Today’s Author: Carol Swanson

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….” So begins the Prologue of John. This reminds us of the opening of Genesis where God speaks the creation into existence. It also recalls divine Wisdom (Sophia) described in Proverbs 8:22ff. “The LORD created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When…he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing in the inhabited world and delighting in the human race. And now, my children, listen to me: happy are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it….” And in Proverbs 9:5 Wisdom invites us, “‘Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.”  

Karoline Lewis – Photo Credit Luther Seminary

The crowd comes looking for Jesus again, hoping for more bread. They bring up their ancestral story of the manna in the wilderness. Jesus reminds them it was not Moses that gave them the manna but “‘my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’” Like the woman at the well, they are interested and say, “‘Sir, give us this bread always.’” (6:32-34)

 Karoline Lewis notes the phrases “my Father,” “true bread,” “bread of God” (not Moses) “from heaven” that “gives life to the world.” And I notice the switch from past to present. She writes, “It is significant here that Jesus’ conversation partner is not the Jewish leaders or the disciples but the crowd, the five thousand people whom Jesus fed. They are the world, the world that God loves (3:16). The feeding of the five thousand is a sign of God’s abundant love for the world. What does abundant grace, abundant love, look like, even taste like? It tastes like enough fresh bread and fish to satisfy your hunger and more so. This bread also gives life, quite literally in that it is food to sustain life.” (p 88) 

Jesus responds to them, “‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” (6:35) Jesus is the incarnation of the wisdom of God, the Word made flesh.  Karoline Lewis writes, John 6:46 “recalls 1:18, ‘No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.’ Jesus has seen the Father because he comes from the Father and he is God made flesh. The reason for the incarnation is for us now to see God, to experience God in the fullness of relationship that was assumed in God’s relationship with God’s people but could be known only at a certain level. In part, Jesus is saying, ‘in me you do see God in a way you have never seen God before.’” (p 92) 

How does the life of Jesus deepen our understanding of what it means to be loved by God and to love God? To love one another as Jesus has loved us? To love the world? 

God of sustenance, provide us with your living bread daily so that we might be brought to eternal life. Help us share your living bread with all who will receive it. Amen.
(“Prayer of the Day” from Sunday)

Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, contact Pastor Peter.