Jesus is God’s sacrificial gift to the world
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat’.”
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” – John 6:27-34
Bread for many of us, particularly when we were children, brings back good memories. I can remember the bread that my mother baked when I was a child. Those days bread was not store-bought; it was baked at home.
That bread was so enticing, particularly when it was still hot, just out of the oven. Hot bread with margarine, the then common substitute for butter, or with jam was delicious. It was quite a memorable treat.
The above text speaks of bread. Jesus tells the people that he is the bread of life. Several verses earlier, Jesus had fed 5,000 people with bread and fish. Later he crossed to the other side of the lake. When the people found him on the other side of the lake, after he had crossed over, they wanted to know how he had gotten there.
Instead of giving the people a direct answer, Jesus spoke to the heart of their question: “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”
Food and the things of this world usually consume us. We become more concerned with material things than we are with the things of God.
We are often so wrapped up in material things that we neglect the things of God. The things of this world – food, money, cars, homes and the likes, which are perishable, are desirable.
Consequently, we forget about our Christian faith and neglect our Christian responsibility. The things of the world become our god.
Yet, when difficulties overtake us and our backs are against the wall, the world will not help us. When we are ill, or our family members are ill, the world cannot help us.
The same God we neglected in the good times is the only one who comes to our rescue. He is the only one who can help and is unconditionally ready and able to help in the bad times.
Therefore, Jesus would say, “Don’t live as if you could ever accumulate enough bread or make enough money or achieve enough power to satisfy the deep needs of the soul.” They do not give you eternal life.
To inherit eternal life, Jesus tells us, “is to believe in the one he has sent”. That person is Jesus the Christ, our redeemer who bled and died for our sins on a cursed cross at Calvary. Jesus is God’s sacrificial gift to the world.
The material things of this world cannot endure to eternity or give us eternal life. Jesus is the very bread that gives life with God. The things of God, which are spiritual and most important are “faith, perseverance, character, love, joy, peace and hope”. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4704; telephone 242-426-9084; or web page www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.