I Am the Bread of Life
August 13, 2000
MAY THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH ... AND THE MEDITATIONS OF ALL
OUR HEARTS ... BE ALWAYS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU --- OUR STRENGTH AND
OUR REDEEMER AMEN
Sometimes I think one of Jesus' primary roles on this earth ... was to insure long term employment for theological scholars! ... That must have been the intention!! Otherwise, why all the confusing comments? Especially all His "I am" statements?
Today's statement seems simple on the surface .. becomes complicated when we think about it .. and then becomes amazingly simply, wonderfully beautiful, and surprisingly deep all at the same time.
We tend to first see Jesus' statement -- "I am the bread of life" as a foretaste of the Last Supper -- and then of communion. One of the distribution phrases I use: "The body of Christ -- the bread of heaven", links the communion bread with eternal life just as Jesus did. So, the thinking goes, Jesus' statement today was simply preparing the disciples for these later teachings.
That is the simplistic understanding we begin with .. and as far as I know it is true! Maybe not complete, but true.
Then, unfortunately we and the myriad of scholars complicate it all. We get twisted into debates about real blood and real body verses memorial acts. Does the bread transform in some mysterious way into something other than what it was? ... As a child, and I know I have told this before so my apologies ... I ran around with several Roman Catholic kids. Being a congregationalist Protestant we disagreed on certain issues! I remember wondering why someone didn't just take some of the consecrated wine and run a chemical analysis on it! That way science could determine whether it became real blood or not!!
What I missed was that the transformation theology comes from the Greek understanding of the world. The Greeks believed that everything has a physical and a spiritua ...
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