[Jesus said to them] “This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
Bread of Life
It was the fifteenth-century B.C. The people of Israel were out in the wilderness. The Lord had performed miracles to bring them out of Egypt, where they had been forced into slavery. He told them he would bring them to the land he had promised to their ancestor Abraham.
But between Egypt and the Promised Land was wilderness. There was no market from which to buy food and hardly anything even growing around them in the desert climate. Soon they began to grow hungry. But the Lord would not allow them to starve out there in the desert. He provided miraculous bread that the people called manna. It appeared on the ground each night and kept them alive during their journey through the desert.
Imagine what that must have been like. A loaf of bread or a bag of groceries appears on your front porch each day, keeping you and your family alive. You don’t have to work for it. You just pick it up and eat it. As amazing as that miraculous manna was, God had something better in store.
All of the people who ate the manna eventually died. It didn’t keep them alive forever. But God provided for them, and he provides for us, bread that will keep us alive forever.
Jesus talked about that bread after miraculously feeding 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and fish. He said, “I am the bread of life.” What he meant was this: As people listen to what Jesus says and believe him and trust in him as their Savior, their souls receive life and spiritual nourishment.
Jesus feeds us too. We come to him hungry for love, and he feeds us with the truth that he was willing to lay down his life for us. We come to him hungry for meaning, and he feeds us with the assurance that we are chosen, forgiven children of God, and heirs of heaven. We come to him hungry for hope, and he feeds us with the promise of paradise that he is preparing for us.
Jesus is just the food we need to live forever.
Jesus, Bread of Life, feed me, so that I live forever with you. Amen.