Entering into Holy Week reminds us of the hunger that plagues us as human beings. It is a hunger for spiritual satisfaction that has persisted throughout history. In John 6:35-58, Jesus speaks of this hunger as a universal need that only He can satisfy.
Jesus satisfies our spiritual hunger as manna fed the Israelites in the wilderness. He uses physical hunger as a metaphor to illustrate the need for spiritual satisfaction. Eating is the perfect analogy for satisfaction, but we rarely feel satisfied. After eating, the feeling only lasts so long and then goes away.
Most religions suggest that the answer to our spiritual hunger is to starve ourselves of the seemingly good things of creation. Conversely, a standard secular answer is to indulge in creaturely comforts. However, both approaches lead to death.
In this passage, Jesus offers another approach: a rightly ordered eating – feasting on the right thing – Jesus’ flesh and blood. He says, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53).
The entire storyline of the Bible can frame around the idea of eating. In the book of Genesis, God presents human beings as hungry creatures and gives them the whole world as food. But the story of Adam and Eve reminds us that to eat of the forbidden tree was to not eat in communion with God. It was food eaten for its own sake and broke communion between humans and God.
Human beings have been striving to regain that communion ever since. It is the incentive for our spiritual hunger that everyone experiences. We long to be back in communion with the gift-giver. And here in John 6, God offers a new meal, bringing us back into communion with Him.
As we approach Maundy Thursday, we must reflect on the significance of this divinely ordered feast and strive to be in communion with God through Jesus Christ, who is the bread of life. Let us understand that the Lord’s Supper is not just a mere act of eating, but a communion with God. It is the ultimate source of satisfaction that our hearts yearn for. Therefore, we must seek to find fulfillment only in Christ.