John 6: 35-40
Jesus said to them. ‘ I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’
I have a good friend who just found out she has a gluten allergy. Now when we go to a restaurant she is always asking, “Do you have a gluten free menu?” The real struggle my friend has is that she LOVES bread!
Knowing that my friend is struggling, I always cook her gluten free meals and eat them as well. While I feel good, in a self-righteous way, supporting my friend, to be honest, I don’t like gluten free bread!
The pasta is good and even some of the desserts aren’t bad but the bread? I want the good bread, packed with gluten, fluffy, full, real bread! While we both sit there eating and pretending like nothing has changed, it is not the same and at times even difficult to eat.
The world loves its bread! Bread is the definitive staple of most meals (unless you are Chinese.) The Bible is packed with bread stories and is often a metaphor for healing, recovery and God’s presence. The yeast used to make bread is also a symbol of sin, brokenness and hypocrisy. Bread is a relational food, we break bread together, share stories around a good loaf of bread and even receive bread as a foretaste of heaven, and the receiving of the life of Christ through the Eucharist meal. Heck, even prisoners get bread and water.
Bread is all around us and to avoid eating things with gluten in it is difficult.
When Jesus offers himself as the Bread of Life those who are listening find it difficult to eat. Over the next four chapters of John (6-10) the opposition to Jesus grows. The world is not ready to change its diet even if their diet only makes them sick.
Jesus proclaims that he is Israel’s food and all of the needs and longings of God’s people can be found in him. “The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The problem is that “Jesus Bread” is difficult to eat.
The Hardest Question:~
If Jesus is the bread of life, which provides for our ultimate human needs, then why, O why is it so difficult to take a bite?