August 17, 2003

John 6:51-58

[51] I am the Bread -- living Bread! -- who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live -- and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self."

[52] At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves: "How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?"

[53] But Jesus didn't give an inch. "Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. [54] The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. [55] My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. [56] By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. [57] In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me. [58] This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always."

[The Message]


1. Usually we think of Jesus instituting the eucharist among his friends, his disciples (fickle and betraying as they are). Here the eucharist is also offered to his sworn enemies for their response. We can here some of the overtones of Peter refusing a foot washing. Here we don't get the same change of perspective, but remember not to measure things by the response (good old cause and effect and its limited usage).

2. Can you catch a glimpse of Jesus' commitment to offering the best he has to the worst he knows, the already saved and righteous religious leaders of any persuasion. What persistence he had. In having tasted the Bread of life, we, too, have ingested this persistence. Keep at it -- eternally.

3. Rather than argue the real presence, some transubstantiation, of Jesus into Christ into Bread, it is more interesting to ask what it means to live after having made a meal of Jesus. An intriguing issue is not how bread is Christ and vice versa, but how you and I are Christ and vice versa.

On the journey from captivity of self, not foreign domination, to the Freedom of GOD we will time after time come upon "what is it" (manna) experiences. First, feast. Then, travel further.