinitarian picture of God, not just Jesus, or the Spirit, or the Creator.
Andrew Wood Nov 2011