Jesus Christ the Bread of God
Bread is basic to most people’s diets. It is common food. We eat bread to continue living. It nourishes the body and satisfies hunger.
In God’s design of the human body, He made us hunger. If the digestive system is empty, we have hunger pains. We eat for our entire lives, and yet we always return to a state of hunger. Until the body dies, hunger remains.
Hunger and bread teach us spiritual truths that reveal how essential Jesus is to us. In John 6, Jesus taught the simple lesson: we cannot live without Him.
Jesus fed the 5000 on the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was a miracle because there were no towns nearby, just as it is, today. The people were physically hungry. What was the plan? Instead of sending the people away from Jesus, the impetus was placed on the disciples, to feed the large crowd. They were only able to secure a few barley loaves and fish.
In an act that would remind the people of God’s supernatural provision, for their ancestors in the wilderness (Exodus), something they celebrated every year at Passover, Jesus gave them bread to eat in that desolate place. They made the connection and aspired to make Him King.
A free lunch one day, even of a supernatural kind, would never sustain these people, however. They liked the gift more than the Giver of the gift. Jesus Himself exposed them for their carnal hope of more free lunches to come.
What people need is eternal life, and only the heavenly bread of God can meet that need. In this instance, Jesus revealed His identity, “I am the Bread of life (Jn 6:35, 48, 51).” As the Bread of God that came down from heaven, the people would need to take Jesus in, like their daily bread.
When one ingests a piece of bread, it becomes a physical part of the body. It came from the outside, but now, in union with the body, it shares what it has with the body…nourishment and satisfaction.
Having returned to the northwest shore of Lake Gennesaret, Jesus now taught the spiritual lesson. The people needed to ingest Jesus like the physical bread that satisfied them for a day. Jesus drew the parallel for them. Jesus was talking about permanent satisfaction — to never hunger or thirst again, but this is when many of His followers left Him. This was a hard teaching for those who only wanted free lunches from Jesus (think: health and wealth false gospel).
When Jesus’ disciples did not depart from Him, their reasoning was that He had the words of eternal life (Jn 6:68). His disciples, whom He had chosen (Jn 15:16), had been feeding on Jesus’ Words, while others had enjoyed His merely temporal provisions. His Word had no place in the heart of these others (Jn 8:37, 47).
Our lesson is the same as the one the disciples received. We must take in God’s Word, as spiritual food for our souls. His Word is the Bread of God we must ingest. His Word must become part of us. It must be in union with us, in order to give us its nourishment and satisfaction. God’s Word is Spirit, and it is life to those who receive it (Jn 6:63).
No one else has this gift from heaven. Only Jesus can give it (Jn 14:6; 17:2), and He gives it to those whom God has chosen to receive it (Jn 1:12–13; Rom 11:5). These people receive it with gladness. They have no interest in receiving the wisdom of men because the words of God’s wisdom are so superior.
Jesus really satisfies. He nourishes the souls of His people with the Gospel of Himself. He is the God, who creates hunger in our souls, and then He gives Himself, as the only food for the soul that can meet the need He Himself designed. Only the children of God know this truth because they are taught of God.
Friend, examine your life. Are you trying to satisfy your soul with temporal, material things? The quest for satisfaction has great power over us. We are ever-more hungry to find satisfaction, but every effort to nourish our souls, with the things of the world, only leaves us empty. The desperation of hunger pangs and the desire to satisfy, invariably lead men to self-destruction.
You must repent of your futile pursuit and look to Jesus’ flesh and blood. This is true food and drink. Physical images point us to spiritual realities. Jesus suffered in the flesh, and He shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins, for all who ingest Him.
In order for one to have the eternal life that only Jesus Christ can give, he must have the life-giving union. He must have Christ in him, to have the hope of glory. To receive Jesus is to receive the Word and His Spirit. Jesus gives these, and only by His grace does one receive them, as evidenced by the faith to believe them (Eph 2:8–9). The result is the same: true worshipers…nourished and satisfied with the Bread that comes down from heaven. Bon appetite! Bon contentement!
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 29, 2022