Give Us This Day the Bread from Heaven
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. … This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” John 6:48, 58
Miracles. Jesus had fed 5,000 men plus women and children with two loaves of barley bread and two fish. After this miracle, the crowd wanted to make him king. But he sent his disciples ahead across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum on a boat, while he withdrew to the mountain to be alone.
When a storm arose on the sea, Jesus walked on the water to the disciples. As he stepped into the boat, “immediately the boat reached the [opposite] shore” (John 6:1-21).
The crowds came to Capernaum seeking Jesus. He told them that they’d come because they wanted more physical bread. Instead, he offered them the true bread that comes from heaven. This bread was different from the manna from heaven Moses had given to the Israelites in the wilderness, different from the bread Jesus had given them earlier (vv. 31-33). Those breads didn’t satisfy–they didn’t give the unwavering hope of eternal life.
“I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them, but “still you do not believe” (vv. 35-36). “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (v. 51).
The crowd thought they knew who this man was; they knew his parents (vv. 41-42). When he said these things, they were unable to get beyond the physical. His words sounded too weird. Was he talking about cannibalism? (v. 52).
But Jesus was speaking of spiritual things. He would become living bread to them by sacrificing his life.
Many took offense and went away (vv. 60-66). Jesus asked his disciples if they wanted to go away as well. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God” (vv.68-69). Peter had seen the miracles and received Jesus’s words.
Do you receive fresh hope daily from the Living Bread from heaven that satisfies like nothing else on earth can? Or are you settling for spiritual junk food?
Read John 6:41-71. Contrast the responses of the crowd, Peter, and Judas. They all heard the same words, saw the same miracle of multiplied bread. What made the difference?
Read Matthew 26:17-28. Later, Jesus spoke of eating his body and drinking his blood. What was the occasion, and what was symbolized here for the disciples and for us?
According to 2 Corinthians 5:1-9, how can we hope for an eternal life?
Nancy J. Baker
This devotion is part of our series on Unwavering Hope.