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Jesus said, “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.”
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
This is the Gospel selection to be read aloud on the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 15], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will follow one of two possible sets of Old Testament and Psalm readings, with Track 1 placing focus on the death of David and the ascension to the throne by Solomon and his gaining of wisdom. The Track 2 option places focus on a Proverb of Solomon, which sings praises to wisdom. All will be read along with the Epistle from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, where he wrote, “Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.”
I wrote my opinions on this reading and published them on my website in 2018, the last time this reading came up in the lectionary cycle. I welcome all to read that commentary by clicking on this link. My views at that time are basically the same as they are now, so the opinions I expressed then are still valid today. However, I have been led to deeper insights from Scripture since then, which means I can offer some new views that are worthwhile, which I will post now.
I want to first state that the vast majority of readers of this Scripture – the overwhelming percentage of those who call themselves ‘Christians” today – will be exactly like the crowd gathered around Jesus were then. This continuing series that places focus on the aftermath of the feeding of five thousand, where those who looked for and found Jesus came to him for all the wrong reasons. They were shortchanged by having been served a sermon and some tidbits of food by Judas Iscariot. They people were mostly pilgrim travelers, who had ample supplies of bread and drink with them, which they freely gave so their section of the five thousand [one-twelfth] could be fully fed, with leftover scraps of bread. While the majority went away fulfilled by the Spirit, passed onto them by the other eleven apostles, it was this group which was disgruntled and wanted Jesus to give them what they deserved. They then become the model for all the riff-raff denominations of the corruption of Christianity into an organized religion, led by wolves and administered by worthless hired hands who preach like did Judas. The people are always lacking and seeking more for the money they give. Therefore, it is vital for everyone to see himself or herself as those who ridicule Jesus in this reading; because that is you.
When Jesus said [NRSV], “the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh,” the Jews then and Christians today read or hear those words spoken and think of Jesus as a separate, external being. They see Jesus as a body of flesh, which is not what was meant by what he said. The Greek written by John divides his words into two segments, which become one statement followed by another. The NRSV makes it all one paraphrased statement. The Greek is literally translated as follows:
“kai this bread next which I will give , this flesh of me being on behalf of this of the world
In that, the first segment is introduced by the word “kai,” which is a marker word that denotes importance needing to be seen in the words that follow [up to the comma mark]. When that importance directly points to “this bread,” that relates back to what Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” This means forget all about the concept of physical bread and see the importance of Jesus saying, “kai this life from heaven which I will give.” That is the importance of a life that does not already exist within those who will receive this gift of life.
Keep in mind here how the majority of those fed by the sea did not follow Jesus. It was only those fed crap by Judas. The others had received this life which Jesus gave through his apostles; and, they went out into the world filled with the gift of eternal life for their souls. That gift received meant they went into ministry AS JESUS REBORN. Receiving this life gift is not because one is the prettiest or the smartest. It is because a soul has married Yahweh and become his committed servant. Committed servants do not show up some place Sunday after Sunday looking for physical food and drink, only to go home and do nothing for anyone other than themselves. The people who followed Jesus are exactly like those who never were given life from heaven.
Following the comma mark, Jesus then added, “this flesh of me,” where the genitive case applied to “egó” says “of me.” That is misinterpreted as if Jesus was talking about “his flesh,” when in reality “his flesh” is whoever’s flesh becomes “of Jesus” [“of me”]. That makes his “flesh” be the one receiving the gift of life from heaven, because that flesh has become “of Jesus,” as his place of possession. That is then one who enters into holy ministry, as Jesus reborn; and, those were the ones who did not follow Jesus to Capernaum and hound him because a bad priest had fed them crap.
The problem so-called Christianity has today, is the vast majority of Christians see Jesus as some external deity, who sits on a throne in heaven [“wherever that is … surely not within me” – they say] and there can only be the one Jesus. Even when the Gospels tell of Jesus appearing in different bodies of flesh and the Apostles suddenly becoming filled with the Spirit and speaking in tongues, nobody seems to realize the Apostles all became reborn as Jesus. Nobody realizes Paul and all the first true Christian [who began a life-transforming movement, not a religion] were all exactly as Jesus says in this reading: They ate the flesh and drank the blood of the bread of life. Their flesh became Jesus resurrected.
Christians today, those who regularly go to a church each week [the number is getting less each week, especially now that COVID19 has become the excuse du jour], do little-to-nothing to help others. They think they are the poor lost sheep that Jesus will come find, no matter how filthy with the sins of the world’s ‘mud holes’ as they are. As long as they go to church [little more], Jesus will take them to heaven, because somebody told them to believe, “Jesus died so you can sin.” They firmly believe Jesus will come down and drive them in a holy Uber car to heaven, then open the door and escort them to their fancy suite in the Father’s house. They think they are owed that service, because they believe without ever being shown any proof, nor demanding the proof be shown to them.
In the use of “egó” [“I”], which is restated in “mou” [“of me”] and with “autou” [“of him”], all are reflections of “being” [along with three uses of “estin,” or “is”]. Jesus was not stating his “ego” when he said “I” or variations on that theme of “self.” They have to be read as one’s own “self-ego,” which must die in submission to a divine marriage to Yahweh, so that one’s own “ego” is replaced by that of Jesus. The Jesus “egó” occurs when one hs been reborn as Jesus, whose “ego” then controls one’s brain, as one’s flesh and blood is the body of Jesus resurrected.
In the Greek of John is written, “ean mē phagēte tēn sarka tou Huiou tou anthrōpou , kai piēte autou to haima , ouk echete zōēn en heautois .” This literally translates to state, “if not you shall have consumed it body of which of Son of this of man , kai shall have drunk of self this blood , not you possess life in your souls .” The placement of “kai” must be seen as marking the important segment here, which says, “shall have drunk of self this blood.” Rather than seeing “blood” as metaphor for wine, as some physical liquid poured into a cup and swallowed by mouth, one needs to read “blood” metaphorically as a statement of relationship or lineage. The element of drinking should then be seen as metaphor for baptism, where there is no physical water involved, but the pouring out of Yahweh’s Spirit into one’s soul. It must be seen as Jesus saying one’s relationship with Yahweh must have taken place, so one’s soul [“autou” as the genitive case of “self” – “of self”] has submitted to Yahweh in marriage. That makes one’s “blood” related to a most holy line of saints.
In this Sunday’s readings – the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost – one must recall last Sunday’s bread and water that an angel of Yahweh placed by the head of Elijah. That was not physical bread and water. It was symbolic of the life brought down from heaven, which was Jesus. Elijah died of self, with his soul leaving his body of flesh. Once dead, he was touched by Jesus’ soul, where Elijah was told to eat. His soul consumed the body of Jesus, so the two were one. The jar of water was the relationship where the blood of Elijah’s body of flesh mingled as that of two souls in relationship. When Elijah lay back down, his newly joined soul reentered his body of flesh, and the second touch was Jesus telling Elijah to continue to consume the body of the Son of man, so he would gain eternal life [symbolic of forty days].
As a Gospel selection for the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson here is to be Jesus reborn. There can be no life offered to anyone by a false shepherd or hired hand, because one has not consumed the body of Jesus and become another that is the Son of man [regardless of human gender]. When there is no life to offer the world, one has denied marriage to Yahweh and forbidden divine intercourse make one give birth to the Son of Yahweh in one’s flesh. The only way others can be served by one’s ministry is for oneself [a self always means a soul] dying, so the angel of Yahweh can bring the bread from heaven [Jesus] and set it by one’s “ego” [a “head”] and tell one’s soul to “eat.” When one “eats” Jesus [the spiritual bread] then one’s flesh becomes where Jesus resurrects. If one cannot grasp that truth, then one is just following Jesus around, making things worse for one’s soul.