Today’s Jesus has 2 discussions over bread. 🥖
First, the crowds find Jesus bc they are looking for some more of that bread He gave them in yesterday’s reading with the 5 loaves. Jesus tells them, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” The people want to know what work they must do to receive the food of everlasting life. Jesus responds, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
Jesus goes on to say, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” This is extremely perplexing to the Jews who are trying to figure out how they would receive eternal life by eating the flesh of the son of Joseph and Mary, whom they know. 🤔
Instead of making it clearer for them, Jesus does the opposite by saying, “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day…He who eats this bread will live forever.” The Jews don’t understand that Jesus is the final sacrifice who has come to shed His blood so that we may have eternal life. That is why today we take communion by eating the bread and drinking the juice as a symbolic act to remember what He did on our behalf. After Jesus’s death, Paul is going to say, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
The second conversation around bread is when the Pharisees see Jesus’s disciples eating bread without washing their hands. See, these hard-hearted religious ones have a certain way they wash their hands in order to be deemed clean. But Jesus has a rebuking word for the religious folks. He calls the Pharisees hypocrites and quotes Isaiah, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:6-7, Matthew 15:8-9, Isaiah 29:13). Once again Jesus makes clear that He is not impressed with any outward ritual acts of worship or obedience. Jesus is going after the hearts of the people. And from a true heart change, a desire for obedience will follow.
Jesus says the religious uphold the traditions of man over God’s commandments. He explains that what you put into your body doesn’t defile you, it is what comes out of your body from your heart. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
We also learn today that many of Jesus’s disciples leave Him bc they don’t believe. And soon one of Jesus’s 12 disciples, Judas Iscariot, is going to betray Him. Keep reading.
(John 6:22-71, Mark 7:1-23, Matthew 15:1-20)