THE BREAD OF LIFE

Hunger no more

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - This ar­ti­cle is in­cluded cour­tesy of GotQues­tions.org. 10

“I am the bread of life” 1 is one of the seven “I Am” state­ments of Je­sus. …

Bread is con­sid­ered a sta­ple food—i.e., a ba­sic di­etary item. … Bread is such a ba­sic food item that it be­comes syn­ony­mous for food in gen­eral. We even use the phrase “break­ing bread to­gether” to in­di­cate the shar­ing of a meal with some­one. Bread also plays an in­te­gral part of the Jewish Passover meal. The Jews were to eat un­leav­ened bread dur­ing the Passover feast and then for seven days fol­low­ing as a cel­e­bra­tion of the ex­o­dus from Egypt. Fi­nally, when the Jews were wan­der­ing in the desert for 40 years, God rained down “bread from heaven” to sus­tain the na­tion.

2 All of this plays into the scene be­ing de­scribed in John 6. Je­sus was try­ing to get away from the crowds to no avail. He had crossed the Sea of Galilee, and the crowd fol­lowed

Him. Af­ter some time, Je­sus in­quires of Philip how they’re go­ing to feed the crowd. Philip’s an­swer dis­plays his “lit­tle faith” when he says they don’t have enough money to give each of them the small­est morsel of food. Fi­nally, An­drew brings to Je­sus a small boy who had five small loaves of bread and two fish. With that small amount, Je­sus mirac­u­lously feeds the throng with lots of food to spare.

Af­ter­ward, Je­sus and His dis­ci­ples cross back to the other side of Galilee. When the crowd sees that Je­sus has left, they fol­low Him again. … He ac­cuses the crowd of ig­nor­ing His mirac­u­lous signs and only fol­low­ing Him for the “free meal.” Je­sus tells them in John 6:27,3 “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. For on him God the Fa­ther has set his seal.” In other words, they were so en­thralled with the food, they were miss­ing out on the fact that their Mes­siah had come. So the Jews ask Je­sus for a sign that He was sent from God. … They tell Je­sus that God gave them manna dur­ing the desert wan­der­ing. Je­sus re­sponds by telling them that they need to ask for the true bread from heaven that gives life. When they ask Je­sus for this bread, Je­sus star­tles them by say­ing, “I am the bread of life; who­ever comes to me shall not hunger, and who­ever be­lieves in me shall never thirst.”

4 This is a phe­nom­e­nal state­ment! First, by equat­ing Him­self with bread, Je­sus is say­ing He is es­sen­tial for life. Sec­ond, the life Je­sus is re­fer­ring to is not phys­i­cal life but eter­nal life. … He is con­trast­ing what He brings as their Mes­siah with the bread He mirac­u­lously cre­ated the day be­fore. That was phys­i­cal bread that per­ishes. He is spir­i­tual bread that brings eter­nal life. …

The key is found in an­other state­ment Je­sus made, back dur­ing His Ser­mon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:6,5 Je­sus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for right­eous­ness, for they shall be sat­is­fied.” When Je­sus says those who come to Him will never hunger and those who be­lieve in Him will never thirst, He is say­ing He will sat­isfy our hunger and thirst to be made right­eous in the sight of God. …

The Bi­ble says God has placed [the de­sire for] eter­nity in our hearts. The

6 Bi­ble also tells us that there is noth­ing we can do to earn our way to heaven be­cause we’ve all sinned7 and the only thing our sin earns us is death.

8 There is no one who is right­eous in him­self. … When Christ died on the

9 cross, He took the sins of mankind upon Him­self and made atone­ment for them. When we place our faith in Him, our sins are im­puted to Je­sus and His right­eous­ness is im­puted to us. Je­sus sat­is­fies our hunger and thirst for right­eous­ness. He is our Bread of Life.

Christ com­pares the needs of men to hun­ger­ing and thirst­ing. Now hun­ger­ing is no sham. Those who have ever felt it know what a real need it in­di­cates and what bit­ter pangs it brings. Thirst, also, is not a sen­ti­men­tal mat­ter; it is a trial, in­deed. What pain can be worse be­neath the skies than thirst? The heart, also, has its hunger, for al­most un­known to it­self it cries, “O that some­one loved me and that I could love some­one whose love would fill my na­ture to the brim.” Our hearts are glut­tons for love. They hunt here and there, and are bit­terly dis­ap­pointed. But when they hear that Je­sus Christ loved them be­fore the world was, and died for them, their rov­ing af­fec­tions find rest. The love of Je­sus casts out all han­ker­ing for other loves and fills the soul! He be­comes the Bride­groom of our heart, our best Beloved, and we bid the more com­mon things de­part.— Charles Spur­geon (1834–1892), adapted

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