I AM the Bread of Life
John 6:25-35 Princeton Christian Church 21 March 2021
As we look at the first section of the 6th Chapter of John (verses 1-24), we can review the busyness of the day and the next day. The significant events include: the Feeding of the 5000; Walking on the water; Crowds following Jesus.
A person can live a long time on bread and water. Bread is a staple in our diet; “bread” sometimes can be meant when we say “food.” Remember what Jesus said as He taught his disciples how to pray. One line in the prayer says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” He wasn’t just teaching them words to say. He was teaching them that we don’t need to be concerned about our provisions for tomorrow, or next week, or a year from now. We need only our daily bread.
Jesus says, in 6:35, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
Again, bread is a basic food item. Most of us eat bread in one form or another every single day of our lives. It sustains us. Gives us strength. Causes us to gain weight.
We use the phrase, “Breaking of Bread together when we share a meal with others. Bread was also a very large part of the Jewish Passover meal. The Jews were to eat unleavened bread during the Passover feast, and then for 7 days after as a celebration of their exodus from Egypt. While they were out there wandering through the desert and wilderness for 40 years, God rained down “bread from heaven” which the Bible describes as manna (Exodus 16:4).
All of this brings us to the scene John describes in his Gospel account in Chapter 6 when Jesus said, “I AM the Bread of Life.”
He was trying to get away from the crowds. Why? Probably to have some quality teaching time with his closest followers; or perhaps simply to rest from the day’s labors. They crossed the Sea of Galilee and the crowds followed. Later, Jesus asks Philip how they were going to feed this huge crowd. Why would he ask Philip when he surely already knew? I believe it was to test the faith of Philip and the others. And Philip displays his lack of faith with his answer, “It would take more than 8 months wages to buy enough bread to even give each person a small bite.”
Andrew, though, finds a young lad who has five small barley loaves and 2 small fish. Andrew, too, was skeptical of how so many could be fed with so small amounts of bread and fish.
But, as we read, Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and we see that those 5000 were sufficiently fed. In fact, the Scripture said everyone had all that they wanted. And, there were leftovers! 12 baskets were filled with the leftovers.
Because the crowds wanted to crown him King, Jesus and his disciples left the area, crossed back over to the other side of the sea. The crowds follow him again.
Jesus took the time to teach the people a lesson (verses 25-26). He says to them that they are following him only for the free food, not understanding the significance of his words and the miracles the saw him perform.
Here is his lesson to them --- verse 27 --- don’t work for food that spoils; work for food that endures for eternal life. And where can they get this food that endures for eternal life? By following the Son of Man (Jesus) who will give it to you, because God has placed his seal of approval on him.
The people asked for a sign so that they would know and be able to believe in him. After all Moses had given them the manna in the desert – bread from heaven. Jesus sets them straight on that line of thinking, assuring them that “the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world.” - Verses 32-33.
And then in verse 35, Jesus makes the declaration, “I am the Bread of Life.”
What a bold and profound statement! Look at what Jesus is saying here:
1. I am the bread of life – He is bread.
2. He is essential for life. Without him there is no life.
3. He is not talking about physical life; he is talking about spiritual life, eternal life.
4. He is trying to get the crowds to understand the difference between the physical bread he miraculously multiplied, which would eventually spoil, and the spiritual bread which only the Messiah, the chosen one of God, could bring. And with that bread we have eternal life.
In John 10:10 Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Have you ever noticed that some of the richest, most famous, most powerful people are some of the most miserable in the world? This is living proof that no matter how wealthy, or famous, or powerful someone becomes, there is an emptiness and a longing in the soul that none of these things can satisfy. This is what Jesus can bring to those who hear him, and believe his words, his teaching from this Book. He and his bread can fill an empty soul.
Jesus could have made a statement to the crowds like these:
I can give you the bread of life.
I can tell you where to find the bread of life.
I can give you the recipe or the blueprint for the bread of life.
He could have rightly said all those things and each one would have been true. But, no. What did he say? I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE
Are you hungry? Around certain times of each day most of us will seek out something to eat. To satisfy our hunger. Sometimes we may graze all day long and still not find what will satisfy our hunger.
Do you know that God has instilled in all mankind the desire for eternity?
Look at Ecclesiastes 3:11 --- He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end.
Our dilemma is that we have a desire that we, on our own, or even with the help of others, cannot fulfill, no matter how hard we try. That is where Jesus comes in. He, and He alone, can fulfill that desire in our heart for righteousness. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Righteousness here means that “the man who trusts in Christ, becomes in Christ, all that God requires a man to be, all that he could never be in himself.
When Christ died on the cross, he took your sins, and my sins, all the sins of mankind upon himself and made atonement for them. He paid the price.
When we place our faith in him, repent of our sins, confess him as Lord and Savior, we are baptized into him – he has taken our sins upon himself, and we become, in Christ, all that we could never be on our own.
Jesus satisfies our hunger and our thirst for right living. Filled with the life giving bread.
Are you hungry for something which will satisfy? Are you hungry for the Bread of Life? And if so, are you hungry for a deeper, fuller relationship with Jesus Christ who IS the Bread of Life?
------ Gary K Fair