Pause for thought

1st August               John 6 v. 25 - -35

When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they asked Him, “Rabbi, when did You get here?”  Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, it is not because you saw these signs that you are looking for Me, but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.” Then they inquired, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus replied, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” So they asked Him, “What sign then will You perform, so that we may see it and believe You? What will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “give us this bread at all times.” Jesus answered, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never hunger, and whoever believes in Me will never thirst. But as I stated, you have seen Me and still you do not    believe.

Jesus had just performed the miracle of feeding 5000 people and had escaped for a time of peace the other side of the lake, but the crowds had followed Him.  They had been physically fed, but did not understand the significance of what Jesus had done spiritually.  Jesus had described Himself as ‘the Bread of Life’- everything human beings need to sustain them.  The main components of bread are -flour, which gives solidity as satisfaction to hunger, water – a life-giving necessity, - salt which enhances flavour - and yeast which gives life, uplift to the dough.  Knowing Jesus and trusting Him will satisfy us mentally and spiritually; knowing Him gives us everlasting life; knowing Him gives abundant flavour to our lives; knowing Him and trusting in Him gives excitement and purpose in our lives for evermore.

Those crowds in Galilee saw Jesus as just a miracle- worker.  How can we get to know Jesus better so that we get to know Him as the Bread of our lives  - one who will satisfy us, give us life , give flavour to our lives and provide excitement and purpose for our lives?

 

8th August                    John 6v. 35and 47 – 51

Jesus answered, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never hunger, and whoever believes in Me will never thirst  Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never drive away. Truly, truly, I tell you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that anyone 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 this bread, which I will give for the life of the world, is My flesh.”

This passage continues the theme of Jesus as the Bread of Life from last week.  Jesus reminded His listeners that physical food satisfies us temporarily, but He can satisfy us spiritually for ever. In the last verse that we read, He talked about giving us His flesh.  He knew that in order to fulfil what He came to earth to do for us, He would have to give His physical body (His flesh ) and die upon the cross to save us.

What can we give of ourselves to Jesus this week in gratitude for what He has done for us?

 

15th August                                        John 6 v. 51- 56

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And this bread, which I will give for the life of the world, is My flesh.” At this, the Jews began to argue among themselves, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  For My flesh is real food, and My blood is real drink. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him. 

In these verses Jesus continues His discourse on bread and Himself as the Bread of life.  He talked about His flesh being eaten by us so that we shall live in Him and He in us.  This was an extremely difficult concept for His listeners to grasp.  It is not too easy for us but we can associate it with our service of Holy Communion when we eat bread and do it  ‘in remembrance’ of Jesus. 

As you eat the bread at Communion, are you able to feel that He “lives in you and you in Him”?

 

22nd August                                                      John 6 v. 60 – 69

On hearing it, many of His disciples said, “This is a difficult teaching. Who can accept it?”  Aware that His disciples were grumbling about this teaching, Jesus asked them, “Does this offend you? Then what will happen if you see the Son of Man ascend to where He was before? The Spirit gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. However, there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray Him) Then Jesus said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless the Father has granted it to him.” From that time on many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him. So Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you want to leave too?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God”

Jesus' listeners have just heard Him describing Himself as the “Bread of Life”.  Then they talk amongst themselves .  Some of them were talking of leaving Him because they did not understand what He was saying.  However, this discussion somehow inspired in Peter greater loyalty as he proclaimed “You have the words of eternal life.”  He was led to a deeper and more committed relationship with Jesus and realised the importance of continuing to follow Him.

Sometimes we come across different passages in the Bible that we find hard.  Are we tempted to give up? 

Read this passage again slowly and ask God's Holy Spirit to to give you a deeper understanding which will lead you to a closer relationship with God.

 

30th August                                             Mark 7 v. 1-8,14 &15

After this, Jesus travelled throughout Galilee. He did not want to travel in Judea, because the Jews there were trying to kill Him. However, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near. So Jesus’ brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go to Judea, so that Your disciples there may see the works You are doing. For no one who wants to be known publicly acts in secret. Since You are doing these things, show Yourself to the world.” For even His own brothers did not believe in Him Therefore Jesus told them, “Although your time is always at hand, My time has not yet come. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me, because I testify that its works are evil. Go up to the feast on your own. I am not going up to this feast, because My time has not yet come.”  About halfway through the feast, Jesus went up to the temple courts and began to teach. The Jews were amazed and asked, “How did this man attain such learning without having studied?”

This passage is remarkably up to date!  Because of the Covid 19 pandemic, Priests celebrating Communion at present use hand gel frequently during the service with very good reason for doing so!  However, the Pharisees in Jesus' time were making up their own rules which had little or no relevance to the spiritual lives of the people. These rules had become more important than God's teaching.  Jesus told them “There is nothing that goes into a person which makes him ritually unclean.  It is what comes out of a person which makes him unclean” It is said that we all eat about 6lbs of dirt in our lifetime (unintentionally)   Yet we are still alive!   Jesus said that it is what comes out of our mouths which is harmful -  lies, hurtful comments, false accusations,  unkindness, words which sap confidence etc. 

Think about the past week.  Have we said anything which might have hurt someone? Let us ask God to help us to use only helpful words which encourage others and build th




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