Scripture: John 6:35-40
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”
Today, we’re back in the middle of the discussion Jesus is having with this crowd of people who have followed him across the sea. And the passage might be a familiar one to you, at least that opening verse. The conversation, thus far, has centered on the imagery of bread. For the crowd, it’s been the physical, life-giving sustenance that they’ve been most interested in. Jesus, on the other hand, has been using their hunger in order to lead them into a deeper understanding of who he is. Jesus wants them to know him as the bread of life; that he is the one who gives and nourishes and sustains all things.
Jesus makes that shift from physical to spiritual in the most beautiful way. He does it through an invitation that is broad and sweeping. Jesus says, “Anyone who comes to me I will not drive away.” Right here, Jesus declares that all are welcome to feast on what he has to offer. None shall be turned away. Age, race, gender, country of origin, socio-economic status, and every other classification you can name will not be a reason for withdrawing the invitation. Every person and every type of person is asked to come and feast on this bread of life we know as the Christ. And none will ever be asked to leave. As a Methodist pastor, this radical invitation spoken by Jesus is why I welcome anyone and everyone at the Communion table. If Christ will have them come and eat, then who am I to say otherwise?
If there is ever a verse that the Church needs to unify behind right now, I think it’s this one. We should all wake up saying, “Anyone who comes to me I will not drive away. Anyone who comes through the doors of my church I will not drive away. Anyone who Christ has invited to the feast I will not drive away.” That’s the kind of Christ-like hospitality our churches should get behind. It’s the kind of hospitality that says to people, “Don’t worry about what you look like, where you’ve come from, or how you got here. Just come and eat.”
Bread of life, you have fed me and sustained me. I accepted your invitation and have experienced your feast. Help me to see that there’s still plenty of room left around the table, and that you don’t have a dress code required to be seated.
Thought for the Day:
The table is prepared. Won’t you come?