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Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday October 3, John 6.41-51

John 6.41-51

41Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”42They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”43Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves.44No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day.45It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.46Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father.47Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.48I am the bread of life.49Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Thoughts:  Is it any wonder that the Romans thought we Christians were cannibals!   John has given us here in chapter 6 a very serious theological discourse on the Sacrament of the table.   God has provided bread for the people before.  This bread (manna) kept them alive through their wanderings in the desert.  Now, God is doing something new.  Once again God is providing bread, but this is the bread of the Eucharist, the Holy Communion.   Jesus promises to be really present in this bread, which connected to the promise of God's word becomes one of the means by which salvation is proclaimed and in fact given.   Those Christians who have a low theology when it comes to the sacraments stumble on the fact that God could use such simply things as baptism and communion to deliver the gift of salvation.   The truth is God could have used any means that God wanted to to proclaim salvation.  We are like the leper Naaman who comes to Elisha to be healed.  He is instructed to simply wash in the Jordan and be healed!   He finds this insulting, too easy, hardly worth his effort!  Then his slave asks him "If the prophet would have asked you to do some strenuous deed, would you not have done it?  Why do you balk at such an easy request?" (Paraphrase).    But here it is, the body of Christ, given in Holy Communion is connected to Jesus' promise of eternal life.

Question:  What is your view of the sacrament of the altar?   Do you believe that Christ is truly present when you come to communion?   What might you do with the phrase "You are what you eat!"  

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