November 2010
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Billie Silvey
Bread of Life
John chapter 6 begins with the account of Jesus feeding 5,000
people who followed him because they'd seen him perform
miracles.  Jesus is sitting on a mountainside near the Sea of Galilee,
watching the crowd.  â€œWhere shall we buy bread for these
people to eat?� he asks Philip.

Jesus cares, not just about our spiritual sustenance, but our
physical well-being as well.  He knows we need food, and his
mind turned to the basic staple of life, bread.

Philip was concerned.  â€œEight months’ wages would not
buy enough for each one to have a bite,� he said.

Andrew pointed out a boy with five small barley loaves and two
small fish.  â€œBut how far will they go among so many?â€�

Jesus had the people sit down on the grass, took the loaves and
gave thanks, then distributed the food to the crowd.  Everyone got
all they wanted, and there were twelve baskets of leftovers.  It
was a spectacular demonstration of Jesus’ power to provide.
In chapter 6 of the gospel of John, Jesus says,
“I am the bread of life� (John 6:35).
At first, it seems that Jesus has said all he has to say on the
subject of bread.  John 6 continues with the account of his
walking some three miles on the rough surface of the stormy
lake.  When the disciples see him, they are afraid, but he
reassures them.  As soon as Jesus gets in the boat, it reaches the
shore.

When the crowd realizes that Jesus has left, they follow him
across the lake.  Finding Jesus on the other side, they wonder
how he got there.

He knows they’re following for the wrong reason.  They
want physical bread, but he points them to spiritual bread.   â
€œDo not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to
eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you,� he says.

“What must we do to do the work God requires?� they
ask.

“Believe in the one he has sent,� Jesus says.
The people are still stuck on the physical.  â€œWhat miracle will
you do so we can see and believe?� they ask, reminding him
of the
manna Moses gave the Israelites to eat in the wilderness.

“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.  
For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and
gives life to the world."

“Sir, from now on give us this bread,� they say.

“I am the
bread of life,â€� Jesus tells them.  "He who comes
to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never
be thirsty.�
All too often, we as Christians have our own agendas where
God is concerned.  We want physical things, when he's offering
us so much more--his very self.  Our desire should be, in the
words of the old hymn:

  
Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
   As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea;
   Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord;
   My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word!

   Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord, to me, to me,
   As Thou didst bless the bread by Galilee;
   Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall;
   And I shall find my peace, my all in all.

   Thou art the bread of life, O Lord, to me,
   Thy holy Word the truth that saveth me;
   Give me to eat and live with Thee above;
   Teach me to love Thy truth, for Thou art love.
        --Mary A. Lathbury, Alexander Groves
Bread
Baking Bread