This week's discussion is courtesy of Richard Donovan's commentary on John 6 at Lectionary.org.
The crowd failed to understand when Jesus spoke of "the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world" (John 6:33), so he makes his meaning clear: "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35).
This is the first of a series of "I AM" (Greek: ego eimi) sayings in this Gospel that remind us of the burning bush story. When Moses asked God his name, God replied: "Thus you shall say to the Israelites, 'I AM has sent me to you' " (Exodus 3:14).
"I am," of course, can be simple self-identification, but in John's Gospel it clearly means more.
"He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty" (John 6:35)
In their forty-year trek through the wilderness, God fed the Israelites manna, teaching them to rely on God for their sustenance. The deeper lesson was "that man does not live by bread only, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of Yahweh" (Deuteronomy 8:3). Now Jesus makes a similar claim for himself. He will provide for the deepest needs of those who believe in him.
Till next time,
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Rev. Andrew Smith
Vicar of Light in the Hills