Gospel JN 6:41-51
The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said,
“I am the bread that came down from heaven, ”
and they said,
“Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph?
Do we not know his father and mother?
Then how can he say,
‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Stop murmuring among yourselves.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
They shall all be taught by God.
Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
Complain | Crowds | Courage | Convictions | Clarifies | Claim | Control God | Come to Jesus
Does it feel like we have read this exact story for the past few weeks? We keep coming back to Jesus being the “bread of life” for the world. We started out with Jesus feeding the crowd with the loaves and fish. Then the crowd followed him, because they wanted more from this guy who could create something from nothing. Remember – they wanted to crown him king which Jesus refused. Now, that they see Jesus is not what they envisioned the Messiah to be, they start to turn on him. Jesus clarifies his mission and claims His right as the one who came to save us through His crucifixion and the cross.
Do you ever notice that people are different when they are in groups than they might be individually? Especially when discontent is rising. The crowd was not happy already because Jesus refused to become their king. Now, someone in the crowd popped up and brought up the fact that they knew Jesus as he grew up – and that they knew his father and mother. It probably made this person feel powerful 0 knowing something that might make Jesus seem less important. And when a group of people starts grumbling and complaining in this way, it only grows.
Courage of your Convictions
It takes a good deal of bravery for someone to stand up to a crowd like this, from inside the crowd. Whenever I think of standing up against a crowd, I think of a story I read once of Alexander Hamilton, facing a mob in the dead of night, set on tar and feathering a man. The mob could have easily turned on Hamilton, but he stood firm in his convictions. Ultimately, he was able to delay the crowd from entering the building long enough for the man to escape.
Notice, we don’t hear of any actions by the disciples and anyone else stepping up to defend Jesus. Remember, many of these folks saw miracles of healing themselves. Most ate at the feeding of the 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Others experienced when Jesus cast demons out of people. If anyone had stepped up, this story might have gone very differently.
So Jesus, hearing the growing discontent of the crowd, takes their grumbling and complaining on head first.
- “Stop murmuring”
- “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him”
- “Whoever believes has eternal life”
- “I am the living bread that came down from heaven”
By standing up to the crowd and proclaiming his convictions and message again, Jesus stifles the mumbling.
Jesus Clarifies His Claims
Specifically, with the statements above, Jesus clarifies his claims to be the Messiah. He also speak of how His way will not be the way that we want. Jesus’ way will not be specified by how the crowd wants him to act. It will be in a way that shall show the Father’s will.
We don’t Control God
This is important. We don’t control God. God is eternally consistent. God is the great I Am. Too often, we want God to be a certain way. How many times do we say this is how I believe God should be? We say things like.
- I believe God is Love.
- I believe God is Nice.
- I believe God doesn’t judge us.
- I believe God wants us to be happy.
We want a Burger King Style God. But we can’t have Him our way, like we might a hamburger. We can’t hold the ketchup and have extra mayo.
Come to Jesus
What God tells us is this:
“Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him, comes to me”
Pretty simple. Be humble and realize, we aren’t God. Listen to His word in the inspired Word of God – the Bible and learn from His teachings. And ultimately, Come to Jesus.
As Jesus shows in today’s Gospel, He is not at all about what we want Him to be. He is one with God the Father. He came in human form to save us from our sins. He says whoever eats of the living bread that came down from heaven, will live forever. He tells us exactly who He is and he wants us to come to Him.
And by coming to Jesus, we accept the gift He has given us through His Crucifixion on the Cross.
That’s a great way to end this lesson. Our directions from Jesus are clear.
- Listen to His word – by reading the Bible.
- Learn from His teachings – by studying his Word.
- Come to Jesus – just as we are.
- Accept His GIFT of salvation – bought on the cross.