Read: John 6:26-41
Jesus is the Bread of Life. Jesus had just fed 5000 people, no small feat. Before that, he was performing signs and wonders. He had made his way across the sea to escape the people who were trying to make him king. Jesus was not looking to a political revolutionary, but to bring salvation to those who might believe. Apparently, the people who followed Jesus were looking to get their bellies filled again, but Jesus tells them to seek something more lasting: food that endure. The people do pose a valid question: What shall they do? Jesus had just told them to do the work of God. What they did not understand, so it seems, was that Jesus was talking in parabolic terms, using common elements from life to communicate spiritual truth (John 3:3, John 4:13-14). Jesus answers them, saying that the work of God is to believe in Jesus, and in a typical Jewish fashion, the people ask for a sign. (They followed him because he fed them, not because of signs).
Jesus then expounds on his parabolic message about bread. He quotes from Exodus 16:4 – the story about God bringing manna from heaven. The story tells of how the Israelites were coming out of Egypt, and were grumbling against God because they did not have anything to eat. The Lord promises and sends “bread from heaven” for them to eat emphasizing it was God that sent it, not Moses. The people apparently are still looking for real bread to satisfy their bellies because they ask Jesus for this bread. Jesus then makes the statement in John 6:35, “I am the Bread of Life” connecting himself to the parable. He describes himself as being sent from heaven and the one who gives life. They have seen him, yet do not believe him – perhaps in response to their demand for a sign. The people grumble against Jesus because he likens himself to the bread that filled their bellies.
The people who ate the bread that Jesus had multiplied had seen this and were ready to make him king. They tracked him down again looking for more bread. When Jesus gives them spiritual truth – what they need the most – they grumbled. Jesus for people today is a lot of things. Some see him as a good teacher. Some see him as a philosopher. Some see him as a revolutionary. While Jesus was these things in part, he was more than that. He was the provider of eternal life. Many people come to Jesus expecting him to be one way or another, and generally leave disappointed because Jesus did not meet their expectations. For those who do believe, it is easy to forget where one came from and grumble at God when God does not meet one’s expectations. God’s job is not to make one’s life more comfortable or easier. Many times, believing in Jesus can make one’s life even harder. What Christians have to remember is remember were God brought them from and where God is taking them and not try to make God into something he is not, rather Christians should let God shape them (Isaiah 64:8).
Lord, you are the potter – make me into the vessel I should be!