When I see a loaf of homemade sourdough bread on the kitchen counter, I know that my family has received another gift from Mrs. Clark. Mrs. Clark’s bread is unmistakable. It is always double bagged and unsliced, never to be confused with store-bought bread. The appearance, smell, and taste of every slice tell me exactly where the bread came from.
Jesus says he is the bread of life and that he will give his flesh for the life of the world. And the bread of life does not want us to be mere spectators of his life. I would never think about leaving Mrs. Clark’s sourdough bread on the counter , unsliced and uneaten. Mrs. Clark makes and gives us bread so that we can eat and enjoy it. Likewise, Jesus calls us to take and eat, to participate in his life.
The crowd asks Jesus how anyone can eat his flesh because they think they know what is true (v. 52). But truth in the Gospel of John is about more than knowing the facts; it is also a deeply personal encounter with what is true. We don’t just know truth intellectually. We experience truth. We follow truth.
Truth is not simply the ideals that we discuss in our small groups or academic papers. Truth is embodied in the flesh of Jesus Christ who heals the sick and clothes the naked. We are eating his flesh when we incorporate his life into our own. His words, commands, and mission get into our bodies and minds, just like Mrs. Clark’s sourdough bread does.
“Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (v. 53).
How will you participate in the life of Jesus today?
Gracious God, deliver me from being a spiritual spectator. Lead me to where the action is. Amen.