Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own agenda but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.
“This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything, and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.” (The Message)
Bread has always been a food staple throughout human history. Whereas many people today try and avoid bread because of either carbohydrates or gluten, a lack of bread in the ancient world usually meant people would starve to death. Bread is a big deal.
So, when Jesus gave a self-description as the Bread of Life, he was saying a lot.
The cup we use in the Lord’s Supper and for which we give thanks to God: when we drink from it, we are sharing in the blood of Christ. And the bread we break, when we eat it, we are sharing in the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:16, GNT)
After the Israelites were delivered by God from their bondage in Egypt, and found themselves in the desert without food, the divine provision of manna – a unique kind of bread – literally showed up on the desert floor every morning. It was just enough for everyone for that day. Once the Israelites entered the Promised Land, the manna disappeared.
As Jesus entered fully into his earthly ministry, throngs of people began following him. At one point, the thousands of men, women, and children were together with nothing but a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread. Much like the miraculous provision of manna which sustained their ancestors centuries earlier, Jesus multiplied the measly morsels of bread into enough to feed the entire bunch, with leftovers.
Little is much when God is in it. Just a smidgeon of Jesus is enough to fill a crowd of growling stomachs.
The Lord Jesus is not like a loaf of bread bought in a grocery store which has all kinds of funky additives, loaded up with sugars, and questionable ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Christ is fortified with everything we need to thrive and flourish. Jesus is so packed with good stuff that a seemingly paltry communion wafer is filling and satisfying.
The bread that comes down from heaven isn’t like what your ancestors ate. They died, but whoever eats this bread will live forever. (John 6:58, CEV)
Just as bread is a simple mixture of water and flour, so partaking of Jesus is rather uncomplicated. There aren’t hoops to jump through or lengthy recipes to follow. If we simply align ourselves with Christ, come to him and believe, we will never be hungry again.
The world needs bread. They ask for bread. In response, Jesus gave them himself.
Give us the bread we need for today. (Matthew 6:11, CEB)
All the world has to offer, and of which so many humans strive to obtain and accumulate treasures on earth, money and possessions, does not bring ultimate satisfaction. The drive for more is never satiated. Humanity is afflicted with boredom, dissatisfaction, anxiety, and worry over losing what they have and fretting about how they can obtain just one more thing in the misguided belief their fear will finally melt.
But it doesn’t. So, like a hamster running in a wheel and going nowhere, there is the constant activity of racing thoughts and workaholic behavior to try and somehow keep ahead. Yet, authentic rest never comes. The more the striving, the more the anxiety.
There is a divine/human responsibility and cooperative at work. Jesus will hold us secure. And we need to let him do it, and fully align our lives according to Christ’s words and ways. The divine bread is available. God isn’t going to force feed us. We will need to take and eat.
It requires faith to take and eat. We might wonder: Will I like it? Is it really going to satisfy me? What if I’m allergic to it? Do I need some other food handy to eat in case I gag or vomit? Will there be pie? Mac & cheese? Bacon? (insert your own comfort food) Do I have to eat alone?
Try it. You’ll like it.
My own experience of having tasted much of what the world has to offer, and tasting the good flavor of God’s grace, I can say that I never want to go back to the gruel of guilt and shame.
I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. And that is what I want for you, too.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8, NIV)
The bread is for me, and it is for you. There is plenty of bread for the life of everyone in the world. No rationing is necessary. This is the place of abundance.
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51, NKJV)
Almighty and everlasting God, I thank and praise you for feeding me with Jesus, the Bread of Life. Send your Holy Spirit so that I may by faith obtain and eternally enjoy your divine grace, the forgiveness of sins, unity with Christ, and everlasting life; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.