When politicians make remarks that create a stir or a drop in polls, they are usually quick to back-pedal and spin their comments in a positive way in order to retain the public’s favor. That’s so common place that we actually expect it. We learn in the passage we’ll be reading this Sunday that Jesus was no politician. He makes bold statements that confuse his listeners and causes them to bristle and push back – but Jesus never flinches. He keeps right on pushing an agenda and worldview that completely upended the religious expectations of the day.
We’ll be exploring John 6:22-59 this Sunday. It’s the famous “Bread of life” discourse that Jesus gives.
As this section begins, Jesus makes a pretty clear delineation between physical and spiritual bread. What do think an example of spiritual bread is? How was looking for physical bread revealing bad motives for the crowd? When you consider your own relationship with Jesus – what kind of bread do you prioritize?
When the people realize that Jesus is describing something more than normal bread, they ask what they must do to work for the bread Jesus is describing. What is his answer? What does this tell us about our attempts to earn God’s favor?
Jesus ignores the growing hostility of the crowd and takes things even further – describing himself as the bread come from heaven that the manna from the Exodus story was simply foreshadowing. He describes his flesh and blood as elemental food and drink – what does that make us think of immediately? Jesus said that the bread that gives life to the world (v51) is his flesh. What do you believe this is a reference to? In what way does Jesus’ flesh give you life?
The language Jesus uses for eating grows progressively more intense as the discourse goes along. He begins by using a word that simply means to consume, but in the later verses of this passage, he says feed, which in the Greek is the word trogo, meaning to chew, crunch or gnaw. He’s talking about how it is that we believe on him – the intensity of the word he uses is trying to tell us something. What do you think it is?
This will be an admittedly heady study. It’s just the nature of this passage, and we certainly won’t plumb the depths of it by any means. We’ll only scrape the surface, but that in itself is a lot to wrestle with. Hope to see you Sunday!