Scripture Focus: John 6.25-26, 30-35, 68-69
25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.
30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, 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. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
On January 6th Christians across the world celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. This represents the manifestation or revealing of Christ to the non-Jewish world. May we seek to manifest Christ as the one who is the bread of life for all who will partake.
Reflection: Manna or the Man?
By John Tillman
Many followed Jesus out of impure motives.
The feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle of Jesus in all four gospels. It is the fourth of seven, and therefore the central, sign that John chooses to demonstrate who Jesus is. Like a central pole of a tabernacle or tent, it supports some of the loftiest, most direct messianic claims that Christ makes.
A tiny detail at the beginning of chapter 6 tells us that it is almost Passover. The rescue from Egypt is on everyone’s mind. Over the course of the chapter, it is like John runs Exodus in reverse. Meeting with Jesus on the mountain echoes the meeting with God at Sinai. Eating the bread and fish in the wilderness mirrors the manna and quail. Jesus miraculously crossing the water with the disciples reflects the crossing of the Red Sea. The crowd finds him on the other side and demands a sign like those Moses showed to prove to both the leaders of Israel and to Pharaoh that God spoke through him.
The crowd seems to have noticed the parallels, as they directly refer to Exodus in questioning Jesus. Moses had said to God, “What if they do not believe me…” (Exodus 4.1) This crowd says to Jesus, “What sign will you give that we may believe you?” (v 30-31)
Jesus isn’t impressed with their request for a sign or their motives. They’ve already seen signs, but they don’t care what they mean. They just want to eat miraculous meals. They just want a bonus of blessings. They want a physical kingdom and political victory. They are uninterested in anything he taught on the mountain. They just want his power.
What are our motives for pursuing Jesus? Do we want the man or just the manna?
Do we even want to live in Jesus’ kingdom or do we just want to live in a nicer version of Egypt where we are in charge? Do we care about his miracles for others or do we just want him to fill our bellies and our other base desires?
If these are the motives of our following Jesus, he will disappoint us and offend us. But if, like Peter, we realize that Jesus is the only source for the words of life, that he is “the Holy One of God,” (John 6.68-69) then nothing will tear us away from him.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Search for the Lord and his strength; continually seek his face. — Psalm 105.4
Genesis 6 (Listen 2:48)
John 6 (Listen 8:27)
This Weekend’s Readings
Genesis 7 (Listen 3:18) John 7 (Listen 5:53)
Genesis 8 (Listen 3:06) John 8 (Listen 7:33)
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