The Bread of Life

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John 6:47-58 (NIV)  47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.  48 I am the bread of life.  49 Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died.  50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.  51 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.”  52 ¶ Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.  57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.  58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.”  

    This passage ‘screams’ that Jesus is the ‘bread of life’.  The implication to me is that just as the Israelites went out for manna daily in the wilderness, we should go to Him daily and meditate on His teachings until they are a part of us.  

    Some scholars say that the process of incorporating Jesus’ teachings into our lives is all that Jesus is referring to by saying  “eating his flesh” and “drinking his blood”,  But, Jews were masters at word play and verbal ideas.  The Hebrew names had meanings.  It isn’t unusual to find Old Testament stories where the meanings of the Hebrew names can be inserted and the story reads in its own way.

Before this in Verse 27, Jesus also tells them to work for the food that lasts. A literal translation of one of the phrases in that verse could be “work not for the food perishing.” Our focus is so often on “things”. We need to work on shifting that focus to Jesus.

    Another interesting bread reference has to do with Bethlehem.  Bethlehem actually means “House of Bread”.  Jesus refers to himself as the ‘bread of life’.  He was born in Bethlehem.  So, Bethlehem is the home (or house) of the bread (of life). Our lives are busy. Let us try to make our homes honorable for the “bread of life”.

How can this text shape the way we view Jesus?  I think we can see this text as Jesus being our sustenance for life.  Can we apply this to our actions? I think we can. We often worry about things. The Bible says God will supply our needs. OUR NEEDS…not wants or conveniences. Needs do not include X-box or the top tier cable package for TV. Needs include food, water, and shelter. We just have to wait on Him for those.

I suggest you take some time in prayer today to consider these ideas. I have to do this frequently. God does not always work on my personal calendar. I also suggest you encourage others about this when the opportunity is right. We all need to be reminded on occasion.

God bless you in your day.

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