By Mike Willis
The sixth chapter of John relates the account of Jesus’ miracle of feeding over 5000 from five loaves and two fish. The purpose of this miracle was to demonstrate that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the living God (Jn. 20:30,31; 6:27). The miracle was especially relevant to the text of the sermon which was delivered to the Jews the following day. Jesus declared Himself to be the “Bread of Life.” What better proof could be provided to demonstrate that He was the bread of life than to provide bread to feed the multitude?
There are a number of lessons from John 6 which emphasize several truths regarding Jesus from which we can profit.
The Bread Of Life Is Satisfying
In John 6:35, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (cf. His statement regarding the water of life in Jn. 4:14). This statement affirms that the gospel of Jesus Christ satisfies man’s spiritual need.
Many people are constantly searching for something to fill the void in their lives. They go from aerobics to cake decorating, from crafts to painting, from yoga to karate, from movies to music. Others go from football to basketball, from baseball to boxing, from fishing to hunting. They are constantly searching for something which is gratifying and satisfying. Their entire life is spent chasing rainbows which never can be caught and which would not be satisfying if they could be caught.
Jesus emphasized that the gospel is satisfying and fulfilling. If one eats the bread of life, he will never hunger or thirst again. The bread of life fills our spiritual needs; there is nothing else needed to quench our spiritual hunger and thirst. There is no need for us to be looking elsewhere for additional “bread.” Jesus can fill our every need.
The Bread Of Life Gives Eternal Life
The bread of life is different from ordinary bread. Ordinary food sustains our physical bodies for short periods of time. As the Jews pressed Jesus to perform another miracle to feed them, they alluded to the manna with which God had fed His people during the wilderness wandering. Jesus contrasted the bread which He provides with the manna. He said, “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever . . . . Whosoever eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6:49-51,54).
Whereas temporal food sustains our bodies for short durations, the bread of life gives us eternal life. Though our bodies will die, Jesus will raise us up in the last day to a glorious resurrection. We who partake of the bread of life shall live forever with Him.
The Bread of Life Brings Fellowship With God
Jesus said, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him” (Jn. 6:56). Jesus did not teach that He would personally come inside the body of the believer or that the believer would personally dwell inside of Him. He did not say that a “representative indwelling” would occur (i.e. Jesus would dwell in us through the Holy Spirit). The word “dwell” (Greek: meno) means “not to depart, not to leave, to continue to be present … to maintain unbroken fellowship with one” (Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 399).
The gospel of Jesus Christ brings us into fellowship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When one is obedient to the gospel, he is “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3; Rom. 6:14). He is in communion with the Holy Ghost (2 Cor. 13:14). In the Great Commission, Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in (Greek: eis, into) the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 28:18). When one is baptized, he is brought into communion or fellowship with the Godhead. In one of his epistles, John wrote, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn. 1:3).
The Bread Of Life Comes Through Christ
Jesus declared Himself to be the bread of life (Jn. 6:35,48). He stated that He gives us the bread of life. “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you . . . ” (6:27). The words which Jesus spoke to us “are spirit, and they are life” (6:63).
The gospel of Jesus Christ reveals to us the grace of God which was manifested in order that our sins might be forgiven. It tells us how Jesus gave His precious blood that you and I might have life. It reveals the conditions which man must meet in order to receive forgiveness of sins. It instructs us how to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present evil world. It promises the eternal home which God has prepared for those that love Him. Indeed, the revelation which God has given us through Jesus Christ provides everything necessary to life and godliness.
There is no “bread of life” in other sources of “revelation. ” The Book of Mormon, Science and Health With Key To The Scriptures, The Koran, The Rig-Vedas, The Bhagavad Gita and other so-called “revelations” contain spiritual garbage, not the Bread of Life.
Jesus admonished, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life. . . ” (Jn. 6:27). He warned of the danger of neglecting the bread of life while spending one’s life working for the physical necessities and luxuries of life. Elsewhere He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
Most Americans are wasting their lives chasing after the temporal needs of life and neglecting the bread of life which comes from Jesus Christ, which gives us eternal life, which brings us into the fellowship of Christ, and which satisfies our every spiritual need. Eat of this bread that you may live.
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 10, pp. 290, 311
May 17, 1984