A couple of weeks ago, I asked the question, “Who am I?” This question is carved into the very core of our being. The search for the answer is one of the basic tenants of what it means to be human. And we are always seeking. And sometimes, we settle for lies.
See, like it or not, the Church is the only place with the answer. Like it or not, the Church is the only institution capable of saving the world. It’s the last lifeboat off this place.
Because God became fully human, in order that we might understand what it means to be fully human. In order to answer the question, “Who am I?” We must first answer the question, “who is Jesus?”
The Gospel of John seeks to answer this question, and it structures itself around 7 statements of Jesus that start with the phrase “I am _____.”
The first of these statements is found in John 6:35: “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
According to the Psychologist Maslow, food and water are the basic need behind human existence. The basic essence of human existence is simply a search for a constant supply of food and water. Our number one goal in life: Don’t die. Here in John 6, Jesus addresses that.
He is the bread. That means we must be hungry.
But hungry for what? Jesus obviously isn’t speaking literally here (though a lot of people thought he was, got very confused, and left. Jesus was ok with that.).
Here, Jesus is speaking the part of us that worries about where our next meal is coming from.
Jesus frees us from fearing the worst.
We can be homeless, broke, and starving, and we can trust God to provide us with the most basic needs, whether that be through the people of the Church, or even manna sent directly from heaven in Deuteronomy.
But even if the manna doesn’t come, even if we starve to death, we can rest assured that death is not the end. See, when Jesus uses the word “life” he’s not talking about the 80-odd years we spend crawling around on the surface of the planet. He’s talking about something more. Something eternal. Something only found in depending wholly and completely on him. He’s talking about eternity. Something that isn’t limited by food or death.
So many people go through their lives thinking that death is the absolute worst thing that could happen to them. Maybe that’s you. Christians don’t. We don’t fear death. It’s only a beginning for us. A sweet release into the eternal.
Imagine how much time we waste worrying and trying to provide for ourselves. Imagine how much time we waste simply avoiding death. Is that all there is to your life?
With Jesus, life has more meaning than just getting our next meal. Life has more meaning than just avoiding death. Jesus takes care of all that, so we don’t have to. Jesus takes care of it, so that we can live for something more. So that we can live to give Him glory.
See, our meaning is found around a table. A table where Jesus gives us bread and wine and says, “This is my body, broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Sit at that table. Love the people sitting with you around it. Eat the bread. You’ll never be the same.