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The bread of life

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” – John 6: 51-52

We find forgiveness and life everlasting in Jesus Christ. He is the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in him, though they die, will live forever.

If tomorrow brings pain, if the thought of death brings pain, to those who trust in Christ the pain is overcome by the assurance that we’re going to have a life, life eternal in the presence of our Lord.

John chapter six testifies that Jesus is the bread of life. It is quite a long chapter. The whole chapter deals with eating. In the first part of the chapter Jesus feeds 5,000 people.

In this text, taken from John chapter six, we learn that Jesus was eager to give the people a special kind of bread, which would cause them to live eternally. He called it the bread of life.

However, the people, who had gathered to hear him, misunderstood what he was saying when he said, “I am the divine bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

They were interested in the physical bread, not what he was talking about. Their immediate concern was about food for immediate consumption, similar to the food he had given them earlier when he fed the 5,000.

When Jesus proclaimed himself to be the bread of life, he was talking metaphorically. He was talking about a different kind of bread.

In coming to earth, Jesus brought eternal life. He was not offering them something that was temporary. He was offering them eternal life, for which he gave up his life on a cruel cross.

Many people think that they can live eternally through the physical things that they do here on earth. Consequently, they set things in motion to preserve their memory forever, even after they die.

They do so by giving away fortunes to universities, hospitals and charities in order that their names may be placed on a building or a monument. This is their kind of eternal life.

Such people do not really understand what immortality or eternal life is all about. With God eternal life means more than erecting monuments. It means more than people remembering your name or putting up a monument in your honor. It means a relationship with God forever.

Jesus’ hearers apparently misunderstood him when he continued, “and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (v. 51) This caused the people to grumble among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

When he said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,” (v. 54) he is saying that he, in human form, is the bread of life. He gave up himself – his flesh and blood – for the life of the world. To eat his flesh and drink his blood is to believe in him in deepest sense of the word.

It is to depend on him, to draw life from him. It is to trust him completely as the only source of fellowship with God.

When we have faith in Christ, we believe that Jesus Christ is real flesh and blood and that he is present with us. Although we do not see him, we believe that he gives us life. To eat his flesh and drink his blood is eating for life. Amen!

• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas, or telephone: 323-4107; E-mail: lutheranchurch@coralwave.com, Website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.

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