Pentecost 11 B 2021 Sermon Bread of Life
John 6:35, 41-51
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
In case you have not realized it yet, we are going to hear a lot about Jesus as the “Bread of Life” over the next couple of weeks. It was the theme last week, and it is the theme this week, and it will be the theme next week and the week after that. The conclusion that I have come up with is that whoever put the lectionary together really wanted us to know that Jesus is the “Bread of Life.”
So why do we spend so much time reflecting upon Christ’s statement “I am the bread of life.” One reason might be because bread is universally seen as the staple of life. Without bread - which is kind of a shorthand for food in general – without bread, without food, without sustenance, we would die.
Bread is necessary for us to survive in the physical realm. But it is also true in the spiritual realm. Without the “Bread of Life,” that is, without Jesus, we would die. And it would be a death forever apart from Jesus Christ our Lord.
We need the life that Jesus gives. We need the “Bread of Life” more than anything else in God’s creation. Jesus is the only one who can sustain this life. That is why Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
For this reason Jesus was sent to us. Jesus said: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me.” Jesus came down from heaven to do the will of his heavenly Father. This tells us that Jesus is the very Son of God, who at a certain point in human history came down from heaven and became incarnate, became one of us, in the flesh, for us and for our salvation. That is why He came.
Even so, as we have heard before, the crowd did not get it. The people in the crowd could only think of Jesus as the man who grew up in the home of Joseph and Mary. And they wondered how He could say, “I have come down from heaven.”
They did not understand that this is the conundrum of the mystery of the incarnation. Only God can reveal Jesus to us as the divine Savior sent from heaven.
Jesus says as much when he states: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
And this happens as God’s Word works repentance and faith in our hearts, so that we realize that we need a Savior and then recognize that Jesus is One who can fulfill our every need.
“I am the Bread of Life,” Jesus tells the crowd. “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.” In other words, we are the food that we eat.
The fact of the matter is, one can eat the best and healthiest diet in the world, and still find that they are subject to the fact that one day all human beings die. And so, the question becomes who will rescue us from the valley of death?
And the answer, of course, is Jesus. “I am the bread of life,” he says. That is why He came to us. And how does Jesus meet our greatest need? Jesus tells us: “And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Jesus gives life to the world by giving His life for the world. And this is the heart of the gospel. Jesus gives His life, so that you and I and everyone in the world might have life. Jesus did this by dying on the Cross.
On the cross Jesus offered the perfect sacrifice that covered the sins of the whole world. As John the Baptist declared “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the whole world.”
This is God’s solution to our problem of sin which results in death and eternal damnation. Jesus gave His flesh and suffered death to take our place. He lifted the load off our shoulders and took it upon Himself.
He bore our sins, on the cross, for the forgiveness of sins. Now you have life. Now you are no longer forever separated from God. Now you have life everlasting. And the Good News is that all who believe in Him will physically rise on the last day and experience a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness will reign forever. And those who rise with Christ shall see God, along with the saints from all ages, in perfect harmony and with abundant joy.
This is the life that our Lord and Savior secured for us and gives to us, purely out of His grace and mercy. Jesus said: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not be hungry, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” This is Christ’s promise to you today.
So come, just as you are, and receive the bread of life. Come, just as you are, and taste the wine of new life. Come, and trust that in the Sacrament of Holy Communion Christ gives you living bread from heaven. Come, and rejoice and be glad that Christ gives to you “The Bread of Life.” Amen.
Let us pray: Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry with the beard of His life and the Word of His kingdom. Renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your true and living bread, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.