I am the Bread of Life
Open Your Bible
John 6:35, 6:48, Luke 22:14-20, Exodus 16:1-36
Text: John 6:35, 6:48, Luke 22:14-20, Exodus 16:1-36
This is part of a 10-day series on the person of Christ in the 2016 Lent study.
Pssst. I have a secret. I love bread. You too? Let’s keep this under wraps from all our gluten-free besties, shall we? (Though I dare admit, they’ve cracked the code on gluten-free treats that rival the likes of Paula Dean’s confections.)
No matter your grain of choice, Jesus knew He would get the attention of women around the universe when He started talking all things bread. Since I’m a context junkie, let’s back up a bit and set the scene.
Jesus goes public at a wedding, with that turning-water-into-wine phenomenon—because His mama told Him to. This moment makes me love Him so much, and her too. (I think of her as a not-gonna-take-no-for-an-answer kind of woman.) The miracle was the first public sign of Jesus’ deity. A few folks caught on to Him that day, specifically His disciples (John 2:1-11).
Jesus goes on to cleanse the temple, for church was never intended to be a money-making machine. He sure wasn’t casual about that fact. He started teaching in secret, and then in public, to anyone who asked. Jesus told Nicodemus He didn’t come to condemn, but to save (John 3:16-18). He waited for the Samaritan woman at the well, telling her she had not one hubby, but five—not that it would keep her from the Kingdom. Hardly! She would become one of the first evangelists (John 4:28-29).
That’s His way. Jesus offers gifts freely, to the least “deserving” of society. He sought out the overlooked, the abandoned, the shunned, and the outcast. He came for them (Mark 2:17). In return, they lept to Him like a moth to a flame. Crowds swelled, pleading for His healing touch (Mark 2:1-4). Even when they didn’t ask, He’d ask them, “Do you want to get well?” And after lying on a mat for decades, that man at the pool stood right up and walked (John 5:5-15).
Crowds absorbed every word. They sat for hours in the hot sun to feast on His teaching. One day before Passover, five thousand assembled. Knowing their hunger, He asked for a boy’s lunch—five barley loaves and two fish. He broke the bread, blessed it, and multiplied it. In God-like fashion the thousands were given enough to eat their fill with twelve full baskets left over (Matthew 14:13-21). This was a foreshadowing of God’s lavish provision, offering exceedingly and abundantly above what we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
What I love about God is that He begins with the natural and He fulfills with the supernatural. Jesus fed them on a mountain, with literal bread in their bellies, because He knew He’d need to reveal a different kind of bread the next day. This spiritual bread, the bread of God, would also be broken on a mountain, blessed and multiplied, for all who believe. Finally Jesus broke the news as if He could not hold back any longer:
“I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry, and no one who believe in Me will ever be thirsty again…I assure you: ANYONE who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.”
-John 6:35 (emphasis mine)
I can only imagine the earnestness in His eyes, breath strained with the weight of these words. His physical body, our bread, would be beaten, stripped, whipped, speared, chained, and broken, so we could partake and never be hungry again.
The offering of Jesus would be blessed by the Father and multiplied for ALL who believe. I will never fathom this gift—not in my wildest dreams. But we don’t have to understand; we have only to receive.