Part 13: Bread of Life
Food and music are memory triggers for my Bible study. I can remember the contraband snacks I munched on in the Dallas Seminary library as I listened to Shane & Shane while reading Carolyn Custis James for the first time. The Book of Ruth unfolded for me.
I can remember the vending machine snacks I'd choose to attend Dr. Kreider's classes in Seminary while he taught me about the parable of the vineyard owner. Choose any U2 song and I well up with tears because Kreider uses a lot of Bono's music to teach Bible truths.
And I can remember the carb-loaded plate of pasta and the cheap hotel wine I was enjoying in Nashville in 2015 when I first opened my Bible to look up the word "bread." I went straight to John 6 with my spiritual hunger and tears streamed down my face as I read Jesus' words about Himself as the Living Bread.
That moment was the catalyst for this whole I.love.carbs Bible study. So the build up to this lesson is a tad intimidating because how can I fit into one blog post the work the Holy Spirit has done in my heart to heal me of spiritual hunger?? How?? The best way is to offer up the verses that have been so life changing for me. This is Jesus speaking to the same crowd that had just had their bellies filled with the five loaves of bread and two fish...
John 6:27 "Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him.”
Isaiah 55:1-3 "Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! Why do you spend money on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and you will enjoy the choicest of foods. Pay attention and come to Me; listen, so that you will live."
Don't get me started on how very little I like the fact that we cannot WORK for the food that lasts for eternity. I love working as much as I love carbs. So the crowd's question to Jesus seems fair...
John 6:28-29 “What can we do to perform the works of God?” they asked. Jesus replied, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the One He has sent.”
Ah, faith. Right. That one thing it takes to please God and enjoy the abundant life. Faith, the saving work of Jesus accomplished through His life, death, and resurrection. So that none of us could boast about our hard works. They miss Jesus' point and ask to see more miracles, notice the irony...
John 6:30-31 “What sign then are You going to do so we may see and believe You?” they asked. “What are You going to perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
John 6:32 "Jesus said to them, 'I assure you: Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the real bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.' Then they said, 'Sir, give us this bread always!'"
I'm right there with you, people. Give us this bread always!!!
John 6:35 “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them.
Wait. Say, what? We know about the bread of the curse, bread of hardship, bread of presence, manna the heavenly bread. But now, Jesus, You're saying You ARE bread, the bread of life?!?! Are You saying You are greater than the grace after the garden failing? Are You saying You are greater than the bread we eat annually during the feast of Unleavened Bread to remember our slavery to Egypt and God's faithful rescue? Are You saying You are greater than Moses who lobbied our grumbling selves to the mercy of God through the daily manna in our wilderness wanderings? Are You saying that You are greater than the feasts and offerings and sacrifices used to be near to You and replenish our redemption?
John 6:35 “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again."
John 6:36-40 "But as I told you, you’ve seen Me, and yet you do not believe. Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Jesus came down from heaven just like the manna to satisfy our spiritual hunger and our spiritual need for salvation. And this, my friends, is claiming to be God, to share His power, and to be God's power in salvation. It's no wonder Jesus' claim to be God gets Him killed...
John 6:41-47 "Therefore the Jews started complaining about Him because He said, 'I am the bread that came down from heaven.' They were saying, 'Isn’t this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can He now say, "I have come down from heaven?”' Jesus answered them, 'Stop complaining among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me— not that anyone has seen the Father except the One who is from God. He has seen the Father. I assure you: Anyone who believes has eternal life.'"
Who does this guy Jesus think He is???
John 6:48 "I am the bread of life."
He thinks He's God and can feed us with spiritual bread that will make us live forever.
John 4:49 "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever."
God seekers are bread eaters.
For Christ followers sure of their faith in Jesus as their Savior, these choice words from our God sting with conviction. Are we working hard to please our God who has completed our vindication? Do we wander about complaining about our daily bread when we have access to feast on God's word? And why do we forget so easily that Jesus is the bread of our lives? We live hangry but the bread we want has come.
For those unsure about who God is or if there even is a God, your days were ordered by a God who wanted you to read these words on this day. His nagging presence for God's people from Genesis to Revelation is the same you feel in this moment. That is the Holy Spirit stirring your soul with faith. Wake up to the truth that Jesus is God as today is always the right day to pledge yourself to the one true living God.
Jesus is our living bread and so it makes sense that a connection from our heart to our mouth is our salvation...
Romans 10:9-10 "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation."
In a season of great spiritual hunger, I started to follow the breadcrumb trail through the sacred scriptures to find the most satisfying bread for our soul: Jesus.
This led to an obsession with the 300+ times “bread” is mentioned in the holy scriptures, and you’re reading the results, a 16 part bible study: I.Love.Carbs.
Let's break bread together. You could start from the beginning here & be sure to sign up to get the latest blog post delivered right to your inbox >>>>>