On the turning away

I am the bread of life – part 2, on the turning away

40 blogs of Lent, day 8

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst..” In this phrase Jesus sums up his message, the result that you would expect, after a lifetime of going to church and hearing sermons would be that people heard this message and turned to Jesus. What John recounts is something different, they deserted him.

People came to see a miracle, they wanted to be filled with physical bread again. They wanted Jesus to give them what they wanted. What they got was Jesus telling them what they needed. In offering people what they needed Jesus refused to give them what they wanted.

“He fed those people with fish sandwiches and gave me nothing, How dare he.” is typical of the response they could have given. Focussing on themselves they turned away from Jesus.

We do the same each time we put what we want before God. When we turn away from other people we are turning away from God. Jesus said as much:

Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’  Matthew 25:44-45

The Pink Floyd song, On the turning away sums this up well, even referring to turning away as a sin. It was written as a political song against rich corporations and politicians but by accident shows the same attitude that turned people against Jesus in John chapter 6 is still present. Selfishness works against God.

Loving God and loving others as we love ourselves are how all of God’s laws are summed up. Let us not think of ourselves too highly and turn away from God. Jesus supplies all we need.

 

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