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Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
This is the Gospel reading that will be read aloud by a priest on the eleventh Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 14], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will follow either a Track 1 or Track 2 pairing of Old Testament and Psalm readings. Track 1 places focus on the death of David’s son Absalom, while Track 2 tells of Elijah falling asleep under a broom tree. The sons that accompany them are lamentations and praises, accordingly. All will be presented with a reading from Ephesians, where Paul wrote, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
I wrote about this reading and published it in 2018, when it last came up in the lectionary cycle. That commentary can be read by clicking on this link. I welcome all to read that posting, as it is still valid today. However, I will add comments now that direct the focus of this reading towards the thread that connects all the readings grouped with it on this Sunday after Pentecost.
Before I go in that direction, as an act designed to see the importance of the capitalized words written by John in Greek, I found more evidence of the divinity of Scripture, which is remarkable. I did this two Sundays back, with the Paul letter to the Ephesians. Simply by reading the capitalized words, a supporting statement appeared that guided the other text to a point of focus. The same thing appears in the capitalized Greek words in this selection (verses 41-51). Here is the list of the capitalized words and their translations into English:
“Egongyzon” – “were Grumbling” – “I whisper, murmur, grumble (generally of
“Ioudaioi” – “Jews” or “Judeans”
“Egō” – “I” [Jesus]
“Ouch” – “Not” – the Jews against Jesus as heavenly
“Iōsēph” – “Joseph” A name meaning “Increaser” or “May He Add”
“Ek” – “From, From out of” – A question of where
“Apekrithē” – “Answered” “Replied, Took up the conversation” – Jesus responding
“Iēsous” – “Jesus”
“Mē” – “not” to grumble, said Jesus
“Patēr” - “Father”
“Kai” – importance to follow
“Theou” – “of God”
“Patera” – “of Father”
“Theou” – “of God”
“Patera” – “of Father”
“Amēn” – “Truly”
When these words are stated as a divine statement of Yahweh, who was guiding the mind and the pen of John, it becomes an intentional use of capitalization, which John could never have planned from a simple human brain. It shows the source as divine. Here is the statement made by these words (in their order of appearance in these eleven verses):
“Were Grumbling Jews - I Not Joseph From – Answered Jesus – Not Father – * – of God of Father – of God of Father.”
Where I have placed an asterisk ( * ), this is where the capitalized word “Kai” would be found. Rather than a word translated as “And,” the word is a marker of importance that must be grasped to follow. When this word is capitalized, it brings about greater importance, of a divine level of meaning. The words that follow “Kai” need to then be seen as most important in this series of capitalized words, such that they should be found as a strong statement about what “Not Father” means. That following statement says this:
“they will exist all taught of God,” which leads to the following capitalized word “of God.”
This then places great importance on “all” who “will be” [a statement of future being] “taught.” That important focus explains who can truly claim Yahweh as the “Father.” The grumbling Jews all saw themselves as the children of God, but because none of them had ever be “taught” how to be a Son of Yahweh and live righteously, none of them could make that claim. Thus, their focus on Joseph says their fathers were all human, not spiritually taught to teach their children to likewise be taught. The importance of this is then Jesus saying the Jews were lost and could only be found by becoming true children of Yahweh.
Seeing this arise from the capitalized words is not what I planned to write, although this adds support to the commentary I am about to present. The theme that runs through all the readings on this Sunday is one of children of the Father. In the Second Samuel reading, Absalom is the son of David, his human father. Paul wrote in the beginning of his fifth chapter to the Ephesians, “be imitators of God, as beloved children,” where the word translated as “imitator” is better translated as “emulator.” John wrote of Jesus saying, “No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets.”
It is more difficult to see this Father-Son relationship in the short optional reading from First Kings; but it is there. When we read of the “angel of Yahweh” [not written “the Lord”], it is the voice of Yahweh that says, “Get up and eat.” This is the soul of Elijah being taught by Yahweh. It is the truth of what Jesus said to the Jews.
When that is seen, the bread given to Elijah for him to eat is then the spiritual food that made him the Son of Yahweh. It is the bread that feeds one’s soul the goodness of Yahweh that grants one eternal life. It is how Jesus said, “Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died,” because manna is spiritual food for a day.” Daily consumption leads to the death of the body, when the soul separates. When manna is seen as Scripture, the bread given by the angel of Yahweh to Elijah is the bread that transforms one into the Son, with Yahweh the Father. Jesus was that angel speaking to the disgruntled Jews. He was telling them, “Arise and eat.”
In the two Old Testament readings the heavy thread that connects them both is that of a tree. The oak branches that caught Absalom [a name that means “Father Of Peace”], one must see the history of Israel. The shade of the broom tree that covered Elijah must be seen as the prophets and judges of Israel, with the oak tree for the kings and tribal patriarchs. That element is now stated by John when he addressed the “Jews,” which was a capitalized word. They had become the stump of Jesse, as there no longer was any tree their history could be written in. Jesus was the new shoot from which the “Jews” who were not disgruntled could become the new branches, all as saints. Jesus represented the mustard seed from which would grow the largest tree in the garden.
As the Gospel selection for the eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry to Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson here is to listen to Jesus when he says, “No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me.”
Today’s Christians see Jesus as a co-equal to Yahweh, like the new name for God. So often Christians say, “You have to believe in Jesus,” when in reality one has to believe in Yahweh [not some generic Lord or God]. One has to believe Yahweh has offered believers His hand in marriage; but, to take hold of that hand, one must submit oneself fully and completely to Yahweh, as His wife. Without that marriage of one’s soul to Yahweh’s Spirit, there can be no belief in Jesus, because Jesus is not external to anyone. Jesus is the product of one’s marriage to Yahweh.
Jesus is the Son of man, as the soul-spirit of repentant Adam, the only Son of Yahweh. The name “Jesus” means “Yah[weh] Will Save.” The only way to receive eternal life is through becoming the Son resurrected within one’s soul-flesh being. Studying Scripture and being led to see its meaning does not make one Jesus reborn. One has to reach that broom tree and beg Yahweh to let one’s self die, so one can be reborn as the Son. The bread one must eat is Jesus. One must consume the life-giving Spirit of Jesus to gain eternal life. The only way to be able to call Yahweh the Father is by eating the bread of life and them emulating the Son in the flesh again.
Ministry with being Jesus is being a child, playing church. Absalom was the son-king of a holy man who had sinned against Yahweh. As the son of a man, Absalom was as great a sinner as was his father. Absalom was conceived when his Father Was At Peace with Yahweh, but being born of a holy man does not make one a holy man. Each soul is separate; each soul is the property of Yahweh. No soul can return to the Father without consuming the bread of life and being reborn as His Son. Anything short of that is pretense and self-worship.