Bread of Life
Have you ever noticed how often food is mentioned in the Bible? It starts with a healthy dose of fruit
in the Garden of Eden. Then there’s Esau who sells his birthright for a pot of stew. Before the Exodus from Egypt the Jews ate lamb and unleavened bread. They were headed to the land of milk and honey. Scripture talks about herbs and spices; figs seemed to be a popular treat. Some of the disciples were fishermen and there’s a story about Jesus and his followers having a fish breakfast on the beach. And it all ends up in heaven with the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, a full course meal and time of celebration.
Food is an important part of life. Some people live to eat; they enjoy the taste and texture of every bite. They plan holiday times around finding good restaurants and sourcing out new taste experiences. Other people, like me, eat to live. That is, I only eat because I need the nutrition. The other day around eight in the evening I felt hungry and it occurred to me that I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, which was a bowl of yogurt. If it wasn’t for hunger pains I could easily forget about eating. Either way, we all need a regular intake of healthy food options.
Jesus used a food metaphor to describe himself, “I am the bread of life.” What’s more he promised “whoever comes to me, shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35) Bread was the staple of life for people in Jesus day. It was essential for daily living.
We often use this passage of Scripture in the context of salvation. People need to come to Jesus so they will no longer be spiritually hungry. That’s true. But often we forget that as believers we still need that bread of life. Accepting Jesus into our life is just the beginning. We need to keep coming back to him each and every day. We need the spiritual food that only he can provide. When we wander from him, or forget to spend time with him, we find ourselves spiritually hungry and thirsty again.
It’s all about Jesus. When my spiritual life gets complicated or I’m dry and discouraged, I go back to Jesus. As his followers that’s where our focus needs to be. Just like we need food each and every day, we need Jesus each and every day.