If you thought on it for a while you could probably recall most of the specific names and titles in the Bible that describe some aspect of the nature of Jesus. The scripture calls Him Emmanuel, Lord, Christ, Master, Messiah, Son of God, Son of Man, Prophet, King of the Jews, the Word, Rabbi, Apostle, Mediator, the High Priest, and the new (or last) Adam. The Bible also uses some descriptive terms to further define Jesus’ nature such as the Light of the World, the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God, and the Resurrection and Life. One of my favorite descriptive terms for Jesus is the Bread of Life.
The only miracle that is recorded in each of the four Gospels is the feeding of the five thousand. The Gospel of John, chapter six provides us great insight into the nature of Jesus as the Bread of Life.
Here are some questions to ponder before you read further:
- Do you believe that Jesus is able and willing to provide all that you need in life?
- Do you tend to trust in yourself to make it day by day?
- Do you look to others to meet your needs rather than turning to God?
- Do you have assurance of your salvation?
- Do you truly know where you will spend your eternity?
I. Jesus Knows What is Needed (John 6:5-9 NIV).
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus asked Philip where they would “buy bread for these people to eat?” Clearly Jesus already knew what was needed and what He planned to do to feed so many. Jesus was preparing Philip (and the other disciples) for the miraculous events that would soon unfold. He was testing their faith in Him to provide for their needs and the needs of the great throng of people gathered to hear Him teach. Jesus does the same with, and for, you. He will test your faith in Him to provide for your every need. Don’t be surprised at what Jesus can do for you. Five loaves and two small fish can go a long way in the hands of the Bread of Life.
II. Jesus Multiplies What is Available (John 6:10-13).
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
The very first thing Jesus told the disciples to do was to have the throng of people sit down on the grassy hillside. You know that they were hungry. By sitting down the throng could more easily see what Jesus, and Jesus alone, was about to do. Jesus gave thanks, took the small amount of bread and fish prepared for one boy, and multiplied it into an overly sufficient meal for “all those who were seated, as much as they wanted.” But next Jesus told the disciples to “gather the pieces that are left over.” How could there be any left over? Isn’t it interesting that there were twelve, yes exactly twelve, baskets full of food left over? That means one basket for each disciple. Could there be any question in the minds of the disciples that Jesus would provide for ALL of their needs? But, this is not the end of the story!! Jesus had dealt with their physical needs. Now He would deal with their spiritual needs.
III. Jesus Reveals What is Important (John 6:24-27).
24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
The feeding miracle was more than enough to convince the crowd that Jesus was the “Prophet who is to come into the world” (John 6:14). They were looking only at the physical miracle, but Jesus was looking much deeper. He was preparing them to see the “food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” is the real purpose for His coming to earth. His “food” would never spoil. Jesus was not here to establish an earthly kingdom as they had expected. Instead, He had come to earth to deal with the forgiveness of sin and “eternal life” issues. “For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
IV. Jesus Provides What is Lasting (John 6:32-35).
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Just as the manna (or bread) God provided to the Israelites on their journey from Egypt to the promised land met the physical needs of the people, Jesus as the Bread of Life from heaven would meet their spiritual needs as well. Through His death on the cross and resurrection He alone would provide a way of forgiveness for all of mankind willing to accept Him as Savior. Never again will one of His own be hungry or thirsty.
God not only sent Jesus to provide for your physical needs (bread), He sent Jesus to be the Bread of Life that satisfies your spiritual hunger. Jesus is concerned about the physical well-being of everyone. Jesus can provide for our most common and basic needs in life. Jesus is even more concerned with the spiritual well-being of everyone. The remedy for physical hunger is food; the remedy for spiritual hunger is Jesus Himself. Jesus provides food and drink that never ends and that always satisfies the spiritual needs of those who partake.
Have you partaken of His bread that is … the Bread of Life? Have you trusted in the Bread of Life as your savior? If so, will you share your experience with others while joyfully thanking Him for what He has done for you? If not, then please click on this link: