Pastor Bill Azbell
First Presbyterian Church, Concord
John 6:51-52 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; this bread is my flesh, offered so the world may live.” 52 Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked.
Jesus is the living bread. Every other form of nourishment fills for a time but is followed by the inevitable hunger pangs of spiritual emptiness. Jesus stands on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and offers the needy masses the nourishment of his very life.
As we consume this bread we accept Jesus into our lives and become one with him. In this way the bread he offers is very different from the world’s bread. It’s a bread of sacrifice. We are united with Jesus by trusting in his sacrificial death for us and his resurrection. And we are united with him by expressing and extending his sacrificial life in our everyday lives. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in The Cost of Discipleship, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Many in Jesus’ day couldn’t understand or accept Christ’s offer: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (John 6:52). The notion that in trying to hang on to life it is lost, but in giving it away for God it is found, is just as disturbing to our contemporary sensibilities (Matthew 16:25).
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of Jesus’ life for me. Help me to personally and deeply receive your invitation to relationship through him. Please also give me great love and courage to extend Jesus’ sacrificial way of life to those around me, to embrace your challenge of discipleship. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.