“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst” (John 6:35). One of the realities of our mortal existence is the need for food and water. It is a matter of survival. Without food and water, we will die. But we are more than our bodies. God made us for eternity. And he is the food and water that we need for eternal life. Without the bread of life we are truly dead.
When God (“I Am)” freed the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, they wandered in the desert for 40 years. It did not take long for them to begin feeling the difficulties of their journey, in the bitter pangs of hunger and thirst. They complained and Moses went to God on their behalf and God felt pity for his people and sent them manna from heaven each morning and quail each evening. But even this manna from heaven, and the water he gave them from the rock, did not bring them eternal life. They died, just as human beings have always died, as a consequence of the sin of Adam and Eve.
But we have seen the ancient promise of salvation fulfilled in Jesus Christ. And Jesus is telling us here in this passage that he is the bread of life who has come down from heaven. When he says, “I am,” we must hear it in the same way that Moses heard it. Jesus is the “I Am,” whom we know as the Son of God, who came among us, who suffered and died for us in order to save us from our slavery to sin and death, and to give us eternal life with him in heaven. We find in him everything that the Father has given and intended for us. Jesus, the bread of life, has come down from heaven by the Father’s will. Everything that Jesus is, says, and does, is the expression and revelation of the Father’s will. Therefore, we are to take these words as the will of the Father. Jesus is the bread of life. Not just of this life, but of eternal life.
Jesus is giving his disciples the fullness of truth here. Yet, it is difficult for many of them to hear what Jesus is saying. Some even reject what he is saying in this very challenging bread of life discourse, and go back to their old ways of life. As Christians, we must see the truth that Jesus is giving us here in this powerful “I Am” statement, and we must not fail to meditate on it and to come to believe it. If we do, it will be because the Father has drawn us to this faith in Jesus as the bread of life. If we fail in understanding and believing this statement we, too, may be in danger of falling back into our old ways, and in doing so, lose the promise of eternal life that the Father offers us in Jesus.
Lord, We believe; help our unbelief. “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Let us hear these words and take them to heart, for you are the bread of life that our hearts desire. In you alone do we have eternal life. We pray this in your name, Jesus. Amen!
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