Eat me said Jesus

Year B - Ordinary Time 20 or Pentecost 12
August 19, 2012

Readings:

Hebrew Scripture:    1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14
Psalm:                       Psalm 111
Epistle:                      Ephesians 5:15-20
Gospel:                      John 6:51-58          

What I want to say:

When reading John the big question is “who is Jesus and why should we follow him/trust him/believe in him?
It is important to not get stuck on the details, but to pay attention them and push through them to the truth that they point to.
Use the two miracles at the beginning of this section to illustrate that.
use that to explore what John might have meant having Jesus describe himself as the bread of life, and saying that people have to eat his flesh and drink his blood.
God, in Jesus, will meet us in our deepest longing, and will satisfy that longing so that we might have life now in all its fullness.
Use Maximilian Kolbe to illustrate the point

What I want to happen:

Re-read that whole story and meet God in new and life giving ways as they look beyond the details to discover Jesus the bread of life
Grow in their trust in/believing in/ immersing selves in God

The Sermon

1.     Introduction: -

-         Last four weeks we have been delving deeper into story around great I am statement “I am bread of Life” – today we get to the really difficult bit, which I have entitled “eat me!”
-         2 beginning comments:
-         audiences and what is the gospel
a. Johns community –
ð long after events
ð fall of temple
ð expulsion from synagogue
ð persecution
ð too tough
§  some left
ð John old
ð help his church community know Christ in the midst of all this
ð help them believe – more intellectual assent
§  trust, loyalty, believing into, whole of life thing
ð over-riding question though whole gospel - who is Christ?
ð why should I believe into him
b. audience of story
-         also asking who is this Jesus – question shaped by honour system within society
-         peasant
-         not have necessary honour/mana to be doing or saying any of what he is doing or saying
-         why should we pay any attention to you
-         why should we follow you
-         hang on to that question – who is Christ?

2.     John’s gospel

-         this is not history book not a dairy of what Jesus did
-         theology book -> who is christ?
-         through telling a story
-         key ingredient is his use signs - he tells as signs
-         it is important to not get stuck on the details, but to pay attention them and push through them to the truth that they point to.
-         what do I mean by that?

3.     Feeding of the 5,000 and walking on water

ð where this all began
ð often explain feeding story by saying
§  his giving thanks and sharing
·        encouraged others to share what they had
ð now if we apply that to fundamental question behind this – who is Christ?
§  someone who throws really good shared lunches
ð not going to help through persecution
ð not enough to believe into, give our entire trust and loyalty to
§  about Jesus’ generosity -> God’s generosity
§  miss the point
ð as do most people in story – also get stuck on details can’t really see beyond Jesus peasant
ð and some Johns community  - lost faith
ð important to not get stuck on details
§  not saying that miracle happened exactly as John describes it,
§  take what John says at face value
·        pay attention to details and then push through
§  when is this set?
·        Passover – important details
§  where is it set?
·        mountains in wilderness
o   lost questions arise – why people here in mountainous
·        dangerous place
·        place thieves
·        place spirits
·        thin place – meet God
o   why not home feast or Jerusalem
o   5,000 – bigger most cities Jesus time
§  Passover is:
·        celebration of Gods great liberation of people
·        foundational celebration
·        remember Moses great prophet
o   giver law (sometimes symbolised as bread)
§  Jesus feeds them
·        just like Moses fed people in wilderness
·        carefully constructed story places Jesus alongside Moses
·        like Samaritan women at Jacobs well
o   Jesus surpasses these great ancestors.
o   show him to be even greater Moses and Jacob
o   establishes mana
ð same thing walking on water
§  again we can get stuck on the details and try to explain it
§  if we don’t
·        left picture Jesus is on who walks over the chaos and spirits of deep – cause all disciples uncertainty and fear
§  as soon as they see him they are again on hard ground, immune from effects those sprits
§  Jesus is greater than even them.

4.     I am the living bread that came down from heaven

            ð so let’s apply that to today’s really tricky reading where Jesus says
    51 I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self."
   52 At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves: "How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?"
   53 But Jesus didn't give an inch. "Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. 54 The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. 55 My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. 57 “ 
-         again, important to not get stuck details 
-         many hearers did, and followers
ð pretty gross and deranged
ð blasphemous – never eat blood
            blood life – life belongs to God alone
ð pay attention to them and push on through.
o   bread
§  most hearers – staple
§  estimated 50% calories came bread
§  what kept them alive
§  just as manna kept them alive in desert.
o   real way bread is life!
o   linked with bread Jesus gives at feeding 5,000 (why important not just shared lunch)
§  echoes Moses feeding people in wilderness with manna
o   trouble with bread is, just like bread Jesus gave them on mountain – get hungry again
ð only satisfies for short while and hungry again
                        longing again
o   bread also metaphor Mosaic law
ð given as means by which much deeper longing
§  – longing for way belong to, believe in , give absolute trust and loyalty to God met
ð even that  left people unsatisfied
o   push through gory details
ð go back to miracles which started all this
§  this is about our deepest longings, hopes and fears.
ð not an intellectual things
ð about allowing God into our deepest place,
§  symbolically welcoming God and God’s life
·        symbolised by  gut
§  about God enters into us and we enter into God,
ð those deepest longing, deepest fears, deepest hopes are met
ð clearly linked to the eucharist
§  bread and wind shared each time John’s community met
ð Franciscan tradition there is this beautiful image of eucharist of God most holy bending down in love to meet us through Christ in the bread and wine
ð really what John is offering here
ð invitation to allow God to meet us and heal us.
ð especially in eucharist.
§  God, in Jesus, will meet us in our deepest longing, and will satisfy that longing so that we might have life now in all its fullness.

5.     Use Maximilian Kolbe to illustrate the point


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