I wonder if you could imagine yourself back in the first century in the troubled land of Israel, full of political strife and rebellion and violence, - that might not be too hard, come to think of it!, but imagine yourself there to listen to this first hand account of what might have happened around Jesus.
"Folks, believe me! I was there.
I was there in the synagogue at Capernaum when he rose from his seat and spoke. The wife was a bit surprised to me there actually, - hadnt been for a good while. Id heard a rumor that Jesus was going to be there, it turned out more than a few others had heard the story too.
There were crowds, they hadnt gotten over when he fed them the day before on the other side of the lake.
All he used was the lunch of one boy and yet it covered the whole crowd and more!
I wasnt there - too busy at work, but the news spread like wildfire!
Everyone wanted to know what he would do next.
We were all restless for something more.
I wasnt going to miss out this time!
Wed been following him around, dwelling on every word he said. It gave me a strange feeling, listening to him, watching the way he taught and treated people! Sort of made me feel, oh I cant describe it! - sort of warm and hopeful.... Then we went to the synagogue.
He stood and read the set readings for the day and then began.
He talked about bread.
"Stop looking for more of what I gave you yesterday," he said.
"Instead of that, ask for food that will satisfy the emptiness of your hearts, The promised Messiah will give you food that will satisfy your truest yearnings."
Give it to us!
"Trust me" he said. Prove yourself! we murmured -
Moses give bread to our ancestors in the desert, that was good proof - saved the Israelites from dying.
"Wasnt the meal yesterday enough proof? What more do you want?"
Jesus explained, "Moses only gave instructions on collecting the bread that God had given - it lasted only a day and had to be collected each day.
The Messiah will give you real food that satisfies and lasts forever."
"Give it to us !" It was so tantalizing
"Believe in me!" said Jesus, "believe in me and your heart and mind will never be hungry or thirsty again. Ill give you the bread of life that comes from heaven.
"I am the bread of life" he said.
Well that really blew me away!
He ruffled a few feathers with that! - there was a lot of muttering, I can tell you!
The elders were getting anxious, we all knew where he was from.
I knew his family, good people - but they werent from heaven!
And then there was that doubt about who his father really was!
He was telling us he was better than Moses!
I think he was saying hed come from heaven, sent by God.
Better than manna in the desert he was saying he would give.
Sounds great, we want it, that was what we all felt - but how?
Come to him, believe in him. But what did that really mean?
There was so much to think about."
And my prayer: -
Feed us now and always, Son of God. Amen.