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The manna and the bread of life

A celebration of Holy Communion: 1st Corinthians 11:23-25

Reading John chapter 6 recently it struck me that this chapter is all about bread. As I

read it, things just kept jumping out at me and I feel compelled to write them down.

While we are preparing for Communion, we are used to hearing the words of 1 Cor 11:23-25

being read out “…. on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread……….do this as often

as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” I think the words of Jesus in this chapter will help us to

gain a deeper understanding of the significance of the Communion and make it a richer

experience.

We begin with the parable of the Loaves and Fishes. We are told early on in the chapter that.

the Pesach (the Passover) was nearby. Jesus sees the crowds and asks Philip where they can buy bread to feed them.

My first thought was - as it was near Passover, where the Jews clean their houses of all hametz.

(yeast) would there be a shortage of bread?

My second thought was – Jesus is the Bread of Life. Was He asking this, knowing ‘I am the

bread. I will feed them’?

After Jesus crossed over the Galilee to Capernaum people came looking for him, and he

challenged them. Beginning with the phrase which is translated ‘most assuredly,’ (in Hebrew

Amen Amen’ or ‘yes indeed’) which means ‘listen very carefully’/listen up, he says to them.

that they were seeking him because they ate the bread, not because they saw the signs.

Then He opens up this deep teaching on the bread.

“Do not work for the food which passes away but for the food that stays on into eternal life,

which the Son of Man will give you. For this is the one on whom God the Father has put

His seal.”

The people then ask Jesus for a sign and say “our fathers ate the manna in the desert as it is.

written (says in the Tanakh), ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’

When Jesus replies, he says again ‘most assuredly’ ‘yes indeed’ “Moses did not give you the

bread from heaven, by my Father 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.”

Jesus continues by explaining that He is the bread of life and all who believe in Him will never.

hunger or thirst and that everyone who believes in Him, He will raise up on the last day.

Again Jesus says, ‘most assuredly’ ‘yes indeed’ He who believes in me has eternal life. I am

the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and are dead. This is the

bread which came down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living

bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, and

the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

And then again, He says ‘most assuredly’ yes indeed’ (listen up!) “unless you eat the flesh of

the Son of Man and drink His blood, 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 food

indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in

Me, and I in him. (Leviticus 17:11 says that the life of the flesh is in the blood)

 

John 6v58 “This is the bread which came down from heaven – not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”


What if we thought on this as we prepare to take Communion! Would not it take us so much

deeper into the meaning of it and give us so much more?

This was not even Jesus’s last Passover. The next chapter goes on to say that Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles was near) so Jesus is still around then. He was preparing the people ahead of his death!

 

1 Corinthians 11 v26 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”


Here is David Stern’s commentary on this verse: -

At Passover Jews all over the world retell the story of the plagues and the Exodus and thus

proclaim the central fact on which their peoplehood is founded. Likewise, members of the

Messianic Community (Believers of Jesus) are to proclaim the death of the Lord as them.

exodus from sin and as the basis for their existence. Both proclamations look not only back

toward a past redemption but also forward to a future one; hence the proclamation is until He

comes the second time.”


Jewish New Testament Commentary, David H. Stern


By guest blogger Batnabas aka Linda Morris

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