Come To The Table
So the Jews grumbled about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”— John 6:41-42
So beginning in John 6:31, this small group of the 5000 has chased Jesus down because he fed them by means of a miracle. But the problem this created for them was that this one was so good it had them hooked. And this is the problem with miracles. One is never enough if you don't see the purpose behind them. Now they are distracted by the peripheral matter of a miracle. They even justify their right to another miracle by pointing to the sweet bread (the ba-manna bread) in the desert. Cause that's how ba-manna bread works. You cannot have just one piece.
So Jesus's response to this issue is two-fold. First, (in John 6:32), he points out that the connection they have made is wrong. Moses did not provide the manna in the desert. God did. Second, he will pick up on the word "bread" and use it as a metonym. And this is key because if you don't understand two words here as metonyms (bread and flesh), then you will derive meaning from this text that is incorrect.
So what is a metonym?
Simply put, it is a word used as a substitution for something else. For example, calling a car a "ride." Or referring to your hometown as your "turf." These are metonyms.
This means Jesus uses the word "bread" as a stand-in for a better bread — himself. In doing so, he picks up on a few qualities of the metonym. First, he came down from heaven (like the manna). Second, he is provided by God (like the manna). Third, he satisfies their spiritual hunger (like the manna).
And some of the Jews present pick up on this connection. But they get stuck on that first quality — "I am the bread that came down from heaven." And the reason they get stuck is that they make the connection. They understand the metonym. It infers that Jesus was not created. He always existed. He is the pre-existing manna who has come down from heaven to provide himself as the bread of life. But their problem is, they know his earthly parents — Mary and Joseph. So they are having a big issue with his metonym.
Jesus is a stunning teacher. And his teaching is only going to get better in the coming verses. But remember, our salvation is not dependent on our knowledge of his teaching. Don't let peripheral matters distract you. His teaching is only a guide to point us to the best "bread." That bread is him. He came down, by God, to give life. And we must "consume" him with our belief. And the table is set with plenty of bread, and the choice is yours. Will you sit and eat or not?
ASK THIS: Is there anything preventing your belief in Jesus?
DO THIS: Confess it.
PRAY THIS: God, help any unbelief.
PLAY THIS: Come To The Table.
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