What or Who?
Today and next Sunday, we’ll be examining the Bible’s definition of the bread of life. If you’re not very familiar with the Bible, you might not expect to find that that bread of life is a person. If you do know this, you might be interested to learn that His identity has greater depth and significance than you might have realized before.
“I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” (John 6:48-58)
The people hearing these words from Jesus Christ took Him literally, thinking that they really had to eat Christ’s flesh and drink His blood.
It was natural for them to think that because that was what Jesus had said. What they didn’t understand was that He hadn’t said what He meant; He had hidden it in a parable. We have to look elsewhere in the Bible to try to understand what He means.
Even if Jesus literally wanted people to eat His flesh and drink His blood, He is not here in bodily form for us to do that. Every statement Christ makes is true. Therefore, He couldn’t have meant it literally. One part of the above passage strikes a particularly resonant chord:
“He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” (John 6:56)
To eat Christ’s flesh and drink His blood means for the believer to dwell in Christ and for Christ to dwell in the believer. Being aware of this principle of mutual residency between God and man helps us to begin to figure out what eating and drinking of Christ points to:
“Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” (1 John 4:13)
Now it begins to fall into place. To eat Christ’s flesh and drink His blood means to have the Spirit of Christ in us. The Son and the Holy Spirit are one in the same, the God of the universe.
Comparing John 6: 56 and 1 John 4:13 helps us understand that the bread of life is not only synonymous with Jesus but also with the Holy Spirit.
Next Sunday, LORD willing, we’ll discover more about the bread of life. Until then, may God bless and keep you.