Family, Fortune and Icons of Faith

John 6: “I am the bread of life.”

Interestingly, Jesus had very little to say about the evil of the world. At least, not as much as you think he would. In fact, he was regularly regarded by the super-religious as a bit of a drunkard and party boy. His message didn’t seem to have the stridency of the preachers I hear on tv or the appeals for urgency that you read in fundraising letters. He never seemed in a hurry and almost never referred to the ruling authority that the Romans held over his people.

But clearly through the Gospel of John, Jesus took aim at one very deliberate enemy or oppressor. That was the religious piety of the practicing elite. If you read carefully through John chapters 6-15, his ongoing judgmental statements were made to those who were charged to lead the people toward God. He had no room for those who professed their standing on the basis of family, intellect or religious training. He called these influences satan. Bad yeast, bad shepherds, bad illumination or darkness. Those were the words he used.

Instead, he offered himself as the bread of life, the direct light or way to God and the good shepherd to lead the people. By implication the greatest oppression is still the religious piety which misdirects people to feel excluded from the work of Jesus. Pointing toward him is always the privilege of the minister.

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