“I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.” vss. 48-49
In the first century there had been a struggle between those Jews who had embraced Jesus as messiah and those who clung to the old traditions. Ultimately that conflict led to a split and the separation of church and synagogue. As John writes his gospel he wants his readers to know that in Jesus they will find the pathway to eternal life. The provision of manna in the wilderness had been a wonderful gift and it had sustained their ancestors for a time…but the bread offered by Jesus was spiritual food and its benefits never ended. This was a radical new message and many found it unpalatable, but it’s a message that we continue to proclaim every time we celebrate Holy Communion. This meal is more than a little bit of bread and a sip of wine to get us through the week. Indeed it’s our chance to feast on the one who is the bread of life. As we eat the bread we eat the body of Christ…as we drink the wine we drink his blood. Barbaric as it may sound this meal has become for us the center of worship and faith. In it we anticipate the heavenly banquet, the feast of victory for our Lord. In it we receive the assurance of forgiveness and the promise of new life. It truly is a meal that fits every diet!
Thought for the Day: Is Jesus symbolically or really present in the bread and wine?