The Living Bread

I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:48-51)

“The gospel … should be seen as not only a message of good news for lost people to be saved from sin’s penalty, but also a message of good news for Christian people to be saved from sin’s domineering power. The goal of the gospel is not merely to forgive us, but to change us into true worshippers of God and authentic lovers of people.”
-Dr. Steve Childers, True Spirituality

While satisfying the Israelites physical hunger, manna sent from heaven was not sufficient to truly satisfy forever. Jesus–the Word made flesh–was teaching the important truth that bread and water only sustain physical needs, yet man’s spiritual need is far greater:

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4)

In our verses for today, Jesus reminds us the Israelites ate the God-given manna, yet died in the desert. I wonder how often that occurs in our day and age. We feast upon the temporal blessings sent from God, yet die apart from Christ in our own “deserts”–our own parched and weary lands of brokenness. Oh that we would be like King David when he cried out:

I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. (Psalm 143:6)

Isaiah prophesized the following concerning Jesus: He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:2-5
The barren broken soul lays parched before its Maker. The great spiritual need that all mankind possesses is a hungry and thirsty heart. Jesus came to fill that need like water gushing forth in a dry desert. Jesus, the Bread of Life, comes down from heaven to bestow upon us the Bread that we may eat of and never die.

The true manna coming down from heaven was the all-sufficient One–Jesus himself. Jesus is the Bread of Life–He alone satisfies my soul’s hunger. A man may eat of this bread and never die; that is he will never fall short of heaven, a blissful world of no more tears and no more death. Here Jesus is telling His followers that they will live forever!

Just as bread must be given, broken, and taken in to sustain physical life, Jesus was given, broken, and taken up to sustain our spiritual life. His broken body heals our brokenness. His wounds make us whole. Our Savior offers us healing, reconciliation, and restoration through His broken body.

Jesus himself gives us the surety of blessing and filling as we hunger and thirst after righteousness with the diligence we use in seeking food for our physical bodies.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

Take It to Heart

After seeking our Savior and “feasting” upon His Word we are to apply what we learn to our lives. Bread in the hand will not nourish, it is only when it is ingested that it satisfies.

“The strangest truth of the gospel is that redemption comes through suffering.”
-Milo Chapman
The child of God will find this “food” and “drink”, when ingested in the soul, to be most pleasant and delightful and necessary. It is then that we are equipped to handle the assaults certain to come our ways.

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