Yesterday I spoke to the the University of Essex Christian Union. They asked me to talk about the part of the Bible where Jesus says ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty‘ (John 6.35).
You may have heard of Jesus feeding the 5000, Jesus spoke these words to the crowd that came back to him the next day for some more food. They wanted more to eat but Jesus began to talk to them of their need for God and eternal life.
We hunger for and need food to survive physically but do we hunger for Jesus who we need to survive spiritually?
Most of us find it hard to go without food and it is upsetting seeing the effects that malnutrition has on people.
Do we find it hard to manage without Jesus? Are some of us malnourished spiritually because we don’t come to and depend on God to feed us spiritually?
The crowd reminds Jesus of Moses who provided bread in the wilderness and Jesus reminds them that it was God and not Moses who provided the bread that fell from heaven. What are we ultimately depending on to feed us spiritually? Is it a Christian leader or your church? Is it your favourite worship band or a Christian book? Jesus says that he is the bread of life, ultimately if we depend on anything else then we won’t consistently be satisfied or nourished. Perhaps that is why some of us feel like we have wobbly faith sometimes. We are trying to replace Jesus with other things and we need to come back to receiving from and depending on him. God works through leaders, church, worship and books and we should make use of and give thanks to God for them but ultimately there is only one source of spiritual life and that is God himself.
Think about your prayer life. What do you talk to God about most? Jesus reminds the crowd that he is the saviour who is offering eternal life but they are focused on their next meal. Do we treat God like a vending machine where we mainly talk to him about the stuff that we need or do we come to him as our God and saviour who we want to inspire us to live a full and faith filled life?
Several of the students said how helpful and challenging that what I had brought to them had been. I’m glad that was their experience, but I am as grateful that these thoughts have helped and challenged me about the way I am living my life.
May we experience Jesus as the bread of life.