Summary: What does Christ mean when He calls Himself the Bread of Life?
For the last few weeks we have sort of gotten off course in our Sunday evening services, but tonight I want us to again look to the book of John. We have been asking the question, “Who is Jesus?” It’s a question that can be answered from several different approaches. We can study the attributes that characterize God the Father and apply them to the Son. We can take a look at how Jesus lived. Or, as we have been doing, we can listen when Jesus says the words, “I am…” Several times throughout the book of John Jesus tells us who He is. We’ve looked at a couple of those “I am” statements. We’ve seen that Jesus is the Light of the world. We’ve heard Him say, “I am the Door.” Other times He has said, “I am the Good Shepherd,” or “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
Tonight I want us to quickly look at what Jesus says in John 6:22-35…
The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
If you will look earlier in this chapter you will find that this passage directly follows one of our favorite miracles. Jesus has just fed the five thousand, which, by the way, was only the number of men in that crowd. With a little boy’s five loaves of bread and two fishes Jesus fed a multitude of people and had twelve baskets to spare when it was all said and done. It’s an amazing story.
There have been some that have tried to explain away this miracle of Jesus. One preacher surmised that perhaps once the people saw the sacrifice of this young boy, they too pulled out their own lunches that they had carried along, and when they shared their lunches with each other there enough for everyone. Others have speculated that a cache of food left by Roman soldiers was uncovered and divided among the people. Why can’t we just believe in the power of Jesus? Why can’t we just believe the Jesus was able to take five loaves and two fishes and bless them and supernaturally break enough bread and fish for all those people? This was just an extraordinary act of God. You can’t explain it away.
You know, several times Jesus was able to see a need and meet it supernaturally. He saw a need for more wine at the wedding of Cana, so He turned water into wine. He saw the need of His disciples’ safety so He calmed the storm. He saw the widow’s need for her son so he raised him back from the dead. Many times Jesus saw a need and met it. But many of His miracles were not performed simply on the basis of need or the effect that they would have. His miracles also served as object lessons or parables. They were teaching devices.