“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35
I was raised in a large Sicilian family. Food was a central ingredient in all of our gatherings; It was the centerpiece of all our activities. Food is something we all can relate to. Jesus was very skilled at taking the familiar to help us understand the unfamiliar.
In John 6 He performs one of His most prolific miracles to date by feeding a crowd of 5,000 people with only a few loaves of bread and a couple fish. After that experience, Jesus retreats from the crowds and heads across the Sea of Galilee. (Another incredible miracle for another post.)
The crowds catch up with Jesus the next day and are perplexed on how He got to the other side of the sea so quickly. They ask Him how He arrived there but He doesn’t answer their question. Jesus wasn’t ignoring them, He was about to take them deeper than their surface question would permit.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
God desires to take our knowledge of Him and our experience with Him deeper than it exists today. Every circumstance and question in life is an opportunity for your faith to grow deeper. Faith is the vehicle by which we initiate and cultivate a relationship with God.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
“To please him,” means to satisfy the requirements to know God. Apart from faith, we cannot know God. We must believe that He exists. This doesn’t mean that we will understand everything about Him or why He does what He does. There are facets of God we will never understand because we are finite beings and He is infinite.
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the words of Christ.”
Faith is the fuel for our relationship with God. Just like your body requires food for fuel, so does our spirit requires food. Faith is not blind or unsubstantiated. Authentic and accurate faith must be grounded on the person of Jesus Christ.
The crowds in John 6 had a skewed perspective and as a result, their faith did not allow them to see Jesus as He was. They saw Him as a heavenly chef ready to provide a meal at will.
“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” John 6:27
This does not suggest that we work for our salvation. Living is work. If we are going to harvest anything in life we must first sow seed.
Jesus is neither condoning idleness but relating the truth that if living is work, burn energy on things that have an eternal impact. Put in the time to study God’s word because that will outlast any meal you work for.
Jesus declared to be the “bread of life”. It’s a symbolic statement that is rooted in the practical. As the living Word made flesh, John 1, we need to feast on the scriptures. Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life,” John 6:63
Make time to study God’s word. It’s the only way to know God to cultivate faith. “…The righteous shall live by faith,” Romans 1:17. The discipline of studying God’s word will have a revolutionary impact on every area of our life.
May your appetite for God’s word become increasingly greater with each day you experience His loving-kindness.