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Jesus said, "I am the bread of life".

Updated: May 12, 2023



Jesus said, " I am the bread of life". What an incredible thing to say. In Saint John's Gospel, Jesus leaves no doubt about who and what He is. To the people of this day, bread meant life. It was a common staple, and as we all may know, it can be very filling. Furthermore, bread is made generally from wheat, which is hardly a glamorous or powerful staple.


What bread truly represents is bounty. The Israelites and really all of civilization, at that time, were agrarian. They were a farming culture, and it formed their theological view, which was that the Lord their God was bringing them into a fertile land. God was literally feeding them by providing them with sustenance. So, Jesus' words about "the bread of life" rang true to his listeners. This image reminded also them of the ancient prophets who used the "bread of life" to mean 'the word 'or 'the wisdom' that comes from God and directed toward humanity.


The Book of Ecclesiasticus describes what God's Wisdom will do for the one who fears Him: 'She will feed him w1ith the bread of understanding and give him the water of wisdom to drink." It is no mistake that there is deeper meaning to the words bread & water. They are used to describe the attributes or inherent characteristics of the Wisdom of God. Jesus uses those old images of the Messianic Banquet, and the abundance of the fruits of wisdom, to say this to his listeners: the banquet is here now.


Manna was the bread sent down from heaven by God during the wanderings in the

wilderness roughly1500 years earlier. It was important enough for Jesus to tie Himself to the idea of that hidden manna. Bread could easily be taken on journeys. On Jesus' journey, bread was quite handy as we learned in His feeding of the five thousand. Bread was distributed to feed the multitude that came to hear Him speak.


So, Jesus says," I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." I think it is significant to notice that all that Jesus asks is for people to come near. If we are willing to simply approach and be fed with Divine Nourishment, we will be changed forever.


"I am the bread of life, He says. Jesus interprets that theme in the Gospel. He wants us to be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving and to follow the love that God teaches us, which is to love those around us. We are called to pattern our relationships with each other on the relationship that God has with us, exemplified by Jesus Christ's personal offering and sacrifice. Jesus says, 'I will keep you alive.' He tells the people that their ancestors, as they journeyed, could not survive on the Manna they ate. However, our journey, if we draw near and believe that Jesus is the bread that comes from Heaven, and that He is the Son of God, we will be received into eternal life.


"And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."


The opposition to Jesus often mistook his words -assuming Jesus was trying to make himself out to be someone great, someone who had power over the lives of other people. Good things come from God, and Jesus as much as anything else was simply stating that they were not appreciating what God was doing in giving them His only Son.


The first person that shared is Jesus. To sacrifice means to take something we have and give it to someone else. Jesus tells us pointedly that He will sacrifice Himself to the world.

Recall that during the Lord 's Supper, Jesus took the bread, broke it and gave it to His disciples. He then said, "take. eat. this is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."


However, Jesus is imploring us to not just remember, but to share in the bread of' eternal life. It is at this point that we are able to draw near and believe. We can choose to either quietly acknowledge or enthusiastically believe in the reality of Jesus Christ. As faithful Anglican-minded Catholics, we come together. especially on Sundays, to give thanks for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That is where we derive the word Eucharist from, which comes from the Greek, Eucharista. It is in this Holy Communion where we experience togetherness

and the fullness of our faith; as we share in the Sacrifice of Christ, who is the bread of life.


This bread is central in the life of our Church. The bread that we take, bless, break, and give to one another is food; indeed, it is an amazing meal. It gives us both a renewed sense of strength and life. It is a bread that not only sustains us, but also saves us and gifts us with "life everlasting." God 's gift of Jesus Christ is a gift we freely accept when we consume the Eucharist. Regardless of how it looks, tastes, or smells, this bread, this Holy Communion is the vehicle that brings Christ into our very midst. And it offers us a new existence in which we are united with all the people of God, fully knowing and loving both God and each other.


Let us pray:


Generous God, give us the wisdom to recognize and then receive all of your many gifts. Above all, teach us to understand what it means to receive you as 'the Bread of Life', that we may begin to experience eternal life right here and now, and prepare us to walk straight through into your kingdom after our death.


We ask this through 'Jesus Christ our Lord, who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, forever and ever."


Amen.


For Morning Prayer on the Ninth Sunday After Pentecost Published on August 13th, 2000 {Revised on August 25th, 2021}


© Dr. Charles Warner 2021

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