Week 12 Chapter 9c
A Sermon on Sacrifice
John 6: 32-58
This particular sermon, says Bruce, about the Bread of Life, has caused much controversy throughout the Church. The reason being, that people are always finding ways to assert how right they are, and how wrong the other person is. It is pitiful how often man uses everything in his life to promote his own ego. However, Jesus did not do that. In fact, most of what HE did was expressly to help everyone else but Him. He is truly altruistic; we are not. It is with this understanding then, that we look at the sermon on the “Bread of Life” preached at the synagogue at Capernaum.
Knowing that there will always be conflicting interpretations of this topic by man, we set aside our prejudices (as if that were possible), and try to look at the subject through the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ. Within the context of the feeding of the 5,000 and the coming Passover, Jesus’ sermon about the Bread of Life was appropriate– given the past miracle and the approaching holy day.
The bread that He used to feed the 5,000 came from God’s hand. The sacrificial lamb was eaten at the Passover to remind the people that the redemption they needed came from Him as well. Jesus was telling them that He was that Bread and that Lamb. He was telling them that His life would be sacrificed for them.
Of course, as shortsighted people often do, they began to bicker over words. They did not stop to take in the whole message and think about it. The only thing they heard was that Jesus wanted them to be cannibals. However, Jesus would never condone that. He was not talking in literal terms. He wanted them to remember that a sacrifice would be made for their personal sin. He wanted them to revere the relationship and not revel in reducing it to wrong religious rituals.
Isn’t it funny how people would much rather be religious than have relationships because relationships are too messy. It is easier to let religion via programs and groups, to overshadow and overcome the relationship we have with Jesus. The program or group becomes the center of religion, instead of the Savior. We miss so much because of our desire to avoid unpleasantness and difficulty. We would rather have things easy. It always has to be about us. Just like the people in Capernaum, we run around trying to get God to fill all of our perceived needs. We could care less how our behavior affects our relationship with Him. Jesus, in response to the behavior of the people in Capernaum, could be speaking to us as well. What does He tell them? How does He feel about this kind of behavior?
The foolishness of the people disturbed and saddened Him. It was hard for Him to see those made in His image being so self-focused. It made His task all the more difficult. His mood was somber. What He was about to do on the cross, as He explained it, would necessitate the people’s recognition of their sin, and their need for a Savior.
Prideful and arrogant people always look to make their sin seem like the other person’s fault; just like Adam and Eve did in the Garden after they had eaten the fruit. As Jesus explained what he was about to do, the people began to question His every statement. They, along with the Pharisees, picked apart and literalized His every word. In doing so, they missed the big picture that, if they were truly honest, it should have humbled and saddened them. Unfortunately, because of their self-defensive hearts, they accused Him of blasphemy and arrogance. Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?!
What would you do if you were standing in that crowd? Read the Scripture and imagine what it would have been like for you!
See Ya Next Time!