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The Bread of our Life?

In John 6, Jesus has a problem. It is nearing the end of the day and there are several thousand people around Him—some of them are a long way from home. He doesn’t want to send them away hungry but there’s not much food available. The disciples do a quick search and all they can come up with are five small loaves and two small fish.

What can Jesus do with five small loaves and two small fish? Anything He wants to. So not only does everyone eat until they’re satisfied, but they fill twelve baskets with the leftovers.  One of the many lessons from this story is the abundance of God. Another would be that God can do wonderful things with our loaves and fishes when we will place them in His hands.

But the next day, Jesus has another problem. The crowd is still following Him but unfortunately, it’s because not to hear what He has to say—it’s because they got their stomachs filled and apparently they want Him to do it again. He tells them as much when He says, “you are looking for Me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill” (v. 26). They had fallen in love with the blessings of Jesus rather than Jesus. They were acting as consumers rather than disciples.

Jesus points them to a higher purpose when He says, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures for eternal life” (v. 27). In other words, the food I gave you took care of your needs for a few hours, but I have food that takes of your eternal needs forever. That’s what you should be seeking.

To their credit, they want to know what are “the works God requires?” Jesus tells them, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent” (v. 29).  And we breathe a sigh of relief because yes, we believe in Jesus, we tell ourselves as we head back to our easy chair.

But this is not the kind of believing that Jesus is talking about. What He is speaking of a robust, passionate faith that fills every crack and crevice of our life because if we really believe in the biblical sense, it affects every attitude and action so that Christ reigns over all (2 Corinthians 10:5). We consume Him the way the people did the loaves and fishes because He becomes the bread of our lives (v.53).

Christ provides bread for your lives and we’re thankful for that. But the Christ who provides bread remind us that we’re not to live by bread alone but by every word that comes from God (Matthew 4:4). The question for us is: are we allowing Jesus to be the bread of our life?

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