Sermon – August 12, 2018, John 6:35-51
By Donald McKenzie
August 13, 2018
My August 12 sermon isn’t as much a sermon as it is an update. It’s more of a recap and place-setting for the net two weeks. One of the reason that this one is so short is that it was well into the 30 degree celsius range with high humidity on Sunday. I thought it would be best not to hold either the congregation or myself captive to such heat. Although, I should add, I was very pleased that the parishioners made such an effort to come out on such an unbearably hot day.
July 29th Sermon August 5th sermon
The other reason this sermon is so short is that the lectionary reading ends just before the real meaty portion of this chapter in John. So, you can expect the next two to be much more in-depth and detailed.
This feels a little bit like I’m posting one of those cake fail posts that you see on recipe sites.
So continuing on in the sixth chapter of John, and with Jesus’s declaration that e is the bread of life. I am the bread of life whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
and we’ll start with a little bit the lectionary decided to skip over this week. Jesus continues talking with the crowd says
36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Jesus, here again, is making this declaration that he is the bread of life. That he is a different kind of bread.
He’s a different kind of bread than they ate when Jesus fed the five thousand. He’s a different bread than the kind of brother they’re looking for. Their desire is for an encore performance of that miracle they failed to take as a sign.
Immediately after this we come to this thing that comes up over and over again in the gospels in general, and this is within the Jews began to complain. Now, when John uses the term the Jews, he’s not talking about all Jews in general, but about a group that were known to John’s readers.
John having written the last of the gospels this is a group that was causing trouble for his readers. So he’s talking about a small group. Their complaint is a complaint that you hear over and over. Both from other small groups and other individuals in the gospel. This is what they say:
Is this not Jesus the son of Joseph whose father and mother we know. How can he know say I have come down from the father. Who is he thinks he is saying these things. How dare he make these comments.
Jesus knows what they’re going on about and he says: quit complaining. Quit arguing. Quit grumbling.
No one can come to me and was drawn by the father who sent me and I will raise that person up on the last day.
Raising that person unless it is actually an important theme in this chapter. This is the third time it’s been stated in this section alone.
One of things about the gospels if you read them is they’re actually all quite short. It may seem like we sit here for a long time and listen to one of them being read. But none of them are very long and course when they wrote them down legally didn’t have word processors or anything the consented to the cloud where they could say as much as they want to not say anything at all in the same time.
They had to say what was really important. Writing in the time of Jesus was similar to sending a telegram if you’re if you’re old enough to remember those I know that it’s also sort of gone gone by the boards in recent years but you know you paid per word, and you had to do it as succinctly as possible.
So here in the gospel of John Jesus says three times. “I will raise them up on the last day.” That means that something we really need to be paying attention to that’s really important in what Jesus is saying. It then goes on to explain what is written in the prophets that all be taught by god.
Everyone who has heard and learned from the father comes to me. Now that’s actually an interesting thing to think about for a moment. Because Jesus isn’t saying simply if you’re listening to me you’re listening to the Father what he’s saying is the Father is already at work in your life if you’re coming to listen to me.
So God the Father is always and already.at work in people’s lives and in our lives. When we hear the words of Jesus:
48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever;
Then there is this closing statement”
and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
He’s not talking simply in some sort of a metaphor he is saying that he himself is in reality the bread of life. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh and this is done on the cross.
hold on until next week
Now given the the heat of the day, and a few other things. We’re not going to say a lot more about the topic this week, because next week we actually will delve into this in depth for both the weeks we have left.
The editors who created the lectionary, sort of left us with a statement and then not picked up what that statement is. So, that’s what we’re gonna do this week as well we’re not going to delve into that statement.
I want us to keep that in our minds. for the next week.
What does it mean for Jesus to say: “The bread.that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” What does it mean for Jesus to be the bread of life? How is it, that we will never be hungry, will never be thirsty? What does it mean for god (the father) to draw ustowards the Son. What does it mean for us that we should all be taught by god.
Well I think that the last phrase for this week actually gives us the answer.
That Jesus is the bread. That the gift given for the world and that is his flesh. We will unpack next week one that means and how that works.
We’re not gonna go down the road to the old tried and true arguments, to talk about things like consubstantiation or Transubstantiation and this that and the other thing. But we are gonna talk what it means for Jesus to have given his flesh to be the life of the world, and what it means for us how it will change us if we allow it.
Allowing ourselves to feed on the bread of life
But today I invite you as we will do later, simply to allow yourselves to feed on the bread of life, and to be nourished by it. Much like when we eat we don’t need to know. all the ways in which the food nourishes us. Today I invite you simply to feed on Christ and to allow Christ to nourish.
Father we thank you that Jesus is the bread of life. We thank you that we have been invited to feed on him. Help us as we come to your table. As we come to Christ’s table. To come with open hearts and open minds. Allowing those to be filled and to be fed by Christ. Allowing our lives to be transformed through him.