The Bread of LIfe
Bible Reading: John 6
John 6:51, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
Jesus spoke to the multitude. It had gotten late, and they were hungry. Miraculously, He multiplied the loaves and the fishes and fed them all (five thousand men in addition to the women and children: John 6:10). The people saw the miracle and assumed Him to be the prophet spoken of by Moses. They intended to take Him by force, to make Him king (John 6:14-15). He withdrew from them. They followed Him. When they found Him, they asked Him how He got there. He responded with what is commonly referred to as “the Bread of Life” discourse.
The context of Jesus’ message is that great miracle. The people were seeking after Jesus, but for all the wrong reasons, as Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26). They were seeking after Jesus because He filled their bellies. The rest of the discourse is Jesus’ corrective response.
Prominent in the discourse are the words “life,” “live,” and “living.” I count eighteen occurrences of these terms. I’m reminded of that which was stated in the beginning of the gospel account — “In Him was life” (John 1:4)—this chapter is another example of the continued emphasis on this theme. Some main points regarding the Bread of Life: 1) The Bread of Life was sent from heaven by the Living Father (John 6:32, 41, 51, 57); 2) The Bread of Life is true and living bread (John 6:32, 51); 3) The Bread of Life is able to impart life, those without it have “no life” (John 6:33, 35, 50, 51, 53, 54, 57, 58); 4) The Bread of Life must be “eaten” to be of value (John 6:50, 53, 54, 56, 58).
The people did not respond well to Jesus’ message. His statement, “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 yourselves” (John 6:53), was too difficult for them (John 6:60-61). Many of His disciples withdrew and turned away (John 6:65). “Jesus said therefore to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away, do you?’” (John 6:67). “Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God’” (John 6:68-69). Multitudes were seeking after Jesus, but for all the wrong reasons. They liked that he filled their bellies with earthly bread, but had no interest in the Bread from Heaven.
Numerous varieties of bread are available at the local supermarket, but no bread on earth can impart true life to the spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). And while much concern and effort in life is directed towards obtaining physical bread (food), every man’s greater and deeper need is for the true bread that can impart true life. True life is bound up in the person of Jesus Christ. True life = eternal life (John 17:3) = abundant life (John 10:10). The Father and the Son have true life in themselves (John 5:26). It is God’s prerogative to impart this “true life” on His terms. He draws sinners to the Son (John 6:44, 65). In believing in Him (John 6:29, 40, 47, 69) they receive eternal life (John 6:40, 51, 54, 58). He is the bread of life. Have you partaken? To eat His flesh and drink His blood (John 6:53) is to receive Him by faith (John 1:12). His promise? “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). True life, eternal and abundant, is to be had in Christ alone. He is the “food which endures to eternal life” (John 6:27). He alone can satisfy man’s deepest needs and desires. True life is bound up in Jesus (1 John 5:11-12). Do you have the life?
BREAK THOU THE BREAD OF LIFE
Break now the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
as once you broke the loaves beside the sea.
Beyond the sacred page I seek you, Lord;
my spirit waits for you, O living Word.
Bless your own word of truth, dear Lord, to me,
as when you blessed the bread by Galilee.
Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall;
and I shall find my peace, my All in all!
You are the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
your holy word the truth that rescues me.
Give me to eat and live with you above;
teach me to love your truth, for you are love.
O send your Spirit now, dear Lord, to me,
that he may touch my eyes and make me see.
Show me the truth made plain within your Word,
for in your book revealed I see you, Lord.