We finish Jesus’ Bread of Life discourse this week. Jesus goes deeper into what it means to keep coming and keep believing in him. His language is arresting as he talks about ingesting his flesh and blood. The shocking language offends many of his disciples, causing them to turn away. Yet the language he uses speaks to us taking his life into ours so that his life becomes our life, that we may abide with each other and share life together. What an incredible invitation to us – the living God wants to share life with us!
And, of course, this text looks forward to our identifying feast, communion. Although it is not the first Sunday of the month, we will take communion together at the end of the service. For those of you at home, I invite you to prepare elements ahead of time which represent the body and blood of Jesus (the elements do not need to be special). For those of you at our live parking lot service, we will serve pre-packaged elements to you.
Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” It sure is a strange way to talk about yourself, isn’t it? I am bread? I could understand if he would have said maker of bread, or baker of bread or giver of bread. But, I am bread? A person is bread? Really? No one ever spoke like this! Come this Sunday as we explore this famous saying by Jesus.
In John 13-16 we have Jesus teaching and training his disciples to go out in the world and represent him. But in John 17, Jesus starts to pray aloud, so his disciples hear him. This is one of the most astonishing passages in the Bible. At one level it’s astonishing because it is an extended conversation inside the triune God, an actual conversation between the Son and the Father. It’s also true that Jesus is, so to speak, on his deathbed, and having been at the bedside of many people right before they have died, I can tell you that people who are dying are not really interested in small talk. They go right to what is most important to them. And that is true here as well. And when we look at this prayer in its entirety, we see the main thing that he has on his mind and heart as he is about to die is us, the church. He prays for a number of things for us in this chapter. This Sunday we will focus on one of those things as we look at the final 7 verses of that prayer.