John begins his Gospel with a loud declaration that Jesus is God, was with God in the beginning, and if we want to see and know God, you have to take a good long hard look at Jesus. Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus makes seven statements about himself. He begins each statement with “I AM,” echoing God’s name in Exodus 3. This week, we will be in John 6 where Jesus says, “I AM the bread of life. Anyone who comes to me will never be hungry” (v35).
John is an excellent writer and leaves all kinds of bread crumbs to follow throughout his Gospel. There are three events in the Gospel of John where he mentions that something was happening near the time of Passover. Why is that significant? What do we practice today that is directly tied to the Passover? The first mention of the Passover was when Jesus cleared the Temple in John 2. The second is when Jesus was about to feed the five thousand in John 6. The final event(s) are all surrounding Jesus’ parade into Jerusalem and the Last Supper (11:55; 12:1; 13:1).
So, when John mentions that Jesus miraculously feeds the fiver thousand around the time of the Passover, he hopes to draw connections in your mind not only with the Passover event, where God liberated his children and led them into the promised land. He also wants to connect your thinking to the Passover events in his Gospel – the cleansing of the Temple on one side and his death and resurrection on the other side.
Here we stand with Jesus, up on a mountain, looking out over the people who followed him to the countryside. They follow him because they saw his signs. Are you hearing any of the echoes of Moses in the wilderness?
John 6 is a huge text to work through. Cody is preaching this Sunday on the latter part of John 6 where Jesus addresses the crowed about the food they are looking for (6:26-35). Spend some time with all of John 6 this week. What does Jesus tell us about God in this passage? When we look at Jesus, we also see who we are supposed to be. Who is Jesus calling you to be in this passage? How does this story shape the way you view the Lord’s Supper? What could you reflect on this week when we gather around the Table?
One of the practices I have when I read scripture is to spend time reflecting on who I am as different characters in the story. One of the powerful lessons that comes from this interaction with Jesus is standing with the crowed. Why am I following Jesus? How do I respond to something so off-putting as Jesus turning around and telling everyone to eat his flesh? Am I just searching for the benefits and power that comes with following Jesus? Or, am I searching for Jesus himself? I really like how one writer put it, “What matters is not just what Jesus can do for you; what matters is who Jesus is.”