“Who is Jesus?” I AM the Bread of life from heaven – John 6:26-40

As you read John 6, you might notice that Jesus’ teaching about himself becomes progressively more difficult to accept. As his revelations grow more difficult, it appears that those who are hearing decrease in number. This section is addresses to the crowd following after him. They have been fed “FREE FOOD” and want more of the same. How easy it is to see the gifts but not the giver; to work for God but not because of God; to desire that which satisfies our bodies but not our eternal souls.

Another situation we might recognize in these sections is that Jesus teaches with authority. “Truly, truly, I say to you…” These are the words of God coming from and through the Word of God. In today’s selection, Jesus uses this expression to reveal their inner desires – not heavenly signs but free food – and to point to God – not Moses – as the giver of manna in the desert and the true bread out of heaven.

Manna was provided to the people of Israel for 40 years as they wandered in the wilderness. Each morning, six days a week, the households woke up to find a day’s portion of manna on the ground with two day’s supply before the Sabbath. I’m sure that none of us would desire to have been a part of this wandering. The whole point was to walk around in circles until the rebellious, stubborn, non-believing people died. Yes, their basic physical needs were met. They had food and their clothes did not wear out, but they were basically waiting, on hold, until an entire generation died out. Now Jesus is speaking to the descendants of these same people.

“For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”

Jesus said the them, “I AM the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” (John 6:33-35)

Jesus is telling the people that He is the sustenance of life from God. Manna fell daily from the wilderness sky and these folks would like to have their bread delivered in that way also. Jesus came down from heaven, obedient to God’s will, to provide eternal life to those who believe. So many of these people were focused on their stomachs and wallets that they left off following Jesus and listening to him teach when he revealed more about who he really was. The hard teachings are emphatic statements about where he came from, what he came to do, what he will do, and how long the results last. These are still true, true today.

I pray that you and I can learn to see past those pesky, daily, physical longings to see the Giver; to believe Him who was sent; to desire eternal bread and drink. “O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8) [I love it when the Bible uses exclamation points!!]

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Denise
    Dec 10, 2010 @ 09:23:39

    Yesterday in a training session with Anita Carmen, she made a similar observation on this passage. Then she asked the question of us: “Describe a time God provided for you physically. Did your physical provision lead to a deeper spiritual life of faith in God? Or did you remain immature in your faith and demand more and more physical provision?

    In John 6:28-30, we find the work of God is to BELIEVE in Jesus. When we ask for more miraculous signs in order to believe, are we simply stalling for something more?

    Reply

    • Colleen
      Dec 10, 2010 @ 09:59:45

      I think that this is exactly what Jesus is teaching the people. They want free food – a similar reaction to the Samaritan woman at the well who wanted the water Jesus offered – they do not understand that He has come to reconcile, rebirth, and sustain their desperate spiritual conditions.

      It is natural to be concerned with the material. God promises that He sees our material needs but these are not what Jesus came to address. 1 Cor. 2:14-16 says that spiritual things are foolishness to the natural man. Those who believe in Jesus – the Jesus we find in the word of God – are given the mind of Christ. Jesus says that He is the Son of God, the Messiah – Deliverer, the Door, the Good Shepherd, the Light of the world, the Resurrection and the Life. Truly, truly believing these things changes our lives far beyond the material.

      James connects faith with doing. At some places, like the disciples handing out the bread, we obey God’s word because its God’s word and faith grows out of this obedience.

      Reply

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