The Bread of Life

One of my favorite holidays of the whole year is Thanksgiving.  I love the fall weather. I love getting the whole family together. I love watching the Green Bay Packers. And I love Thanksgiving dinner.

Every family has its own unique Thanksgiving traditions, but I think the practice of filling our tables—and then our stomachs—with delicious food is pretty universal. After dinner is finished every year, I’m so stuffed I always feel like I never want to eat again. But every year, after I wake up from a nice, long nap, I’m always ready to dig into the leftovers.

No matter how much food we eat, we always get hungry again. And that doesn’t come as a surprise to any of us. It’s just a part of life.

The people of Galilee knew that too. In John chapter 6, we’re told about how Jesus miraculously provided enough food for five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. John writes, “When they had all had enough to eat, [Jesus] said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’ So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barely loaves left over by those who had eaten”

This is nothing short of astounding! This is more than just a nice story about people sharing with each other. Jesus literally created food out of nothing.

But just like the day after Thanksgiving, the next day all those people got hungry again. So they followed Jesus to the other side of the Sea of Galilee so he could feed them again. When they found him, Jesus had an important message for those people—a message that is just as important for us today:

“I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw the miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”

Just as Jesus miraculously fed thousands of people, he richly blesses each one of us every day. Every meal, every new gadget, everything we have is a gift from God. But in these verses, Jesus tells us that no matter how many earthly possessions we have, he has something better for us: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

What does he mean?

Ever since Adam and Eve fell into sin, there has been a new kind of hunger: a hunger for things to be right between us and God. That’s a hunger that we can’t satisfy. No matter how hard we try, we always fail our God. We do things that we know we shouldn’t do, and we fail to do things that we should.

That’s the whole reason Jesus came to earth. He told the crowd in Galilee, “The bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” When Jesus died on the cross and rose three days later, he satisfied that hunger to be right with God. He took away all our sins and gave life to the world.

And that’s not all! Jesus still feeds our hungry souls when we spend time with him in his Word. In the Bible, we find forgiveness. And that forgiveness satisfies. Not just until tomorrow, but forever.

Thank God for the countless earthly blessings that he gives you every day. But thank him even more for satisfying that even greater hunger of oneness with God. Continue to let him feed you in his Word!

Lord’s blessings on the rest of your week!

Noah Willitz