“Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” -John 6:48-51 NLT
Jesus was born in Bethlehem which means “house of bread.” Bread was a staple part of Israel’s diet and is ours today. Bread was also used in different acts of worship. It was given as a first fruit offering or a peace offering. The twelve loaves of unleavened (without yeast) bread (Bread of the Presence) symbolised the covenant between God and his people. This bread was placed in the temple sanctuary next to the Most Holy Place as a constant reminder to the priests that it was God who fed and looked after the 12 tribes in the wilderness. Bread was consumed at the last supper representing Christ’s body.
Jesus spoke of Himself as the bread of life after he had fed the 5,000. The bread that was given was made out of barley (John 6:13). Barley loaves were made by the poor, it wasn’t the wheat bread of the rich. But Jesus distributed it amongst everyone and they ate to their fill. After everyone was filled rumours started roaming around the crowd. They started remembering the stories of manna that fell from the sky to feed their ancestors thousands of years before. They began to think maybe Jesus could indeed be their Messiah.
However, they wanted to make him King. Jesus knew what was going on in their hearts and he left to a more secluded place. His disciples caught up with Him and Jesus began to teach about the true meaning of the Bread of Life. The bread He gives does not spoil like the manna did. If we eat of His flesh we will never be hungry again. Yes, those words may sound gruesome, but please read on.
It’s easy to fill ourselves up on things of this world- money, success, comfort, pleasure, fame, fortune… but none of these things really satisfy our hearts. Jesus longs to fill us with His presence. If we feed on His Word, take time in His presence, things of this world will not matter so much. Ask Jesus today to help you feed on Him- his life, his Word, his promises. Tell Jesus you are hungry for more of Him.
Jesus, this world has a lot to offer me. I can have all the riches of this world but none of them can satisfy my spiritual hunger except you. Jesus, I am hungry for you. I want more of you. I want to be filled with your presence, your life, your peace and your joy. Satisfy me with your body, the bread of your holy presence. Nourish my soul today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For further study:
John 6:1-14,22-58; Psalm 78:24-25; Isaiah 55:1-2; Luke 22:7-22