John 6:56-69Today marks the fifth Sunday in a row of chapter 6 of John's gospel! John is the gospel of abiding presence, the gospel that (maybe particularly) emphasizes the incarnation, enfleshment, embodiment of the pre-existent, eternal logos. Today we move from Jesus' "I am" declarations (that equate him with Yahweh's "I am" revelation to Moses) to the disciples "You are / Thou art" the Holy One of God.
56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever." 59He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?" 61But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, "Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But among you there are some who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him.65And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father."
66Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" 68Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
Pentecost 10 • 29 July • John 6:1-21
verse 1 going over to the other side
4 almost passover
9 five barley loaves & two fish / twelve baskets of leftovers
19 Jesus walks on water / "I am"
Pentecost 11 • 05 August • John 6:24-35
24 crowd to Capernaum seeking Jesus
26 "you ate your fill"
30 sign, work, manna = not from Moses
35 "I am" the bread of life
Pentecost 12 • 12 August • John 6:35,-41-51
35 "I am" the bread of life
41 Jesus complained
42 Joseph's son / from heaven?
49 your ancestors ate manna and died
51 eat my bread and never die / my flesh for the life of the world
Pentecost 13 • 19 August • John 6:51-58
51 "I am" the living bread from heaven / bread for the life of the world
58 eat my flesh, drink my blood, abide, life forever.
Pentecost 14 • today – 26 August • John 6:56-69
56 eat and drink = mutual abiding
58 bread from heaven
59 teaching in synagogue
60 difficult teaching, saying = hard logos
62 human one ascending = In John's gospel, Jesus' ascension is his lifting up on the cross and not his ascension into heaven we read about in Luke / Acts
63 Spirit gives life / flesh is useless does not negate John's and the church's celebration of the human body, but instead refers to the conventional human viewpoints, similar to the Apostle Paul's telling us we're still looking at everything in human terms.
68 To whom can we go?
69 You are the Holy One of God – "I am"
The historical question of the original setting in time and place (and purpose, to the extent we can figure it out) of a passage always is our first question when we read scripture, before we apply or discern the passage as God's word to us and for us. Jesus' disciples later would be with him in the upper room when he broke bread and told them it was his body, when he poured wine and declared it the cup of the new covenant, but that hadn't happened yet. Jesus' disciples would not have heard Jesus' words in this chapter in terms of the Last Supper/Lord's Supper or a post-resurrection Eucharistic meal with the risen Christ—though the contemporary church usually does. During distribution of the sacrament, the contemporary church often sings Sr. Suzanne Toolan's "I am the Bread of Life" based on John 6.
We call Jesus "Lord". In Saxon England, the Lord provided the loaf, the bread, the sustenance to the community.