Peter Misselbrook's Blog
May 10 2013 - John 6:22-40 – The bread of life

One of the most remarkable signs that Jesus performed was the feeding of the 5000. Certainly it made a deep impression on the first disciples for it is one of the few incidents that is recorded in all four of the gospels. One of the details that always amazes me is that after feeding the crowds with five small barley loaves and two fish, the disciples collected up 12 baskets full of the remnants of the feast. There was more food left over than had been available at the beginning!

In John’s Gospel, this remarkable miracle is immediately followed by a section of teaching in which Jesus speaks of himself as the bread of life. The crowds who had been fed came seeking Jesus again on the following day. They were looking for more free food. Jesus tells them not to pursue food that perishes but the food that remains for eternal life; they are to believe in the one that God has sent into the world (John 6:29).

Jesus then draws a parallel between himself and the manna which God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness after he had rescued them from Egypt. Both are bread sent down from heaven by God, but the manna quickly went rotten. Jesus is the bread of life; he not only possesses eternal life, he gives that life to all who believe in him and will raise them up on the last day. He gives resurrection life.

Just as the Israelites in the desert needed to gather manna daily to meet each day’s need, so we need to feed on Christ daily that we may live in him and continually draw our life and strength from him. Fellowship with him is vital to our wellbeing; we need to treasure the words of his mouth more than our daily bread (see Job 23:12). The crowds demanded, “Sir, always give us this bread” (6:34), but they would not feed on him as the bread of life. Their cry should also be our plea; a plea to feed continually on him.

Jesus, thou joy of loving hearts,
Thou fount of life, thou light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to thee again.

Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on thee call;
To them that seek thee thou art good,
To them that find thee all in all.

We taste thee, O thou living bread,
And long to feast upon thee still;
We drink of thee, the fountainhead,
And thirst our souls from thee to fill.

John makes it clear that the feeding of the 5000 was intended as a sign. Jesus intended it as a pointer to himself; he is the one who gives life and gives it in abundance. He is not merely adequate for our needs, there is always more, more left over than there was at the beginning! What we have tasted of him is but the first course: the best is yet to come. The fullness of life that we will possess in him when we are raised up on the last day exceeds all present imagination.

Father God, we praise you that you have given us even more wonderful food than the manna – the bread of angels that rained from heaven. Spirit of God, increase my hunger for the Lord Jesus that I may seek him daily, even moment by moment. Lord Jesus, bread of heaven, feed me now and evermore. So may I enjoy life in you now and the fullness of resurrection life in the age to come. Help me to point a hungry world to the bread that truly satisfies that they also may have life.

May 10 2019 - 2 Samuel 13 – Amnon and Tamar

God forgave David the terrible sins he had committed against Bathsheba and against Uriah. Nevertheless, his sin would have consequences which run on down the generations. The Lord told David, "You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own." (2 Samuel 12:9-10). Like the kings of the nations, David had begun to think he could do as he pleased. This conduct was observed and imitated by his children; as members of the royal family they seem to feel that they are answerable to no-one. This is the background to today's awful story.

David had many wives and a great many children; there was plenty of scope for tensions and rivalry in the royal household. Amnon was David's firstborn son, born to him by Ahinoam from Jezreel. Absolom was David's third son, born to him by Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur, a region in Galilee (see 2 Samuel 3:3).

Amnon fell in love with Tamar, his beautiful half-sister, the full sister of Absolom. Amnon plotted to get Tamar into bed with him. Once he had raped he we read, "Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her" (v.15). Desolate and distressed, Tamar went to live with her brother Absolom.

We read, "When King David heard all this, he was furious" (v.21). He may indeed have been furious, but we do not read of him taking any action to discipline Amnon or to try to repair the breach between Amnon and Absolom.

Absolom waited two years, perhaps hoping in vain for some action on his father's part. Then he decided to take matters into his own hands. He invited the king's sons to come with him to celebrate his sheep-shearing. He also asked his father, David, to come. Whether Absolom had wanted to force his father to now take some action over Amnon, or whether he had known that the invitation would be rejected by the king we do not know. All we do know is that Absolom used this feast as an occasion to take revenge on his half-brother and have him killed.

"Absalom fled and went to hide with his mother's family. Meanwhile, David mourned the death of his eldest son, Amnon. But after three years he longed for Absolom to come back home.

David fell into sin with Bathsheba partly because he failed to do what he should have been doing – he failed to lead his armies in battle. Here we see that David fails again to do what he should have done. He fails to deal with Amnon when he rapes his half-sister. He fails to deal with Absolom when he acts to avenge Tamar and kills his half-brother Amnon. David is deeply saddened by the actions of his children but he seems to do nothing to rectify the situation either by way of rebuking his sons or seeking to mend the broken relationships.

God, our heavenly Father, does not treat us as our sins deserve. But neither does he turn a blind eye to our sin. He gave his own Son up for us that our sins might be forgiven and we might be brought back into fellowship with him. He has placed his Spirit in our hearts to convict us of our sins and bring us to repentance. Our Lord Jesus wants his royal family to be marked by love for him and a compassionate concern for one another.

Father God, we thank you for King Jesus who has made us members of his royal family. Help us to be sensitive to your Spirit who is at work in our hearts to make us like Jesus. May we live in loving obedience to him and compassionate concern for one another. May our lives and our testimony draw others into your kingdom.

Peter Misselbrook