Coney Hill Baptist Church

Demonstrating God’s Love Together

17th February 2008

  BIGWORDS: Food …

John 6:22-35

Intro:

What are you going to eat today? A vast array of choices, a huge variety of issues?  Do I like it? (allergy, tastes, preferences) Can I afford it? (shall I eat out, what % of budget shall I spend) Is it good for me? (fattening, additives, organic) Can I cook it? (cook books, TV programmes)   How has it got here? (pesticides, animal welfare, food miles, fair trade)   

Food is fundamental, a literal basic requirement of life.  But it’s so much more than that as well.  Food is about culture and lifestyle, fashion and health, politics and economics … food is big business.

What do you do the day after a miracle?    In this case (after the feeding of the 5,000) the people wanted more.  They tracked Jesus down and immediately he recognised their motives; “you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” 

 

Food as Fuel…

For us food is about so much more than sustenance, but it’s still that  For the Bible writers of course, that was the principle concern. It appears frequently in the bible because , for even relatively wealthy people, a large part of their lives was spent ensuring they had enough to eat.  But the Bible took that basic need and made more of it .

The people wanted more food, It was as basic as that for them, and who could blame them?  Certainly not Jesus, it was his concern for their practical and physical well-being that had brought about the miracle in the first place.  Food was and is first and foremost God’s provision for us, Genesis tells us, Harvest festivals remind us, and all the packaging and marketing ought not to blind us to that basic truth.  But there’s also more to it …

 

Food as Fellowship …

To share food in the Bible, to extend hospitality, was to engage in a profound act.  To sit at a table with someone was to acknowledge them as equals and it fulfilled a holy obligation.  Still today, in many cultures the significance of sharing a meal together verges on the sacred.     

‘Work for … Food that endures to eternal life.’  What might that be?  Its clearly something that lasts longer than until the next meal.  It’s a gift from Jesus, and future verses will tell us its something to do with his very character. Maybe it’s the faith that brings people together, that causes people, different people; ages, races, attitudes, to find, as they break bread together around one table, that they are all children of God.  To realise the wonder that they’re invited, that they belong.

 

Food as Fairness …

The food of Jesus gives ‘life to the world’, those who take it will ‘never go hungry or thirsty’ again.  Now that’s clearly about more than physical hunger, but it’s hard to believe that it has nothing to say to a world still familiar with the suffering of the starving. 

The whole point of all of this food imagery is to say that the divide we draw between the physical world that we live in, work with, see, touch, taste and eat and the spiritual world of our souls, our prayers, our salvation and hope is non-existent – God is with us, at every meal-table in every mouth-full … reminding us it’s his grace by which we have it, challenging us to share our table with others so that we might share Him and convicting us that we have work to do if we are to establish his kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven.

 

Conc:

‘I am the bread of life’  Jesus is both the supplier and the content of all the nourishment needed for life, in all its fullness.  He invites us to His table to feed on Him, receive Him … that we might be challenged and equipped to take his table to the world.