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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Jesus replied, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’”— John 6:35 (NLT, emphasis added)
Did you know that the average American consumes 53 pounds of bread per year? That’s around 17 billion pounds of bread consumed in this country every year.
Needless to say, bread is an immensely popular food . . . and with good reason! It’s delicious and so versatile. It can be eaten on its own, with some butter, cream cheese, or peanut butter and jelly. It can be hot, room temperature, or soaked in egg and cinnamon to make French toast. It’s used to contain sandwich meats, burgers, and hotdogs and forms the base for pizzas. And there are so many varieties of bread—pitas, English muffins, croissants, yeast rolls, garlic knots, bagels, Italian, French, or Cuban baguettes. It gives you energy and can fill you up. Bread is truly a beautiful thing in the food world and has been so for many centuries.
So, it’s no wonder that Jesus used it when describing Himself. Interestingly, the “I am” statement found in today’s verse—which was the first of the “I am” statements uttered by Jesus in this Gospel—came on the heels of the feeding of the 5,000. There, Jesus turned five loaves of bread and two fish into an amazing feast for the masses.
The day after this miracle, the crowd was clamoring for more, so when they caught up to Jesus, He said, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval” (John 6:26–27 NLT). And yet, they still didn’t understand what He was trying to tell them! Instead, they wanted to be able to do the things Jesus did, to “perform God’s works.”
So, Jesus tells them the only work God wants from them is their belief in Him! But apparently, feeding 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and fish wasn’t convincing enough, they wanted another miracle—bread from heaven, a la Moses—to which Jesus responded, “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33 NLT). And when they asked for this bread, Jesus dropped a bombshell that caused much discussion. He said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35 NLT). And He takes it one step further, declaring in verse 51: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”
Today is Good Friday, the day that today’s verse came full circle. On this day, the bread of life was broken for us. His body was literally torn apart for our sins, to pay the price on our heads: death. He endured our cross so we wouldn’t have to . . . so we could partake in the miracle of the bread of life and experience life everlasting.
As you remember the events of this day, and take communion, consider what this broken bread and cup of wine symbolize: the suffering, shame, and pain Jesus took in our place. Reflect on what compelled Jesus to do this for us: love! That’s right, He loves us so much that He voluntarily endured the cross for everyone. He loves us more than we can possibly imagine, and His love transforms us in ways we could never fathom!
DIG: Read John 6.
DISCOVER: How has the bread of life enriched your life? How has He filled you?
DISPLAY: Attend a Good Friday service tonight and take communion with your brothers and sisters in Christ. As you take communion, spend time in prayer, thanking the Lord and taking fresh stock of what Jesus endured for you personally and how that reality should impact every aspect of your life.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.