Sunday Readings: 1 Kings 19. 4-8; Ephesians 4.30-5.2, John 6.41-51
“The Jews began to murmur about Jesus because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven” – John 6.41
Within the crowd following Jesus is a group whom the gospel writer calls “the Jews.” They murmur. They question how Jesus can be from heaven when they know his origins on earth. The conversation between Jesus and “the Jews” reflects the sharpening difference between the community of Christian Jews for whom John writes in the A.D. 90s and the Jews who follow other rabbis, faith to the law God gave Moses. Jesus and his followers are all Jews. The differences between between Jesus’ followers and other Jews develops after the temple is destroyed. Without temple worship to hold them together, the two groups grow into two separate world religions, Judaism and Christianity.
Jesus’ claims raise a question. Is God’s revelation only in the law of Moses and the God who supplied Israel quail and manna in the wilderness, or is God’s revelation in their midst in Jesus, the living bread?
None of the subgroups in the crowd respond well in John’s account of the loaves and fishes and what it points to about Jesus. Jesus’ disciples doubt their resources to feed 5,000. The crowd wants to make Jesus king like a pork-barrel hero but wants another sign of who he is the next day. Jesus’ claim to be the real bread of life from God is unbelievable to “the Jews.”
Where do you best fit — among the doubting disciples, the fair-weather crowd, or the Jews faithful to Moses’ law and the past?