St. Mary of the Angels
August 27, 2021
John 6:35: “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
Compare with Revelation 21:6: “And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”
I AM is the name that God gives Himself. As the verb “to be” suggests, God is that which is the basis of all being-ness. He is the foundation of all existence. He is, which means first that He is eternal, lacking in nothing, and self-existing. This also means that He is differentiated from that which derives from Him, is spatial and temporal, and is lacking in something. Only God “is.” All other beings “may be,” or “are because of,” or “are until,” or “used to be.” Therefore, nothing about God is conditional. He is absolute. Nothing about God is necessary. He has total free will. So when God acts He impacts everything and all at once. Even His smallest or most intimate of actions is eschatological in scope. Also, when God acts He acts absolutely, not partially, and not in a manner that is equivocating. Finally, when God acts He acts totally voluntarily and without any necessity that may give rise to self-interest or self-dealing. So with God you get everything, and so He demands everything of you (“Be ye perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect”). So with God you get the absolute of love, or life, or mercy, or justice, or truth, etc. So with God all is given freely, for your own good, and without any self-interest or self-dealing on His part, so all that is given is an expression of love. He gives total love, and we receive total life (“the water of life freely”), and so with God there is no separation of love from life and life from love. To the extent we fail to love, we fail to live, or we give ourselves over to death. God’s Name, therefore, is the impetus for us to be like Him and to put away whatever about ourselves is not like Him.
John 6:38: “For I came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.”
Compare with Exodus 3:14: “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”
God’s Name is intrinsically related to “being sent.” For God, “to be” is “to be sent.” The more we take on the likeness of God, the more we shall see that “we are” to the extent “we are sent” and also act in the obedient and purpose driven manner of one who is sent. Notice also that His Name is said unto “the children of Israel.” He sends Himself, and sends others, unto His chosen people. He sends Himself, and sends others, unto the people of the Covenant. Thus, He sends Himself, and sends others, for the purpose of restoring and perfecting His Kingdom. So with God, I AM as His Name relates to mankind is “doing the work of salvation.” To the extent we are like Him, which is to say to the extent we are fully and finally who we are meant to be, we are “doing the work of salvation.” There is no point in discussing God apart from what He does, and so there is no point in discussing ourselves apart from what we do (see 1 John 3:18: “My little children, let us not love in word nor in tongue, but in deed and in truth”).
John 6:44: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up the last day.”
Compare with Jeremiah 31:3: “…I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have drawn you with loving devotion.”
Also compare with Hosea 11:4: “I led them with cords of kindness, with ropes of love; I lifted the yoke from their necks and bent down to feed them.”
John 6:44 is not meant to provide support for the Calvinist idea of Predestination, for nowhere does it say that the Father only draws into Himself some preordained souls. Rather, He draws all into Himself. Men are free to reject Him, but that does not mean that even then He stops in drawing them into Himself (the fires of hell being the love of God as experienced by those who insist on rejecting Him). Because of our sins we cannot come to God, unless first God comes to us and draws us into Himself. What Christ Jesus is saying is that indeed this is happening in Him.
John 6:50: “This is the bread which cometh down from Heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die.”
Compare with Deuteronomy 8:3: “And He humbled you, and let you hunger, and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
The Israelites ate manna from heaven but hungered still because of their blinding sin (they did not know, nor did their fathers know). They ate manna from heaven but insisted still that they could live life on their own terms (reap their bread by the sweat of their brow). If only they had eaten the manna from heaven with absolute faith in and surrender to “every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord,” they would not have hungered again.
Christ Jesus is the bread from which man will never hunger, because unlike the Israelites of old He exhibits absolute faith in and obedience to the will of His Father. He is substituting Himself for the Israelites lost in the wilderness, and so He alone eats the manna from heaven with faith and, therefore, is the manna from heaven for us from which we shall never hunger.
John 6:51: “…and the bread that I will give is my flesh…”
Christ Jesus gives us eternal life in Himself because He dies for our sins. Therefore, when we are eating of His flesh in Holy Communion we are eating of His salvation, for His sacrificed flesh has been resurrected and is alive with the Father even now.
See Luke 22:19: “And He took bread, and gave thanks, and break it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.