Read John 6:30-71
30So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
32Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
34"Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread."
35Then 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. 36But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For 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."
41At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." 42They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?"
43"Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered. 44"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
52Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
53Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
60On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"
61Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? 62What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."
66From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.
68Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
70Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" 71(He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.) (NIV)
As we are moving through John, we are looking at large passages and this is one that contains a lot and I will probably not be able to cover all of it. So if there is something you need me to expound, on, please ask.
Now we must remember that in the feeding of the 5000 and the events that followed it, Jesus had said in response to the people’s question: “What must we do to do the works God requires?”, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
The people had the bread still on their mind, so they bring up the manna that was given during the time Moses led the people in the wilderness. The Jews believed that when the Messiah came, he would once again bring the manna for the people. They considered manna to be the bread of God. Jesus tells them that it really wasn’t Moses who gave the bread, but God and that he is that bread himself. The people struggled with Jesus saying he is the bread of life. They wanted something they could consume and be sustained without work. Jesus says that it is whole life and work that sustains us. It is consumed in a different way. We have the luxury of thousands of years since Jesus said this. To those who heard it for the first time, it was strange and hard to understand.
When Jesus says we must consume him, he means that we must take Jesus’ life into the very center of our being. We must take in all of what Jesus taught and did. Someone once gave this analogy. If you bought a book to read, but never read it, have you consumed that book. It can sit on your shelf for years, but it means nothing to you. But once you take the book down and read it, you begin to benefit from what it says. You take its words into your being and it affects you. This is what Jesus was saying when he says he is the bread of life. He is what sustains us.
We also have the benefit of participating in communion. Jesus had not instructed his disciples on this as of this point. Those reading John’s gospel would have this information. Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”
When we sit at the table of communion, we sit with Christ who feeds us. It is food for our soul, not our bodies. Peter summed this up best in verse 68, “you have the words of eternal life.”
So, the question is how do we consume Christ daily? How are we sustained by feeding on Christ? This is where we look to the disciplines of the Spirit for answers. Just like the human body must take on daily and timely nourishment, our souls must take on daily and timely nourishment.
The disciplines of the spirit includes these kinds of actions: Meditation. Prayer, Fasting, Simplicity, Fellowship, Journaling, Chastity, Stewardship, Submission/Obedience, Study, Evangelism, Contemplation, Confession, Solitude, Gratitude, Self-Examination, Silence, and Celebration. They also include partaking of the sacraments. This is how we feed on Christ.
Blessings and Peace