I AM the Bread of Life

Pastor Asafa Rajaofera

I AM the Bread of Life

4 mins
August 10, 2021

If your church has been following the lectionary then you have noticed that we have been in the Gospel of John 6 for the past two weeks now. We mentioned that the purpose of John’s Gospel is “to show that Jesus of Nazareth was Christ the Son of God and that believers in him might have eternal life.”

Feeding the 5000

Two weeks ago, we read about Jesus feeding the 5000 people. These 5000 people could eat as much as they wanted. They can have seconds and thirds and more until they are satisfied! When all had their fill, they had 12 baskets full of bread and fish left. And then we wondered together: what if we are the bread Jesus is sending out? We are sent out to meet the longings and needs of those around us. Going in our own strength we can do nothing. But when we give ourselves to Jesus, Jesus can then multiply the little we bring to him to bless others. 

You would think that upon seeing the bread and fish that kept on multiplying and never ran out would awaken the crowd to realize who they have in their presence? No, it wasn't enough. It says here in our text, the following day the crowd was looking for Jesus. Why? Not so much because of what Jesus taught but rather because they were hungry. They care more about the bread than the giver of the bread. They came looking for more miracles. They came looking to make Jesus a king, someone who would always make sure they had enough food to eat. Jesus was more than willing to provide food, but not the kind of food they expected. Jesus told them, “do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” And they asked Jesus “What must we do to do the works God requires?”  And well that one word "work" was the problem back then and still is today. It's not because you've done this or that much for God that God is going to give you a paycheck of eternity in heaven. It's not because you've been good and donated here and there and did this and that that you will earn eternity in heaven. It doesn’t work that way. Romans 6 says “the wages of sin is death...and...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

The Bread that was Broken

So many people work hard, not that we shouldn't, but many do so and give much, hoping to earn heaven, not believing that the only way to heaven is through Jesus. Faith in Jesus. Jesus. God’s greatest gift. The food that endures is Jesus himself. He is the bread that is broken and distributed for the life of the world. He is the bread that is broken and yet never divided. He is the bread that is eaten and yet never exhausted. He is the bread that consecrates those who believe in and eat him. When we believe in Jesus, eating, ingesting, and taking him into our lives, we live differently. We see ourselves and one another as persons created in the image and likeness of God rather than as obstacles or issues to be overcome. We listen for God’s voice rather than our own. Ultimately, we seek life rather than death.

I am the bread of life,” Jesus tells the people. “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” He is offering the people himself. He is the imperishable bread that nourishes and sustains imperishable life. But what do the people say? “Prove it,” was the response of the people that day. “What miraculous sign will you give us? Moses gave us bread every day! What will you do for us?” They apparently want a sign from the "old days" repeated. They remember the story of Moses and the manna and seem to be requesting something like that. They are looking to the past, failing to see that God is doing something astonishingly new right in front of them. 

A New Thing

There’s a passage in Isaiah that says: "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Jesus is doing something new here but they're not seeing it because they're too hung up on the past. The true giver is not Moses, but God the Father; the true giving was not in the past, but in the present; the true bread was not the manna but is the bread of God that has now come down from Heaven in the person of Jesus. But they have wrongly associated Jesus with Moses, rather than associating Jesus with the bread from Heaven. 

We need to be careful we are not too hung up on the past that we miss the new things Jesus is doing now. What are the desert places in your life right now? In our community? In our congregation? Jesus is doing a new thing. Are you seeing the new thing Jesus is doing in your life, community, congregation?

The Bread of Life

I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” For those who want to know the work that God requires, Jesus says, stop working and start believing. “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” Even believing isn’t a work we do. Faith is worked in us by the Holy Spirit working through Word and Sacrament. 

As Paul writes, “faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.” Faith is given through the message. Faith is strengthened through the message. That's why it is important to spend time in the message, the Bible. Spend time in his house, which is the community of faith. Spend time in His Word. The “work” you put into these things will be blessed by God as you will be blessed by God. Because even the finest of earthly food will still find you hungry the next morning. But not the food that is ours in Jesus. 

Give Us this Bread

Sir, give us this bread,” was the reply of the crowd that day. They were so close and yet so far away. When Jesus told them that he was this bread, many no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” was the question Jesus asked the Twelve. But that's a different sermon for next week.

The crowd gathered that day was looking for miracles, but for them, no miracle would ever be enough. They didn’t realize that the greatest miracle was standing right in front of them. God himself had come to dwell with people. God himself had come to live and die for his people so that they could live with him in heaven. They didn’t see this because they were hungry for earthly things. Not spiritual things. What about you? What are you hungry for in life?

Our message this morning reminds us to not work for food that spoils but to look to Jesus for food that lasts. God’s greatest miracle is found in Jesus. What a miracle it is! That God himself lived, died, and rose again for you. For me. That God himself chose and called you and me to be his own. That he not only feeds us with daily bread but gives us the Bread of Life to fill us for time and eternity. 

What are you looking for out of life? 

What would make you happy? Everything you truly need is already yours. May we never fail to see that! Maybe you wouldn’t describe your life as “living the dream,” but in Jesus, you are living the dream with the promise of an eternity that will far surpass your wildest dreams! You might not have a job or the job that you want, but in Jesus, you have someone who did the job you couldn’t do. Through Jesus' death and resurrection, Jesus' perfect life is yours and your sins have been forgiven. For the times you’ve looked at physical treasures and found them lacking, rest assured that spiritual and eternal treasures are yours in abundance. 

You also have the promise that Jesus will give you the physical resources you need for your body and life. Here’s another thing Jesus has done for us. We might never achieve the status we want in life, but you and I already have a status higher than anything this world could provide. You and I are a child of God and an heir to an eternity in heaven. What more could we ask for? What more could we need? 

I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

This article was orginally reported by
Pastor Asafa Rajaofera

Rev. Asafa Rajaofero was born in Madagascar and serves as pastor of the United Church of Christ parishes in Greenwood and Owen, Wisconsin.