Summary: What do the words I am the Bread of Life say to folk today?
Jn 6:25-40: I am the bread of Life
The key to understanding the whole of John 6 – the chapter of our Gospel reading revolves around one of Jesus’ famous “I am” statements – I am the Bread of life.
Indeed, by choosing these words, I AM Jesus was pointing his hearers to something special about himself – his claim to divinity
When he said “Before Abraham was “I am” (Jn 8:58) – the Jews picked up stones to kill him for blasphemy because he claimed to be God with that statement.
By the use of the term I AM his hearers would have been pointed back to the story in the book of Exodus where Moses asked God – “Who shall I say sent me” and God replied “Tell them “I AM“ sent you.
And that is about all we can, of ourselves, really comprehend about the nature of God.
He exists – and what we know of him is revealed in Christ
The philosopher Rene Descartes, the father of modern philosophy once said: “ I think, therefore I am”.
And perhaps in our modern materialistic society we might say: “ I shop therefore I am”
But God makes no such qualifications.
He simply assets of himself “I AM”
All of Jesus’ I AM statements are found in John’s gospel.
1. I am the bread of Life which came down from heaven (6:35,41,51)
2. I am the light of the world (8:12; 9:5)
3. I am the door of the sheep (10:7,9)
4. I am the good shepherd (10:11,14)
5. I am God’s Son (10:36)
6. I am the resurrection and the life (11:25)
7. I am the way, the truth, and the life (14:6)
8. I am the (true) vine (15:1,5)
And each one of the I AM ‘s represents a particular relationship of Jesus to the spiritual NEEDS of men and women.
Jesus is the Light in the darkness, the Gate to security, and the Shepherd that guides.
He is the way, the truth and the life.
In every one of these I AM we see that Jesus wants us to receive him, NOT for the gifts he can give us, but for what he can BE to us.
John Chapter 6 opens with the feeding of the five thousand and is followed quickly by Jesus’ astounding statement “ I am the Bread of life”
Bread – that universal leveller. We all need it!
People HAD COME to Jesus because he fed them – but Jesus wants to take them further.
In Chapter 6 Jesus speaks to four types of people
1. The Nationalist
2. The Materialist – those who simply wanted to be fed and no more.
3. The Sensationalist – who wanted to see more miracles. And finally
4. The Eternalist - His true Disciples.
I wonder what you might have thought yourself if you had been one of the people listening to Jesus that day when he said:
I am the Bread of Life
What responses would Jesus’ words have triggered in you
What would you have understood by Jesus’ words
“I am the Bread of Life” ?
To answer that question I need to first put this passage in context.
There was significance in WHERE he made this momentous statement and WHEN he said it
Let us start by considering where it was that Jesus speaking - in Galilee
Jesus was speaking in Galilee, one of the trouble spots of the Roman Empire.
Feelings against the Roman rulers ran high in these
northern hills of Galilee.
It was prime terrorist country – where bands of zealots planned their raids.
It was the “Helmand” province of Israel
Next let us look at when was Jesus speaking
John tells us in Jn 6:4 that this all happened at Passover time.
Passover was a time of a fiercely nationalist flavour.
It was the time of year when the Israelites remembered God’s deliverance of HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE
Earlier in the Chapter we read of Jesus feeding the five thousand from a little boy’s lunch box of five loaves and two little fishes.
(Aside: You could imagine the News of the World reporting this with the headline:
“Preacher steals little boy’s food and gives it away”)
Not unnaturally – the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand had sparked the interest of the zealots - who were looking for Jesus as a possible “political Saviour”
Perhaps the closest analogy to us is the nationalist feelings of the Ulster Unionists in Northern Ireland on 12th July when they remember the Battle of the Boyne (1st July 1690).
Story: I used to live in Northern Ireland as a boy and my father took me to see Schomberg’s grave at the site of the Battle of the Boyne.