I Am the Bread of Life

Open Your Bible

John 6:1-15, John 6:22-58, Exodus 16:11-36, Luke 22:19

In the whimsical, little village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, there’s a restaurant called Forge in the Forest. And, yes, it looks exactly like it sounds. It has a courtyard reminiscent of Disneyland’s Pixie Hollow, full of creeping vines and flowers and string lights. One of my students had recommended the place in a food review, so my friend and I pretty much planned our whole trip around having dinner there. After a day of sightseeing and beach-combing, we were way beyond that point of hunger in which you can barely form cohesive sentences. So, as you can imagine, we were giddy after ordering bacon burgers, a balsamic beet salad the size of a hoola-hoop, and chocolate lava cake garnished with raspberries. Of that meal, all I can say is, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow”—I’ll just leave it at that.

Before Jesus feeds the five thousand near the Sea of Galilee, He notices the crowd’s physical needs. “Where will we buy bread so that these people can eat?” he asks Philip (John 6:5). Once the disciples spot a young boy with food, Jesus uses five barley loaves and some fish to nourish the crowd’s physical hunger. He knew they wouldn’t be able to listen well if they were starving. This meal was an act of care and an entryway into relationship, where He would begin to nourish them spiritually.

In fact, providing above and beyond for this crowd was enough to convince them that Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah. When they saw this miracle, they said, “This truly is the Prophet who is to come into the world” (v.14). Throughout Scripture, bread is a common motif used to demonstrate God’s provision and sustenance—whether that’s the Israelites’ “bread from heaven” in the desert (v.31) or a mountainside meal. Jesus goes as far as to tell the disciples that He is the bread of life (v.35).

One of the earliest heresies in the church was the belief that the spiritual realm is good while the material world is evil. But we live in fragile bodies that have needs, and the way of Jesus is distinctly earthy. He walked along the dirt and fed people with fish and broke bread to symbolize His own body (Luke 22:19). Jesus doesn’t neglect the physical world for the spiritual world. This place we live in—a world with cinnamon bark and praying mantises and fresh basil—is the setting God created for us to encounter Him.

We have physical needs and spiritual needs, and Jesus offers to meet these while teaching us a higher way of living. Although our physical needs are great, Jesus is the nourishment that sustains us far beyond just alleviating our hunger pangs. How kind of Him to offer Himself in a way that makes little sense to us on one level, yet is exactly what we need Him to be: our “bread of life” (John 6:35), the only sustenance we will every truly need.

Although there wasn’t anything particularly spiritual about that meal at Forge in the Forest, I felt God’s pleasure as I ate it. The same God who designs intricate plant life so that we can garnish our cake with raspberries also gave Himself up for us out of love. May we always remember that.

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32 thoughts on "I Am the Bread of Life"

  1. Tomeka Jones says:

    I love the reminder to focus on this day! He provides daily for me. I should not be worried about the future.

  2. Brè Danielle says:

    Love this ❤️

  3. Brenna Smith says:


  4. Sophia Keen says:

    God is the life giving bread. The fulfillment of our soul

  5. Angie says:

    Bread (food) and water are necessary for our physical survival, but our souls are hungry too. I love how Jesus declares himself the Bread of Life and the Living Water and that he willingly gives both to us if we only seek him! Just like a previous poster said, our body needs physical food each day, and our souls need spiritual food each day, hearing God’s word and soaking it up. I wouldn’t consider skipping food or water for a day, so why do I think it is OK to skip my daily devotions and prayer time? May I be as concerned about fulfilling my spiritual needs as my physical needs each day.

  6. Ashley Wurtz says:

    It is a good reminder to us that Jesus is the bread of life. That when we are full of Him, we are not hungry for the world.

  7. Lydia Irby says:

    I found the sequence of signs-sustenance-salvation interesting. And how that pattern is repeated still today. Others see signs of Christ in our lives. For the overflow of our daily bread we share with them what they need and through the work of the Holy Spirit they come to salvation.

  8. Kelsey Jones says:

    To be hungry is a powerful thing. Hunger is something we allow to drive our actions and emotions in situations. It is such a large part of being human as well. Food is something that binds us and brings us together across cultures. It’s no surprise that He chooses to describe himself as the Bread of Life. It’s important to remember that like bread He should be sought after every day or we will go hungry. Yes, we can live that way but isn’t it so much better to live full and content on who He is. Digging into our word every day is essential for our spiritual fullness just as with our physical fullness.

  9. CJ B says:

    This was exactly what I needed today. What spoke to me was how what was freely given was enough. Everyone took what they needed. There was no lack. No shortage. No scarcity. In my life I am so driven by this notion of scarcity; that there isn’t enough success, love, money, or opportunities to go round. That somehow I’ll miss out. It makes me mean, hard and critical. I have this notion that someone else’s good fortune or reward means that there is less for me. That if other’s rise, I must, by necessity, fall. But that’s not the message of Jesus. Here He is quite clearly saying that everyone can take what they need and there’s still more left over. There is enough. Amen.

  10. Angie says:

    I am a Bread girl…

  11. Kelly Ewald says:

    I have been feeling a lot of guilt and unworthiness lately for the blessings I have received in my life. These passages are a beautiful reminder that yes, God wants us to help and serve others, but he wants us to enjoy our life and blessings along the way!

  12. Audrey Flores says:

    As a new Christian who was only saved at the end February this concept is one I have a lot of difficulty understanding and remembering. Even after seeing and praising Him for great things He blessed me with I still revert back to I am enough not He is enough. He is the bread of life and I must collect from Him daily. I pray I will humble myself and submit myself fully to Jesus. For without Him I am nothing.

    1. Bessie H says:

      Audrey, welcome to the family of God. How exciting that you have been saved! I rejoice for you! Something I heard a pastor say many years ago helped me with the feeling that I wasn’t enough for God. She said, “there is nothing you can do to make God love you more and there is nothing you can do to make God love you less. He loves you completely just as you are’.
      Rest in His love, Audrey and know that He is enough for both of you!

  13. Carol Wyatt says:

    Growing up in St.Louis, there was a wonderful family-owned bakery named Party Pastry. It was one of those places that felt like you were stepping back in time. The aroma of freshly baking bread permeated the place. In fact, because the ovens were so hot, they often had windows open, and the fragrance wafted onto the sidewalk. If you weren’t hungry as you approached the bakery, the aroma would make your mouth water and have you walking through the door.

    Jesus tells us, I am the bread of life. He is all we need. His love for us and our love for him will spiritually sustain us. We should have a spiritual hunger everyday, as well as a physical hunger. Turning to the Bible, going to church to worship, praying, and serving are all ways we can nourish ourselves spiritually.

    There’s a little analogy in John 6 that I’ve never noticed before. This is when Jesus feeds the 5000 from two fish and five loaves of bread. After everyone has had their full, there still remains enough food to fill 12 baskets. Now, certainly there is significance of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 disciples. But, more significantly, Jesus wanted none of it to go to waste. Now, perhaps he was just being thrifty, but I think there is something more here.

    As he enters into yet another debate with those who had just gathered and eaten, Jesus says the following:
    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. John 6:39

    The symbolism of Jesus gathering up the food so none is wasted or lost is certainly a visual of Jesus gathering up all of us so none is loss. No one is a leftover or insignificant. We are all important to him. We are all valued and loved by him.

    Isaiah 55:11
    so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
    but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

    1. CJ B says:

      Thank you, Carol for that lovely insight about the 12 baskets. I’d never noticed that before, and, you’re right, it adds such a wonderful dimension to the following passage.

    2. Mackenzie Tomes says:

      I love the insight of the other readers in this study. Thank you Carol!

  14. Rebekah Johnson says:

    Thanks be to God who provides for my every need!

  15. Amber Trimble says:

    What A truly wonderful and amazing God! I pray that I become more like Jesus, meeting not only the physical but also the spiritual needs of those around me.

  16. Jajas says:

    My “annus horribilis” was 2017; truly, it was the darkest year of my life. Thinking back on it now, I feel so much sadness for my younger self. That I felt so hopeless, such despair…. I cried nearly every night for six months straight. I questioned God. Why would He do this to me? Why is this my lot in life? Why am I His example of mediocrity? I was so angry with Him. And yet, I still opened my Bible every day and read. What if I had allowed all that darkness to take hold of me and didn’t read scripture every day? I shudder to think what actions I might have taken…

    Bailey mentions our physical needs and that, for better or worse, those needs must be met. And that is certainly true. But 2017 reminds me that our physical needs are not always met how we would like them to be or when we would like them to be. Thank God we have the Bread of Life to sustain us even when our physical world is crashing. Indeed, it was the only way I made it through 2017.

    1. AnneLyn P says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. Very encouraging.

  17. Meagan Summers says:

    How often are we like the crowds, seeking Jesus for blessing or to meet our needs. Jesus said the crowds were not seeking him because they believed but because they wanted Him to meet a specific need. May our hearts not be hard like the crowds but truly seeking God because we desire to know Him and to make Him known.

    And I think it’s so crazy that the crowds as Jesus for a sign to prove he is who he says he is after he had JUST fed them by miraculously multiplying the meal. How often do we doubt Gods goodness and care over us after all that He has already done in our lives. How quick we are to forget.

  18. Elizabeth Cowan says:

    I love how Jesus weaves the physical and spiritual together. It’s like He’s inviting us to look into the metaphor of the manna. The daily presence that sustains is just that: daily. The children of Israel could not rely on yesterday’s work for today’s sustenance. So too we cannot rely on yesterday’s spiritual food for today. Feasting on His presence is a daily act.

  19. Kara says:

    Just like the manna, I must collect daily.

    I obey, He provides.

    No matter how much I gather, my stomach is full.

    Reliance is hard, but it satisfies in a way our own efforts never will.

    1. Martha Echandy says:

      So true. That daily dependence is our lifeline!

  20. Aimee D says:

    The Lord is good. Partaking in Him is all the sustenance I will ever need. Holy Spirit prompt my heart and mind, burn it within my soul, to remember.

  21. Shawn Parks says:

    37Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.

    39This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day.

    The two truths in these verses that brought my heart to an abrupt stop and made me steer back around for a closer look we’re:
    1. God gave me to Christ.
    2. I belong to Christ forever.
    It is that juxtaposition that is God’s calling card. He gave Christ to the world (me) but He gave me to belong to Christ. God through the Holy Spirit prepared my heart to receive Christ. I did not prepare myself to be given or to receive. If I had, I would be saved by works. My salvation was part of God’s plan. Created by God for God. May I don that lens to see my way through today. And then, Christ will never cast me out or lose me. I am sealed to Him. The bond cannot be severed. I am forever joined to Christ-now, in the spirit by faith and then, face to face! May I feast on the Bread of life and devour every delicious morsel of being known by and loved by Him as I grow to know Him more and love Him more. What a blessing this confidence!

  22. Kathy says:

    Jesus is enough. He is all I need. I am so thankful that He loves me enough to take care of my physical needs, but I am more thankful that He takes care of my spiritual needs. He made a way back to God.
    My prayer is that nothing gets in the way of that relationship. Protect me, Jesus, from seeking after things that don’t matter, things that are temporary, things that only satisfy for a short time. You are the only food that brings eternal life.

    1. Alexis Hopkins says:


    2. Suzie McRae says:


  23. Kristen says:

    Beautifully said Churchmouse and Bailey. Yes, Churchmouse, why wouldn’t we want to leave the wilderness, taste and see that the Lord is good, and partake in His gift. I’m saved, but still find myself in bondage anxiety, and fear. How long will I learn His Word, and not believe His promises? I want to let go and trust. I’m tired of letting the enemy win.
    Bailey, I appreciate what you wrote. God has given us a world filled with cinnamon bark, praying mantises, and intricate plant life to decorate your cake. He is so Good, so detailed, and He provided for those people. I need to remember that He still does that today. My pastor said that he is on the Manna Plan. He trusts that God has already provided everything he needs for that day! That is an awesome thought about an Awesome God that is able to do that! Your last thought was for us to never forget that He gave Himself for us out of love! May I really understand the depths of that truth and may it completely and radically change me and all that hear that. I’ve been listening to the Unashamed podcast with the Duck Dynasty family. They preach Jesus and Phil was talking about how meeting Him and truly understanding forgiveness radically changed him in so many ways. It’s a good podcast to check out! Thank you both, Bailey and Churchmouse for your writings.

    1. Pamela PennFite says:

      Beautifully said, Kristen. Amen!

  24. Churchmouse says:

    The Bread of Life came from the house of bread, Bethlehem. “Beit lechem” in the Hebrew. Bread is the food of sustenance, a basic necessity, of the ‘bread and water’ fame, all we need to live. I would think that if I went to Bethlehem, I would find just that there. At the house of bread I would find that which would sustain me, that which would nourish me, that which would keep me living. My deep hunger is met when I go to Bethlehem for there is Jesus. He is the bread of life, the sustenance I need. And when I partake of this Bread, when I acknowledge that He is the very substance of life, I am given the promise of eternal life. We need not grab our passports and book a trip to Israel however. We go to Bethlehem, the house of bread, when we accept Jesus for Who He says He is, when we acknowledge we are dead in our sin but can have eternal life when we eat of the Bread of Life, when we believe in Him. We don’t need to perform to please Him. We need only believe. He tells us plainly Who He is and why He came. Will we pick up and partake of this manna? Will we leave the wilderness and come into the promised land? Will we taste and see that the Lord is good? Will we share this Bread with other hungry pilgrims? Why wouldn’t we?