“Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 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 6:32-35).
In the times of Jesus, bread was a significant part of almost everyone’s diet. The earliest agricultural activities began in the region where Jesus walked among us and bread from their grain soon became a staple food, essential for life. Because of its significance, it would also become one of the most important symbols of the Christian faith.
So, what did Jesus mean when He said He was the bread of life? He meant that He was the one to come to, when you were looking to sustain your everlasting life. Before He said this, a great crowd had been following Him, many in hope that He would feed them again as he had done a few days before when He fed the 5000.
The people were hoping for something to sustain them in their physical life, but Jesus was looking at the greater picture, the life that would come after their physical life had ended. Jesus’ mission was not to feed the hungry with bread made of grain but to be the bread made of salvation for all of those who hunger for everlasting life. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die” (John 6:47-50).
The bread that Jesus offers is bread that will build you up forever, even after our lives on earth have ended, but this bread cannot be grown without the seeds found in God’s Word. In Matthew 4:4 Jesus repeated a verse from Deuteronomy 8:3 to the devil who was trying to lead Him to bread that parishes by saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God.”
The bread He used to sustain Him through His trial came from the wisdom of His Father in heaven, not by the fortune of man. Though He was physically hungry, he knew that it was not worldly bread that would save Him.
This wisdom he passed onto His Disciples as He sat for His last meal with them. As he ate with them, He passed on the understanding of the Father as he blessed the bread and wine set out before them. “Now, as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body’” (Matthew 26:26).
What He is saying here is profound. He knew that the disciples would need Him, so He went as far as to provide Himself in, with and under the bread. He was providing them food that would fill them with the Spirit so that they might not lose themselves in their hunger for worldy bread but live for something much, much greater, that can only be found in the bread that Jesus was offering.
Jesus longs to be our bread of life also. He yearns for His people to find their sustenance in Him and to live for bread that feeds our everlasting hunger. He has given you a part of Himself so that you might have the strength to carry on even as the devil tempts you as he did Him.
Let Jesus be the one that spiritually nourishes you and avoid the worldly trappings that eventually fade into nothing. Fill your spiritual bellies with God’s Word so that your hunger for meaning and purpose might be satisfied. Live for something greater than this world could ever give by accepting the bread that Jesus has died to provide you. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for providing us with everything we need to endure this life as we look forward to the banquet in heaven filled with loaves that will never fade. Bring us to a clear understanding of all you have done through Your Word to bring us to new life and help us to feed others with its wisdom. Amen.