Living Word Christian Magazine

Free Bible Study Magazine

Living Bread

Sharing food with the needy - kids hands with a slice of bread

The Lord Jesus Christ had just fed 5,000 men besides women and children with five loaves of bread and two fish. He had sent his disciples away by boat to Capernaum before dismissing the crowds who would have wanted to take him and make him king by force. Jesus withdrew to the mountain alone where he spent part of the night in prayer before re-joining his disciples by walking to them on the water of the Sea of Galilee. The crowds who had eaten the loaves and fish search for Jesus and find him in Capernaum, teaching in the synagogue. On their arrival Jesus challenges them, for they were not seeking Him for what they could receive from God, but only for what they could receive for their bellies. They wanted food free of charge, and perhaps thought of Jesus as a first century Food Bank. The Lord Jesus Christ teaches us that we are not to labour and seek for food which spoils, but for food which endures to eternal life. He spells this out clearly by declaring “I am the Bread of Life”. This is:

Bread to be Sought

In v26 Christ rebukes the crowds for seeking to have their bellies filled, or to put it another way, seeking the things of this world. Jesus said “Do not worry about what you eat or drink or about clothing, but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be given you as well.” To seek the kingdom of God is to seek the things which belong and pertain to God. These are lasting things – for they are eternal. Jesus describes the bread to be sought by comparing it with manna. The people, still thinking of their bellies, bring this point up to the Lord Jesus Christ. On their journey with Moses through the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land, God provided them with manna to eat every day for forty years. So by comparing the True Bread with manna Jesus is able to teach them that the True bread:

It is Heavenly not Earthly

Because of the way it appeared, manna was often referred to as bread from heaven, but such was not the case. The Lord Jesus Christ makes clear that it had no spiritual identity. By contrast the Living Bread, the Lord Jesus Christ, came down from heaven to earth. As the Son of God he was always one with his father in heaven. But at the incarnation, that first Christmas, he took on our flesh and blood and was born as a baby in Bethlehem that he might give his life for the world, and by giving his life for the world, he would give his life to the world.

Since this bread is heavenly it is also eternal. How sad it is today, as then, many people including professing Christians, are seeking earthly satisfaction, not the fullness from heaven. Paul writes of these people: For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame–who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:18-20

By contrast, the Christian is called upon to seek things above, that is, heavenly things.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:1-2

It is Spiritual not Carnal

Jesus is not saying that the manna in the wilderness was not supernaturally provided, but rather that its effect was natural. That is, it fed their bodies and sustained them physically. It made absolutely no difference to their spiritual life. It fed their bodies, not their souls and it was only for a time. The people fed on manna every day, but they still died, it could not give eternal life as Christ can. The True Bread brings a supernatural element to life, that we might eat it and live forever.

V35 This food is completely satisfying, just as God’s covenant with us is ‘arranged and secure in every part’. It is bread which satisfies the need of the whole person—for Christ makes us whole.

Seeing that Christians have been supplied with spiritual life, it is sad that many are still seeking for what is natural, living as carnally minded Christians. Paul, writing to the Corinthians had to tell them: And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:1 John warns us that all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 1 John 2:16

V27 Do not work for food which spoils but for food which endures to eternal life which the son of man will give you. If we want to seek for what is spiritual then Christ tells us how to get it.

Bread to be Bought

Bread has to be bought, or obtained. Yet as Isaiah says, it is to be bought ‘without money and without cost’ Where do we get this bread from and how? Of course, we receive it from Christ, for Christ has it. In fact Christ IS it. He will GIVE it. For it is freely given as a gift of God to the world. You can buy it on your knees at Calvary without money and without price but freely with a broken & contrite heart.

He WILL give it. It is his will to do so. As Christ makes clear in this chapter. E.g. “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; John 6:40

Christ makes all this available to us for God the Father has sealed Him, with the Holy Spirit. It is through the Holy Spirit that we receive, flesh counts for nothing v63.

It is the Holy Spirit who does the work of regeneration. It is through the Spirit we have access to the Father. It is by the Spirit we know and enjoy a foretaste of the all things which are freely given us by God. It is all through the Spirit.

V37 A supernatural God provides us with a supernatural gospel, as Jesus made clear when he said “you must be born again, or born from above.” It is only God who can bring men to the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot do so ourselves. We did not bring ourselves and we cannot bring others. V45 all taught by God. The evangelist is used, but God teaches, draws and calls us to himself. It is God who moves on our hearts, through his word and by his spirit to bring us under conviction, then repentance to salvation. He gives faith to believe.

You and I need to humbly confess that we can do nothing of ourselves—and when we do we must be willing to believe on the Lord Jesus.

So to sum up, we obtain this bread from Christ, through the Holy Spirit and by faith.

So we have sought the bread and bought the bread, but we haven’t finished yet. Bread it no good to you unless you eat it. And having sought and bought (or obtained) the bread The Lord Jesus Christ, we must eat or partake of it.

Christ explains in v51–58 what it means to eat of this bread, to partake of him. It was on the cross that He gave his body to be broken and His blood shed for us, so we might have eternal life. To eat bread and drink blood means to appropriate what Jesus has done for us in his sacrifice on the cross. Christ is not specifically referring to the communion in these verses. In communion, we take the emblems, but when we partake of Christ, we are partaking of the reality of what he has done for us.

Bread to Be Eaten

By partaking of Christ, we go from having no life to having eternal life.

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. John 6:53

By God’s grace we are saved! Before we came to Christ we were dead in our trespasses and sins, but through what Christ has done for us in his death and resurrection we have been made alive together with Christ. We share his life – the life of God in our very being, this is what eternal life is. In fact Jesus, praying in John 17 said “This is eternal life, that they might know you, the only True God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.   1 John 3:14

Remain in me (kept)

He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. John 6:56

Not only do we begin our new life with Christ, we must continue it in the same way. As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught,   Col 2:6, 7

We remain in the Lord Jesus by partaking of Him every day. We partake of his grace which is sufficient for every need; we partake of his comfort when things get rough, receive his strength when we are weak, and his joy when we are down. We could go on and on telling of ways in our Christian lives in which the Lord keeps and sustains us by imparting of himself.

Raise him up (glorified)

I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:54

The impartation of Christ to us will be fully realized when we “Awake with his likeness.” In the resurrection of the last day of which our Lord speaks here, not only will believers receive a new body like unto his body, but they shall be like him forever. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:2 God’s purpose is that every child of God shall become like the Lord Jesus Christ. For whom He fore knew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:29

Not only shall we be like Christ, we shall be with him. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thess 4:14-17

We shall be like Jesus, be with Jesus and nothing shall ever separate us from Him.

I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

This is the completeness of the salvation procured for us by Christ’s death on Calvary.

Conclusion

Jesus said “I am the Bread of Life” Will you accept and receive the Bread of Life from the Lord Jesus, through the Spirit, by faith? If so you will be saved, kept and glorified… If you receive him he will receive you. You can receive Him, will you receive Him today?

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