Then Jesus declared, “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 weekend I visited Debenhams with Claire, my fiancee, to start getting some ideas for our wedding list. One of the things we thought it might be quite nice to ask for was a bread machine. Debenhams had some pretty impressive examples! One had a special tray which you could put seeds of dried fruit into. At a given time during the bread making cycle, it would add the seeds or fruit into the bread. The one that impressed me the most, though, could make lots of different things including doughnuts and – get this – jam! I wondered if it could make bread and jam simultaneously, then slice the bread, and then make a jam sandwich. How brilliant would it be to tip a whole load of ingredients into the machine, and then end up with a round of freshly made jam sandwiches! I’d never go hungry again!
In today’s verse, Jesus declares himself to be the bread of life. Whoever goes to him, he says, will never be hungry or thirsty. Jesus is not some special bread maker, though, who provides bread on demand to his followers. The bread that Jesus refers to is “the bread of life,” the stuff that sustains life itself. It is said that all humans have a “god-shaped hole” in their souls, and that we can never find true peace until we fill that hole with the only thing that will fit it – namely God. Similarly, we can only fill the longing of our souls if we turn to Christ, because he is the only thing that will sustain us in this way. The only source of true spiritual nourishment is Christ. People may look to other religions or new age beliefs. They may try to find true nourishment through money or power, sex or drugs, potions or spells, but there is only one source of true spiritual nourishment. That is Jesus Christ. He knows what it is our souls cry out for, and he can provide it to us. He knows that it is the knowledge of God that we all seek, whether knowingly or not, and he is the only one who can lead us to him. Because of his death on the cross, we can once again approach God in the knowledge that our sin has been paid for.
Do you know Jesus? Do you listen to his words through reading scripture? Do you ask him to support and sustain you? Do you believe in him?