For the last three Sundays I have been giving teachings on the book of Revelation.
I have also been making the point that the Israelites in the Old Testament and then the first Christians in the New Testament have been on the receiving end of a tremendous amount of suffering and pain.
Through it all the people in the Bible came to the conclusion that God hears the cries of God’s people, that God’s justice will prevail, and that God will never abandon or leave behind God’s people.
Hope emerges through their suffering.
Hope is a central theme in the Bible and hope is certainly a major theme in the book of Revelation.
Now keeping that all in mind, today I would like to transition and preach from the Gospel of John.
This gospel was the last gospel to be written.
So, Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written before John.
John was written around the same time as the book of Revelation.
It was probably written just after Revelation.
John’s Gospel, like the book of Revelation, was written to encourage Jesus’ followers to continue to believing in and hoping in Jesus.
Knowing some of the context and the history of the Bible you can now see more clearly the extent of the great spiritual trauma of God’s people over history.
God’s people are trying to make sense of so much suffering and pain.
They are waiting for God to do something about their suffering.
And then in the midst of it all here comes Jesus.
Think about how great of a miracle this would have been to the people.
Jesus comes as the Son of God, as the Messiah, and as the Bread of Life.
He comes to make God known.
He comes as God’s anointed one to save God’s people.
He comes to let the people know that God is with them.
He will even become the sacrifice which gives life to the world – he will bring about the new creation that is spoken of in the book of Revelation.
His life in fact, is all about God doing something new.
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry.”
Jesus is making a very profound statement here.
He is making the announcement that he is the Messiah who will save God’s people.
Last Sunday I spoke about how Jesus entered into a religion that was based in the sacrificial system.
At that time, you gave a lamb, or a bird, or a goat to atone for your sins.
The Jewish religion focused on sacrifice – to the one true God – at the temple in Jerusalem – Jerusalem remember is the center place of their religion – which the Romans will eventually destroy in 70 C.E.
But before that Jesus comes and enters into this Jewish world.
Remember Jesus was a Jewish rabbi.
He was seen as a teacher in the ways of Judaism.
But he comes with a completely new teaching.
For he will be the new sacrifice.
He will be the bread that gives life from God.
And of course, this foreshadows Holy Communion.
At the table we eat of Jesus’ body and of his blood.
Let’s pause right here.
One takeaway here that I would like for us to pull from my sermon is a thought on Jesus as the bread of life.
In the Bible bread is a metaphor for many things.
One way it is used is for food in general.
Food is something we need on a daily basis.
Every day we eat.
We will probably even eat more than once today.
Probably we will eat several times today.
Maybe even now you are thinking about what you will eat after this worship service.
Unless we are fasting or we have some reason for not eating, we eat every day.
I know for myself I often eat breakfast, lunch, and even supper – like many of you.
This points, I think, to a deeper truth here in that just as we need to eat every day, we too need to walk with Jesus daily.
WWJD – as I was telling the kids.
We become weak and tired very quickly if we go without eating.
In the same way we need to nourish our faith each and every day – each and every Sunday like we are doing now.
We become weak and tired in our faith if we neglect our relationship with Jesus.
Walking With Jesus Daily for Christians is the best possible way to live.
Following in his footsteps is the most compelling way to live.
Jesus is the one who leads us in the ways of grace and peace.
He is the one who teaches us how to live our lives.
There is this story of two little brothers.
The two brothers get into a fight over a toy.
The mother said to the older brother, Bob, “What would Jesus do right now.”
Bob sighed and said, “OK, mom.”
Then Bob looked down at the toy and then at his little brother and said, “Alright, Jimmy this time you be Jesus.”
Imagine with me now of being in a situation where you knew exactly what would be the wrong thing to say or to do?
You knew exactly what would hurt the other person the most and you said or did that thing anyway.
Can you imagine that??
Can anyone here imagine that??
Yes, me too. I’ve been there.
We’ve been there, for sure.
Following in the ways of Jesus is not always easy.
And we will certainly get in wrong from time to time.
As I was taught in seminary it is much easier to preach then to live what you are preaching.
And then along with that I was taught you will get it wrong from time to time.
We will certainly not always get it right.
We will even be like the older brother who wanted his little brother to be like Jesus so that he could benefit from that.
Sometimes we will just get it wrong.
But we continue each and every day to come back to Jesus to receive his mercy, to receive his forgiveness and grace.
He offers his body to us because he is the bread of life.
Now think about how radical this would have been at that time.
Instead of offering a sacrifice to God for your sins in order to please God or to heal from your pain and suffering – God in Jesus becomes not only the sacrifice but the bread that gives new life.
Remember God is all about the new creation.
He atones for our sins and then even becomes the bread which gives us life.
In this way God reveals that God’s nature is sacrificial love.
God’s character, who God is, is centered around giving and forgiving.
God sacrifices for us – not the other way around.
We don’t need to offer sacrifices to God in order to make things right.
Instead, Jesus sacrifices for us in order to make things right.
Because in the end, only Jesus can make things right.
And just as we need to eat everyday so too do, we need to Walk With Jesus Daily and then and only then will we be able to ask the question, “What would Jesus Do?”
He would sacrifice for us out of love so that we might sacrifice out of love for others.
Jesus embodies in his flesh – God and who God is.
Faith is encountering a real person, Jesus – and we encounter others in the flesh.
We walk with Jesus, we walk with each other, and we trust that God is with us.
God invites us to the table of love and grace.
Let’s Eat! Amen.