A Bible study through John 1-6
Bread is an important life staple. Almost every culture and people group have used some sort of grain to create a bread-like item that sustained them and was a source of food. The feeding of the five thousand included bread and an extreme surplus. Remember that even though Jesus multiplied both the loaves and the fish from the original lunch, it was the bread that filled twelve baskets of leftovers afterwards. Bread doesn’t spoil as quickly as meat, plus it is easy to transport and also filling. Therefore, it isn’t a surprise that bread has become an important source of sustenance for mankind.
However, the nourishment that comes from bread is temporary. We eat it and become hungry again within a couple hours. While bread gives our bodies what they need in the moment, it never fully or permanently satisfies. But the bread Jesus offers not only fills our spiritual needs and wants, but it gives life eternal.
“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the 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. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
In the gospel of John, Jesus makes seven “I AM” statements. These statements harken back to Exodus 3:14 and the burning bush when God revealed Himself to Moses and declared: “I AM WHO I AM.” God is the “I AM”, YHWH, the self-subsisting One. Therefore, when Jesus makes these “I AM” statements He is clearly identifying Himself as God, which is why the listening Jews often tried to stone Him after each statement.
The first “I AM” statement Jesus makes is found here in John 6. “I AM the bread of life.” Jesus is the source of life. He is the bread from heaven. He is the One who satisfies and sustains us. Earthly, physical bread will quench hunger temporarily, but the bread Jesus offers will fully and eternally satisfy and give us life.
Jesus compares Himself with the manna God gave the Israelites in the wilderness. While the manna was a miracle and a daily gift and provision from God that kept the Israelites alive for decades, it was only good for one day before it spoiled. It also only filled their physical hunger and could do nothing for their spiritual needs. Everyone who ate the manna got hungry again and eventually died.
But the bread Jesus offers gives eternal life and is a gift He freely offers. So will you accept and partake of the life-giving bread Jesus died to give? The invitation and offer is open to everyone who will accept and partake.
The first-century Jews were unable to wrap their minds around Jesus’ teaching and the concept that God would give Himself as bread that gives life. So they rejected the invitation of eternal life through the Bread of Life. However, Jesus makes it very clear that the only way to receive the gift of life He offers is through eating this heaven-sent bread.
Therefore, what will you decide? Will you eat of the Bread of Life and receive eternal life or will you reject it and keep searching for something that cannot truly satisfy the deepest hunger of your heart? The bread Jesus offers is the only thing that can truly satisfy, and it gives life eternal and abundantly. So let’s choose to partake of this wonderful gift and receive the Bread of Life today.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.”