1 Kings 19:1–8
The Lord Jesus Feeds Us with His Flesh, in Order to Strengthen Us with His Own Life
God the Father sent His Son into the world, so that the world might have life in Him. Now He “draws” you to His Son, Christ Jesus, by the preaching of His Gospel. “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father” comes to Jesus, who will never cast him out but “will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44–45). He is “the bread of life,” who “comes down from heaven” in the flesh, that you may eat of Him and “live forever” (John 6:48–51).
Although “the journey is too great for you,” in the strength of this food you shall come to “the mount of God.” Do not be afraid, and do not despair, but “arise and eat.” (1 Kings 19:5–8). And “no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds” (Ephesians 4:17), but “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:2). In Him, you have been “created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). Therefore, “be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1), by “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”
Gracious Father, Your blessed Son came down from heaven to be the true bread that gives life to the world. Grant that Christ, the bread of life, may live in us and we in Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
Proper 14 Series B
Summary: What else can one say: Jesus is the bread of life. Three words, actually verbs, pop out this week. All three (καταβαινω, πιστευω and εχω). John employs them powerfully here to make three points:
1. Jesus came down to earth;
2. Jesus came down to earth that we might believe;
3. Jesus came down to earth that we might thus have life. Here. Now.
Also, this week includes a quote of the Small Catechism to solve a thorny issue...
καταβαινω ("descend" or "go down"; it appears seven times in chapter 6: 16, 33, 38, 41, 42, 50, 51, 58 in various forms). The use of this word throughout John and especially John 6 reminds us that John is an incarnational Gospel (as are all the Gospels!). While John 6 pushes this in a new direction, the idea of God moving toward earth, coming down, has occurred already in John: The Spirit descends at Baptism (1:33); Jesus refers to Jacob's dream where angels descended at "Bethel," foreshadowing Jesus; Jesus also "goes down" to heal an officials son (4:47) and lastly, Jesus simply said he descended from heaven (3:13).
One could simply be reminded that Jesus in John's Gospel is not an eagle like philosopher above it all; Jesus is not some Gnostic or Docetic savior; rather he is a flesh and blood, incarnate Son of God. John 6 is all about the Eucharist; and the Eucharist is the summation of all things. In this case, the Eucharist is the summation of all other downward movements by God. It includes the Spirit empowering, it includes heaven's gates opening; it includes healing of mortals. In Jesus, Bethel (house of God) becomes Bethlehem (house of bread). Jesus is full divine yet fully flesh. (σαρξ)
σαρξ ("flesh"; just about every verse in section 6:51-63) Jesus says two puzzling things: First, that σαρξ is useless; but that on the other hand, we must eat of his σαρξ. John's Gospel is not anti-flesh; yet it wisely points out the limits of flesh. So why does Communion help? As Jesus says, "It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."
Jesus words make his flesh, the Communion, have life and Spirit! To put it another way, courtesy of Luther:
"It is not the water indeed that does them, but the word of God which is in and with the water, and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is simple water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost, as St. Paul says, Titus, chapter three: By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying." http://bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php#baptism
πιστευω ("believe"; the word appears 85 times in John's Gospel). This might just be the most important word in John's Gospel. Worth noting is that faith only appears as a verb: It is always an action. In other words, "Faith" doesn't exist in John's Gospel, but believing does.
It is not by intellectual assent that we live, but fully trusting in God. Sadly, it often takes us to get to that moment where all hope has been lost that we actually begin to trust...
Present tense and εχω
The present tense means something is happening right now and on-going. Jesus says, "the one who believes is having eternal life." It does NOT read "the one who believes will have eternal life." It simply says, "the one who believe HAS eternal life." Eternal life begins here and now in a relationship based on believing in Jesus Christ.
:35 "I am" Jesus clearly identifies Himself a the source of real life, which lasts forever.
Will never, ever, no, not ever, hunger. This is the response to give us this bread. What He gives He gives by faith.
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. - John 6:35
:36 - you have seen me yet you do not believe. This verb is to see and believe. John 1:18 "we have seen and believe..."
:36 you look for me because of the miraculous but because you ate and were filled. Their minds are still on earthly things.
:37 "All" Those who believe...Father gives...will come to Me. No one has willpower to choose to believe in Jesus or come to God. Faith comes to the believer as a gift from God just as physical life comes as a gift.
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. - John 6:37
:38 "for/because I have descended" not to do my will but the will of My Father. He comes to gather. Look at the verbs of motion. He comes down to bring up.
:39 "lose nothing" Salvation of the believer is secure in Christ, who lets none of His own slop through His fingers... see 1 Peter 1:3-5
Jesus - "I won't destroy what's been given Me."
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. - John 6:39
:40 "looks" Seeing Jesus with eyes of faith. "The chief worship of the Gospel is to desire to receive the forgiveness of sins, grace and righteousness." (Apology V 189) "raise him up on the last day" see 5:28-29
"For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." - John 6:40
:41-42 Jesus' opponents thought they knew His background and parentage. Thus, any implication that He was more than of human origin was grounds for complaint on their part. see Matthew 13:53-58
They grumble -
So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." - "They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" - John 6:41-42
They ask a question expecting a positive response. "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?
:43 - Jesus responds by saying in short, "Stop it!"
:44 - No one comes unless the Father drags him.
:45 - it was written in the prophets all will be taught ones of God. God's taught ones. - Isaiah 54:13
He is the One the prophets mention. Picture of the kingdom and the coming of the Christ. And this is happening among you now.
:46 - not that anyone the the Father has seen except the one who has seen Him. The the prologue in Genesis.
The flesh I will give is the cross.