The Lord impressed on my heart today to study the “I AM” statements of Jesus in the gospel of John, and you’re coming along with me. For the next several weeks we’ll have “I AM Fridays.”
In chapter 6, Jesus had just performed miracles: healing the sick and feeding five thousand people from five loaves and two fish. (I’ve cut out at least a thousand construction paper loaves and fishes for kids’ Bible story time.) He was doing His best to withdraw from the crowds, even walking across a stormy lake, but they followed Him, demanding more – more miracles and more bread. The people insisted that Moses “gave them bread from heaven to eat” (Jn 6:31; Ex 16:4), speaking of the manna. But Jesus corrected them; Moses didn’t provide the bread, God did and now God was giving them something better than bread for a day. He said, “The bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (v. 33). All the people heard was “bread for life” and they ran with it. “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread” (v. 34). (Reminds me of the woman at the well from chapter 4). What they missed was that the bread from God was not a loaf, but a person.
Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry . . .” (v. 35). He reiterated it by saying, “I am the bread that came down from heaven” (v. 41). And if they missed it He said it again, “I am the bread of life” (v. 48). Not the manna. Him. The bread the Israelites ate couldn’t keep them alive for more than a few days. Then He made a statement that shocked the people: “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” (v. 51). Eat His flesh? Feed on Him? What in the world? And that’s the point. What Jesus offers is not of this world – it is from heaven.
Life, not bread, is the point of this passage. Jesus said, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will give you” (v. 27). Beloved do you want to eat for a day or for eternity? Feast on the Bread of Life and you’ll be satisfied forever.