Posted by: randydunning | January 6, 2008

Day 6 | John 6

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Text: John 6

Key Verse: 9, 49, 63
“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people??
“Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.”
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.?

Reflection:
This chapter speaks much of bread. From the feeding of the five thousand with barley loaves to the statement, “I am the bread of life (v. 35, 48),” to the manna reference it is the main metaphor.

Beginning with the lad’s barley loaves, Andrew questions if they are enough to feed the crowd (at a ration of roughly 1000 to 1). The miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fish certainly shows that Jesus has supernatural power at his disposal. Indeed it was a sign to them of his deity. But more importantly it demonstrated that Jesus cared about feeding people. And though he was not opposed to giving them physical bread, he desired them to taste spiritual food.

But the people had an impediment to receiving spiritual food – they thought they already had. After all, they were Jews (Jesus was speaking in the synagogue in Capernaum- v. 59) and their forefathers had walked with and heard from god (i.e. Moses and the prophets). They had received bread from heaven – manna in the wilderness. But Jesus makes a salient point – the manna, though it met a temporary need – only got them to the next day. And it certainly didn’t get them into their final destination, the promised land of Canaan.

So as wonderful and miraculous as multiplied barley loaves and manna were in that they sustained peoples bodies in this life, they were a mere shadow of bread that leads to eternal life. And to this Jesus speaks in v. 63 when he says, “the flesh profits nothing.” Bread that only feeds the flesh is ephemeral. But bread which nourishes the soul is eternal. And the words of Christ compose that bread.

Prayer:
Lord, often my hunger for bread and other temporal things greatly supersedes my desire for You. I do not want to neglect You. To whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life – the bread that will nourish my soul. Show me how to lay aside temporal things and instead hunger and thirst for righteousness.

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Responses

  1. I think that is a great point. Jesus wants to meet our needs where we are at, but at the same time He wants to use that provision to take us to the next thing, namely the food of the Spirit.

    One thing I get out of this passage is that Jesus feeds all the people. I often feel that we as the Church (universal, or at least Western) feed the first couple of rows over and over but leave those in the back malnourished. Of course, I am now talking of spiritual food, solid biblical teaching. It seems to me that the result of such practice is an apathy for the Word of God among those in the front (the Western Church) and heresy because of a lack of teaching in the back (persecuted and poorer nations). Those with spiritual fervor don’t have the teaching but those who seem luke-warm have an over-abundance of teaching.

    This passage challenges me to do what I can to balance the disparity between the over-abundance and the absence of teaching. It changes the way I pray, the way I give, the way I live. And hopefully it will draw me back to a deeper love for the Word of God.


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