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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Seeking the True Bread From Heaven (John 6:25-40)

 "Signs" for St. John are miracles that point to deeper spiritual truths. Jesus is saying, "You're not thinking spiritually; you came to find me because I fed you." They know about food which perishes. In fact, they needed the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, because they don't have enough food in the first place.

Jesus describes himself as the "Son of Man." It's actually Jesus's favorite way to describe himself. What does it mean? Well, we have to go back to the prophet Daniel in the Old Testament. In Daniel 7:9-14, there is one to whom glory and dominion are given, over all the people of the earth, and his kingdom will not be destroyed. And this Son of Man receives it from the Ancient of Days, who is the Father. This prophecy was hundreds of years old, in the time of Jesus. I don't know about you, but it seems to me like it's in the wrong half of the Bible! This is one of the clearest prophecies about the Messiah that you'll find. A "son of man" in ordinary speech would be the son of a king.

Later on, Christians sometimes used "Son of Man" as a way to talk about the human nature of Jesus, as opposed to his divine nature. However, in context, "Son of Man" is a divine title.

In a certain sense, it is understandable that they would ask Jesus what works they should do, in order to do the works of God. He did use the word "labor" in his last statement. He answered their questions by saying that the work of God is to believe in him, Jesus, the one whom the Father has sent.

They then asked for a sign, and then brought up the example of the manna from heaven that God provided when Israel was wandering in the wilderness, after they left Egypt. This is a perfect segue for Jesus, because he is the Bread which came down from heaven. He promises that those who come to Him will never hunger or thirst spiritually, because he will be their food and drink. Matthew 5:6 says, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Jesus is the righteousness for which we hunger and thirst. It is a joy to know that we can come to Jesus over and over again, no matter how unworthy we feel, and he will take us in, and never drive us away. The end of this section tells us that this is the Father's will, and Jesus will always carry it out. There is another promise of the resurrection from the dead for everyone at the end of time. "The last day" or, "the day of the Lord" always refers to the last judgment, and a new age of God's glory, a time of ultimate triumph over evil.

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