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This is the Bread that Came Down from Heaven
“This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:58). With these words, Jesus has deepened the intimacy of the Incarnation and taken us to a new level of understanding. Much of what Jesus said was troubling to his hearers, but nothing he said caused more consternation than these words, both then and now. In this passage from John’s gospel, Jesus is revealing who he is to us. “I am the bread of life” (verse 48). Then he reminds his fellow Jewish listeners of the scriptures speaking about the time when they were wandering in the desert after God had freed them from the Egyptians. They were hungry and complaining to Moses saying, “[In Egypt] we sat around the pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” (Exodus 16:3) And God, once again, comes to the aid of Moses and the people and provided them with heavenly bread every morning in the form of manna, and meat each evening in the form of quail. Moses said of the manna, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat” (verse 15). But though they were given this bread, this honey-sweet manna by the Lord, they still died. Then Jesus tells them that he is the bread of life that comes down from heaven and that, “...whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (verse 51). This, as we see, caused quarrels among the Jews. Many could not accept such an idea. They did not understand who Jesus…