“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside,” quipped Mark Twain.
So much of our lives revolves around food. This column examines one of Jesus’ most famous metaphors, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35).
“Jesus meant when you’re hungry, he is there and will take care of you forever,” says Elijah, 8.
The people who heard Jesus say, “I am the bread of life,” had eaten the bread and fish that Jesus miraculously multiplied from a boy’s lunch. They probably thought that Jesus might be the new Moses who could give them manna from heaven every day and deliver them from Roman oppressors. When they asked for a sign, they reminded Jesus that Moses had given their forefathers manna to eat in the desert.
These people who asked Jesus for a sign were a lot like us. They wanted to see a sign and then they would believe. God wants us to believe based on what he has already shown us and then we will show us more.
On the previous day, these inquirers had witnessed the miraculous sign of Jesus feeding 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish, but it wasn’t enough. They wanted to see more. Also, they wanted to eat more. They were thinking more with their bellies than with their brains.
“But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe,” Jesus said (John 6:36).
God in his grace reveals himself to us, but he’s not going to do miracles on demand like a circus performer. We must be alert to what God is saying to us through his Word, providential circumstances, people, nature and yes, even this humble column. God is speaking all the time. Are we paying attention or only thinking about our next meal?
“Bread of life is a symbol that stands for something else,” says Allye, 8. “Jesus was not talking about real bread, but was teaching His listeners that he was the one who could give them spiritual food and keep them alive forever.”
Jesus was master of the metaphor. At the last supper on the night before his crucifixion, he goes back to bread again as he breaks the loaf and says, “This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).
Jesus did not say he had the bread of life, but that he was the bread of life. As Bible scholar Tom Constable notes: “Jesus linked life with Himself. He is what sustains and nourishes spiritual life. It is by feeding on Him that we obtain life initially and continue to flourish spiritually.”
Immediately after Jesus declared himself to be the true bread from heaven, he said, “He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
Remember, Jesus is also the water of life as the woman who came to draw water from Jacob’s well discovered (John 4:1-26).
Bread and water represent our most basic needs. Jesus is able to meet those needs and then some.
Think about this: “Jesus said that whoever goes with Him will never become hungry of love,” says Amber, 8.
Memorize this truth: John 6:35 previously quoted.
Ask this question: Have you eaten the bread of life, or believed in Jesus Christ as heaven’s true bread who was broken for our sins on the cross?
— Carey Kinsolving
“Kids Talk About God” is written and distributed by Carey Kinsolving. To access free, online “Kids Color Me Bible” books, “Mission Explorers” videos, a new children’s musical, and all columns in a Bible Lesson Archive, visit www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. To read journey-of-faith feature stories written by Carey Kinsolving, visit www.FaithProfiles.org.
©2017 Carey Kinsolving