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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

JESUS IS THE BREAD OF LIFE

John 6:28-35 Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent. They said therefore unto Him, What sign shewest Thou then, that we may see, and believe Thee; what dost Thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto Him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of life: He that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.

The chronology of Jesus' ministry on earth continues in the gospel authored by the apostle John. Prior to the lesson text, we find John's narrative beginning on the day following (Vs. 22). What had just occurred was the miracle of Jesus feeding the multitude with only five loaves and two fishes, followed by the storm on the Sea of Galilee, when Jesus walked on the boisterous waters, calmed the seas, and saved His disciples. They continued on ship until they reached the shore near the city of Capernaum. And it was on this day following that the event noted in the lesson text took place.

Continuing in previous verses 22-27 we find that when those among the multitude realized that Jesus and His apostles had left from among them, they found other boats and sailed also to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. Finding Him there, they questioned Him as to why He left them and came to this city. Jesus realized their reasons for seeking Him and admonished them for their true motive. He said to them: Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. They did not recognize and seek Jesus as the Messiah because of His teaching or for the compassionate miracles He performed. Rather they desired to be with Him in order for Him to supply food to fill their selfish human appetites. Neither can selfish motives today allow one to enter His church and become His true followers. To become a Christian today requires complete belief in, and obedience to, God's word, and the acceptance of Jesus as His Son culminating in water baptism for the remission of all sins.

Jesus now gave the multitude, as well as all of us today, the priorities that He expects of His followers. In verse 27 Jesus is not prohibiting the laboring for food that is necessary to sustain our physical bodies, nor for other things of the world that make life on earth more pleasant. He is, however, emphasizing the fact that we are not to make the accumulation of secular things the most important aspect of our lives. We are to seek foremost the things that lead to everlasting life - the things which the Son of man shall give unto you - the things that are only available when one is a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us that His Heavenly Father commissioned Him with this authority - for Him hath God the Father sealed.

Looking at the lesson text, we now find the multitude of men and women in His presence asking a most important question. What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus had just told them the importance of laboring for the those things that sustain physical life. Now they are asking what they must do to receive His divine, spiritual gifts. Jesus answers with one of the most important aspects of becoming and remaining His follower: This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent. Jesus' mission on earth was to declare Himself to be the Christ, the promised Messiah. We are asked to yield ourselves to this fact, established through undeniable miracles of compassion, that Jesus is the Son of God. When asked for a sign to establish their belief, Jesus replied that Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. The bread (manna) that God gave the children of Israel through Moses sustained only their physical lives. But God gave the true bread from heaven. He gave us He which cometh down from heaven. He gave us His Son. And it is through His Son, and only through His Son, that He giveth (eternal) life unto the world.

At this point in Jesus' teaching, it seems that the multitude truly believed that He was the Son of God and humbly submitted to His will by sincerely asking,Lord, evermore give us this bread. Some students of the bible say that these Jews merely desired Jesus to, once again, restore the manna from heaven that it might sustain their lives just as it did for the Jews in their wilderness wanderings. However, this seems to be a misunderstanding when we consider Jesus reply. Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst. True faith is the only avenue that leads to Christ Jesus. All that seek Him must believe Him to be the Son of God and, by humbly, and obediently, submitting to His will, we will never spiritually hunger or thirst. Not only is Jesus the bread necessary for eternal life, but also He is the sustaining water of eternal life. This is the essence of Jesus' teaching to the Samaritan woman He met at Jacob's well (See this entire story in John 4:5-26). Consider this verse found in this story: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14). In Jesus, and only in Him, do we find the spiritual bread and water to sustain our life in Christ, which leads to eternal life in heaven.