1.08 Re-amazed by Jesus: “I am the bread of life”

Thinking about life as a student in healthcare

You don’t have to be a healthcare professional to know the basic necessities required to sustain human life. Food, water and oxygen. For the poorest of the poor, aid organisations focus their efforts on providing these things (oxygen of course takes care of itself!) – and by so doing, save lives.

In your own setting you know that for all the medical interventions that can be implemented, if a human life does not have access to food and water it will not be sustained – no matter how many medications we prescribe or procedures we perform!

Likewise, the spiritual life also has basic necessities required in order for it to be sustained. Indeed, Jesus likens these necessities to food and water. Here in this passage Jesus deals directly with the soul’s life requirement of food (He deals with the soul’s requirement of water in John 4).

  • As you are aware of your physical hunger, are you also aware of your spiritual hunger? Consider Psalm 42:1-2.
  • Share with one another your experience of feeling ‘hungry’ in your soul, or where you have seen this ‘hunger’ in others.
  • Consider your colleagues. Where would they say spiritual nourishment can be found?

What does God have to say?

Read John 6:25-40; 46-51.

This passage records Jesus disciples seeking after him for physical bread and food (6:26). But Jesus urges them not to ‘work for’ this bread that will only ‘spoil’ or ‘perish’ (verse 27), but rather to work (believe in the one he [God] has sent – v29) for the bread that will endure (Jesus – v35, 48). This food will endure because it sustains not only life, but everlasting life (v27, 35, 50-51).
How does Jesus amaze you here? Just like physical life, spiritual life needs food – and Jesus is it! For you, for me and for all people everywhere. What is our biggest problem? Our soul is dead. It needs food. And even more desperate for us – we cannot manufacture this food ourselves (just like the Israelites couldn’t manufacture their own food in the desert). We cannot manufacture this food through meditation or reflection or consulting gurus or even obedience. There is only one way for us to get this food – to receive it (to believe in the one he has sent – v29). There is only one type of food that is ‘true’ (v32) – Jesus. He is the only real sustenance for any human soul.

  • Reflect again on John 6:25-40; 46-51. What amazes you about Jesus in this passage?

Thinking this Through

  • Have you ever tried to satisfy your hunger for life with anything other than Jesus? (If you are honest, is your ‘career choice’ part of this quest for satisfying your hunger?) Did it work?
  • Now consider your colleagues. Where would they say spiritual nourishment can be found? From your observations, have their answers brought about what they hoped?
  • Flick a few pages in your Bible and read John 10:10. This is the life Bread Jesus brings – a full life (see again 6:33).
    • a. What does a ‘full life’ mean to you?
    • b. What do you think Jesus means by it?

A full life is one that leaves nothing to want…a life that is completely satisfied.

  • Do you feel you have a full life, one where you are never hungry? If not, consider again where this passage leads you to find this full life.
  • What makes Jesus the one who is able to bring Life, Life to the full? Why is he the Bread of Life? Consider Deuteronomy 8:3, John 6:51-58, Luke 22:19.

Jesus is the Bread of Life who brings Life to the full because he frees us from death.

  • If you have ‘eaten’ this Bread, you are free from death and are secure – having already attained Life. What does this freedom mean for you:
    • As you seek to serve your patients?
    • As you face fears that threaten your integrity at uni or in the clinics/on the ward?
    • As you make the daily choice to serve self or serve others?