Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Confess Jesus Before Men: I AM the Bread of Life

"And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. (Luke 12:8-9 NASB)

We started a new series yesterday. The word translated as "confess" is a compound word from two words that mean "same" and "speaks". When we "confess" Christ before men, we say the same things about Him that He says about Himself. To be sure we understand what Jesus said about Himself, we are reviewing the "I AM's" from the gospel of John. 

Our first I AM is from John 6:35. 

"I AM the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will not hunger 
and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

John 6 opens with Jesus feeding the five thousand. The people were so impressed with the miracle bread that they intended to take Him by force and make Him king. Jesus knew that what they wanted was not a king, but more good tricks with loaves and fishes. To avoid a fiasco, He withdrew for a mountain prayer retreat. 

The next day, the people tracked Jesus down. He understood their motives and told them. "You're looking for Me because you ate the miracle bread. Bread baked in an oven doesn't last. What you should strive to have is the food that endures to eternal life, which I can give you." (Leanna Paraphrase) 

Of course, people want what they want. "Moses gave our fathers manna," they told Him, implying that Jesus should dole out some daily bread, as well. Jesus was ever patient with them. "It wasn't Moses who gave them the manna. It came from God, who is the only One who gives the true bread out of heaven."

The people still wanted some more "heaven bread" and likely still wanted the first century equivalent of manna. Something for nothing. 

Jesus responded with an "I AM." Later, the Pharisees complained and implied that Jesus was suggesting people should eat His flesh. Many people stopped following Him because they misunderstood what He was saying.

 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh." (John 6:35, 47-51 NASB)

Jesus is not suggesting that we become cannibals and literally eat Him. This is a complex metaphor, comparing His body to the sacrifice He would make for all mankind. When we accept Jesus and incorporate His words and His ways into our lives, they become a part of us, just as the bread we eat becomes a part of us. 

When He becomes a part of our being, our lives, His life becomes our life, as well. He gives us eternal life.

What we often miss is the all important phrase "will not hunger." Jesus understood that we humans hunger for more than physical food. We hunger for meaning and significance in our lives. We try to satisfy our hunger with everything from money to sex to position and power. The world offers a buffet of self-indulgence but none of it will bring long-term peace and contentment.

When we come to Jesus, we find our hunger satisfied completely in Him. He offers such meaning, such significance that we need never hunger again. Do you want "more" in life? You can find it in Christ alone. The world's buffet of self-indulgence will never give the "more" we seek. Only Jesus can do that.
Our Father, help me to make Jesus such a part of my life, that I will never hunger again. Amen.