Wednesday, Third Week of Easter

Acts 8:1-8
John 6:35-40

I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.

We are so familiar with Jesus’ language when he refers to himself as ‘the Bread of Life’ that it is easy to miss just how bold a claim this was. In 1st Century Palestine the vast majority of people belonged to the peasant class. Many were tenant farmers and relied upon a favourable harvest and the integrity of the landlord to be able to survive. Bad fortune with either the harvest or the landlord threatened life. Having the means to make bread literally was a matter of life and death.

If you go in search of references to bread in the Bible you will find material from almost beginning to end. In Genesis we see the bread of Hospitality when Abraham and Sarah entertain their unexpected guests. In Exodus we learn of the Bread of the Presence when 12 loaves are kept on a golden table in the tabernacle. Those loaves symbolise God’s presence. In the New Testament Jesus multiplies the loaves and feeds a multitude. And at Emmaus it is in the breaking of bread that the disciples recognise Jesus. In all of these stories bread is the vehicle for communicating a truth.

So when Jesus says ‘I am the Bread of Life’ he is also saying that every truth that has been communicated through bread can be found in him. In Jesus we find the one who welcomes, the guarantee of God’s presence, the one who feeds and the one who opens our eyes.

How do you hear Christ’s promise that if you come to him you will never be hungry?