Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost 2015

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost | John 6: 35-51

The Bread of Life Discourse

August 9, 2015   PASTOR HOPKINS


Ok, here’s the trouble with John, chapter 6:

All of a sudden, we discover that following Jesus is not going to be as easy as we thought.

Early on everybody loved Jesus, he seemed like an obvious choice for a Messiah.

He was a working-class Rabbi who used a simple combination of miracles and good teaching to win the people.

In a way it seemed like he was an answer to prayer.

And that is the kind of Rabbi that we’d want too.

In a postmodern world where our attention span is measured not by days or even hours, but rather by minutes and by seconds, we like short, simple, straight answers:

Three reasons for global warming; two reasons to buy stocks rather than gold, and one good reason the Red Sox should go to the World Series.

But suddenly today in John chapter 6, after this long, relaxing summer all of us have had, things are not so simple.


Jesus started this chapter by feeding the 5000 and then by walking on the water.

Those were to simple, straightforward miracles that everyone should have understood.

But now today when the crowd chases Jesus down and asks Him for more, Jesus suddenly gets mysterious.

“I am the Bread of Life…I dropped down from heaven…I am giving my Flesh for the life of the world…if you eat my flesh and drink my blood, then you will live forever, and if you don’t, then you won’t…”

“When you eat my flesh and drink my blood then I live inside you and you live inside me.”


And suddenly it is very clear that Jesus is very other. Very different than all of us.

Suddenly it becomes clear that Jesus sees things and knows things; Jesus brings things and gives things

Jesus IS things that we cannot understand or comprehend.

Suddenly it is clear that Jesus is divine, he is mysterious, he is other: rich, robust, and heavenly…

And this is FANTASTIC, except that it makes it very difficult to be around Him.

This is going to be harder than we thought.


We probably shouldn’t be surprised.

In John chapter 3, we thought we knew what wind meant. And then Nicodemus came to Jesus and he gave him all sorts of answers about wind and being born again and baptism.

In john chapter 4 we thought we knew what water meant, until Jesus met the woman at the well.

“Give me a drink” says Jesus.

She says back: “you’ve got no bucket.”

He says, “I don’t need a bucket. I’m LIVING WATER! And if you drink me in, you will live forever.”

And here in John, chapter 6, we thought we knew what bread meant. Only now we’re not so sure.


There is nothing wrong with simple miracles and clear teaching. They are great and Jesus used them frequently, especially when he was getting to know people for the first time.

But you remember from last week that Jesus taught us that we also need to see beyond the appearances; we need to see beyond the sign.

We need to embrace the mystery of who He is and what He gives.

We’ve got to see beyond the wind and the water and the bread and the wine to the stuff that matters most.

And the one thing that matters most is Jesus Christ in the flesh, embodying the love of the Holy Trinity.

Jesus Christ come to earth for the life of the world.

Jesus Christ who will go to the cross for your sins and for mine.

You have all experienced it. This world is full of pain.

And if we started at one side of the room and we went across to the other, each one of you would have a painful story to tell.

All by itself, in this world, there is no way out. The world is a desperately evil place. And because it is evil it is painful.

But Jesus comes to us this morning to give us relief.

What Jesus comes to do is to fix things. To make wrongs right. Jesus comes to show us the way out, and better: to bring all of his children home again.


So living wind and living water and living bread from heaven, all of that is a prompt.

It is a lure, its draw, its an opening line. And it is meant to pull you close and hold you near, to heal your ills, to forgive your sins, to use you well and then someday to bring you home. But we are not there yet.

Jesus is here today to work you all into this wonderful, beautiful, miraculous teaching place, into a community that is kind and generous and good, not just for yourselves, but also good for others.

And then someday when your works is done, then you can go home to Eden.


It will not be easy. It will not be easy because the damage is greater than we than we could imagine, and the distance is farther than we could cover on our own.

But in Christ, and Jesus was very careful about this, inside his flesh and blood, inside His flesh and blood there is the chance to find our way home again.

It is not easy, but it is divine.


Though you will find it difficult at times, you will be ok.

You will be ok because Jesus really is living wind and living water and living bread. And he loves you and forgive you and is here for you, and you are never alone, and never unloved.



It is really quite the opposite: that Jesus is not just here to save you, to forgive you, but to stick by you, and to use you well as you go out into the world.

Jesus is not here just to show you miracles and give you basic teaching.

Jesus is here to form you, and to call you in behind him, and use you to gather up all of his children home again.

And so you have the invitation again. Come now to things that are beyond your comprehension.

Come now to the divine mysteries, the holy things that drop down from heaven:

The flesh and blood of Jesus, born of Mary, nailed to the cross

The flesh and blood that will live in you and energize you and then send you out today to do some good

Bread, Body, wine, blood, Spirit, water, blessing, forgiveness…

And all good use —— is wrapped up in Jesus’ invitation to all of you:

“Follow me.”




*Special thanks to Rev. Dr. Scott Bruzek of St. John Lutheran Church in Wheaton, IL. This sermon comes directly from a homily preached by him in August 201

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