John 6 41-51
At this, because he said, “I am the Bread that came down from heaven,” the Jews started arguing over him: “Isn’t this the son of Joseph? Don’t we know his father? Don’t we know his mother? How can he now say, ‘I came down out of heaven’ and expect anyone to believe him?”
Jesus said, “Don’t bicker among yourselves over me. You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent me is in charge. He draws people to me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come. Only then do I do my work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End. This is what the prophets meant when they wrote, ‘And then they will all be personally taught by God.’ Anyone who has spent any time at all listening to the Father, really listening and therefore learning, comes to me to be taught personally – to see it with his own eyes, hear it with his own ears, from me, since I have it firsthand from the Father. No one has seen the Father except the One who has his Being alongside the Father—and you can see me.
“I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread – living Bread! – who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”
John Wesley said that many Christians have just enough religion to be miserable. It would seem that many Jews are in the same position. The people are being offered the Bread of Life, an image that they are familiar with through their own scripture. Ever since the manna in the desert the generosity of God has been imagined as bread. So the words Jesus uses make sense to the Jews. This is a message that they have been waiting for.
Jesus tells them exactly who he is. That he has come from the Father to do the will of the Father and the Father’s will is that people will be drawn to him through Jesus. He wraps this desire in circles of calling. Surely they have the same desire of their ancestors – to live through God’s grace? And they know that God answered Moses’ prayers. Here they are offered eternal life through God’s grace and God has already answered their prayers, before they are even spoken, through the gift of his Son.
Take the time, not only to listen to the teaching of Jesus; allow it to feed you and feed into how you live and how you live with others.