John 6:41 Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
The Jews were frustrated with Jesus. There was too much about what he said that bothered them. How could he have been bread from heaven? That claim sounded too much like manna which had been provided in the wilderness — and that came from God. Surely Jesus could not have been equating himself with God! The problem for the Jewish leaders was that they had no appetite for the type of Messiah that he was. They weren’t hungry for his type of bread ”for this bread requires the hunger of the inner person.” (Augustine, “Tractates on the Gospel of John 26.1) When the inner person is not hungry for good food, they won’t recognize it, even when it is served up right before them.
We have all seen the advertisements for heavenly desserts! The pictures are tantalizingly delicious and our mouths water at the very sight. It is that sight that makes us hunger for the delicious flavors which are available to us. I’ve been known to go out of my way to the Cheesecake Factory or one of our Kansas City Frozen Custard shops, just because I’m hungering for one of their incredible creations.
We will partake of that for which we are hungry. When we are hungry to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ we will go out of our way to dine on the richness of the word of God. I think that the problem may lie in the fact that we may have become so accustomed to eating mediocre spiritual food that we don’t hunger for the good food. Somehow we may have lost our appetite because we have forgotten what really good spiritual food tastes like.
This is what happened to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, and it’s a warning to us. We may be tempted to complain about the good and rich spiritual food which is available because we have simply lost our appetite. If we get in the habit of eating religious fast food, we will be overwhelmed by the richness of real food when we have the opportunity to eat it. Maybe it’s time to realize that our fast food may be killing us, and that we need to get back to the real thing.
Jesus truly is the “bread that came down from heaven.” He is the manna which we need on a daily basis to sustain us and this is good food. We need to pray that God will heal us of our poor appetites and that we are once again able to stomach all that he has for us. It’s time for us to hunger for good food.
Lord, thank you for providing the rich variety of your spiritual food for us. Amen.
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