I Am The Bread Of Life
1. "I am the bread of life. Anyone who comes to me will never hunger and anyone who believes in me will never thirst," (John 6:35). This is the word of the Lord given to us today.
2. "The bread of life." That's an unusual statement. They're not your every day words. What does "bread of life" mean? In verse thirty-three, it states that "The bread of God fell from heaven and gives life to the world." It seems "the bread of life" has the meaning "bread that gives life." If we back up, in verse twenty-seven the Lord urges the people with, "Don't work for food that perishes, but work for the food that will never disappear but that leads to eternal life." Therefore, it is believed that "life" means "eternal life," and that "the bread of life" is pointing to "the food that will never disappear but that leads to eternal life."
The Bread That Falls From Heaven And Gives Life
3. Jesus states in regard to "the bread of life" that it is a bread that falls from heaven and gives life. "Bread that falls from heaven" - This too is not a statement that we find familiar [on an every day basis]. But, for the Jews it was a very common thing to say because they knew quite well that the bread from heaven is written about in the scriptures. It [tells of] this wonderful unusual food called manna.
4. The Jewish ancestors escaped Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Then they were immediately lead into the wilderness. In the wilderness there was no food. They had escaped Egypt with great joy, but then shortly after they made an appeal for their hunger and began to complain. Whereupon the Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I will let bread from heaven fall for you all," (Exodus 16:4), and he gave them the marvelous food called manna. So they were nourished with the bread from heaven and were able to keep on in their journey. The bread from heaven gave life to the Israelites while they were in the wilderness, and brought them life. In that sense then, manna was certainly "the bread of life" for them.
5. However, the reason God let the manna fall was not just to meet their physical hunger. Moses told the people the following about the manna: "The Lord afflicted you and let you become hungry, and then fed you with manna which neither you nor your ancestors ever tasted. That was to let you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes out of the mouth of the Lord," (Deuteronomy 8:3). It is quite paradoxical, however, for he says the reason God gave them bread was to let them know that "Man doesn't live by bread alone." In other words, when a person "is living and alive" in its truest sense, it refers to more than the life support that just comes from food. God says that a person's truly being "alive" means that he or she is living due to, and according to the word of God. That is, God shows himself through his word, and a person can respond to God by love, trust, and obedience. That's how a person is to live with God. In fellowship like that with God is "life." "Eternal life" means the same as a relationship with the eternal God. Going by that definition, the bread of life would not be the manna itself that the Israelites had eaten. The bread of life is the word of God that the people were given. The Bible says, "Man lives by every word that comes out of the mouth of the Lord."
6. In today's passage, Jesus spoke on this "bread of life" in such a way. That means that the world has a most basic of deficiency in real life. Don't be mistaken, but Jesus is not talking in this text about "psychological bread." It's not about just needing to be satisfied physically or to be satisfied psychologically. If it were only about our needing a feeling of psychological satisfaction or a sense of fulfillment we could be satisfied on many different counts. In truth, most people run about in an effort to meet these heart felt needs. But, what they need is not something psychological. It is "Life" that they need.
7. The world is hungry for real life which comes from a relationship with God. It was even hungry in the seemingly religious Jewish society. They too had need of "the bread of life." It is the same even in this world where the words of Jesus are being proclaimed. Society has need of "the bread of life." This world has been hurting. It continues to hurt even now. It seems like many problems are causing this world pain. This world, which has nuclear and environmental problems that threaten the continued existence of not just humanity but every single living thing, seems to be on the brink of death. But, actually, the reason it suffers and is on the brink of death, the reason we have a hard time finding hope is not because they are hard to solve; it is because we've lost our connection and relationship with God and we have lost Life. The world hungers for Life and needs "the bread of life."
I Am The Bread Of Life
8. So then, pointing to himself the Lord said, "I am the bread of life." This is an amazing statement. God chose the Israelites from this world, and he entrusted to them the Word of God. The Word of God was given to them as the law of Moses and as the messages from the prophets. The Lord revealed himself through the Mosaic law and the prophetic word. But, Jesus did not say that "The law and the words from the prophets are the bread of life." The Lord said, "I am the bread of life."
9. That Jesus Christ is the bread of life, first, means that he is the true Word of God, the revelation of God. God has spoken through the words and the letters of human [instruments], but he has spoken definitively and ultimately by the sending of his son. [God] has spoken to this world of people through the person and the character of Jesus Christ. Indeed, "The word became flesh and dwelt among us," (1:14). That means that if we wish to know God, if we want to know how to live in a relationship with God, then we would have to know Jesus Christ.
10. Then second, that Jesus Christ is the bread of life means, in all reality, that he is truly the one who gives us a relationship with God and allows us to take part in Life, and it also happens in exactly the same manner as when bread is eaten by a person and gives life to the body. Bread goes into the mouth, is chewed up, and digested, and then it gives life. Bread, so to speak, gives life to people by the giving of itself. Likewise, by Christ's giving of himself he became the life giving bread.
11. Therefore, later Jesus told in rather crude sounding terms what he was about to do. The Lord said, "Truly I say to you. Unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, there is no life in you. Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will obtain eternal life, I will raise that person up from the dead on the last day; for, my flesh is the true food and my blood is the true drink," (6:53-55).
12. "Eat my flesh. Drink my blood." What in the world does this mean!? - Nobody who heard that when they heard it could understand it at all. But then shortly later, the disciples came to see what it meant and still means. It was pointing to the event of the cross where Jesus tore his flesh and shed his blood. The figure of Jesus upon the cross is really the cry of Jesus saying, "Eat my flesh. Drink my blood."
13. Jesus gave himself totally and had to die the way he did in order to lead us into a relationship with God and to give life to us; because in order for us to live with God we first must have our sins taken away. Our sins don't get taken away by forgetting about them. Though we might forget them, they are still there. They remain before God. Sin must be redeemed with a life. For that reason then, Christ became "the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world," (1:29). Christ became the atoning sacrifice. By his giving of himself in this way, the Lord became "the bread of life" that gives us life.
No One Who Comes to Me Will Be Hungry
14. But, as you give it careful thought, "being given the bread" is not equivalent to "denying hunger, escaping starvation." It is still possible for a person holding bread in his or her hand to die of hunger. If the person doesn't eat the bread, they will die of hunger all the same. The Lord certainly became "the bread of life" that we might live. "The bread of life" has already been given. But, that doesn't mean we will automatically escape from hunger in life or we will avert destruction and hell. When a person comes to "the bread of life," he or she must eat it. Therefore, the Lord did not only say "I am the bread of life," but went on to say, "The one who comes to me will never hunger, the one who believes on me will never thirst."
15. The person who comes to Christ is defined as a person who believes in Christ. To eat Christ the bread of life means to believe in Christ. What the text is talking about here is the personal relationship between this one called Jesus and our own selves. We are not just being required to believe in the religious teachings of Christianity. We are not just being required to believe in the sacred scriptures of the Bible. We are not just being told to believe in "the teachings" of Jesus. We are not being required to just believe 'something" about Jesus. We are being called out to believe in "Jesus." Whoever believes in Jesus obtains eternal life. For that matter, whenever a person already has a relationship with God, he or she has obtained eternal life, (John 6:47).
16. Christ is inviting you right now by saying, "I am the bread of life. Anyone who comes to me will never hunger and anyone who believes in me will never thirst."