Eleventh Sunday of Pentecost
I Am the Bread that Gives Life
John 6: 35, 41 - 51
Bread was the primary food of the people of Palestine in Jesus' lifetime. They ate it at every meal: with yogurt or cheese for breakfast, with vegetables for lunch, and with fish or small pieces of lamb and vegetables for dinner.
Roast lamb was eaten only on special occasions.
Potatoes and corn (maize) are New World foods that Jesus had never seen. And though the people of that region eat a great deal of rice now, rice is never mentioned in the Bible, even as an import.
The country is too dry to grow rice today, and the rice eaten in that area now comes from Iran, America, and the Far East.
Wheat and barley grow easily in the area, and most of the bread eaten in Bible times was whole-grain. Barley makes a very dense loaf, and some people are allergic to it, but it is very nutritious. Most of us today know only bread made of refined wheat flour.
Without enough bread to eat every day, the people of Palestine would have starved to death. Jesus is telling us that without his nourishment every day, our souls will die of starvation. Like the people of Israel who followed Moses, we will perish without manna from heaven.
This is a good day to sing, I Am the Bread of Life (With One Voice 702).
1. Who do the people say Jesus is?
[The people say Jesus is the son of Joseph.]
2. How does Jesus say people come to him?
[Jesus says, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me makes them want to come."]
3. What does Jesus say about eternal life?
[Jesus says, "I tell you for certain that everyone who has faith in me has eternal life."]
4. Who does Jesus say he is?
[Jesus says, "I am the bread from heaven."]
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