Focal Passage: John 6:26-40
World-renowned chef and culinary expert, James Beard, once noted, “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods.” I think this statement rings true for several reasons.
First, whether you are a bread aficionado or not, when you sense hunger there is something deeply satisfying about eating a piece of warm bread, especially covered with salty butter.
Second, not only does bread satisfy hunger, but it also satisfies our body’s physical needs. Good bread is filled with fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients that are vital for proper digestion, good cholesterol, normal blood pressure and other indicators of a healthy body.
A third reason bread is so satisfying is because of its availability. There are few places in the world where bread isn’t sold or produced, thus satisfying people around the globe.
Perhaps it’s for these reasons and others that Jesus uses the metaphor of bread to describe what he offers to those who believe. Like bread, Jesus is an all-satisfying Savior who is completely necessary for spiritual health and is available to satisfy the hearts of people all over the world. I think these truths are in view when Jesus declares in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life.”
These famous words from our Lord follow one of Jesus’ most well-documented “signs,” where he miraculously provides food for over five thousand people by multiplying two fish and five loaves. But while John’s gospel uniquely records seven miracles and seven “I Am” statements, this is an instance where both the sign and statement intersect, giving us a helpful visual to add more force and clarity to the message.
So, after providing free food for this massive group of people, John records that the crowds began vigorously searching for Jesus, even getting into boats to follow him across the sea.
However, Jesus rebuked them by revealing their true motives: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (John 6:26). In other words, the people didn’t really want Jesus, but only another free meal to satisfy their personal cravings.
We see this attitude reflected in our fallen world today, where many believe that true joy and satisfaction can be ours if certain conditions are met. For example, if we could just make more money, have a better job, be more attractive, get further educated, make more friends, have greater success, win more games, have additional time — even while asking Jesus for these things in the process — then we would be filled with happiness and contentment and our lives would be complete. Perhaps deep down you feel like this today. However, what’s missing in our lives isn’t a lack of the world’s goods, resources, or opportunities, but a lack of trust in our Savior, Jesus Christ.
When we come to know Jesus and remain close to him, we connect with the only source who can forgive our sins, restore our hearts to God, and satisfy our deepest cravings for meaning, purpose, love and joy. As Jesus said in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger.” Let’s not settle for anyone or anything less than our all-satisfying Savior. Soli Deo Gloria! B&R