Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” – John 6
We live near a restaurant called Fogo de Chao which is a Brazilian steakhouse. My husband and I have been there a few times, but a few years ago we brought our three kids with us for their first time. You start out with the Feijoada Bar which is an all you can eat selection of salads, veggies, cheeses, cured meats, and more. Then the fun Fogo Churassco experience begins. Each person has a coaster in front of them. One side is green and one side is red. Literally green means bring me more food options. Red means no thank you I’m done for now. If you are on green, all kinds of fire-roasted meat selections will be brought to your table side and placed onto your plate. Selections of beef, pork, lamb, and chicken. On top of all of that, your table will have as much pao de queijo, crispy polenta, mashed potatoes, and caramelized bananas that you want.
When we left that evening we had eaten entirely too much. Instead of feeling pleasantly satiated, we felt bloated and extremely over full. But as in anything that you eat – eventually it works through your system and you are hungry again. By breakfast the next morning we were ready to start up again and eat some more. A never ending cycle of eat and repeat.
When we read our story in John 6 today, Jesus wants us to learn that believing in him means that the cycle will end and we don’t have to eat too much or eat too little ever again.
“Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”
It clearly states in this section that Jesus actions are important to take note of. Jesus is an example set forth to us on how we should act and what we should do.
To that they said, “Well, what do we do then to get in on God’s works?”
Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that god has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.”
They waffled: “Why don’t you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what’s going on? When we see what’s up, we’ll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do. Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert. It says so in the Scriptures: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ “
Jesus responded, “The real significance of that Scripture is not that Moses gave you bread from heaven but that my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world.”
The jumped at that: “Master, give us this bread, now and forever!”
Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.
Jesus does hold on to you and never will let you go. There have been so many moments in my life when I stray from my faith. For whatever reason I stop praying as much, I stop talking with God during the day, I lose interest in my Bible studies. That doesn’t matter. Jesus doesn’t care. He waits for me to turn around like the prodigal son and come running back. And he rejoices in my presence and loves me just the same no matter how long I’m gone. That is everlasting love.
“This, in a nutshell, is that will: That everything handed over to me by the Father be completed – not a single detail missed – and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.”
At this, because he said, “I am the Bread that came down from heaven,” the Jews started arguing over him: “Isn’t this the son of Joseph? Don’t we know his father? Don’t we know his mother? How can he now say, ‘I came down out of heaven’ and expect anyone to believe him?”
Jesus said, “Don’t bicker among yourselves over me. You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent me is in charge. He draws people to me – that’s the only way you’ll ever come. Only then do I do my work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End. This is what the prophets meant when they wrote, ‘And then they will all be personally taught by God.’ Anyone who has spent any time at all listening to the Father, really listening and therefore learning, comes to me to be taught personally – to see it with his own eyes, hear it with his own ears, from me, since I have it firsthand from the Father. No one has seen the Father except the One who has his Being alongside the Father – and you can see me.
“I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread – living Bread! – who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live – and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”
Jesus feeds us everything that we need to accomplish God’s plans for our lives. He nourishes our souls, forgives our sins, loves on us in times of trials. He came to this earth from heaven to feed our souls, to die for our sins, and to teach us the real meaning of love. We can indeed live forever because of him.
At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves: “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?”
But Jesus didn’t give an inch. “Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of MAn do you have life within you. The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me. This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always.”
He said these things while teaching in the meeting place in Capernaum.
We can all enjoy a great evening of food to nourish our bodies. In fact God did create us to do just that. Even if we overdo it at places like Fogo de Chao – God will allow us to continue to resume eating normally so that our bodies can function as they should. With nourishment in mind, we must be just as willing to devour God’s word and to heartily love a life full of love and compassion for others! In that we will have eternal life.