“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry …”
Bread was a mainstay of life in the ancient world, and it is still a staple food in most cultures today. Making wholesome bread was a respected skill. Rich and poor alike depended on it. At one time in ancient Rome people even rioted for bread. At other low points in history people have waited in line for hours for bread rations.
It’s not surprising that bread came up often in Jesus’ life and teaching. Some of Jesus’ great miracles, in which he fed thousands, were about bread. And when it came to describing himself as sent from God with saving nourishment for his people, Jesus called himself the bread of life. In this way Jesus made clear that he was speaking of spiritual food, which is even more important than physical food and drink. Jesus spoke of himself as the bread that satisfies the deepest hunger of the human soul. Unlike bread at my house, the food Jesus offers will never spoil or run out.
“I am the bread of life” (along with many other “I am” statements of our Lord) means that the saving love Jesus offers is for now. The atoning work does not wait for a distant judgment day. It’s present reality! Jesus said earlier, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life” (John 5:24)—and that means present life that death cannot destroy. The good news is for now and demands my acceptance today.
Heavenly Father, as we enjoy the food you give us today for our bodies, we also give you thanks for the bread of Jesus that satisfies us even now for eternal life. In his name, Amen.
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