The Bread of Life, part 2

John 6:42-71

If you haven’t read part 1 of this discussion, I would strongly recommend that you do so before you continue…

And now, the thrill-packed conclusion:

43-52:  Jesus tells them to stop grumbling amongst themselves, always a command we need to keep in mind, for while we grumble we neglect what He is teaching.  He goes on to give a memorable passage in which He tells them that those who believe in Him will have eternal life, and that we must eat of Him to have life.  We must eat of His flesh which He will give for the life of the world; physical bread will not give eternal life. The people, who are always stuck on the mere physicality of life are horrified!  Yuk!

53-59:  Since the people are determined to be stuck on the physical, Jesus gives them physical.  He talks about eating His flesh and drinking His blood as though He were going to offer Himself to a bunch of cannibals.  Of course the traditional Sunday school lesson will teach here that Jesus was only speaking of Communion: Not likely.  Again, we only see physical things.  Jesus was talking about what Communion represents; the reality of Communion.  Communion has little to do with its physical aspects; it is all about redemption and what sustains a new life.  When we eat of the bread and drink from the cup are we nourishing our bodies?  Hardly…

We do this in remembrance of what He did for us; this is important.  We go through an act that symbolizes taking Jesus into ourselves to sustain our lives spiritually. When you eat a meal food enters you body, and in due course provides energy and nourishment to your body; the elements that make up the food become one with your body on a molecular level. Thus in a sense the food becomes a part of you.  When we take the Spirit within us (the indwelling of the Holy Spirit) the Spirit becomes a part of who and what we are spiritually, and grows within us when we allow it  this gives us eternal life.  This gives us fellowship with God, which was God’s purpose for creating Man in the first place; and completes the cycle of redeeming and reclaiming Mankind for God.

 

  Experience of Israel in Exodus Expectations of the Crowd in John 6 Jesus as the Bread of Life
Frequency Eat manna daily Eat bread daily Eat Bread once
Giver Moses Prophet like Moses God through Christ
Recipients Jews Jews All mankind
Spiritual Lesson Ate & learned nothing Eat and learn nothing Learn Christ
Result Died Die Eternal Life

 

Section 4: John 6:60-71

Upon hearing all of this, the people following Jesus largely abandoned Him. Of course we now know that this is typical of people who cannot allow themselves to discern spiritual truth.  People will often follow Jesus for a time, but when they realize that this involves more than a “get out of jail free” card, and that it will result in growing far beyond the merely physical they bail.  Jesus spoke one more great line here, one that we should commit to memory: “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”  This is truly something we must always keep in mind, for they are the key to unlocking the things of God.

Conclusion

It is important to note that Jesus in this discourse used typology in His treatment of manna and bread.  The manna is the type, Jesus is the antitype or the reality that the type represents.  God gave provision to the Israelites in the Wilderness with the manna; it sustained them.  However this was not God’s ultimate purpose.  His ultimate purpose was to redeem Mankind to Himself through Christ, thus the manna as sustenance was the type of Jesus the Redeemer and sustenance unto eternal life.  A related type would be the Communion elements: they are not what redeemed us, they are the representation of the body and blood of Christ: Christ is the redeemer. Of course, the Old Testament in particular is full of typology. Moses as the leader and redeemer of the people was a type of Christ, the Promised Land is a type of Heaven, and so on…

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15 thoughts on “The Bread of Life, part 2”

  1. After two wonderful parts (thank you!) I am left pondering whether – as with physical food – one can (with the most sincere of intentions) over-indulge in spiritual food. Spiritual obesity … with all the spiritual side-effects of such “inflated” living.

  2. Great post. Further expanded my understanding of communion and what it represents. I have a deeper appreciation for communion on a spiritual level. Thanks.

  3. Good thoughts, Don. As you know, an entire religious system was based upon a misinterpretation of John 6 and the Last Supper passages whereby they teach bread and wine are changed into the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ and that physically ingesting the wafer imparts graces which lead to eternal life. Accepting Christ as Savior by faith was replaced with eating the eucharistic Christ, which supposedly imparts graces so that the recipient can obey the Ten Commandments well enough to become increasingly sanctified and merit Heaven.

    1. Yes Tom, there have been fights about this from every point of view over the centuries. Whichever view turns out to be right, I think all of us can be blessed if we will focus ourselves as much on our relationship with Him as we do on debating among ourselves. 🙂

      1. And yet debate and discussion serve a very valid purpose in this case, don’t they? If I know belief/acceptance of Christ as Savior is the basis of John 6 but also countenance the viewpoint that physically ingesting the Christ wafer is the meaning, then I do a disservice to those in error. OK, I don’t mean to drag this out. Thanks.

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