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“I AM the Bread of Life”

March 27, 2023

Daily Scripture

John 6:26-51, Exodus 3:11-14

John 6

26 Jesus replied, “I assure you that you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate all the food you wanted. 27 Don’t work for the food that doesn’t last but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Human One [or Son of Man] will give you. God the Father has confirmed him as his agent to give life.”
28 They asked, “What must we do in order to accomplish what God requires?”
29 Jesus replied, “This is what God requires, that you believe in him whom God sent.”
30 They asked, “What miraculous sign will you do, that we can see and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat” [Psalm 78:24].
32 Jesus told them, “I assure you, it wasn’t Moses who gave the bread from heaven to you, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 The bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 They said, “Sir [or Lord], give us this bread all the time!”
35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I told you that you have seen me and still don’t believe. 37 Everyone whom the Father gives to me will come to me, and I won’t send away anyone who comes to me. 38 I have come down from heaven not to do my will, but the will of him who sent me. 39 This is the will of the one who sent me, that I won’t lose anything he has given me, but I will raise it up at the last day. 40 This is my Father’s will: that all who see the Son and believe in him will have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
41 The Jewish opposition grumbled about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
42 They asked, “Isn’t this Jesus, Joseph’s son, whose mother and father we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
43 Jesus responded, “Don’t grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless they are drawn to me by the Father who sent me, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, And they will all be taught by God [Isaiah 54:13]. Everyone who has listened to the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God. He has seen the Father. 47 I assure you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that whoever eats from it will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Exodus 3

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh and to bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 God said, “I’ll be with you. And this will show you that I’m the one who sent you. After you bring the people out of Egypt, you will come back here and worship God on this mountain.”
13 But Moses said to God, “If I now come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they are going to ask me, ‘What’s this God’s name?’ What am I supposed to say to them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I Am Who I Am. So say to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Exodus 3 was the background for the passages from John’s gospel we’ll study this week. “In Hebrew, the word that’s translated as I Am Who I Am is the Hebrew word Yahweh…. Throughout the Old Testament this is the personal name for God, God’s covenant name.” * When John said Jesus used the words “I Am” (Greek ego eimi), that was loaded language more often than not, a claim that Jesus was not merely “godly,” but God in the flesh (cf. John 1:14).

  • This dialogue followed Jesus feeding some 5,000 people with five barley loaves and two fish (cf. John 6:1-15). People said, “Give us more bread,” but Jesus replied, “I AM the bread of life.” He invited his hearers to consider what “food” they valued most (cf. verse 27). Physical food wasn’t bad—he’d just fed them bread and fish—but it didn’t give lasting life. How clear is your sense of the two kinds of food? What are some key ways to “eat” the Bread of Life?
  • Pastor Hamilton wrote, “In his words, ‘I am the bread of life,’ Jesus draws from the Passover seder and the manna by which God sustained the Israelites in the wilderness. He does so to point to the deliverance he will bring by his death, and the way ongoing belief in him sustains his disciples.” ** John didn’t tell the story of Jesus eating the Passover with his disciples, but he taught the Supper’s meaning. In what ways do spiritual practices like the Lord’s Supper feed you spiritually?

Lord Jesus, thank you for offering yourself as the bread of life. I trust you to satisfy my inner hunger—to fill the God-shaped hole inside me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. She first wrote this Insights blog for us in 2018, after a profound experience seeking a Chicago-style hot dog. It still speaks to our need for the Bread of Life.

In the late 90’s, I traveled to Chicago with a few friends. I told them I was hungry as were getting ready to go into the Art Institute. They promised me that we would eat just as soon as we were done. We spent a few hours exploring the incredible treasures of the museum. Although I enjoyed every moment of it, I was more than ready to leave to get food.

“Let’s get the full city experience and find a hotdog stand,” one of my friends said. “Fine. Whatever,” I replied, “As long as it’s food, I don’t really care.” I was starving! We walked a few blocks, but no hotdog stand. Ugh. I was annoyed. I just wanted to eat something, anything really. But no… we continued to walk a few more blocks, passing multiple eateries, but still no hotdogs. By this point I was cranky. However, my friends were still on a mission to find a hotdog stand. We walked and walked and walked and not a single hotdog was to be found. We spent nearly two hours looking for a hotdog stand (something I’m convinced does not exist in downtown Chicago). I couldn’t take another step. I had had it! I completely lost my cool, and my friends were the unlucky recipients. “FOOD!! NOW!!” I yelled. With terror in their eyes, my friends raced me to the nearest restaurant and shoved a hamburger in my mouth. My blood sugar returned to normal, and I apologized for my outburst. I don’t do well without food. I just don’t. I can go from pleasant to horror story in a matter of hours when I don’t eat.

People need food, not just to be tolerable, but to survive. Our need for food is not lost in Jesus’ claim to be the Bread of Life. Just as our bodies need food, our souls need Jesus. Yet, so many of us do what I did in Chicago – we try to keep going, pushing ourselves forward while we’re starving spiritually. This rarely goes well. Without proper nourishment, our souls grow weary, we can become intolerable, and it can eventually do major damage if neglected.

If you’ve not fed your soul in a while, stop immediately. Feed it now! Spend time feasting through connecting with God in prayer or worship. Or maybe nibble on the words of Jesus like “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me” (John 14:1) or “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” (John 15:9). Eat freely and take them all in, because just as our bodies are not made to go hungry, neither are our spirits. Don’t starve yourself when there is more than enough Bread of Life to sustain you.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Hamilton, Adam, John: The Gospel of Light and Life. (p. 61). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
** Adam Hamilton, John: The Gospel of Light and Life. (p. 67.) For a fuller study of John 6, see pp. 64-68.