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John 6:51

John 6:51
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John 6:51, “…the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

The bread that fed the multitudes was given to the people only in its being broken (Mark 8:6). Were it not broken, it could not have been given….and it is only in the breaking that it becomes accessible to the crowds. So too, John seems to recognize, only in the breaking of the cross does the flesh of Christ become accessible as life-giving bread to the world. There is no giving, there is no accessibility, there is no way to eat the bread of life and be satisfied unless that bread is broken….unless that flesh is lifted up on the cross…..Indeed, it is only when His flesh is lifted up from the earth on the cross that He descends from heaven as the true Manna and true bread of life.

And why is this? Why is the bread of life accessible only in the breaking of the cross? I would suggest the reason is that it is only in the breaking of the cross that God is perfectly glorified (=made known) in the Son, and it is only in knowing God in the crucified Son that one “feeds on” the bread of Christ’s flesh and “drinks” His blood. Of course, this knowing can only happen through the lens of the resurrection…the crucified Christ is known as the revelation of God only as He stands as the Risen Christ, and in so being known, He becomes the heavenly bread, broken and given for the life of he world.

But the second application I wanted to make from these words is their import for us. Yes, Christ is the Eucharistic bread who is given only in being broken….but we—by faith-union to Him in the Spirit—are His body, which means if we—individually or as a Church—are to be given to others for their life, we too must be “broken.” Only in being broken is the bread given….this is fundamentally true of Christ, and it is secondarily and derivatively true of us who are members of His Body……members of the Body that is broken and so given.

Our lives, our gifts, our selves cannot become means of life-giving food to others unless we are broken and distributed by the Sovereign hands of the Lord. The loaf that would remain unbroken will never be given for the life of the people….only the loaf that submits to be broken…submits to be distributed, submits even to be devoured—only this loaf brings life. Of course, we cannot bring life in and of ourselves, but as members of Christ’s body, our breaking and being distributed can—by grace—be a participation in His own breaking and distribution from Calvary, and so can—by grace—be a means of He Himself being given to the world.