The bread of life (Jn 6:48-6:48)

“I am

The bread

Of life.”

ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἄρτος τῆς ζωῆς.

John uniquely indicated that Jesus repeated that he what he had said earlier in verse 35.  He was (ἐγώ εἰμι) the bread (ὁ ἄρτος) of life (τῆς ζωῆς).  Jesus told these Jewish representatives of the crowd in the first person singular (Ἐγώ εἰμι) that he was the bread (ὁ ἄρτος) of life (τῆς ζωῆς).  This bread of life speech used the classical phrase “I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι)” to imply that Jesus was God, just as Yahweh had spoken to Moses in the burning bush in Exodus, chapter 3:14, when he said that he is who is.  This bread of life speech is often seen as an invitation to believe in Jesus as the Son of God.  Jesus was the living bread.  If you came to Jesus and believed in him, then you would never again be hungry or thirsty.  The faith basis of this obvious Eucharistic meal was developed throughout this presentation.  Do you believe that Jesus is the bread of life?

This is my body (Mk 14:22-14:22)

“While they were eating,

Jesus took

A loaf of bread.

After blessing it,

He broke it.

He gave it

To them.

He said.

‘Take!

This is my body.’”

 

Καὶ ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν λαβὼν ἄρτον εὐλογήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς καὶ εἶπεν Λάβετε· τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου.

 

This is almost word for word in Mathew, chapter 26:26, but in Luke, chapter 22:19, it has a little more elaboration.  Paul used almost the same wording in I Corinthians, chapter 11:23-24.  In John, chapter 6:35-58, Jesus was preaching about eating the flesh of the Son of Man, the bread of life, so that he does not have a Last Supper institution narrative.  Mark said that while they were eating (Καὶ ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν) the Passover meal, Jesus took a loaf of bread (λαβὼν ἄρτον).  He spoke the blessing or blessed it (εὐλογήσας).  He broke it into pieces (ἔκλασεν).  Then he gave it to them (καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς).  He said (καὶ εἶπεν) that they should take (Λάβετε) this bread, because it was his body (τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου).  There was no mention of eating it here, as in Matthew.  This Eucharistic institution narrative may already have been in this stylized form at the time of the writing of this gospel.  There was no specific indication whether this was leavened or unleavened bread, just a loaf of bread.  However, if it was a Passover meal on the feast of the Unleavened Bread, the evident assumption would be that it was unleavened or “matzah” bread.  Clearly, this institution narrative has had a profound effect on further Christian Eucharistic sacramental theological development.

They forgot to bring bread (Mk 8:14-8:14)

“The disciples

Had forgotten

To bring any bread.

They had only

One loaf

With them

In the boat.”

 

Καὶ ἐπελάθοντο λαβεῖν ἄρτους, καὶ εἰ μὴ ἕνα ἄρτον οὐκ εἶχον μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 16:5.  In Matthew, the disciples discovered this problem when they landed on the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  However, Mark said that it took place while they were still in the boat.  In an ironic twist of fate, the disciples of Jesus forget to bring any bread with them on this trip across the Sea of Galilee, with no indication of the place where they going.  Mark said that the disciples forgot to bring loaves of bread (Καὶ ἐπελάθοντο λαβεῖν ἄρτους).  They only had one loaf of bread (καὶ εἰ μὴ ἕνα ἄρτον οὐκ εἶχον) with them (μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν) in the boat (ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ).  Bread was a key food element of nourishment.  Remember the bread of life.