Bread for a Hungry World
One of the things I love most about Jesus is that he was consistently pointing away from himself and pointing toward God. Even as the crowds came to see him, asking for him to provide them with the bread of life that would nourish them forever, Jesus acknowledged that he was not the giver of the bread, any more than Moses was the giver of manna. It was God who provided the manna for the people Moses was entrusted to care for. It was God who provided Jesus, the bread, who would be nourishment for the people -- nourishing their hungry spirits and weary souls with his words and actions.
We can never be a great prophet like Moses or divine like Jesus. But we can be deliverers of nourishment that God is eager to provide to whomever we encounter. We can feed hungry people with real food. We can also feed weary souls with kindness, compassion, understanding, support, and love. Imagine what this world might look like if we all strove to be providers of bread for a hungry world!
Narrative Lectionary Text: John 6:22-40
The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.”
Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is 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.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said 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. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent 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. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”