Advent: The Bread of Life
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“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:51)
“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.'” (John 6:66-69)
“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:15–17)
Read: John 6:1-71
The Apostle John records seven resounding “I am” statements that Jesus made during His earthly ministry. Each of these metaphors spoke rich truths to the disciples and the crowds listening. We can never over-learn the identity of Christ. Spend a few days resting in the identity of Christ, so that you can more richly rejoice in His coming. Check out the list of statements at the bottom of this post to get a preview of the next several days.
John 6 is a magnificent passage revealing the eternal power and fullness that Christ provides. Early in the chapter, He feeds the five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish. After this miraculous event, Jesus withdrew to the mountain by Himself. This is the night that Jesus walks on water when He goes to see Peter and the disciples in the boat (John 6:16-21).
Jesus, the Bread of Life
The next day, Jesus gives this first “I am” discourse—claiming to be the “bread of life” (John 6:35). Yes, our Lord can miraculously provide physical sustenance. But, more importantly, Jesus Himself is our eternal provision. He sent manna in the Old Testament and He fed five thousand men, but now He has come down Himself to provide a fullness that is beyond compare. The manna and the loaves were merely shadows of the Messiah—the Bread of Life. Draw near to God this season. Humble yourself in prayer and submission to Christ. Worship Him in spirit and truth. He will welcome you with open arms and fill you with His love and goodness. “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37). Christ promises that He will also raise us up on the last day (John 6:44). Those who come to Him in repentance and faith, with a humble heart, will never be forsaken but rather filled with Christ Himself!
These words cut the crowd to their hearts and many of the Jews grumbled against it because they understood the weight of Christ’s claim. Even the disciples recognized that it was a difficult claim for someone to accept (John 6:60). But, at the end of the day, Peter affirmed: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69). Elsewhere in Matthew 16, Peter exclaims in worship: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
- Think back on the previous year, how have you been feeding yourself spiritually? Where are you finding your sustenance and strength to walk out your daily life? Meditate on these questions today and ask the Lord to reveal the current realities of your heart.
- Use this month of the Advent to remember the richness of Jesus. Scripture tells us that only Christ is the “Bread of Life” and only He has the “words of eternal life.” Spend time journaling today and ask the Lord to help you rest in the fullness of Christ.
Lord Jesus, thank you for being everything I need. You alone are able to fill me, sustain me, and empower me. I praise you for your goodness and love in coming to earth yourself. Teach me the richness of your coming to earth. You became a man to give us the bread of life—so that we would never again hunger. Enable me to rest in your fullness and not desire things that are merely temporary.
Family Discipleship Time
John 6:35-40, 66-69
- Discuss why Jesus would use words like the bread of life, hunger, and thirst to talk about our relationship with Him. How do you feel when you are hungry or thirsty?
- Why did so many of the people reject Jesus’ words, when His promise sounded so good? (They were blinded by sin and rejected Jesus as the Messiah)
- Is there anyone else, sent from God, who has the words of life and is able to rescue us? (No, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life)
- Video & article – “Beware the Idol of Busyness at Christmas” by Paul David Tripp
Jesus’ “I am” statements in John’s gospel account:
- I am the bread of life (John 6:35, 48, 51).
- I am the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5).
- I am the door of the sheep (John 10:7, 9).
- I am the good shepherd (John 10:11, 14).
- I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25).
- I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
- I am the true vine (John 15:1).