Jesus of Nazareth the most influential Man who has ever lived, continues to be the inspiration of millions round our world. We know about Him from the books of the new testament and from a few other documents, and the account of His life that has probably inspired and excited more people than any other in the gospel of John.
John`s gospel contains some of the most beautiful, powerful and reflective stories we know about Jesus, such as the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, some of the best known sayings of Jesus, which says“ I am the way, the truth and the life’’, and some of the most profound and mystical teaching that we find in the Christian scriptures, such as the opening words of the gospel about “The Word” that became flesh, which is partly our discussion today.
Following the topic or headline given above, which is captioned ‘the word (God) as the living bread, the confusion in men’. Looking deeply to this topic, you will see the word made flesh that took the nature of man and equally dwell among men, in the person of Jesus Christ calling Himself ‘the living bread’ and this will lead us to the Gospel of John 6:51 which says “I am the living bread that came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, and the bread I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world’’.
Bread being food, is of importance to humanity in some aspect like, when you eat bread, you gain satisfaction or will be filled, when you eat bread, you renew your strength for the task ahead and many others. Bread has been used in many occasions to feed different people in the bible. In the old testament, God fed the Israelites with bread in the Wilderness of Sin when they murmured against Moses and Aaron, when He told Moses to tell the people of Israel that He will rain bread from Heaven, that they should gather what is sufficient everyday (Exodus 16:4). Equally, in the book of (Mathew 13:14), which is in the new testament, Jesus fed five thousand men with bread. The same thing happened at the last supper being the day that Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist, in the Gospel of Luke ( Luke 22:17-20). Jesus took the bread broke it gave it to His disciples saying; take this all of you and eat it, this is my body which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me.
To see the confusion in the hearts of men especially the Jews, about the statement made by Jesus which has been discussed above. We shall take a glance at the gospel of St John (John 6:52) where they reacted to Jesus` statement saying ‘’ how can He give us His flesh to eat’’. This statement made by Jesus caused commotion among the Jews and they were confused.
In the minds of the Jews, Jesus wants them to engage themselves in cannibalism because they did not understand the perspective Jesus was coming from.But ‘‘living bread’’ has two possible references: Firstly, ‘‘the bread that gives eternal life’’, a reference to Christ`s self-giving, or secondly, an echo of the phrase “the living God’’, a revelation of Jesus` divinity. Jesus is the bread that came down from heaven ( a reference to the incarnation), but will give the bread at some future point ( a reference to the paschal mystery of His passion, death and resurrection) which Christians celebrate in the Eucharist especially Catholics.. As a Prophet, Jesus spoke the word of God and that word fed the hungry souls. In that sense, Jesus` comparison was palpably clear.
In our world today, many people still doubt or do not believe that, which Christ instituted, and equally the sentence made by Jesus that He will give us His body to eat and His blood to drink like the Jews, and some still wonder how a mere bread can turn to be the body of Christ. So that challenge Jesus presented and the confusion He caused, still remains today. It cannot dull us or detract us from the power of Risen Christ. While culture may treat Jesus with weak lip service, He still lives. That fact divides and unites.
Therefore, for us not to deviate totally from eternal life which is Christ, the word made flesh and for the fact that He offered Himself to us as the living bread, let us eat His body. Let us drink His blood. And let others know we are His followers, for we belong to Him. For when we eat His body and drink His blood, we will gain satisfaction and fulfillment, we will renew our strength and we will remain powerful to stand firm with our faith without succumbing to the will of the evil one. Finally, it will make us to gain eternal life.