Feasting with God #21
I Am the Bread of Life
Text: John 6:35-40
35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
We have seen Jesus rise. No, our physical eyes weren’t there 2,000 years ago, but with our eyes of faith we look on the Son who was killed for our trespasses and who was raised again for our justification, and in that belief, we have eternal life.
It’s sometimes hard to think about all the people in the world who are starving. We think of the third-world countries in Africa, parts of Asia and the Middle East, some even here in the United States. We picture so easily the sad children of those places, who never know where their next meal will come from, or even if they’ll have a next meal. Our hearts can’t help but go out to them, and often we wish there was more we could do.
As Christians, we ought to do what we can to help those in need. Sometimes that does mean donating money to charity, or even providing literal bread to someone in need. Truly noble acts, but how much do we think about the long run? A loaf of bread may feed several children for a week, but they need more than that. They need the means to have food for the rest of their lives. But they need even more than that. They need access to food that will keep them from ever going hungry.
In the text today, Jesus provides the access to that very food. “Whoever comes to me shall not hunger,” he says. He’s not speaking about a loaf of baked bread. He’s speaking about eternal, spiritual food. Any earthly bread will keep our earthly bodies alive, but what about our souls? Our spiritual bodies will need nourishing as well, and this we get by faith in Christ. This Jesus states clearly: “Everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” By faith we take part in the nourishing bread that is Christ. By believing in him, we have access to the true feast of God, that nourishment that will give us life eternal. Because of that holy bread, we will never die—not really.
Jesus came from heaven with that mission, to share eternal life with us. That way, whoever dies in faith can be described as only sleeping, because on the last day their bodies will wake up to new life, to full life, to eternal life. Jesus’ resurrection on Easter gives us a picture of what that will be like for the rest of us. Our bodies are frail and breakable and living only in shadow now. But when we are glorified in him, our bodies will be pure, whole, and really living.
So we look to Jesus to have that pure food, to have that eternal life. And this is a food that is easy to share with others. We direct their eyes to the same Jesus. We tell them his Word. We declare that it is free, that we don’t need to do anything to get this heavenly bread, but it is given to us by God’s grace. God loves a cheerful giver. We can give earthly bread, earthly money to support those in need—and those things are important. But don’t forget the most important thing: the bread that feeds our souls for eternal life, Jesus Christ.
Direct our eyes of faith, O heavenly Father, to your Son, and the great gift you have given us through him. We often feel so harshly the temporary nature of this earthly life. Yet as you give us our daily bread to nourish this life, do not leave us without the bread we need for eternal life. Strengthen our faith which looks constantly to Jesus Christ as our Savior, and through him, grant us forgiveness, life, and salvation, all that we need to never go hungry. Amen.
Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.