John 6:32-35 (ANIV)
32 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.”
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
TIME OF DAY:
A Google image search provided bread photo reference for this scene.
This is the first of 7 famous statements that Jesus made, starting with “I am…”.
01. The Bread Of Life
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)
02. The Light Of The World
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
03. The Gate
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)
04. The Good Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
05. The Resurrection And The Life
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
06. The Way, The Truth, And The Life
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
07. The Vine
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
What might Jesus have meant by referring to himself as bread?
Point 01. Jesus is making a claim to deity. This statement is the first of the “I AM” statements in John’s Gospel. The phrase “I AM” is the covenant name of God (Yahweh, or YHWH), revealed to Moses during the incident with the burning bush (see Exodus 3:14). The phrase speaks of aseity, which means self-sufficient existence, which is an attribute ONLY God possesses.
Of course, this phrase was very well known to the Jews who were listening to Jesus… they would have automatically understood his statement as a claim to deity… which is why they frequently wanted to stone Jesus, or else throw him off a cliff: they thought he was blaspheming.
Point 02. By referring to himself as bread, Jesus is saying he is essential for life. Certainly people can live for a very long time on bread & water alone. In the ancient world, bread was an essential part of most or every meal, a real staple & life-giving food. Jesus is saying that he gives even better, longer-lasting “food” or life to us. The life Jesus was really referring to however, is not physical life, but eternal life. Jesus multiplied real, physical bread the day before this discourse in John chp 6. By mentioning bread again the very next day, he is trying to get Jewish thinking to move from the physical realm into the spiritual realm.
Point 03. Notice the words “hunger and thirst.” Jesus isn’t talking about alleviating physical hunger and thirst. In Matthew 5:6 (the sermon on the mount), Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” The key to understanding what Jesus said in John chp 6 is found here; Jesus said that those who come to Him will never hunger and those who choose to believe in Him will never thirst. Effectively He is saying He will satisfy our “hunger and thirst” to be made right in the sight of God the Father.
Point 04. Notice the words “come” and “believe” in Jesus’ statement “He who COMES to me will never go hungry, and he who BELIEVES in me will never be thirsty.” This can be interpreted as an invitation for those listening to place their faith in Jesus as the Messiah; the Son of God. This invitation to come to salvation through Jesus is found throughout John’s Gospel. Coming to Jesus involves turning away from the ways of the world and choosing instead to follow Him. Believing in Jesus means placing our faith in Him… that He is exactly who He says He is, that He will do precisely what He says He will do, and that He is the only one who can give us eternal life.
Click the link below to see the Gospel Illustration:
Gospel Illustrations: Communion – bread & wine