Bread of Life
John 6:35 NKJV
From the Beginning
I have a “thing” for bread and even though I eat special bread now I still look forward to having a sandwich now and then.
When my four kids were growing up, I made homemade bread and cinnamon rolls for special occasions and for holidays.
Homemade bread starts with yeast, sugar and water. I always let that rise then I mix it in with the flour, butter, water and salt. When I made cinnamon rolls, once the bread dough was made I would roll it into a rectangle. Then I’d put softened butter, sugar and cinnamon on the rectangle and I’d roll that into a long tube. I’d cut each cinnamon roll individually and lay them into a buttered pan. While they were raising I’d mix up powdered sugar, butter, cream and vanilla for the icing.
I’d bake the cinnamon rolls until they were light brown and if I had the chance I’d drizzle icing on top before they were gone.
I say that because generally when the kids would smell them in the oven and they would wait for them to come out of the oven hot. Each one of them would grab a fork and dig into the pan as they came out of the oven.
As they got older they became braver and they would use their forks as a sword. When the hot cinnamon rolls came out of the oven it was every man (or three boys and a girl)) for themself.
I knew I could have stopped the brawl at any time, but the battle for the cinnamon rolls became one of our family traditions. We would laugh so hard our sides hurt. That made it all worth while.
My kids knew the verse in John 6:35 that says, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.“
They took bread seriously (especially when the dough was used to make cinnamon rolls).
I think Jesus did, too.
See, at the time Jesus was born a common meal might have consisted of nuts, figs, locusts, fish, and bread. Meat was generally a luxury so only the wealthy had meat. Jesus’ father Joseph was a carpenter and they were not wealthy. Jesus would have grown up eating mostly bread, figs or another fruit that was readily available, fish or locusts and nuts. (https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/daily-life-and-practice/what-did-people-eat-and-drink-in-roman-palestine/).
Their main course was bread.
So, for Jesus to say, “I am the bread of life” it meant He was everything they needed to survive.
However, in the last part of the verse Jesus made a sweeping statement to those listening. He told them if they come to Him they will never be hungry or thirsty again. That would have been a huge statement for Jesus to make.
The day before he made this statement he had fed a crowd of 5,000 people from five loaves and two fish (and He had 12 baskets of food left).
After he fed the 5,000 He walked on water.
By now word would have spread that if you go hear one of Jesus’ sermons you’ll get a free meal and you’ll be able to eat as much as you want.
Some of the people in the crowd may also have heard that after serving free food to the 5,000, He climbed out of the boat and walked on water.
The people in the region were definitely starting to take notice. Jesus was becoming a household name.
His Words “I am the bread of life” and His promise that they would never hunger and thirst again if they followed him definitely had meaning to the crowd. Jesus didn’t tell the crowd “I am the bread of life” then the next day give them a free meal.
Jesus gave them a free all you can eat meal THEN the next day he told them “I am the bread of life.”
AND did I mention, after He said that, He told them they will never hunger and thirst again?
I mean He REALLY had their attention.
Even today free food gets our attention. Hot cinnamon rolls convinced my kids to come running as soon as they came out of the oven. They believed they were worth fighting for. I didn’t even have to offer a main dish. We also have to remember that my kids were offered three square meals a day…every day.
The people in first century Palestine probably only ate in the morning and in the evening.
Bread was life to them.
Jesus was saying to them, “I am life.”
I offer you real life.
No one had ever made such a statement to them.
I tend to think we take that statement for granted because we’re used to having three meals a day. We need to understand that “I am the bread of life” doesn’t pack the same kind of punch to us today as it did when Jesus initially said those words.
I guarantee that even as adults if my four kids were in my kitchen and hot cinnamon rolls were baking, as soon as they came out of the oven, they would come running with fork in hand just because it means something to them.
Jesus fed them. Then He told them He would never be hunger or thirsty again. He told them He would provide for them.
Jesus still tells us that today. He will provide for us. Jesus tells us He IS life to us.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Tell Jesus what you need.
Ask for what you need. Even if what you need is hope, ask for it. Then ask Jesus to show you the answer.
In God, Deborah