Jesus says, I am the bread of life (John 6:35)
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." (John 6:35)
The events leading up to Jesus saying these words to the crowds plays an important part in explaining their full significance and impact. At the beginning of John chapter 6, Jesus preaches to a multitude of people. As he concludes, he is aware that they are in need of food. They are hungry. They had followed Jesus onto a remote mountainside around the lake of Galilee. So, seeing their need, Jesus does that which only God Himself could do. He takes 5 small barley loaves, and 2 small fishes and feeds them all, over 5,000 men, not counting women and children (John 6:10)
Scripture says Jesus “distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted." (John 6:11) There was no shortage of food, no holding back, or waiting until everyone had some first. After all the people were stuffed full and could eat no more, there was still plenty more left over, far more than they had started with! They ate and were full, satisfied. Their hunger had been appeased. It was only then that Jesus ordered that anything remaining should be gathered up, and this amounted to 12 baskets, all from the original 5 small barley loaves!
The very next day, when the crowd sees that Jesus had left, they searched for him again. Jesus takes this moment to teach them a lesson. He accuses the crowd of ignoring His miraculous sign the day before, and only following Him for the “free meal.”
Jesus goes on to tell them “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.” (John 6:27)
In other words, they were so taken up with the food that Jesus provided, and full stomachs, they were missing out on the fact that here in their very presence was their Messiah! They had overlooked his teaching, and his presence. So they asked Jesus for a sign that He was sent from God. (as if the previous day's miracle wasn't enough)
They tell Jesus that God gave them Manna during the desert wandering, what can you supply? Jesus responds by telling them that they need to ask for the true manna, the bread from heaven that gives eternal life. When they ask Jesus for this bread, Jesus takes them completely by surprise by saying, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
What did Jesus mean? Exactly how is Jesus like bread, or Manna?
Well, let's first of all look back to the book of Exodus and find out. Manna was misunderstood. They called it Manna which means, "What is it? For they did not know what it was." (Exodus 16:15) It was outside of their experience. Something new, never seen before. Jesus was also misunderstood and was not recognised by the very people He came to save. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. (John 1:11)
“Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him? Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?" (John 10:20) Jesus is still misunderstood today and divides opinion. Jesus says he is telling the truth, but many think he is mad! What do you think? If he is not mad, then you must take his words seriously!
Can a mere man feed over 5,000 with a blink of an eye? Can a mortal open the eyes of the blind? Who is he? He is more than a teacher, a prophet, a poor unfortunate man who got Himself killed. For he is The Prophet, The Messiah, Son of God! He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! These facts must be believed in order to obtain eternal life? Do you believe in the true identity of Jesus?
Manna was provided by God, as a gift, it wasn't deserved. To save them, preserve them in the wilderness. “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you” it came down from heaven itself. God did not hold back his own son, but freely gave him to us. Jesus said this “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me." (John 6:38) His will is that everyone should believe in the marvellous gift of his Son, and be saved.
Salvation, eternal life itself is of the LORD. After they said What is it? Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. (Exodus 16:15-16) And it was provided, gathered daily (except on the Sabbath), every morning! The lesson here is we need to digest God's word every day, to feed us spiritually, to keep us going!
It was enough for everyone’s need – Moses told them to gather what they needed, “And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less..., and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat.” (Exodus 16:17-18) They didn’t need to eat anything else! It filled their stomachs, their hunger was appeased. This reminds us again that Jesus is the all-sufficient Saviour. He meets and satisfies the basic hunger of a man's soul.
God fed them Manna every day for 38 years until they reached Cannan, the promised land! What a God we serve! Jesus has promised to be ever with us, and feed us his word, all the way to the heavenly Jerusalem itself.
It Was Sweet To The Taste - It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey (Exodus 16:31). Those who ate found it sweet and satisfying. In the same manner, all those who receive Jesus as their Saviour find Him to be sweet to the soul and satisfying to life. That is why we are encouraged by David to "taste and see that the Lord is good." (Psalm 34:8)
Some was to be kept, preserved for future generations (Exodus 16:32). As Christians, we are to show and share Jesus with others, we have the bible, his word. He is to be shared with those who cross our path. We are to be certain that we share Him with the next generation, because we are only one generation away from extinction as a people at any given time (see 2 Tim. 2:2)
Why did God feed them Manna in this way?
"And he (God) humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." (Deut 8:3).
God was teaching them all along to rely upon his word and promises. In doing so, this would truly satisfy, and give them life, just as bread supplies nutrition, and calories etc. During the desert wanderings, God gave their fathers supernatural food from heaven to support their natural lives. Manna.
In John chapter 6 Jesus feeds the large crowd, and tells them he is the bread of life. Now Jesus gives himself to us, to you. The true Bread for the salvation of your soul. Jesus is greater than the Manna, Jesus is greater than the bread given out on the mountainside. All who partake of Him will have life, eternal life! Salvation comes through believing in Jesus, and Jesus alone!
To sum up, by equating himself with manna, and daily bread, Jesus is saying he is absolutely essential for gaining eternal life.
What the world cannot give, eternal satisfaction.
Lets look again at the words Jesus said “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
Jesus, we are told in John 1:4 is life, and John 1:10 the one who created and sustains all Life. He is our creator, the one who made you, knows you inside out. Not just what you have done, but your very thoughts. But he has not come to condemn, but to save! Only Jesus can make you whole, complete! He says “I am the bread of life.” Feed on Me, come to Me!
Jesus says whoever comes to him will never go hungry. This is not to be taken literally! Jesus is using a figure of speech. We might use the word hunger sometimes relating to sport, or business, meaning an inner desire, a longing for something. That is precisely what Jesus means here. Jesus elsewhere gives us a similar statement, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Mathew 5:6)
Within us all there is a spiritual hunger and appetite, and a thirst for more than what the world gives us. Why are there so many religions in the world? Where does this “reaching out” for something else come from? The bible says it's from our Creator, it's in our DNA!
We all know something is not right inside, something missing. There is a longing that is deep down in every human heart, a desire, which we can’t describe or put into words. An aching void inside. It’s something which many chase after but never find. Many suppress it. Others try to fill this “hole” by chasing after fame, money, drugs, sex, because in doing so this will satisfy my soul, and fill the emptiness inside. But it’s never lasting. It never satisfies the soul.
Jesus is saying, there is a real and lasting satisfaction which is only found if we feed on his word, on his teaching. We must feed upon him. Enter into a saving relationship with him. Ask him for life! Trust in what he did upon the cross, and repent of our sins. Without Jesus, we are restless, incomplete. And naturally speaking we don’t know what it is that is missing until that hunger and desire is filled. Only Jesus can give you spiritual life, everlasting life, peace, contentment. You will never be satisfied in your souls, until you have fed upon Jesus. You will just be left with empty stomachs!
Do you hunger and thirst for something the world can’t offer? Are you fed up with chasing after things that can’t truly satisfy? Then take Jesus at his word. He says come to me. It’s easy to say, but not so easy to do. Pride and trusting in self must be overcome. Will you go to Jesus? What is holding you back?
If you come to Jesus, and believe on him today, it is like eating a meal. Jesus shows that he is the true Bread; he is to the soul what bread is to the body, nourishes and supports the spiritual life. He is the Bread of God. The true bread which the Father gives, which he has provided to be the food of our souls. The bread we buy and cook nourishes our physical bodies; but Jesus Christ is himself the living Bread, he nourishes and satisfies the soul.
What are you going to do about it?
From these verses, it is plain to see that Jesus is the only hope for the world. He is what the soul of man needs before it can experience eternal life.
The question that comes to us at this point is this: What is Jesus to you? Do you know Jesus as 'The Bread Of Life' in a personal way? Have you received Him into your heart and life? Are you secure in His salvation? Why do we say this? Before Heaven's bread can be enjoyed by the sinner, it must be received. This is a simple enough thing, but many stumble right here. Many can believe that Jesus was real, that He died on the cross, and even that He rose from the dead. However, to make His sacrifice, and the salvation He offers a reality in your life, you must come to Him by faith and be born again!
Let's take being invited to a meal as an example. When you arrive, set before you on the table is a nice dish of roast potatoes, roast lamb, and various vegetables. You are asked to please take, eat, help yourself. But you just sit there with an empty plate. Why? What is stopping you? Its a silly illustration, but this is what many do after hearing the good news of the gospel. You must reach out and take the food, help yourself. It’s the same spiritually. Do you have a spiritual hunger? Reach out, taste and see that God is good. Pray to him, read the bible, and it will be food to your soul.
If you want to become a Christian, and find eternal life, take these very words of Jesus to him in prayer, and ask for the living bread that satisfies the soul.
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