2 Samuel 11: 26 – 12: 13a
26When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him. 27When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son.
Nathan Condemns David
But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord,
1and the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, ‘There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. 2The rich man had very many flocks and herds; 3but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meagre fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. 4Now there came a traveller to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.’ 5Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; 6he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.’
7 Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; 8I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. 9Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. 11Thus says the Lord: I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbour, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very sun. 12For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.’ 13David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’
Ephesians 4: 1 – 16
Unity in the Body of Christ
4I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
7But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8Therefore it is said,
‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
he gave gifts to his people.’
9(When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended* into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
John 6: 24 – 35
24So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
25When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ 26Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ 28Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ 29Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ 30So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” 32Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ 34They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’
35 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.’
What is bread? It is a source of food used by every society on earth. Bread is made from a variety of resources and in a variety of ways, bread is consumed by people everywhere. Most people enjoy their bread, while some people like meat and others don’t, or some like their greens and others don’t, bread is one food that is universal. It is very satisfying and is eaten with a variety of foods, from the humble sandwich to pizza or sophisticated croutons with soup in a fancy restaurant. Everyday, in some way, most people enjoy bread. It can be tolerated by most people.
So why then, did Jesus refer to himself as the bread of life?
He had just performed a miracle, feeding 5000 people from 5 small loaves and 2 fishes. Then after the people were satisfied the disciples gathered up 12 baskets of leftovers – one basket for every doubting disciple!
Jesus cared for the multitude, they took as much bread as they would, and there was still an abundance left over. That is how it is with Jesus. Even though hundreds of millions have been saved by the grace of God, there is always grace for one more.
The following day the people followed him across the lake, were they wanting more bread, or feeding of a different kind?
They asked him how he had reached the other side, they had seen the disciples leave and Jesus was not with them then. The disciples knew he had walked on the water, but the crowd did not. Something had happened that they did not understand.
Jesus told them they had come because they had eaten their fill of the loaves, not because they had seen a miracle.
Jesus went on to tell them to work for the bread that does not spoil. The bread that God gives that will bring them to eternal life.
Physical bread will sustain life for a long time, but we will still die, even though we have been well fed, the bread that Jesus gives, gives everlasting life. All that is needed is to ask for it, make Jesus a reality in your life, come to him through faith.
No one is going to hand this bread to you on a plate, it is offered, but you have to make the effort and reach out for it.
Even though Jesus told them all they needed for eternal life was to believe in him, the Jews wanted another miracle, telling Jesus that Moses gave their ancestors Manna in the desert. They quoted scripture at him… “ He gave them bread from heaven to eat” Jesus reminded them that the bread Moses gave them was provided by God and it was not the bread from heaven, it was provided to nourish their bodies.
Jesus stated , “ I am the Bread from Heaven”. That the bread from heaven is the Son of Man, sent by God to give life to the world. He is more than the Manna fed in the wilderness, he is more than the bread received on the hillside, all who partake of Him will live forever!
This connection to Manna is very interesting, It was like bread, but not bread. It was humble, you had to go and get it for yourself, it was sufficient for every ones needs. You took what you needed and shared it with those who had none, but you could not keep it till the next day, you did not need to, the manna was renewed each day. This is how it is with Jesus, no matter how much you need His bread today, He never runs out and there is more for tomorrow, and forever.
So, what does Heaven’s Bread do?
It grants salvation. God gave us a free will, we have the ability to choose how we live our lives. When we come to Christ in Faith, then we receive salvation.
Jesus has already done everything that is necessary to save the sinner, He died on the cross, He rose from the dead, and He calls the sinner to come to him. This through faith. You have to believe in Jesus.
Heaven’s bread gives satisfaction, when we come to Christ we have a source of life and blessing that never runs dry. Worldly things may satisfy our bodies, but not our souls, they require feeding of a different kind.
The prayer book we use every Sunday provides us with this bread. We are reminded to hear the teaching of Christ, and admonished to love the Lord your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And also to love your neighbour as yourself. We listen to scripture and receive insight into the message contained in these scriptures. When we pray the prayer that Jesus taught us we ask for our daily bread, each day, sufficient for that day, safe in the knowledge that the supply will be replenished tomorrow. During communion we share the ‘ one bread’ this makes us into one body, the Kingdom of God.
The church can be seen as a bread basket you go to for feeding. We listen to the word. We read the Scriptures. We receive the Bread of Life. BUT you are part of the bakery team as well. As you leave here, having been fed, you need to take that bread out to the community, the people you meet every day. You won’t run out, there is enough for all.
The wheat for physical bread grows from a seed sown, tended and shaped into a loaf. So it is for the Bread of Heaven.
Get out there, sow those seeds, share the bread.