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Bread of the World in Mercy Broken

Bread of the World in Mercy Broken

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Published by glennpease
BY MALCOLM JAMES McLEOD



'l am the bread of life." — John 6: 35.

BY MALCOLM JAMES McLEOD



'l am the bread of life." — John 6: 35.

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 28, 2013
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BREAD OF THE WORLD IN MERCY BROKENBY MALCOLM JAMES McLEOD
'l am the bread of life." John 6: 35.HESE are the words of ourLord. He is not speaking aboutthe wonderful miracle whichHe has just performed, norabout His doctrines, nor aboutHis mission, but about Him-self. And He calls Himself the bread of life.Verily it is an astonishing announcement, oneof those staggering claims that leave us awe-struck, dumb-struck in His presence. Mark you, there is no quibbling, no equivocating, nobeating round the bush, just a clean, clear,colourless challenge made \nthout any flourish,without any call, without any warning. Likea shot from a cannon in the peaceful air, itstartles us. **I am the bread of life." Thewords indeed are amazing. If they do not makeus sit up and take notice, I rather infer thatCardinal Newman was right when he said, **Youdo not mediate and therefore you are not im-pressed."The bread of life. Every wor'd is monosyllabic,4546 **Sonfls in tbe IRiflbt"Anglo-Saxon. There are no long Latin deriva-tives, no bombastic high-faluting rhetoric, noadjectives full of melody and rich in colour, notwisted, tangled, knotty phrases to untie, thenwords to parse and analyze; not any, not one."I am the bread of life." No syllables couldbe simpler. A little child can understand them.Not life's luxury, life's necessity; not pastry,bread ; not dainties, bread. Jesus nowhere callsHimself the dessert of life, the salad or theseasoning rendering things tasty. He nowherecalls Himself the wine of life or the liquor of life. He is not a stimulant ; He is a staple. He
is a fundamental bread, meat, flesh, food. Wemay get the flavourings of the table otherwhere,but the essence of the festival is Himself. Breadis not an ornamental thing; it is a substantialthing; it is the food of the body. And JesusChrist is bread. "He is the bread of which if aman eat he shall never hunger, the water of which if a man drink he shall never thirst."
 
Will you permit me to repeat that, please?One of the startling things about this manJesus is His simplicity. Jesus rarely usespolysyllables. The words He wields are little
words light, life, love, truth, joy, rest, peace,work, hope, God, Father. These are the verbalweapons He handles and stamps with the imprintof eternity. Without such words indeed wherewould our language be? Can you make a sen-**JBreat) ot tbe Worlb" 47tence out of polysyllables? Try it. How sim-ple nature is; the tree dies, the sun. shines, therain falls, the bird sings, the grass grows, thefire burns, the water freezes, the wind blows,the dog barks, the baby cries, the boy laughs, theman dies.The great writers of the world are simple.Deep water is clear; only puddles are muddy.Usually our lack of clearness is due to shallow-ness or sediment. The great preachers, like thegreat poets, have always spoken to the commonheart. Sometimes I pick up a magazine poemof the present day ; I read it over and over, andI say to myself, "I wonder what this thingmeans." The words are musical, the figures areflowery; yes, but what does the passage meantYou never have any trouble in telling whatRuskin means, or Tennyson, or Wordsworth.Given the correct text, and there is hardly everany doubt what Shakespeare means. And Jesus,too, is never cloudy. Mark says, "The commonpeople heard him gladly," He is literature'ssupreme artist ; He rises like a great white shafthigh up in the field of letters.Marvellous man, this man of Nazareth! Hestaggers me by His assumptions; they are sodaring. And He never so staggers me as whenHe begins by saying, "I am," When Jesus be-gins by saying "I am," we know there is some-thing coming. **I am the light of the world."48 "Songs in tbe IRiobt"*'I am the good shepherd." "I am the truevine." "I am the way." "I am the truth."**I am the resurrection." "I am the judge of all." "I am the beginning and the end."Jesus is never afraid to claim preeminence. Heloves to make us open our eyes in fixed and holywonder. *'He taught as one having authority
 
and not as the scribes." Men received a spiri-tual shock in His presence. From the humblestfisherman in Galilee at the bottom, clear up to
cultured Nicodemus at the top, to everybody
in fact He was an amazing man. He is Him-self the greatest miracle of the Gospels. Grant-ing Him all other miracles follow.Now the first thought that meets us in thisverse is the thought of Personality. **I," Hesays. Let us start out with that tiny, straight-up, perpendicular **I." Jesus always beginswith Himself. He puts the emphasis on His ownperson, and invites men not to the truth He isproclaiming, but to Himself. The first funda-mental of the Christian religion is Christ Him-self. Let us drive that nail permanently homeat the very outset.The first question He ever put to His discipleswas, "Whom do men say that I, the son of man,am?" This is the more remarkable when we re-member that all other great teachers try toefface themselves. Jesus alone among seekersafter truth thrusts Himself boldly and aggres-
**mcab ot tbe QClorlO*' 49sively into the foreground. He says, "Followme." "Come unto me." "Abide in me.""Believe in me." "Love me." So I repeat,the first thing that meets us is the fact of Christ.He asks acceptance not only for the truth He isproclaiming, but primarily for Himself. Hemakes Himself the centre of His message. Hisfirst recorded public utterance was spoken in thesynagogue at Nazareth. "This day is theScripture fulfilled in your ears." His last re-corded utterance was in the palace of the HighPriest. "I am the Christ; hereafter ye shallsee me coming in the clouds of heaven." So Irepeat the first thing that confronts us is thefact of Christ.And He confronts us, mark you, not only asa fact but as a supernatural fact. He comes tous in the holy record as a strange being of mys-tery and wonder, claiming an other-world con-nection. He does not belong to the inventory of the usual. "Ye are from beneath, I am fromabove." You cannot make of Jesus a normalbeing unless you first rip and gash and slash thedocuments to your heart's reckless content.Some have not hesitated to do this. Indeedsome theological surgeons have been so puzzled

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