John 6:35-50, NIV

35 Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me
will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be
thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do
not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and
whoever comes to me I will never drive away. . . . 40 My Father's
will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him
shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

41 At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said,
"I am the bread that came down from heaven." 42 They said,
"Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother
we know? How can he say, 'I came down from heaven'?"
43 "Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered.

45 ". . . Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him
comes to me. . . 47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has
everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your forefathers ate
the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread
that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die."

 

April 4, 2011

Jesus was speaking from his heart about what was important to him.
As I type these words I look up to see the hutch in our living room and 
look at the pictures framed and placed thereon. It's obvious what is 
more important to me than anything else. It is family, my favorite
people--one girl, one boy, a spouse.

We know from reading these words of Jesus that his relationship to his 
Father in heaven was the most important aspect of his life. Doing his 
Father's will is what made Jesus happy. Jesus also knows what is most 
important to his Father--it is that all the world would know him, feed on 
the bread he supplies, and come live in his house on "the last day."

This has been God's dream from creation. The old covenant stated it: 
"I will be their God; and they will be my people." It is a dream that's been 
frustrated at every turn, in every century, by every individual. Although 
mangled and distorted, God's dream has not changed, it still lives on.

In these few verses Jesus repeats the old message and reframes it to 
fit the occasion. God wants nothing more than that all of us would stop 
and listen, believe and receive. Eternal life with our loving heavenly
Father begins now and continues into eternity. He has sent us bread
from heaven. He invites us to take this sacred nourishment into our
being as a love-gift from our Creator. Collectively, we have the power
within us to make God's dream come true!

                                                                                   More journal entries

April 5, 2011
When Jesus asks us to feed on him, he's talking about us entering into 
an inseparable bonding experience with him. Willingly and lovingly
taking what has been a casual relationship and making it intimate. We
move Jesus from the periphery and place him at the center of our lives.

When we feed on him, we can no longer go for long stretches unmindful 
of him. Jesus becomes a vital part of our daily living. He can never be 
far from us. We can not live without him. It is a relationship built
foremost on love. It can not be based on anything negative or it would
be the bread of death, not life. Therefore we do not feed on him
because of guilt, fear or intimidation. It is God's amazing love that
calls out to us, courts and attracts us.

 

April 20, 2011
Jesus doesn't follow the rule--"Never say never." So from his perspective 
it is never, even though from our perspective we sometimes feel 
empty and unsatisfied. "Jesus never fails."--It may look that way from 
heaven; but here on earth it doesn't always appear to be so and things 
break down.

Jesus is bread from heaven, bread that gives life to all humankind. All 
who come to him and feed on him, will never go hungry.

Jesus states our problem clearly; we do not believe. We depend too 
much on our feelings, which can be all over the place. High and feeling 
strong one moment, weak and uncertain a short while later. Even Jesus 
had his moments of desperation, as in the garden of Gethsemane the 
night before he was crucified. But that didn't mean he was cut off from 
heaven's nourishment or cut off from God. Faith is not a feeling.

Faith is a constant. That's what Jesus modeled for us. The bread of 
heaven and the springs of living water are always available for all who 
believe.

 

April 21, 2011
Jesus welcomes us. He opens his arms and says, "Come to me." He
will not refuse nor drive anyone away. And he made a huge promise
that all who come to him will never go hungry and all who put their faith
in him will never be thirsty. All will be satisfied and have everything
they need to live, not only in this life but also in the life to come.

It is his Father's good pleasure to give everlasting life to all who come
to Jesus and believe. This is God's gift. We don't work for it or
necessarily deserve it. It is a gift of love. We can go for a day, maybe
a few days on earthly bread. We can go forever on the Bread from
heaven.

Some of the people who heard these words of Jesus for the first time
grumbled among themselves. They knew where Jesus came from,
and it wasn't heaven! To them, Jesus sounded like a madman who
had lost touch with reality.

There are people today who still proclaim Jesus to be delusional. But
mostly we just ignore his words--especially the hard ones. It seldom
seems suitable to ponder what Jesus said. It takes too long, we don't
have the time or inclination to delve too deeply. Instead we believe
whatever, whenever it is convenient. We should not be surprised, then,
that we crave for something missing from our lives.

Come to Jesus and live! How I need to get these words off the page
and into my innermost being.

January 16, 2002
Jesus is directing the people's attention beyond this immediate life to 
a resurrection at the last day. He's talking temporary vs. eternal. What 
is important for the moment vs. what is important for eternity. Yet
feeding on Jesus is not simply a guarantee for tomorrow, it is a
relationship in the present.


May 2, 1983
Intellectually the "bread of life" message can't be explained, it is 
foolishness. Experientially, God is known to those who love Him.

I'm glad Jesus used the imagery of bread. I'm fond of homemade
bread and find it very satisfying--plain with nothing on it. I want to taste
the bread and savor its flavor. When I slice my homemade loaves the
pieces crumble easily so it must be handled gently and reverently,
just like when one is dieting and food is greatly appreciated and
handled reverently.


May 5, 1983
I am the bread; I am the giver and the bread; I give myself. Take, eat,
satisfy your soul, and live. Jesus satisfies the hunger of my heart. Jesus
is bread for the world. The world is physically hungry right now. Those
who have financial resources stuff themselves; the poor starve slowly.
If we practiced the righteousness of God, there would be peace and
food enough for everyone.

The people in the crowd looked, but did not really see. They heard but
did not really listen. Praying for our eyes and ears to be opened is a most
important daily prayer. I need to be praying for improved spiritual sight
and hearing.


May 7, 1983
Jesus said he will never refuse anyone who comes to him. Then why do
some people feel rejected by God? When I'm down, I question whether
God has deceived me. Whether any of this is real. Of course there is
evidence along the way. But some days I lack the patience to wait on
the Lord, and feel that it gets me no where.

Why am I feeling like God is withholding himself from me today! You
have already given me enough to survive on, so what am I complaining
about!?

Why is it if people weren't faithful to God in the past, and they aren't
faithful in the present, why does God think we will change and be
faithful in the future?

May 16, 1983
When God gives, we become the receivers. We have been trained to
look down on ourselves as unworthy recipients of God's grace. He is
everything; we are nothing. Perhaps we overemphasize the unworthy
part. God gave his beloved and only Son to redeem me. Doesn't that
make me, in God's sight, valuable, highly prized and desired?

I want my life to be God's gift to others and I know God is constantly at
work improving that gift and transforming it. Some days the gift falters
and breaks down, but God is the author of restorations and resurrections
and so I continue on, begin anew.

The people Jesus was talking to knew God only in the past tense. Their
faith was in the God of their grandfathers. Jesus, keep me close to you
and current so that I'll have my eyes open to recognize you today. This
text presents two options--I can see the son of Joseph or with eyes of
faith I can see the Bread that came from heaven.

This morning I'm going to visit lots of different people and situations at
Conestoga View. Help me to look through eyes of faith as I mingle with
Bobby and all the others. Help me to see not only people in beds and
wheelchairs waiting to die, but men and women still loved by their
Maker as they near the end of their lives.

If I pictured Jesus offering each one of them the bread of life, how would
that change what I see? Not what is, but what can be; not what is
apparent, but the invisible, spiritual realities. Not Joseph's son, but
Bread from heaven.

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