Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. – Jn. 6:35 NIV
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Good food is regarded as a necessity for sustenance of life, and all who desire to remain alive and in good health will always seek to have good food. Bread is a prominent staple food made out of baking a dough and due to its availability in its different forms remains a common item on the menu list of many people in many nations, with the people of Israel not excluded. It is therefore not unusual to associate bread with life as found in the scriptures and which many have come to accept as a norm.
So when the people went in search of Jesus Christ after he had fully fed them, seeking for more bread, they actually were seeking for a way to sustain their lives especially when bread takes a substantial proportion of their daily menu. Whoever could supply them bread was always going to be their leader, which was why they took a decision to make him their leader after he had fed five thousand of them with five loaves of bread and two small fish, and still had twelve baskets as leftovers – Jn. 6:1-15. Of he could do that, then they could depend on him to ensure that they never go hungry.
They were also willing to make any humanly possible sacrifice to ensure that they had regular supply of bread (Jn. 6:16-34), so all Jesus Christ was saying caught their attention. That was the case until he told them, in the foundation scripture for today’s Devotional, that he was Bread of life. Based on their understanding of what “bread” in relation to life was, the statement was always going to be a bitter pill for them to swallow as they began to wonder whether he wanted them to become human flesh eaters – Jn. 6:52. He just could not be bread in any of its forms since they knew his family background and the circumstances of his birth very well. They sure wanted food to stay alive and healthy, but he was never going to be the bread that will sustain their lives and so they started re-tracing their steps in disappointment.
He indeed provided them enough bread to eat during their last encounter with him when they celebrated the Jewish Passover together (Jn. 6:1-5), but his thoughts had since then moved on, to saving their souls from eternal condemnation whilst they chose to remain in their thinking of nourishing the flesh. With this difference in thought pattern, there was always going to be disagreements.
Similar situations occur today where Christians refuse to shift focus from earthly desires which were granted to serve as a tool to welcome them into Christianity, to focusing on the doctrine of salvation, which is the real reason for the coming of Jesus Christ.
In what may be compared to the admonition of the Apostle Paul that the Corinthians stop drinking milk and start eating meat, the average Christian, even after several years of being introduced to Christianity, refuses to grow into this real reason for the coming of Jesus Christ – 1Cor. 3:2. If anything, their thirst for earthly possessions increases astronomically. Rather than grow in the basic elements of the Word, they grow in their desires to have more earthly possessions, and sometimes, even to desperation levels.
There is no doubt that earthly possessions are very important for good living in this realm and Jesus Christ himself is not in denial of that as he is always ready to provide for his people. He even promised earthly possessions as rewards for all those who diligently seek to grow in the knowledge of the kingdom of God and operate in its principles (Matt. 6:33), but he also alerted man to the fact that living must not be based on those earthly possessions only, but by every spoken Word of the Jehovah – Matt. 4:4.
Jesus Christ in the today’s scripture asserted that who ever comes to him will hunger no more just as whoever believes in him will thirst no more. He was not asking that his physical flesh be eaten in the manner that bread is eaten, like the people at that time thought, as all he wanted was for them to come to consume all that he stands for. To come to him is to be willing to operate according to his guidelines. Making verbal claims to being born again or being fluent in quoting the scriptures will not equate to living in those Words. The bible says we should not be hearers, and probably readers of the word only, but we should also be doers of the Word – Jms. 1:22. The promise of never going hungry when Christians sincerely come to Jesus Christ remains valid, and it applies to feeding both the body and the soul. Progressing from coming to him, to the level of believing him, an act which they, like several Christians today, found difficult to do, is what will ensure that they thirst for nothing. Yes! Absolutely nothing. It is the total belief in him that earns the Christian the promise of not perishing and possessing eternal life – Jn. 3:16. That is what he intended when he described himself as Bread of life. He wants all people not only to come to him as the sent One but to believe and consider all his teachings as the food that sustains their souls – Jn. 6:29. Just as man eats daily to sustain the body, they should also meditate daily on all of God’s Words to sustain their soul.
Do not just come to him for the bread that sustains the body but seek to eat the bread that sustains the soul. That is when your coming to him will be beneficial to you in this realm and in the life after life. May God continue to feed us all with the bread of life in Jesus name. Amen.