“Bread of Life”

                The early Christians faced a great deal of criticism and persecution, but did you know that in the second century, Christians were despised because people thought they were cannibals or even vampires.  In fact, those rumors spread throughout the Roman world as they were facing persecution.  Perhaps the reason for these accusations is a misunderstanding of Jesus’ teaching in John 6.  In this passage, Jesus has described himself as the Bread of Life that has been given to the world.  The context of this discussion is centered on those that had received the bread and fish from the feeding of the 5000.  They had followed Jesus in hopes of receiving another free meal.  To counteract their desires, Jesus tells that “I am the bread of Life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6.35).  Of course, they do not understand that Jesus is being figurative, and they began to grumble about how this can be possible.  Jesus continues I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever." (John 6:48-58). Jesus isn’t saying that they had to physically eat with a side of beans and taters; He is speaking metaphorically.   Jesus is saying that you must consume me in the sense of my teachings and my claims. Yet, on that day many of His disciples turned away and left Him because they could not understand His words.  Today people are still turning away from Him because they don’t understand Him.  Maybe they don’t understand because they are hearing and not listening. 
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