Maturity in Christ: Commitment not Consumption … a Sermon on John 6:24-35 (Year B, Ordinary 18 / Proper 13)
Aim: To hear what Christ has to say to hungry people.
Our Western society consumes 80% of the world’s resources, even though we are only 20% of its population. We often define themselves by what they do. We are identified, labelled – and valued – by and for our contribution to consumption: where we are in the supply chain.
Nowadays we don’t just consume material things. We want to choose a ‘spirituality’ that suits us; we want “our rights”. Even Jesus says come and consume me for lasting satisfaction! So why aren’t consumers queuing up to get a piece of Jesus?
The Bread of Life
We heard a conversation between Jesus and the people. Jesus is none too impressed with their attitude and is very rude to them (v26). Jesus then challenges them, because v29 really means ‘you must stake everything on me’; however, the crowd dither and ask for another sign (Jesus has just fed them miraculously), justifying their demand with the story of the Manna. Jesus replies that the significance of the Manna is not the miracle itself but that it is a sign pointing to God’s offer of eternal bread from heaven right now! (v32-3). Then Jesus declares “it’s me! I AM the bread of life.”
But Jesus is not offering an instant consumer product:
- Bread comes from wheat, but we can’t eat wheat. It has to be harvested, threshed, milled, mixed into dough and baked. By the end, the wheat has changed out of all recognition.
- It’s the same for Jesus. We can’t eat raw Jesus, the Word who was in the beginning. He had to be born, grow & learn; he had to teach, lead, heal, preach, provoke, be arrested, put on trial, be tortured, die and rise again.
Jesus is not a popular consumer product – he requires commitment: not popular – even among believers; in Jesus’ time ‘many disciples desert[ed] Jesus’ (vv 60-70). Jesus is not bread for a day, but for life, which is sometimes painful: we don’t always get our ‘rights’ or what we want. But we have what we need: Christ, His Grace, His Gifts and each other.
[Let us share the peace.]