John 6:35 Bread is a great metaphor that Jesus often used. It was a great analogy to his disciples at the time, and it still works for us now. Bread is food; it’s filling and it nourishes us. How much more does Jesus! In John 6:35, Jesus stated that he is ‘the bread that gives life’. Those who have grown up in church are likely to understand that bread is symbolic of more than just food to make sandwiches and toast with. To fully grasp Jesus’ amazing statement, we need to step back from our western mindset of what bread means to us and explore the context in which Jesus found himself in first-century Israel.
Bread could talk about God’s abundant provision, for the Israelites in the desert (manna and quail for 40 years, water from rocks, clothes that did not wear out, sandals that didn’t tear) and now for us. What has God provided for you? What has He done in such a miraculous way that it could be no one else?
Bread could refer to spiritual nourishment and discipleship. Several times in the Bible it says “taste and see that the Lord is good” Psalm 34 :8. Which means we need to “eat” God’s word , and digest it, and derive nourishment from it just as we do with from food. In this case God’s Word should make us ” grow” into spiritual maturity, into His image, into a new person. And the Author of the Word needs to be known intimately for that to happen.
Bread of Life should define our priorities in terms of the materially valuable over the eternally valuable. Do we run after things of the earth, and ignore things of Heaven? Do we think cars, and homes and jobs and clothes and yes food more important than say, a person coming to Christ? Do we take the time to mentor and teach some one new to Christ in His ways? That requires energy and sacrifice of our time and emotions. Do we do it?
The Bread of Life should showcase our trust and dependence on God. Completely. Fully. Sacrificially. We need to be able to say to God, send me or use me or tell me what to do, and I will do it. Knowing that we don’t know all the steps or the details or the plans, but He does! And He will provide at the right time. And His right time will probably be very different from ours!
As well as bread representing food and nourishment, it carries other significant meanings. It is still used today to symbolise how Jesus’ body was broken for us on the cross (Matthew 26 and 1 Corinthians 11 :23-26 ). As we remember His death and subsequent resurrection , we take communion in His name, acknowledging that we are dead to our trespasses and have risen in Him to new life.
Being dependent on God for something as simple as bread is far removed from our culture. Aside from the diet we have and our western relationship with food, our cultural wealth often means that people have little understanding of what it really means to be in need of food. The majority of people we come across may have very little understanding of what it means to rely on God for basic physical needs even though we are aware that this isn’t always the case and that there are people, even in our own country, who struggle to meet their own material needs.
Maybe mirroring this character of our western culture, we may be so preoccupied by the practical things we consume in life that we forget that there’s more to life than the physical things we see around us. Actually, what Jesus says is that we can be fed in a way that is beyond what we see in our tangible environments, and what he offers us is even more fulfilling and nourishing than anything we can work for or produce ourselves. What Jesus offers us as the bread of life is amazing. Whilst he alludes to God as the provider of our physical needs, he offers us nourishment that nothing in our world can offer. To feed on Jesus as the bread of life and to depend on him daily as the fuel that keeps us running, is life changing. We should want others to know how good it is to rely on Jesus for their daily needs, and not only to acknowledge mentally that this is how Christians are supposed to live, but to actually live their lives depending on the spiritual food that Jesus gives us.
This is taken from this Bible Study Scripture Union Bible Study.
Be blessed friend as you chew on and mediate on the Word of God,