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A Journey through the book of Genesiswith Willow Creek Community Church

Read John

DAY 8 // I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE

Willow Creek Community Church

 

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” 

- JOHN 6:35 

 

LISTEN


COMMENTARY

Today’s reading begins with Jesus being discovered by the people He had fed in the feeding of the 5,000. These people had been on a search for Jesus, but for the wrong reasons. Jesus says in John 6:26, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” In other words, they weren’t looking for Jesus because of who He was. They were looking for Jesus simply because He had given them bread and they hoped to get more. 

Wanting to help these people see the deeper significance of what the miracle conveyed, Jesus proceeds to teach them that He can offer so much more than physical bread that spoils and never fully satisfies. He can offer bread “that endures to eternal life” (John 6:27). The reason this bread endures to eternal life is because it comes from God, and in fact, it is God. Jesus says in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life.” With this statement, Jesus shares something about His own divine identity. The first two words in this phrase, “I am”, allude to the name by which God was known to Jesus’ followers: I AM (Exodus 3:14). This is actually one of many times Jesus uses this terminology to reveal His divine identity (John 4:26; 6:20; 8:12; 8:58; 10:9-11; 11:25; 13:19; 14:6; 15:5; 18:5). Jesus is saying that He can offer a lasting and life-giving sort of spiritual food because He is more than a magician or masterchef. He is the Son of God. 

In our day, some of the reasons people have for following Jesus may not be much better than those in this story. They sought Jesus out for physical bread. How often do we go through the motions of faith because of worldly benefits we hope they might bring us? If that’s our motivation, we’re missing out. Jesus challenges us not to settle for less than the best He has to offer, and He invites us to know what it’s like to be fully satisfied through Him. 


SCRIPTURE

JOHN 6:25–71 

JESUS THE BREAD OF LIFE 

25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 

26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” 

28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 

29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” 

30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 

32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 

34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” 

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” 

41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” 

43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” 

52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 

53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. 

MANY DISCIPLES DESERT JESUS 

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” 

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” 

70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.) 


REFLECTION

1. In John 6:26, Jesus reveals that the true motivation of His followers was self-centered and consumeristic. They had listened to His teachings and watched Him live as they followed Him, yet somehow still missed the point! After Jesus challenged their motivation, Scripture says many of them stopped following Him. Why do you think after all of that time, they decided to walk away? Today, we can easily fall into the temptation that our church, our serving, and even our relationship with Jesus is for us to get something in return. Take a moment to confess to God your selfish motivations about church, serving, and following Him, and ask Him to give you a heart focused on worship. 

2. Jesus’ teaching in John 6:53-59 was probably a shocking message for the disciples to hear. Eating flesh and drinking blood sounded cannibalistic! But, Jesus wasn’t talking about literal flesh or blood. In your own words, describe the message of what Jesus was saying to His followers.