John 6:30-40 NKJV
30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”
32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Our lesson yesterday ended with the people who had followed Him after the feeding of the 5000 asking Him, “‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent’” (28-29). Then, our lesson today begins with these verses: “Therefore they said to Him, ‘What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” (30-31). Now Jesus must correct them on several points.
First, Jesus does not do “signs” on command, like some side-show attraction. Second, it was God, not Moses, who gave their ancestors bread in the wilderness. And third, that bread was not the true bread from heaven; Jesus is. “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst’” (35).
Luther explains: “This bread is to be a preservative against death. It is as if a physician or a pharmacist were to tell a patient: ‘I will give you a medicine, a potion or purgative, that will save you from death. You will no longer live in fear of death, since you are immune.’… Anyone who eats it will live and will be able to say: ‘Even if all deaths were combined into one, or even if death were to come when it wills, I shall not fear you, death. You cannot harm me, for I have drunk this cup and eaten this food.’ Therefore even if all deaths were combined into one and attacked such a man fiercely, they would not be able to consume and devour him; for Christ will resurrect him on the Last Day. Even if he lay buried a thousand ells under the sod or were dismembered by wolves, eaten by fish, or burned to ashes by fire, he would still live again” (AE 23:41–42). Our faith, and thus our life, is in Him. Let us pray: O God, by the humiliation of your Son you raised up the fallen world. Give your faithful people constant gladness, deliverance from the danger of eternal death, and make us partakers of eternal joys; through the same Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.