THE BREAD OF LIFE
Leslie M. John
“I am that bread of life” (John 6:48)
Lord Jesus Christ said He is the bread of Life. What does the ‘bread of life’ actually mean? What we usually understand is that the bread is food item that supports life. Reading through the context (john 6:47-51) where this verse appears it is evident that Lord Jesus Christ was making a firm affirmation that he who believes on Him has everlasting life.
The Lord was not saying that our physical bodies will remain as they are. He was also not saying that we will not have physical death. Everyman has to die once, but the death in the case of believers, it is different. Their souls will immediately be with the Lord and they do not die to the literal meaning, which is cessation of life once for all.
Jesus was crucified on the cross amidst two thieves on one either side. This was done to insult Him. When He was on the cross, the thief on one side mocked at Jesus but the second thief understood the Jesus is the Lord and Savior. He acknowledged this fact and said they (the two thieves) deserved death, but the righteous Lord did not deserve death; and he turned to the Lord and prayed that the Lord may remember him when He comes in His kingdom. The Lord immediately promised to the second thief that he would be with the Lord on the same day in Paradise.
From the words of Lord Jesus Christ it is evident that death of believer in Christ is not cessation of life, but as it is as it may be called a “Sleep”. Lord Jesus used this term in John 11:11. However, later referring to the physical death of Lazarus, the Lord said in John 11:14 that Lazarus was dead.
These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. (John 11:11)
Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. (John 11:14)
Lord Jesus Christ raised Lazarus from his physical death, which was his sleep.
When Jesus said that He was the bread of the life, He meant that He was the source for spiritual life in a believer. Earlier in John 6:35 Jesus said to them that He is ‘the bread of life’ and whoever comes to Him shall never hunger nor thirst.
While speaking to Samaritan woman in John 4:14 the Lord said, whoever drinks water from the well would thirst, but the water that He gives will be a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The Lord Jesus says that He is the support of spiritual life. He who believes in Him shall have His Spirit in abundance, and His life will be fruitful.
To be born-again, as Jesus said, one has to be born of water and spirit. Physical birth once in this world is not enough to enter into the Kingdom of God, but it is imperative that everyone has to be born-again; that is to say that everyone has to be born of the spirit. Unless a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
It is not enough for a believer to remain as a babe in Christ, after he is born-again, but he has to grow spiritually. Hebrews 5:13-14 says that strong meat belongs to one who is full of age but everyone, who uses milk, is unskillful in the word of righteousness because he is babe.
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, as recorded in Matthew 4:4, He said that man shall not live by bread alone, but every word that comes out of the mouth of God.
Physical needs of Elijah the prophet were met with, when God sent raven with food for him and provided water from the brook of Cherith, which was before Jordan. Ravens brought meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook when there was no rain the land. (Cf. 1 Kings 17:2-7)
Five thousand men were fed by five loaves and two fishes miraculously by Lord Jesus during His ministry in Galilee. The Lord had gone over the sea of Galilee, which was the sea of Tiberias, and great multitude followed him (John 6:1-14).
In order to see that they may not forcibly take Jesus and make Him king over them, he left them He went to the mountain again (Jews knew that a prophet would come and be their king). His disciples entered into a ship and went over the sea toward Capernaum. It was dark, and the sea arose of a great storm. When they had rowed about thirty furlongs, Jesus came to them by walking on the water. The disciples and the others were afraid looking at Him walk on calm waters. They were in the midst of great wind that blew while they were sailing. Lord Jesus comforted them and said to them that it was He who was coming to them, and therefore, they need not be afraid. They all received the Lord into the ship, and immediately the ship landed safely at the place where they wished to be (cf. 6:17-21).
JEWS CONFRONT JESUS
Next day people saw Jesus and inquired of him “Rabbi, when camest thou hither?” They had gone there by boats from Tiberias, where they ate miraculous food that the Lord provided them. They showed their concern as if they were indeed intently seeking Him; but Jesus said to them that they were not there to see Him or to seek His welfare, but they inquired of Him because they had food miraculously from Him on the other side of the sea. (Ref. John 6:25, 26).
Jesus knew their inward thoughts and, therefore, said to them that they should not labor for worldly food that perishes, but to labor for the meat that endures unto everlasting life, which Lord Jesus, who is the Son of God, alone shall give unto them. He said to them that the Father has appointed His Son alone for this purpose, and that He is the Son of God, who came down from heaven, in the likeness of man (cf. John 6:27)
Jews did not understand what Jesus was speaking about. They inquired as to how they should do the works of God. The Lord answered them and said that they should believe in Him, and that belief will be enough evidence that they are doing the work of God. Jews, then cited as to how their fathers received “Manna” (food from heaven), by the power of God, in the wilderness, at the behest of Moses. They questioned Him as to what sign He would show that they believe Him as the Son of God, the incarnate God.
Lord Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 and said to them that God provided them food for their physical needs, and humbled them; however, all of them after eating “Manna”, died physical death as everyone dies; however, He continued saying that man does not live by bread alone, but by the every word that comes out of the mouth of the LORD.
Of His provision of food that He would give to the world, Lord Jesus said that He is “the bread of life” and He gives everlasting life. They were again confused and prayed to give that bread to them that they live forever on this earth. However, Lord Jesus Christ was saying to them they should believe in Him and receive Him as the Lord and Savior that they may have everlasting life.
As Paul later explains we will be raised with glorified bodies in the twinkling of an eye, when the Lord comes again. He will conform us to His image and we will be with Him forever and ever. He reiterated that He came down from heaven to do the will of the Father, who sent Him into this world in the likeness of man, and that whoever comes to Him will in wise be cast out, but raise him from the dead at the last day.
Jews murmured because Lord Jesus said to them that He is ‘the bread of life’ that came down from heaven. They wondered if He was not the son of Joseph and Mary, whom they knew. Lord Jesus answered and said to them that they should not murmur among themselves, but to believe in Him as their Savior, who gives them the everlasting life. Jews again murmured as to how the Lord could give them his flesh to eat. The Lord said to them that whosoever eats His flesh and drinks of His blood will live in Him and He in him and he will live forever (cf. John 6:28-59)
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life” (John 6:47-48)