Bread of Life, Come
Open Your Bible
Exodus 16:1-12, John 6:22-40, John 6:56-58
BY Seana Scott
I hunger for many things in life, like to see my loved ones follow Jesus, to travel the world, to disciple others. What do you hunger for? What occupies your imagination late at night?
I find that during the Christmas season, the worldly cravings intensify. We desire a Hallmark holiday, so we overspend, overeat, and over-expect perfect family time. But when we take a moment to sit in a quiet chair and listen to our souls, we still feel hungry. And whether it’s Christmas or any time of year, the reality is that whatever we pursue to satisfy the hunger of our souls—that is not Christ Himself—will leave us wanting.
This is what I think Jesus touched on when He addressed the crowds. Hungry people trekked in droves to witness this miracle worker after He multiplied a few loaves and fishes to feed thousands. But it sounds like, rather than hungering for Jesus, they desired a party with their friends and to witness another multiplying of bread. Some of them wanted stomachs full of sweet wheat, but they didn’t want Jesus Himself.
Sometimes our Christmas season looks a lot like this too. We put up a manger in our home but spend all our mental energy creating confections to impress friends at the holiday party. Yet all the cookies and crafting can leave us void of Christ. More than insta-worthy Christmas trees and table settings, Christ nourishes the deepest parts of our souls as the bread of life who came from heaven and gives life to the world. Unlike the manna in the wilderness that dissolved in one day (John 6:33, Exodus 16:1–12), we are promised that if we come to Him we will never be hungry or thirsty (John 6:35).
Now, of course, our stomachs will still growl if we skip breakfast. Jesus is not actual bread we bake in the oven. Even the Jewish leaders couldn’t understand how Jesus could be bread. “Was Jesus a cannibal?” they probably thought (vv.52–58). But the hunger Jesus satisfies is much more than a yearning for loaves of bread—and different than eating actual flesh. He offers the flesh of His body as a sacrifice for our sin (Romans 5:6–8), and He satisfies our longing for eternal life (John 6:40). Eating communion bread is a demonstration of our faith in the One God has sent (John 6:29).
It is this bread—the offering of Jesus as our provision and for the forgiveness of sin—that we can believe in and delight in this Christmas. May Christ be our deepest craving. He is our feast for the taking.