Text: John 6: 27-35
Icebreaker: What food are you enjoying eating in this time? Are there any foods that you miss because you haven’t been able to eat them?
Today’s group is about food!! But it’s not food like we have just been talking about – it’s food from heaven, it’s food for our hearts and minds. It’s food for our soul. Last week we talked about how Jesus said He was the Good Shepherd. This week we are going to talk about how He said that He is the Bread of Life.
There are a few things that Jesus said here that can help us understand what it means for us that He is the Bread of life.
1) Jesus came to feed people – He is the bread of heaven
When we read about Jesus in the Bible we will soon discover that food was a big part of His Ministry. He taught people whilst he ate with them, he fed large crowds by the miracle of making a small amount of food multiply, He even had breakfast ready for the disciples when he appeared to them after He had risen from the dead, but all of this was about more than putting food in their stomachs – as important as that was.
Jesus was trying to show them that He himself was food – the most basic and necessary food – bread.
When Jesus came he came to save, but he also came to teach and to give people the clearest image of God that they had ever had and that there could ever be. Now we can know Him as the ‘Bread of life’ too, because He wants to feed us with the living Word of God that shows us the way to live life beyond this life.
Do you know Jesus as the “Bread of life”? Are you accepting the ‘food’ he offers you?
2) Jesus is the only one who can feed us with food that will last
Before I was born, my parents did not have a refrigerator – it was too expensive. When I came along they decided to buy one and all the rest of the family came round to look at it because no-one else had one in their house!!!! Before this moment any food that needed to be kept cold was just kept on a cool shelf in a little room off the kitchen. As you can imagine it meant that food didn’t last for very long before it became rotten!
I guess it was the same in Jesus’ time - food would have spoiled very quickly so when Jesus told them to ‘work for food that will last’ it would have sounded strange to them. It might sound strange to us too!
What Jesus knew about the crowd that day, is still true for us today – we often choose to focus on things in our lives that offer us instant happiness or that offer us physical or emotional happiness but that don’t last. We often choose to feed our lives with things that actually leave us more hungry and wanting more. Jesus tells us that we should feed our lives with ‘food’ that will last – that is with the living bread that is God’s word.
Just take a moment to think about some of the things that you are feeding your life with at the moment? Are you focused on things that are nourishing you spiritually or are you feeding your heart and mind with things that don’t last.
3) When we are ‘hungry’ – Jesus is the ‘food’ we need
You know what it’s like when you eat our favourite takeaway – when you finish the meal, you feel so full, but two hours later you feel empty again – that empty feeling comes very quickly even though you felt full at the time. It can be the same with our hearts and minds when we don’t take the Living Bread that Jesus offers to us.
The people that Jesus was speaking to about being the Bread of Life, were ‘hungry’ for something that would fill them up – they wanted to see Jesus do miracles, but they didn’t want to follow Him and obey his teaching. So really, they were choosing things that led them to feel emptier and emptier. It can be the same for us, and so Jesus’s message is just as important now as it was then.
We know that in our lives we can use all sorts of things to ‘feed’ our hungers. It might be real food when we eat emotionally, or alcohol or drugs when we are hungry for escape, it might be unhealthy relationships when we are hungry for connection – it could be many things. But the truth is that whatever we try, it will not stop us from being hungry again.
The only one who can ‘feed’ the God-shaped hole in our lives is Jesus, and if we try to fill that hole with anything other than Jesus, the Bread of Life, we will find ourselves spiritually empty and hungry over and over again. When we are ‘hungry’ only Jesus can fill us up and only He can satisfy us in such a way that we don’t need to keep trying to ‘feed’ ourselves with other things.
The amazing news is that Jesus wants to be the Bread of Life for us. He wants us to accept that Bread and ‘feed’ on it every day. I don’t know what is making your soul hungry today, but whatever it is, let Jesus, the living Word of God, be the Living Bread in your life. Psalm 34:8 says “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the one takes refuge in Him”. Today we can be blessed by accepting Jesus, the Bread of Life, but we can bless others too by inviting them to know what it is to be ‘fed’ by Him.
by Amanda Martin
by Amanda Martin