The Bread of Life

KEY VERSE: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” —John 6:51


JESUS DID NOT always draw a lesson from the miracles which he performed, but following the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, he did. Many feigned interest in serving God and asked what they might do. Jesus’ reply was direct and well in keeping with the circumstances. “This is the work of God,” he said, “that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” They had partaken of material food which Jesus had provided, but had given little or no consideration as to who he might be, or the import of his presence in Israel. The blessings they had received at his hands were of a temporary nature, and they could expect nothing better except upon the basis of genuine belief in him as the Messiah.

John explains that Jesus came to his own, but they received him not—except the few. These few he gave the power or authority to become the sons of God. (John 1:11,12) Faith in God and in those whom he uses in the carrying out of his plan is always essential in order to be pleasing to him. This was especially true in the case of Jesus at the First Advent. The position of the entire nation of Israel depended upon their acceptance of the Messiah. The entire history of this people had been largely one of unbelief and disobedience, yet they were still God’s chosen people to whom the Messiah first presented himself.

But this was to be the final test. No matter what claims they made of holiness, or how loyal to Moses and the prophets they pretended to be, nothing they could do now would merit God’s favor except this one thing, which was to believe that Jesus was their Messiah and obediently follow his leadership.

They had already seen sufficient of Jesus’ miracles to convince any reasonable mind that he was what he claimed to be. But these seekers after loaves and fishes asked him what sign he could give that would warrant their believing on him. They said that their fathers had been given manna to eat in the wilderness; and that this had been considered bread from heaven. These unbelieving Jews sought to minimize the miracle of feeding the five thousand and thus excuse their unbelief.

Patiently, however, Jesus continued to explain that those who ate manna in the wilderness were all dead, which proved that it was not the real bread from heaven which gives everlasting life. Jesus explained that he himself was that real bread from heaven, the one whom his Heavenly Father had provided to give life to all mankind. “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him,” Jesus further explained. And again, “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” Jesus’ own disciples found this “a hard saying.” When he saw that they were in danger of being stumbled by it he explained the matter further.

“The flesh profiteth nothing,” he said, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth,” or giveth life. And then, “The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63) We are not to get the thought that the literal eating of his flesh would be of profit, for there were no magic powers in the tissues of his body.

No one can have everlasting life in a state of alienation from God. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30) Jesus lived ‘by the Father’ because he obeyed his will, and was therefore at one with him; and likewise those who eat his flesh by believing and obeying the same divine will as expressed through the Word of truth will live together with Jesus; by faith now, and actually on the divine plane with him in the kingdom.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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