I am the bread of Life
This week’s reflections will focus on the ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus. There are 7 of these in the Gospel of John, each one revealing and demonstrating who Christ is – the Son of God, the Saviour of the World come down from heaven. When Jesus uttered these solemn words, He sought to convey the astounding fact of his divine nature – as did the Apostle John when he recorded these life-giving words.
Today we will focus on the first of the ‘I am’ sayings: ‘I am the bread of life.’
“ I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35).
This saying affirms that “Jesus is the Bread which gives and sustains “life,” the life of the kingdom of God. Here Jesus speaks about the importance of bread for sustaining our physical life and to satisfy our physical hunger with the spiritual needs. He refers himself here as the only one who can satisfy spiritual hunger and sustains spiritual life. As bread must be eaten to sustain life on a daily basis, Jesus wants the people to realise that only by having personal relationship with him they can find real satisfaction in life from their spiritual hunger. He uses the importance of bread for demonstrating the importance of spiritual bread (Jesus).In speaking these words, it is obvious that Jesus also tries to prove that he is the real heavenly bread, the true life-sustaining power coming from Heaven. Anything else is an inadequate substitute because Jesus is the only true son of God.
This saying comes the next day after the feeding of the 5,000. Having seen Jesus perform His miracle of feeding many people with the loaves and fish, the crowd have followed Him and tracked Him down to the far side of the lake. They ‘were seeking’ Jesus. But Jesus’ response is not what we would expect. He chastises them for seeking Him because in reality they are seeking more food for their bellies, more miracles and not seeing the true meaning of following Christ Himself.
Here Jesus tells them they should seek food that sustains them for ever. If we don’t eat we will physically die, but if we feed on Christ we will have eternal life.
Bread is the most basic of human needs. It’s a fundamental part of daily life. It provides nourishment, sustenance, and vitality. “Give us this day our daily bread”, we are taught to pray in the Lord’s Prayer. Why? Because we need it. So it is with Christ, our souls need him. He is the very food our souls crave. They remain famished and dying apart from him. Anything else is just empty calories—junk food. He alone is the answer to end all of our spiritual cravings.
When we think back to the Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve in that Garden, God gave them a command: “You shall not eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If you do, you shall surely die.” As we know, Adam chose to eat the fruit of the tree, and he died in his relationship with God. Jesus was saying, “As the curse came in through eating, so the remedy is only found in eating the bread which God provides in the person of his Son. Whereas death was a result in the garden, life is the result of feeding upon me.”
We believe in this God who delivers us, and we do the same thing when we come to the Lord’s table. We break the bread and pour the wine, and then we eat the bread and drink the cup in faith. It’s a sign of our faith in and belief in Him. Jesus makes it very clear that He’s not talking about physically eating, but consuming Him with our souls. He says in verse 29: “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” Verse 35: “Whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” We eat Him by believing in Him.