The Bread of Life
We live in a culture obsessed with food. Myself included, most of our time throughout the day is spent pondering, planning, buying, preparing, cooking, consuming, cleaning up after food. Not to mention the instagramming, blogging, posting, bragging, and recommending of recent food adventures. When we get together with friends, it involves food; when we invite others over, it revolves around food; when we go on a date without food, it’s lame; when you attend an event and there is no food, it’s obscene. Everyone who has ever lived loves food.
Jesus performed the most amazing food miracle of all time. He fed five thousand men and their families with five loaves of bread and two fish. Based on our previously established infatuation with food, its no surprise that a group of these foodies subsequently stalked Jesus to other side of the sea. If you met someone who could multiple fish and chips wouldn’t you? In John 6:26, Jesus calls them on their motives for following him- not because they believed the signs, but because their bellies were filled. He then blows their mind with the concept of eternal food.
“I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger; and whoever believes in me shall not thirst.”
John 6:35 (ESV)
Enter the Jews and their offense at the graphic language Jesus uses to expound on His statement:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”
John 6:53-56 (ESV)
After reading this, I wanted to know more. What does this mean for me as a Christian? Why does Jesus use the example of food that sounds so cannibalistic when taken out of context? How do I daily abide in Him?
This brilliant analogy given to us by Christ, and the innate passion for eating that He created us to enjoy, relate beautifully. Eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking Jesus’ blood means that all of my sustenance comes from Him alone. As I crave food and need it for survival, so should I crave the presence and person of Jesus, desiring to devour the truth of who He is.
After only a few hours without water, my body thirsts for it and I long for a tall, ice cold beverage. In the same way, in my spirit, I should desire and thirst after the Living Water that flows from the Sustainer of all things.
As I set aside time to ponder, plan, gather, prepare, and eat my food, so should I set aside time in my day to feast on the Bread of Life; absorbing the goodness that is the Triune God made available through the righteousness imputed to me by the Son.
In his commentary The Exposition of the Gospel of John, Arthur Pink remarks on the use of bread as the specific parallel:
“Bread is a daily food. There are some articles of food which we eat but occasionally; others only when they are in season. But bread is something we need every day of our lives. It is so spiritually. If the Christian fails to feed on Christ daily, if he substitutes the husks of religious forms and ceremonies, religious books, religious excitement, the glare and glitter of modern Christianity, he will be weak and sickly. It is failure at this very point which is mainly responsible for the feebleness of so many of the Lord’s people.”
Let us marvel at the wondrous love the Father has given to us! He not only gives us the gift of eternal life, but the all-satisfying, never-ending, soul-filling joy of feasting on the joy of who He is! He is Life. He is True Food.