Grumble, Grumble, Grumble...


John 6:41-51 CEV

The people started grumbling because Jesus had said he was the bread that had come down from heaven. They were asking each other, "Isn't he Jesus, the son of Joseph? Don't we know his father and mother? How can he say that he has come down from heaven?"
Jesus told them:
Stop grumbling! No one can come to me, unless the Father who sent me makes them want to come. But if they do come, I will raise them to life on the last day. One of the prophets wrote, "God will teach all of them." And so everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him will come to me.
The only one who has seen the Father is the one who has come from him. No one else has ever seen the Father. I tell you for certain that everyone who has faith in me has eternal life.
I am the bread that gives life! Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, and later they died. But the bread from heaven has come down, so that no one who eats it will ever die. I am that bread from heaven! Everyone who eats it will live forever. My flesh is the life-giving bread that I give to the people of this world.

Grumble, grumble, grumble…

The passage for today begins with the gnawing announcement: “The Jews grumbled about him….”
I don’t how you may have felt, but as I read John’s Gospel report of that scene, I couldn’t help but sense the reverberation of their grumbling. It likely persisted even as Jesus tried to turn their focus to God and to accept his message of hope and promise. The dissonance may have intertwined with Jesus’ message:
Grumble, grumble, grumble.
We know Jesus’ parents….
We know where he came from….
 “Who does he think he is?”
Grumble, grumble, grumble.
“Came from heaven” he says?
Pompous, presumptuous….
“Doesn’t he know his place?”
Grumble, grumble, grumble.
“Listen!” Jesus counters.
Come closer…learn from God.
Hear where I’m really from.
Grumble, grumble, grumble.
 “From God who I have seen…
God’s Word made flesh through me:
I am the bread of life….”
Grumble, grumble, grumble.
 “Whoever eats this bread…
…receives eternal life…
Given for all…for you.”
Grumble, grumble, grumble.
I’m not sure how Jesus stood it. A message that should have brought his listeners encouragement and hope was shrouded in the din of their disbelief and derision.
Are we any better listeners now?
Grumble, grumble, grumble can too often be our chorus in response to what we experience in life, what we possess, or how we feel…and we miss God’s message of hope and promise. 
Jesus is: the bread of life. Bread sufficient every day. Bread enough for life beyond this life.


Gracious and loving God, quiet our grumbling about what we don’t have and what just doesn’t make sense to us. Allow your Spirit to draw us more deeply into the resources of scripture and to remind us of all that you promised through your Son, Jesus. May our trust and faith in you quiet every grumbling tsunami that seeks to sweep us away from you, and instead cast us grace-filled waves that lift us up to you, today and to eternity. Amen.
Dr. J. Keith Zimmerman is superintendent of the Vermilion River District.