"I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh."John 6:51(NASB)
The Lord Jesus used the feeding of the 5000, in John chapter 6, to teach the powerful truth about God's plan of salvation for mankind, to clarify His heavenly origin and Messianic claim, to correct some flawed beliefs that had developed in Israel, and to announce some very precious promises for all who would believe in Him.
Jesus graciously fed a great multitude of hungry people with 5 small barley loaves and 2 tiny fishes, but the truth He wanted them to know was far deeper. He was showing us that earthly food will satisfy our physical needs and our earthly body temporarily, but He had come down to earth from heaven to provide us with heavenly food that would satiate our spiritual needs and our eternal souls, forever: "I am the Living Bread that came down out of heaven," He explained, "if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh."
Jesus first compared Himself to bread by calling Himself the Living Bread, but continued by making the astonishing statement that He came down to earth from heaven. He not only provided that hungry crowd with bread to satisfy their bodily needs, but He made it crystal clear that HE is the spiritual nourishment from God Almighty they needed, and the heavenly bread that will satisfy their spiritual needs. And He went further, saying that if anyone eats of this bread, if anyone feeds on HIM in their heart by faith as their spiritual food, he will live eternally.
However, the crowd were spiritually myopic and could only compare the food that Jesus provided with the manna the Israelites ate in the wilderness in Moses' day. The Israelites in the wilderness had a daily meal for 40 years, but Jesus had only supplied a single meal. By comparison, the people considered the miracle of the bread and fish to be inferior to the manna in Moses' day. A myth had developed that when the promised Messiah arrived (a prophet like Moses), he would feed them forever. Therefore, they were demanding more food for their belly and missed the glorious truth that Christ had given them spiritual bread that would feed their soul forever.
In this passage, Jesus already knew that He would be rejected by Israel as prophesied in Scripture, and He was starting to hint at the coming Cross of Calvary, where He would offer His life as the ransom price for the sin of the world. He was starting to signal the truth of God's Word, that He was to be the sacrificial offering, whose broken body and shed blood is the only spiritual food and drink that fallen man can appropriate to gain life eternal, for there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved.
During this lengthy and comprehensive discourse, the Lord Jesus mentioned that He had come down from heaven seven times. When God says anything it is important that we listen, but He felt it necessary to repeat His heavenly origin and emphasised the truth that He not only gave them bread but He is the Living Bread Who had come down out of heaven. He wanted his listeners to understand that HE was God's divine gift to humanity and that only through believing in Him would they find eternal satisfaction.
His sacrificial death on the Cross paid the price for our sins. Believing in Him is the food our soul requires to live forever. The Bread of God that came down from heaven is the Lord Jesus Christ. Surely this truth should rejoice our soul through time and into eternity and should prompt us to tell forth this truth to the next generation and all who will listen?
Dear Lord, thank You for Your amazing love and grace that You have bestowed on me. Thank You for being the Living Bread which came down from heaven. Your love and grace is sustaining me and giving me life. Help me to take Your words to heart and to truly take them within my innermost being. As I take in Your Bread of Life, I will live forever. May I never forget the sacrifice You have made for me, that I may have eternal life. I am forever grateful for Your mercy and love. In Jesus' name, AMEN.