Sunday, March 30, 2014

Morning Psalms: 66, 67 | Evening Psalms: 19, 46
Genesis 48:8-22 | Romans 8:11-25 | John 6:27-40
 
In the aftermath of the feeding of the 5000, the tenor of Jesus’ ministry takes on a different tone--there is a distinct shift in focus from physical provision to the spiritual provision of everlasting life. The crowds have seen the miraculous feeding, and to their credit they are willing to hear what Jesus would say regarding His position as provider. However, as they continue to seek further physical proof, “what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you?” (v. 30), Jesus turns the conversation away from the physical and into the permanent spiritual need.
 
As He explains how the manna in the wilderness points to the bread of God which brings life, the crowds are felt to be drawing in closer to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always” (v. 34). And, as Christ has a tendency to do, He pulls out the rug from under their expectations, “I am the bread of life” (v. 35). The crowd, familiar with the provision of God’s food in the history of Israel and ready to hear the new means of provision, is not prepared to make this theological leap. Just after the end of this passage, although there is no explicit description of the crowds dispersing, there is the shift from an eager audience to the grumbling of the Jews.
 
We are only moments away from Christ’s assertion of the requirement and method by which we today still take the Eucharistic feast. The climax that we know today will be anathema to even His closest contemporary disciples. As we follow the path of Lent and remember our Lord, do not forget how challenging His words were then even as they are so precious now.
 
Lord Jesus, we thank You for Your mercy for Your daily physical provision, as the Father provided manna in the desert to the people of Israel. In Your continuing mercy to us, show us how to accept the mystery of Your spiritual provision; give us faith to come to You and not hunger and never thirst. Sir, give us this bread always. Amen.
 

  

Ian Maize
MDiv Student
Beaver, PA

    

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