OUR LORD WHO IS THE BREAD OF LIFE
While the Lord Jesus was teaching in the Galilee area, a contentious issue came up.
The people were trying to find Jesus and Jesus discerned that they were looking for Him because He had miraculously provided food for the crowds. Jesus wanted to disabuse them of the idea that His value to them was that he could provide food for them.
He informed the people that His true value to them was that He was the bread of life and that their responsibility before God was to believe in Him.
He told them that believing in Him was how they could enter into eternal life by partaking in the bread of life which was His body (being broken and sacrificed on a cross to pay for their sins).
The contention arose when Jesus told them that they would have to eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to attain life. This was controversial to his listeners and even to His own disciples who grumbled at Jesus' words and said it was a hard teaching to accept.
Now, Jesus was using the metaphor of eating to signify believing. Believing is a form of ingestion into ones heart where to disbelieve is to reject while believing is accept and take into ones heart.
Jesus, who corporealy came down from heaven, was like bread from heaven that can be compared to the manna that God sent down from heaven to keep the children of Israel alive in the wilderness.
Now, to believe in Jesus who came down from heaven is pictorialized in the eating of the manna and thus the metaphor is extended to include the eating of the flesh of the one who was sent from heaven and drinking His blood.
The following passage out of John chapter 6 verse 30 - 59, touches on these points.
So they asked him (Jesus), “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, 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. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
“Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 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. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Thus the Lord taught us how believing in Him makes us alive in Him.
Bless His holy name.