Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Sermon / Homily on John 6: 47-59

Jesus, The Bread of Life

by Rev. Fr. Dr. P. C. Eapen

Gospel: St. John 6: 47-59.

In this passage Christ declares with great assurance that only in and through him can anyone know life in its fullness (verse 47). Again He claims that He, and what He is and what He teaches is the real true food for the nurture of the soul. Other good gifts from God can certainly help us but the grace of God there is for us in Christ is inexhaustible and is everlasting. From verse 51 onwards, "I am the living bread which came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live for ever and the bread which I will give the world is my flesh". This statement connotes the meaning of the real discipleship and of the secret of Christian faith and Christian living.

Eternal life is for those who have passed beyond reliance upon the physical senses into the integral experience of spiritual perception which is Faith. Life in that higher sphere according to Christ is sustained by spiritual food unlike the "manna" which lasted but for a day and was food merely for perishable bodies. The living bread from Heaven is no other than the life of Jesus given up for the redemption of mankind.

The paradox " unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood you have no life in you", is more striking when we remember how repulsive the thought of drinking blood would be to the Jews. Really this would mean dwelling in constant union with Christ. By the act of eating the bread and drinking the wine the Eucharist helps the believer in Christ to have Christ abide in him (verse 56). This mystical union with Christ is the integral experience to which the individual believer is expected to associate himself with. The contrast between the physical and spiritual is again emphasized in verse 55. "For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink". As the Son owes His life to the Father so he who appropriates the Son and dwells in union with him owes his experience of eternal everlasting life to the Son. To receive from Christ what He has to give us is to experience His saving power by feeding on Him. This would mean that we are expected to absorb His teaching, His character, His mind, His ways and appropriate the virtue there is in Him till His mind becomes our mind and His ways our ways.

Let us make a genuine effort to be Christ like by regularly participating and part taking the Holy Communion.

See Also:

I am the Bread of Life
by Rev. Fr. Mammen Mathew

Meditation on St. John 6:47-59
by HG Yuhanon Mor Meletius

Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost

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