Acts 8.1-8; Psalm 65; John 6.35-40
St John’s Gospel doesn’t contain a narrative of Jesus taking bread and cup at his last supper with his disciples and commanding them to ‘Do this in remembrance of me’, as the other three Gospels do. But John’s Gospel does contain the longest sustained meditation on the Eucharist in the whole of the Bible. Chapter 6’s 71 verses lead us into a deeper and deeper understanding of Christ’s gift to his people at that supper in the night in which he was to be betrayed, arrested and sent to his death.
‘I am the bread of life’ our Gospel for this day begins. We may relate this statement to several other ‘I am’ sayings in the fourth Gospel: ‘I am the light of the world’ [John 8.12; 9.5]; ‘I am the good shepherd’ [10.11]; ‘I am the resurrection’[11.25]; ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’. [14.6] The grammatical form of each of these declarations reminds us of the conversation between Moses and God. ‘Who shall I tell the Israelites has sent me?’ Moses demands, and God replies, ‘I am who I am.’ [Exodus 3.14]
God is existence itself, the life-force once breathed into human clay. [Genesis 2.7] When Jesus announces that he is ‘bread of life’—not the kind of bread that must be sought and sweated for day after day [Genesis 3.19] but Bread which conveys Eternal Life, Bread which unites us to the Source and Substance of life.