Scripture – John 6:1-13; 30-35; 47-58
Body, Mind and Soul
By Matt Bisel
You are what you eat…We have all heard that one before right? My 6-year-old daughter loves Dairy Queen and I often wonder how many more Blizzards it will take for her to actually turn into a blended mixture of M & M’s and ice cream. But the sixth chapter of John unfolds as an extended metaphor on this very idea, asking not only how we feed our bodies but also our minds and souls. Scene one is the feeding of the five thousand. A humble meal of bread and fish becomes a miracle of in-our-bellies actual food and all that bread and fish points to God, the benevolent host of the wonder-feast. A meal for five or five-thousand, manna from heaven or the food on your dinner plate – these are all miracles and they point to God who is the source and sustainer of all meals – of all life. Have you ever considered the food on your plate to be a miracle? How does our body relate to mind and soul?
In the second scene, just after Jesus takes a casual evening stroll across the sea, the same dinner crowd comes looking for him. They were looking for another easy meal, but Jesus wanted to give them something more than full bellies. Jesus says to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry.” Do you remember how the Gospel of John opens? (John 1:1) When Jesus says, “I am the bread of life;” he is saying that God’s word is the bread of life. However, this bread isn’t consumed through our stomachs but through our minds. What do you think Jesus means when he says, “come to me and you will never go hungry?” What are you feeding your mind?
Finally, to an increasingly complexed crowd, Jesus becomes even more complexing. Chapter six started with actual bread, which is easy enough to understand because bread is delicious. Then it moves to God’s word being the bread of life. Well okay, we all know how metaphors work. But finally, Jesus directs our attention to the Communion table saying, “My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them.” What does it mean to “eat” Jesus? (It sounds kind of weird when put like that, huh?) Or another way to put it, how does Communion feed your soul? In what ways are the first two scenes in chapter six an extension of the Communion Table?
Wesley’s Challenge Questions for the Week:
- Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
- Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?