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 give for the life of the world is my flesh.

John 6: 51

 

Jesus’ mostly Jewish audience would have understood the reference that He makes to the manna that God had provided to their ancestors during the forty years of wandering in the desert. That bread provided food for their bodies, but it also decayed and spoiled after each day. Although it was a gift that came out of the eternal, it was short-lived itself. Now God has given us Jesus as the gift of God’s grace and redemption. He provides food for our souls that does not perish. This gift of life is provided even more freely than was the manna, for the manna was given to a specific group of people, and Christ is given to all who believe.

 

During these days on earth Jesus was engaged in teaching the truths of the Father to the small segment of humanity that He was in contact with. Although the numbers of people who He met and engaged with were small, the impact of it all was universal. Jesus was preparing His immediate followers for God’s calling for the rest of their lives during which they would proclaim the truth of the gift of salvation that has come in and through Jesus. In all of this Jesus was living out His own direction from the Father by serving the redemptive intent of God as the essential sacrifice for the sins of the world. Jesus was serving the Father by bringing the message of life to people and by being the bread that we consume in order to live.

 

So, we consume Christ, not by mouth and stomach but rather by surrendering our hearts and minds to God in acceptance of Christ as our Lord and Savior. After we do this we are fully fed by the eternal food of God’s Word and the unceasing presence of His Spirit. This heavenly nourishment grants to us a vitality that feeds our journey through our days with God’s purpose and will. Although our relationship with Christ does secure an eternal place in the presence of God, that is merely the culminating point in this banquet feast that Christ provides to His people. During every hour of each day of our lives we are invited by Christ to eat the bread of life that is His body and to drink the cup of salvation that is His blood so that we are filled up with the life that He gives freely to all who believe. Then we can join in the long line of people who follow Christ by going into our world to bring the message of salvation through Christ to others.

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Then Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.

John 6: 32

 

A parable for living in our world might go something like this, “Work hard, take care of business, and plan well; then, everything that you wish, want, or desire will be yours for the taking”. This is a description of a world that revolves around self-sufficiency and self-reliance, and those who are strong and confident are held up as examples of how everyone should be. This was true for the wandering Israelites, too, for they looked to Moses to be the leader who knew all of the answers and provided them with whatever they thought that they required.

 

This was a false notion for them, and it is a silly way for us to view life. When they were fed, it wasn’t Moses who provided the food. When they traveled, it wasn’t Moses who set the course; and when they were secure, it certainly wasn’t Moses whose strength and great love brought about that state of being. Even when we use our skills, training, and talent to accomplish the things that we do in this life, these are all gifts from our Creator, for every good and useful aspect of who and what I am has come from God and is empowered by His Spirit. Although God may not provide me with mysterious miracle food in the way that He did for the Israelites, He does fill my life with miracles of provision that are constantly with me.

 

Christ is calling on us to make seeking after God’s will and growing in our trust and reliance on Him our primary daily mission in life. Doing this often involves nothing more than simply opening our eyes and accepting what is right in front of us. God is actively reaching into our world with His care, concern, compassion, and grace. He seeks to bless the days of His people with the deep and unshakable peace and joy that comes only from living in the presence of His righteousness and truth. Then, as we sit at God’s table of blessing and eat from His exquisite feast of life giving bread, we are truly prepared to use all of the gifts and the talents that we possess for God’s glory.