Verse of the Day Devotion: John 6:35
“Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” – John 6:35
Over the next seven weekdays, we will be looking at seven verses where Jesus declares “I AM”, and then gives a metaphor regarding what He is. Today, we will look at the first of these, “I am the Bread of Life.”
Jesus had just performed the miracle of feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. And everyone was filled and satisfied. Jesus had left them and took a boat to Capernaum. The crowd eventually followed Him there. When they found Him, they asked Him when He arrived there. However, Jesus did not address their question, but their purpose in asking. “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled.” John 6:26b. Jesus then continues. “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.” John 6:27. He was essentially telling them they were following Him simply because He fed them, all five thousand with bread and fish. They were not to focus on physical food which strengthens their bodies, but spiritual food which goes beyond this life but endures to eternal life.
But what they say next shows they did not understand completely what He said for they asked what works they must do to live forever. Jesus then told them what the work of God was. “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” John 6:29b. Jesus set them straight: God did not require works but faith. And that faith is in the one He sent which was Christ. They understood Jesus was speaking of Himself, so they answered, “What then do You do for a sign, that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” John 6:30-31. Because they understood Jesus was speaking of Himself, they asked Him what sign He has performed to prove He was sent by God. As an example, they said Moses gave them Manna, which was a bread directly from heaven. So, what did He have to offer as proof? Jesus’ hearers have just experienced the impressive miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. How then could they demand a greater sign that legitimizes Jesus? John, however, is not offering a deep psychological analysis of the reaction of the hearers. The Jewish demand for a sign shows, on the one hand, how difficult it is for men to understand the signs they have witnessed as such. On the other hand, John thereby creates the transition to the real theme at which he is aiming: the bread from heaven.
Jesus then takes advantage of what they said to explain what bread He was speaking of. “Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:32-33. He started out by saying it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven to them, but God the Father. And the bread He speaks of is not a food item, but a person. Note the wording, “For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven”. Then in the next verse they ask for this bread. “They said to him, Sir, give us this bread always.” John 6:34. They were thinking of the Manna that God gave the Jews previously in the Old Testament.
Then Jesus answers in a way that makes what He has been trying to say clear to them. Jesus said to them in our focus verse, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35. This claim assumes that the world can never satisfy man. Everything that the world has to offer (in modern terms: fast cars, beautiful houses) is unsatisfying, alienating, or better, makes one restless. Man is afflicted with dissatisfaction, boredom, anxiety, and care. He is unable to find that authentic rest, that true peace, that goal for which it is rewarding to live and strive. And these things can only provide satisfaction in this life, but Jesus who is the Bread of Life not only provides it in this life, but also eternally in our future everlasting life. When we eat regular bread we will hunger again, and when we drink fluids, we will eventually thirst again. This is saying that the world can never satisfy us. Everything that the world has to offer is unsatisfying. However, what God offers, through Christ, there is no longer that core emptiness because Jesus is complete satisfaction for man. The consummating satiation occurs when those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and stand before the throne of God and experience what John expresses in Revelation. “I said to him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.” Revelation 7:14-16. What a beautiful picture of those who come to Jesus and believe Him to be the Son of God and the Savior of Mankind.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.