A few weeks ago we heard how Jesus took 5 loaves of bread given to him by a little boy and multiplied it so that it fed well over 5,000 people. This miracle was not just to meet the physical needs of the people, it was to be a sign that Jesus was the Messiah. The people of Israel believed that when the Messiah came he would provide bread for people to eat just as God had provided bread, or manna, for his people to eat as they made their way to the Promised Land. So Jesus was making a statement that he was the Messiah, but he then went out of his way to make clear that he hadn’t come to just provide bread for people to eat, he came to be the bread of life. Jesus said the bread from heaven he offered wasn’t some-THING to eat but some-ONE to trust and believe in. Jesus said that he was this bread and that life would be found when we believe in him.
Today I want us to consider what Jesus as this bread of life means for us. What does it mean for our lives today to accept Jesus as the bread of life and does accepting Jesus as the bread of life mean anything for our future? Jesus himself gives us the answer to this in John 6:35. As the bead of life Jesus satisfies our hunger and thirst, but we aren’t talking about a physical hunger for food or thirst for water, we are talking about our deepest longings and needs and the deepest longing or hunger we all have is for relationship.
We were created for relationships. God created the world to be in relationship with him and so as men and women created in the image of God we have within us a unique hunger or need for relationship. First and foremost we hunger for a relationship with God and we hear this in Psalm 42:1-2.
There is within all of us a longing to connect with something and someone larger than ourselves. Beyond relationships with one another, we have a longing or need to be in relationship with God. When I was growing up my family was blessed to live in my Grandmother’s house at the beach and at night there weren’t any lights from a town or city so you could see lots and lots of stars. I remember looking out my window or standing outside at night and thinking about the vastness of the universe. With so many stars and so much space and so many people living on this planet and so many people who have come before me in history I wondered how my life could matter to God. In the vastness of creation, did God even know my name or my situation? I felt so small and insignificant and yet I wanted God to know me and I wanted to know God. If you have ever asked these question or felt this way, then what you are experiencing is the hunger and thirst for a relationship with God.
Jesus taught us that God does know who we are and that he knows us personally and intimately. Jesus said God knows every hair on our head and that He is with us always. As God in the flesh, Jesus himself knew every person and he knew their deepest longings and needs. Jesus knew when people needed healing or hope or forgiveness. Jesus knew when people needed to be blessed and when people needed to be challenged and he knew when people needed patience, mercy and love. As God in the flesh, Jesus came to restore for us a relationship with God and satisfy that hunger.
As the bread of life, Jesus also came to show us how to have healthy and strong relationships with one another. We weren’t just created to be in a relationship with God, we were also created to be in relationship with one another and yet our sin and selfishness often strains and breaks those relationships, so Jesus came to teach us to love one another and forgive one another so our relationships could be strong. Jesus spent a lot of his time teaching us to respect, honor and care for one another so that one of our basic human needs, a need for relationship, could be satisfied.
Jesus also helps satisfy our hunger and thirst for righteousness. In his sermon on the mount Jesus said, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled. A hunger and thirst for righteousness is a longing we all have for true justice and peace to be known in our world. It is a longing for things to be set right so that everyone is treated with value, worth and dignity. In many ways this hunger and thirst for righteousness is a hunger and thirst for the kingdom of God. If we go back to the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 we see that Jesus showed us that God’s kingdom can be brought into this world if we will share who we are and what we have with God and others. In other words, the righteousness that comes from God that we all long for comes through us when we are willing to give ourselves to God. Our hunger and thirst for righteousness is satisfied when we choose God and when we choose to follow Jesus.
As the bread of life, Jesus came to satisfy our hunger and thirst for relationship and for righteousness, but as the bread life Jesus also came to save us. Look at John 6:38-40, 47-48, 51. This bread is Jesus and when we trust in what he has done for us, we are saved from sin and death. It is our sin that separates us from God and the punishment of sin is death. If we go back to the story of creation, while Adam and Eve were created for a relationship with God, their disobedience, or sin, destroyed that relationship and the consequence was separation from God. The punishment or consequence of our sin is that we are separated from God forever and there is nothing that can do to change that, but as the one who came to give us life, Jesus took on the punishment of our sin, he died our death, so that we could live with God not just here and now but forever. As the bread of life, Jesus saves us. As the bread of life, Jesus satisfies our need for forgiveness. Jesus forgives our sin and he defeats our death so that we can experience everlasting or eternal life.
The offer of salvation is given to us through Jesus and it is in choosing Jesus as our Savior and following him as our Lord that we experience the fullness of life here and now and the fullness of eternal life to come. The apostle Paul tells us that salvation is found in Jesus alone – Acts 4:12. And this salvation is a free gift and it is available to everyone today – we simply need to trust that what Jesus has done for us on the cross really is for us.
As the bread of life Jesus satisfies us and he saves us but he also provides for us a safe and secure future – John 6:37-39. As long as we continue to believe and trust in Jesus then we do not need to fear the future either in this life or in the life to come. Things may not always go as we have planned and there may be struggles we face in the days ahead, but God has promised to care for us and walk with us always. If we go back to the Sermon on the Mount, we hear Jesus telling us that we do not need to fear the future because God will take care of us – Matthew 6:28-33.
For many people this is a difficult passage because we have in our mind what it looks like for God to care for us and yet God’s plan of caring for our future might be very different than our own. It’s not always easy to trust God when everything seems to be going against us, but that is actually the time when true faith and trust shines through. It’s easy to trust God when things are going well but real faith and trust in Jesus comes when things don’t make any sense and we still choose to walk in faith. If every day we can see Jesus as our bread of life and know that he has come to satisfy us and save us, then we can be secure in our future here on earth.
The security God offers, however, isn’t just for this world, it is also for eternity. In John 6:40 Jesus said everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life. Does that sound familiar? It sounds like something else Jesus said. At the end of John 3:16 Jesus said that everyone who believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. When we believe in Jesus as the Messiah, or accept him as the bread of life, our future is secure.
But our security doesn’t come from just believing that Jesus died to take away our sin and restore us into a right relationship with God, our security comes when we are willing to daily feast on Jesus as the bread of life. It is by daily walking with Jesus and daily trusting him to provide for us and daily loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength that we find security for the future. If we go back to the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus told us that we don’t need to worry about the future he went on to say seek first the kingdom of God. Jesus was saying that when we seek God first – all that we need and all that we are searching for will be provided and God will satisfy us. A secure future here on earth or for all of eternity comes from a faith and trust in God that is lived out in our lives each and every day.
Jesus said, I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. So it is in eating the bread, it is believing in Jesus and accepting God’s grace and love and forgiveness through Jesus on a regular – ongoing – daily basis that secures our future.
Jesus is the living the bread, the bread from heaven, the bread of life and as this bread he satisfies all our deepest needs, saves us from sin and death and secures our future on earth and for eternity. Let us receive this bread of life today and live.
The Bread of Life ~ Jesus As Bread
As the bread of life Jesus has come to satisfy us, save us and secure our future.
1. Jesus Satisfy. Read Psalm 42.
• In what way do you long for a deeper relationship with God?
• Where do you need to experience God’s grace and love?
• What relationship in your life needs the love and grace of God?
• What is one thing you can do this week to strengthen a significant relationship in your life (at home, at work, among friends, at church)?
• Where do you long to see God’s righteousness at work in the world and what can you do to help this happen?
2. Jesus Saves. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Ask Jesus to save you from yourself, your sin and death. There is no special prayer needed, just a heartfelt desire to experience the freedom and life that comes with salvation.
3. Jesus Secures Our Future on Earth and for Eternity.
• Read Matthew 6:28-34.
o What worries do you need to take to Jesus?
o In what ways can you seek God’s kingdom first?
• Read John 3:16 and Romans 8:37-39.
o Give thanks for the love of God that cannot be broken.
o Every day find one way to live out your faith and trust in God: pray, praise, read, serve, give, love.