By Aisha Darwesh
The Word: John 6:41-59 (ESV)
41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
Today, we have a very meaty portion of scripture, so let’s dig in. Right away in verses 41-42, we see the hostility of the Jews towards Jesus when He refers to Himself as “the Bread that came down from heaven.”
This really tripped them up because they were only thinking of Jesus in terms of His natural life on earth–someone they grew up knowing as the boy from Joseph and Mary’s house. They refused to open themselves to His divine nature: the Bread of Life, the Son of God.
Verses 43-46 give us a glimpse into God’s perspective. Jesus reveals that no one can come to faith in Him unless the Father draws that person near. To the Jews who likely spent their whole lives studying the Torah, trying their best to follow God’s laws, and waiting in hopeful expectation of the coming Messiah, this must have been hard for them to hear. But as Pastor Chris illustrated on Sunday, Christianity is not based on our works. It’s all based on Jesus’ finished work. It’s the only religion that takes self out of the equation. Being a Jesus’ follower means we’re shifting the focus away from ourselves and onto Christ.
Verse 47 shows us the practical wisdom of Jesus. He’s plainly telling them the best response they should have towards Him: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.”
Following this living truth, Jesus gives them a glorious revelation of His divine nature: “I am the Bread of Life” (v. 48). Verses 49-50 give us a picture of Jesus rightly dividing the old and new covenants. He refers to the Lord dropping manna in the desert as a foreshadowing of who He is and now the true Bread of Life is standing right before them and it’s so much better!
Although the manna was miraculous and enabled the Israelites to live in the harsh conditions of the wilderness, it did not have the power to give them eternal life. Only Jesus can do that.
In verse 51, Jesus drops a bombshell on the Jews. He tells them the bread is His body. This immediately sparks an angry outburst as seen in verse 52.
Now in a kosher culture where cannibalism is strictly prohibited, I could see why the Jews responded the way they did. However, it shows us that they were only listening to Jesus with their ears and not with their hearts.
Earlier in John 6, we see Jesus miraculously feeding the Jews actual food that was supernaturally multiplied when He prayed and gave thanks to God. They had no issues with that. They even wanted to make Him king because of it. Wouldn’t you respond the same way after receiving a free meal?
However, Jesus did not want His kingship in their lives to be based on something so limited. He wanted to give them eternal life. The way Jesus gives us eternal life is by His sacrifice on the cross. He gave up His body and shed His blood, so we could be filled and satisfied with eternal life.
He’s not suggesting they physically eat His body. He’s urging them to embrace Him and partake of His divine nature–Savior of the world who truly satisfies. He is the Bread of Life.
Are you relying on Jesus to satisfy your soul’s hunger? Or are you looking to something else? Remember, Jesus is the Bread of Life. That means He has the ability to fill your deepest need–your need for Him. Only He can satisfy. You’re not going to find it in material things, your job, your spouse, your children, or anything else.
If you are experiencing loneliness, doubt, fear, or frustration, turn to Jesus in this moment and realize He is the only one who can satisfy your needs and give you eternal life. The things of this world are temporal, but He is eternal and He gives us eternal life.
As a symbol of your relationship with Jesus, get a piece of bread or a cracker and a small cup of grape juice (or any kind of juice/water). As you eat the bread, remember Christ’s body was broken for your total healing. As you drink the cup, remember Christ’s blood was shed for your total redemption from sin. You are free. Jesus has conquered sin and death, and now you can enjoy fellowship with Him! Get excited about it! Make Him your King!
Father God, I thank You for sending Your beloved Son to pay the price for my sin. You are a good Provider and I trust You with all of my heart. Help me to experience Jesus as the Bread of Life today. In Jesus Name, Amen.