John 6:35 (NIV)
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
As I read our Verse of the Day I thought about “fullness”. I pondered the metaphor Jesus used here: “bread of life”. What did He mean? In the physical, bread represents food … life sustaining nourishment for our bodies. Without bread (food) we would perish. The same principle would apply for water. Without a continuous supply of water, we would perish as well. And so, we find in this passage, the spiritual application that Jesus wanted to bring to our attention. Without spiritual food and drink, our souls cannot be sustained. And that spiritual bread and water is Jesus Himself! Let’s look at the entire context in which Jesus uses this “I AM” statement to declare His identity to the world:
John 6:25-65 (NIV)
25 When they found Him on the other side of the lake, they asked Him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.” 28 Then they asked Him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” 30 So they asked Him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those He has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because He said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” 43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ (Quoting Isaiah 54:13) Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from Him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the One who is from God; only He has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
60 On hearing it, many of His disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 61 Aware that His disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where He was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray Him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
Upon reflection, we see a deep spiritual truth being taught here. Jesus connects our life-sustaining physical needs with our life-preserving spiritual needs. In essence, Jesus indicates that we have no true life within us apart from Him. Unless we are consumed and filled with Him, we will ultimately wither and have no fullness of life. Jesus is our life-empowering source – both for spiritual life as well as physical life. Jesus proclaimed Himself to be “the bread that comes down from heaven.” This bread gives true life! It is all-sustaining and gives us power for life! And this bread is the Word of God … the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us! He spoke the very words given to Him by God the Father … and those words lead to eternal life. Jesus bids us: come to His table … you shall be satisfied and thirst no more!
I believe if we want to have fullness in our lives, we must remain in the source of fullness. If we never want to hunger or thirst for true life, we must come to Jesus and remain in Him. Jesus used another “I AM” metaphor to describe our need to abide in Him. He said, “I AM the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (Cf. John 15:5) Indeed, that is the message for us today. Jesus wants us to know that He alone is our fullness … our sustainer of life … both physical and spiritual. Jesus wants us to feed on Him daily so that we have all we need to enjoy true life as He designed it for us. May His name be ever praised … may the fruit of our lives ever bring Him glory! Amen.
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
Luke 4:1-4 (NIV)
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (tested) by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. 3 The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Deuteronomy 8:1-3 (NIV)
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. 2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.