Read John 6:1-71.
I must confess that I love bread. I have to be careful not to keep too much around my house because I will eat way too much. When we think about bread today, we think about something that goes on the side of pasta, soup, or a salad or something that we use to make burgers or sandwiches. To the people in Jesus’ day, bread was much more than that. It was a staple for living. Understanding this, it is no wonder that Jesus declared in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life.”
John chapter six begins as Jesus is teaching a crowd of people. As He was teaching, He realized the crowd would soon become hungry and needed something to eat. Andrew, one of Jesus’ disciples, noticed that there was a boy in the crowd with five barley loaves and two fish. When Andrew said this, Jesus told His disciples to tell everyone in the crowd to sit down. This was a crowd of about 5,000 men, not including women and children! Next, a miracle unfolded. As Jesus prayed, He gave thanks for the food and passed the bread and fish throughout the crowd of people. As the food was passed out, every person in the entire crowd of people ate until they were full. After everyone had eaten, Jesus told His disciples to collect all of the leftover food. They filled twelve baskets with the leftover food. Everyone was amazed by this miracle.
The next day, some in the crowd who had seen Jesus multiply the fish and bread found Him. When they came, Jesus told them that they had not come to see Him because of the miracle He had done, but because they had eaten the fish and bread He had multiplied (verse 26). He then commanded them, “Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life” (verse 27). Later on in this chapter, He proclaimed, “I am the bread of life… No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again” (verse 35). Jesus was teaching them that although they were looking for physical bread, what they really needed was spiritual bread, which only He provides. Spiritual bread includes the things of God that help us grow in our relationship with Him. These things can be teaching about the Bible, reading the Bible, listening to a worship song, and talking to others about God. All of those things help us to grow and know God more.
You see, only Jesus is capable of truly satisfying and fulfilling us. He helps us grow in our relationship with Him. He sustains us. He fills us so that we are not satisfied with anything else but Him, including relationships, material things, or any career achievement. Only Jesus can satisfy our deepest needs. Will you look to Him, the bread of life, for satisfaction and fulfillment today?
We all have a deep longing in our hearts that only Jesus can satisfy. It can be tempting to turn to people, food, money, our careers, entertainment, and many other things to fulfill us, but until we turn to Jesus, the bread of life, we will still be hungry. As you think about your life, where are you turning to satisfy that longing in your heart? Are you turning to a relationship, your finances, food, or something else other than Jesus? If so, these things may satisfy temporarily, but they will leave you hungry in the end. Until you look to Jesus to satisfy you, you will always be hungry. Turn to Him today. Think about that thing you are tempted to turn to and spend the day without it. Spend the day without your favorite form of entertainment. If you turn to food, choose not to eat your favorite food today and eat something else instead. If it is a relationship, do not ignore that person, of course, but commit to spending a significant amount of time by yourself today. As you do these things, remember that Jesus is the only One who can truly satisfy.