Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6.25-51)

We love to eat, especially on holidays.  A friend of ours told us in Training College that “We don’t drink, smoke, chew tobacco or do drugs in The Salvation Army, but we sure do know how to make up for it by eatingJ”.  The people in Jesus’ day loved to eat as well.  The problem with eating is that even if we eat until we are full, a few hours later, we are usually hungry again.  In this story tonight, we discover that Jesus is the Bread of Life.  He wants to fill our spiritual hunger.

Just a day ago, in John chapter 6, Jesus fed the 5,000.  People were still hungry the next day and wanted more food.  Jesus wanted to point them and us to the spiritual nourishment that He gives, not just the physical.  Jesus contrasts two appetites- one for physical nourishment and one for spiritual sustenance.  Both of these appetites are satisfied with some sort of food.  Bread satisfies our physical hunger.  Jesus wants us to have more than just physical nourishment.  He wants us to know Him in an intimate way, to grow closer to Him, to be filled with His “bread”.

When the crowd asks how they can please God and do God’s will, Jesus says, “Believe in the One He has sent”.  But their response is asking for a miracle. They wanted to see physical proof that Jesus is who He says He is.  Our culture today still wants to see physical proof.  The problem is if Jesus doesn’t answer quickly, people turn their backs away in disbelief.  This I believe comes from generations of malpractice in the Church.  Throughout the years, ministers all across the world have watered down the gospel to make it a feel-good message with sharing stale, regurgitated bread and the church has suffered greatly.  Ministers have also become afraid of governments and what the world thinks and do not want to offend.  The truth is, the Gospel causes offence because it changes people.  Let us never be afraid to share God’s word no matter what offences it may bring.

The Israelites reminded Jesus of the manna that God gave their forefathers in the desert.  Exodus chapter 16, verses 4- 27 is where you can find the story of the manna that God sent.  Jesus explained that this manna was provided by God but it passed away.  In fact, they had to eat it by morning or it would be infested with maggots and began to smell.  The only time it lasted longer was on the Sabbath.  This food was to nourish the Israelites during the day whilst they were moving around in the hot scorching sun.  Jesus told the crowd that God’s bread is the One (Himself) who gives life to the world.  The people did not understand what Jesus was actually meaning and they requested the bread to be given to them there and then so they would not be hungry anymore.  Sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it, remember the woman at the well that we talked about last week?

Jesus goes on to explain what He means.  The people see Jesus in the flesh and still did not believe that He was sent from the Father to satisfy their spiritual hunger.   If we look at the end of the Bible reading in verses 43-51, Jesus tries to explain to the Pharisees of how He indeed is the Bread of Life.  The Pharisees knew that Jesus’ earthly father was Joseph.  Therefore they did not understand how He could come from Heaven nor make claims He was the Bread of Life and they were to eat of His flesh.  This does sound a bit morbid like cannibalism.  However, Jesus was not trying to imply this at all.  To eat the flesh of Christ is to absorb His entire way of being and living.  Jesus wants us to live, feel, think, and act like Him.  So how do we do this?  We are fed by His Word, fed by His Spirit, fed by prayer.  We need to be in a daily relationship with Him.

How would you describe your daily spiritual diet?  Is it healthy and nourishing where you can’t get enough of Christ?  Is it more like junk food?  As they say, what goes in must go out.  Are you at a starvation level where you have no idea who Jesus is, have not talked to Him in ages and your bible is dusty on a shelf?  Or are you eating the same reheated food over and over again?  Jesus does not want us to eat stale bread.  He desires us to be filled with His goodness, His love, His mercy, Himself.  There is no way you can be physically fit without the proper nutrients.  We must eat certain foods, etc. to be strong and be sustained throughout the day.  The same goes with our spiritual diets.  So how can we go from starvation, eating junk or reheated food to eating healthy and nourishing food?  Take time out of your busy schedules and spend it with Jesus in prayer and studying the Word, listen to hymns or praise and worship to fill your heart and mind of songs of praise to Christ, read a devotional book to get you started if you struggle to study.  Have a spiritual friend in whom you can ask them to pray for you, study with you, and keep you on track.  Mentor a younger person so they can be filled as well.  There are many ways that we can be eating a better diet for our spiritual lives.

Jesus promises to us that if we come to Him in faith for spiritual nourishment He will not turn us away, He will not lose anyone of us, we will have eternal life and we will be raised up on the final day.  The sad thing is so many people walk away because they are not willing to put the time and effort into their relationship with the Lord.  They find Jesus’ words to be too hard.  In fact, many disciples left Jesus that day because of what He said. Yes, Jesus is the Bread of Life, and He wants us to eat of His flesh.  He wants us to be one with Him, He wants us to be changed from glory to glory, He wants us to absorb His life.  The choice is ours.  We will never go hungry or thirsty if we truly seek Him.

How hungry are we for Christ?  Do we want to know Him more?  Do we want to be filled and satisfied?  Or are we happy just eating the same old diet and doing the same old things?  Eternity is now, not when we die.  Why wait till we see Jesus to be filled?  He wants to fill us now.  Reflect on the diets I mentioned earlier, are we starving, eating junk food, eating reheated food or are we being fully nourished with healthy food?  Ask Christ to satisfy our spiritual longings and needs and to fill our hunger pains.

Is Jesus truly the Bread of Life in your life?  He gave His self freely to us, may we humbly give all of ourselves back to Him.  He is worth living for!

Hungry © 

 This world has a lot to offer

Money, fame, and pleasures

But none can ever satisfy

The hunger I have inside.

I’m hungry for more than this

I am hungry for You,

 

Jesus

 

Your body was broken

Your blood shed for all.

Your body is beautiful.

Your blood is more precious than gold

 

Jesus

 

Your flesh is my food

Your blood is my drink

I must partake of Your body.

I must drink of Your blood

Intimacy between You and me

 

Jesus

 

You are Flesh and Blood.

You are the Bread of Life

Only You can satisfy

The hunger in my soul

I am hungry

Hungry for more of You

 

Jesus

I am hungry for more of You.

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© Tanya R Dooley

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