The "bread of life" discourse is not just a theological exposition but an invitation to experience the depth of God's love and the breadth of his salvific plan.
John 6:34-40 — The Bread of Life — Aneel Aranha
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel with Aneel Aranha. Today we will reflect on John 6:34-40. Listen.
“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 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 them up at the last day.”
Augustine was one of the most significant thinkers in Christian history. He once famously said, "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." It's a profound truth. Whether we recognize it or not, all of us have an innate desire for the infinite, the eternal, the divine. Or, if you prefer, a desire for God.
We see this desire expressed in what the crowd says to Jesus. When Jesus tells them about the "true bread" from heaven that gives life to the world, they say: "Sir, always give us this bread." We can see their hunger for this life-giving sustenance on display here. However, do they understand the nature of the true bread and how it will be provided? Do *we* understand?
Jesus replies, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty" (John 6:35). This statement is revolutionary. Jesus is not merely offering another miraculous provision like the manna in the wilderness. He is offering himself. The sustenance he provides is not just for the body but for the soul. It's a promise of spiritual fulfillment that transcends physical needs.
Jesus doesn't stop there. He dives deeper into the reason behind this offering. He says, "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me" (John 6:38). Jesus is stating his mission here. His coming to earth, his teachings, and his very life are because of God's will. And what is this will? "And this is the will of him who sent me," Jesus says, "that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day" (John 6:39). The will of God is not to only provide food for sustenance, but food that ensures eternal salvation.
The crowd's desire for bread, while genuine, was limited in scope. They were thinking of physical hunger. We can make the same mistake, thinking only of our human needs. However, there is something far more important: our spiritual needs, which lead to eternal life. That can come only from Jesus, who is the bread of life.
God bless you.