January 4: Jesus, the Bread of Life

Read John 6:1-41

“I am the bread of life” (John 6:48).

If a family member asked you to pick up some “staple” food items for them, without giving specifics, chances are you would pick up bread. Whether you eat it as toast or as part of a sandwich, or use it to sop up the gravy on your plate, you likely eat some form of bread on a daily basis. And its widespread use is not limited to our country and culture. I have eaten bread in at least seven other countries where it is also considered a “staple” item.

It is no surprise, then, that Jesus thought in terms of bread as He proposed feeding the vast crowd that followed Him. Bread and fish were on the menu as He multiplied a young boy’s bag lunch and fed 5,000 men. Who knows what the total was when women and children were included! Bread was a vital part of the menu as Jesus satisfied their hunger.

Jesus has a great way of meeting physical needs, doesn’t He? In light of this miracle, and in hopes that He would become the one who would rescue them from the oppression of the Roman government, these people sought to make Him king. But he slipped away.

The following day, those from the crowd looked for Him. They crossed the Sea of Galilee and eventually tracked Him down. But Jesus noted something about them. These men and women followed Him because He represented a free lunch.

Here is a pressing question, so brace yourself. In your thinking, does Jesus just represent someone who comes to your rescue to meet your physical needs? The key word here is just.  Indeed, it is true that we can and should invite Him to “Give us today our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).  But as He presented Himself as the Bread of Life, He was pointing well beyond manna in the wilderness or bread on a mountainside. Jesus was saying that He is the staple item of life . . . the One who alone can satisfy our deepest longings and biggest needs. To partake of the Bread of Life is to follow Him at any cost and experience satisfaction and eternal life.

Will you follow Him? Will you partake?


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