Podcast Reflections

Reflection on John 6.44-51 (Easter 3: Thursday; Easter Season)

Listen to a reflection for Easter 3: Thursday, 27 April 2023, on John 6.44-51 (Easter Season)

John 6.44-51

Jesus said to the crowd, ‘No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ 


Jesus said to the crowd: ‘Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.’

We live in a throw-away culture. We do not like having to wait for anything, we are constantly seeking instant gratification. We place inordinate value on fast food, and much else that both damages and diminishes because it is always readily available. As with a nourishing and flavoursome meal, that which enhances and enriches demands time and patience. It demands time because every ingredient has to be coaxed into offering up its full potential. It demands patience because the skill of the chef and the full flavour of each ingredient only reaches its peak after a long period of maturation.

In today’s reading Jesus speaks of the manna the Israelites ate in the wilderness. As they journeyed towards the Promised Land they became hungry. In response to their complaints, God provided divine food … manna from heaven. That manna appeared each morning in such abundance that everyone of those refugees had their fill. But, the manna was provided out of God’s love. There was no effort or skill demanded of those being fed. They simply had to rise each morning, step out of their tents and gather the food that was awaiting them. And, as the Israelites shared in the divinely provided feast, the human cycle of life and death continued.

Today Jesus speaks of another way. Jesus describes himself as the Bread of Life. Jesus tells his followers that the bread he represents will sustain for eternity. This sounds wonderful, but we need to take care that we are not falling into the same mindset as the wandering Israelites many centuries earlier. Throughout the gospel narrative Jesus makes it clear that the Bread which gives eternal life is only available to those who follow the path of true discipleship. Furthermore, it is clear that there is nothing ‘fast’ or ‘throwaway’ about the life of the true disciple, and nor is there any sort of superficial instantaneous gratification.

Let us pray that we might resist the temptation to settle for that which is quick and easy in matters of faith. Let us pray that we might take heed of Christ’s teaching and example, and that we might thus become worthy recipients of the Bread of Life, the bread that will lead us into, and then sustain us in an eternal relationship with our risen Lord and God.