John 6 – The Bread of Heaven

52 Weeks at the Table – Week 36

By the sixth chapter of his gospel, John records Jesus speaking of Himself as the “bread of heaven;” that we should eat His flesh and drink His blood. Whether Jesus is foreshadowing His last supper with his closest disciples, perhaps we can’t know for certain. But all three of the other gospel writers agree (Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22) that Jesus said the bread was His body, and the cup was His blood. And His servant Paul would later add in his instruction to Corinth (1 Corinthians 11): “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

Still, at the time Jesus shared this great and mysterious truth, it must have sounded repugnant to those who heard it; like some sort of teaching that encouraged cannibalism. After His last supper, His crucifixion, and His resurrection, this truth makes the kind of sense that prophecy can only make when it is fulfilled. Not all of the questions we have about this proclamation may be answered, but it is certain that Jesus is the bread of heaven. Like manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16), He sustains us and fills the emptiness we feel. Like water from the rock, He refreshes and brings life that would otherwise eke out of us in the dryness of the Desert of Sin (Exodus 17).

A Prayer Over the Bread

Lord of life, as Your Son proclaimed His own identity as the bread of heaven, so we too proclaim it as we share these loaves. Nourish us. Sustain us. Empower us. Most of all, forgive us. Too often we have kept this great truth to ourselves, while others around us hungered for it. As Israel obeyed Moses by keeping the manna in the ark of the covenant for the generations to come (Exodus 16:32), may we always share this bread, keeping the Christ treasured and securely seated upon His throne in our hearts. Amen.

 

A Prayer Over the Cup

Praise and worship are due You, our God. Thank You for your providence in giving us these emblems of Your Son’s sacrifice: His body and His blood. May we always consume them while being consumed by His passion. May we always be filled and drenched with this His redemption. Grant us the courage and privilege to share our life-blood in service to You, proclaiming the power of Jesus’ blood in us: Amen.

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