1.08.M 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.
  • Consider your colleagues. Where would they say spiritual nourishment can be found?

What does God have to say?

Read John 6:25-40 (ESV)

25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs 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. 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 miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[a]” 32 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, 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 he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “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. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All that 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 that 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 him up at the last day.”
  • What amazes you about Jesus in this passage?

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.

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).
    • What does a ‘full life’ mean to you?
    • What do you think Jesus means by it?

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

  • 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?
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See 1.08