God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Friday, October 18, 2013

October 18 - John 6: Jesus is the Bread of Life

Today’s Reading: John 6

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Jesus wants them to follow Him because of spiritual bread, not physical bread.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Jesus fed five thousand people using five loaves and two fish. His Apostles crossed the lake. Jesus joined them, walking on the water.
Jesus challenged the crowd, "Seek My Food—you will never hunger or thirst again."
The Jews were outraged, "How dare You say that!"
"Eat My Flesh and drink My Blood and you will have Life."
Jesus' disciples complained these teachings were too tough. Jesus warned them, "People come to Me only through God's Guidance." Many deserted; however, Peter exclaimed, "You have the way to eternal life."
Jesus replied, "One of you, my hand-picked 12, will betray Me."

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

The Jews wanted Jesus as their political ruler, not their Guide to setting all things right.

Israel never understood their true purpose as God's Chosen People. During Jesus days, under occupation by the Romans, they finally had their Messiah. Instead of wanting Him to set all things right in the world, they wanted Jesus to set their politics in order. They were ready for the charismatic leader to lead a successful rebellion. Jesus' had to tell them (repeatedly, so expect this theme again) that He did not come to restore the physical kingdom of Israel. He came to restore the spiritual Kingdom of God. The difference is stark—the physical kingdom of Israel never obeyed God in spirit. The spiritual Kingdom of God first puts their spirits under God's Reign and from there disciplines their bodies to act accordingly. God's Kingdom is first a spiritual kingdom.
We struggle with keeping our priorities right, too. Israel as a nation today was created by people called "Zionists" who thought God wanted a physical kingdom of Israel forever. The Jews who returned to the new nation are not necessarily people fully converted to God setting all things right (at least that was not the criteria used to repopulate the nation). They were chosen because they were physical descendents of Abraham. We have a difficult time remembering that Jesus did not come to set up a political body. He came up to set up a world-wide movement of people setting things right because they can.

The Jews wanted Jesus to keep giving them free bread, not teach them how to set things right.

Jesus' entire discourse on bread vs. Bread was to help them get out of their physical mindset. They took the prophets' words to mean the Shoot of David's tree would be a physical savior, not a spiritual liberator. This is why they wanted more bread and why their "test" was to reproduce God's feeding of Israel in the wilderness. They were completely unprepared for what came next.

Jesus is the Bread of Life.

Jesus came to offer everlasting life to anyone willing to follow Him. Everlasting life comes from His Teachings—the Bread of Life. Follow the Bread of Life. Follow Jesus.

Jesus' teachings are not easy to swallow.

Jesus' disciples realized their publicity campaign went south when He told the masses following Him to eat His Flesh (the Bread of Life) and drink His Blood (cleansing of sin). The crowds wanted a physical kingdom and more bread for their poor. Jesus wanted them to set things right. Many of them deserted to jump off the doomed train. Peter's remark showed the 12's loyalty,
Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God. (vv. 68-69, The Message)

Are you willing to eat of the Bread of Life and drink the Blood of Jesus?

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