Come and Dine – The Bread of Life

Come and Dine – The Bread of Life

Come and Dine – The Bread of Life. 

“Truly, truly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world… I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst… I am the bread of life. Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.” (John 6:32-33, 35, 48-50).

FOOD: Any nutritious substance that people eat or drink in order to maintain life and enable growth. Any substance that provides nourishment for survival and nutrition for maintenance of life. Food is consumed in order to keep oneself alive and healthy.

Bread for the Multitude. In John 6:1-14, Jesus then provides a dramatic preview of His Bread of Life teaching and the Eucharist sacrament. He took the bread and broke it; He gave thanks (the Greek word used here is actually eucharisto) to God for the food; He distributed the bread to all those gathered together; the multitude partook of the broken bread. Somehow, the bread in Jesus’ hands just kept appearing. He’d break a little loaf, and more would appear. He kept multiplying fresh bread to the gathered thousands until all had eaten and were satisfied. Certainly, since this was the time of Passover, the people receiving bread from Jesus and His disciples had to be thinking of manna from heaven in the wilderness. Jesus then had the disciples gather all the remnants, all the leftover bread and fish, and put it all in baskets… twelve baskets, one for each disciple. In gathering the leftovers, Jesus was simply following Judaic law which forbids the destruction of food. Miraculously there was an abundance of bread left over, much more than was originally given by that little boy. Jesus created a lot from a little, as He can do with whatever we offer to Him in our meagerness. Isn’t it interesting that during His temptation with Satan, Jesus refused to make bread from stones, but that here in the presence of this huge throng He multiplied bread for the people? Jesus had a problem doing a miracle to minister to Himself, but no problem doing a miracle for others. Fresh bread from the Bread of life, from the hidden manna that comes down from heaven. Jesus expanded on this idea with His great I AM statement about being the Bread of Life that comes down from heaven to give life to the world, soon after the multiplication of bread, in John 6: 30-40.

Living Bread. Soon after Jesus’ astounding feeding of the 5,000 and His walking on the turbulent Sea, He was surrounded in the synagogue by a few of the people who had been fed so miraculously earlier. Jesus saw this as a teachable moment for His audience, especially after someone in His audience said to Him, We’ll believe you if you can show us another miracle, another sign. After all, (this person continued), Moses fed our ancestors with manna in the wilderness all those years (Exodus 16). If you’re the long-awaited Prophet to replace Him, what sign can you do for us? Jesus couldn’t wait to dignify this awkward question with a self-revelation that is profound and puzzling. Jesus decided to mix the spiritual and the physical in an interesting way. He told them, Are you looking for bread from heaven? Are you seeking a sign like manna in the desert? Didn’t you just get fed out in the middle of nowhere? Well, think of this, then. I AM the Bread of Life. Think about that manna with Moses. I am like that, only I AM the living bread that came down from heaven to give His life to feed the world. Come to me and you will never be spiritually hungry again. Come to me, take me into your innermost being, into your deepest self, and you will live forever. The living Bread I give you is myself, my own body, which I will offer as a sacrifice so that all may live. My body is real food for the soul, and my blood is real drink. Unless you eat my body and take me into yourself, and drink my blood while you’re at it, you will not have eternal life. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him. I am the Bread, the living Manna, that comes from heaven to feed you unto eternal life. Think of me as spiritual manna for your souls. (read John 6:26-58).

Jesus, the Master Teacher who is always seeking a way to reach the minds and hearts of His students. What better time could there be to expand on what He said in His model prayer (Matt. 6:11 and Luke 11:3). “Give us this day our daily bread.” The biblical scholar Rodney Whitacre suggests that the Greek word for “daily” in the Lord’s Prayer is not the normal Greek word for daily. The Greek word used in the Lord’s Prayer for daily is “epiousios,” and it always refers to the nourishment we need for life in this age and in the age to come. The “daily bread” spoken of by Jesus in His prayer would include both physical and spiritual nourishment. Jesus is claiming to be the “daily bread” prayed for, He is the living embodiment of daily bread for this life and for life eternal. Perhaps the Holy Spirit put this together in the minds of the disciples later as they chewed on the Lord’s Prayer and the Bread of Life teaching.

I AM. Jesus began this rather mysterious teaching about bread and flesh and blood with what must have looked like an outlandish claim. He said I AM, a hint of the personal Name of Yahweh given to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3). I AM is an abbreviated version of the Great I AM, I AM WHAT I AM, I AM HE WHO EXISTS. Jesus here claimed to be divine, to be co-equal to the God of Israel. This is a bombshell of self-revelation, that He is at one with Yahweh, a Son of the Father in heaven. Jesus smoothly transitions from His I AM claim to that of being the Bread of Life. And He goes from there to asking the people to eat His flesh and drink His blood. It’s no wonder that many in His audience at the synagogue were perplexed, or put off by His words, to the point of walking away from Jesus by the time His teaching was over.

Manna. Jesus talked about bread in the context of manna. He even compared Himself a little to that food provided in the desert. He came down from heaven, just like manna. He is to be eaten, just like manna. And He like manna was a gift from the hand of God. Manna was eaten in order to be sustained physically. Jesus is Bread that is eaten to be sustained spiritually. Manna is a bread of mystery that appeared every morning, the word manna meaning “What is it?” Jesus is another bread of mystery to many who misunderstood and rejected Him. Wilderness manna was openly revealed for all to see every day. Likewise, Jesus was walking and teaching and healing for all to see, out in the open. All who wanted manna had free and easy access. All who sought Jesus could easily find Him. All who ate manna had their hunger satisfied. All who partake of Jesus have their spiritual hunger satisfied, forever. Jesus gives the soul true nourishment, and only those with faith can truly receive it. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps. 34:8).

Feeding on Christ. Later in this Bread of Life teaching, Jesus is clearly referring to the Eucharist, eating His flesh and drinking His blood, being lifeless without feeding on Him. (John 6:53-58). But earlier in this teaching in the synagogue, Jesus seems to be speaking more in the present, not the future tense… Come to me now, not later; feed on me now; I Am the Bread of Life now. (John 6:30-40). So what does it mean to feed on Christ in our daily life right now? To feed on Christ is to believe He is the Truth. Believe in Him, trust in Him. Feeding on Christ is to obey Him, to do His will. Remember when Jesus said to His disciples, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.” (John 4:34). In God’s eyes, obedience is the same as eating. In our relationship with Jesus, obeying Him is equivalent to feeding on Him. When we worship God in awe and adoration, we are feeding on Christ. When we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we are feeding on Jesus. When we follow His example in the Gospels through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are feeding on Christ. When we pray and listen to Him, and find Him to be the “one thing needful,” we are feeding on Jesus. Finally, we feed on Christ more literally when we participate in the sacrament of Eucharist, feeding on His body and blood. In short, we are feeding on Jesus when we grow in living into His life through His Spirit in the communion found in church and the sacraments.

I Am The Bread of Life | Suzanne Toolan with Lyrics | Catholic Hymn Song | Sunday 7pm Choir – YouTube