Church of England Diocese of Birmingham Frankley

Jesus, the Bread of Life

1 Aug 2021, 10 a.m.

Jesus says, “I am the bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry.”

We need food to stay alive. We need Jesus even more.

When we eat a good meal we are filled and satisfied but we soon get hungry again. Jesus like bread satisfies and fills. He promises that when we come to him he will always supply our need.

Some of the crowd of over 5000 that Jesus had fed with 5 barley loaves and 2 fishes had been so impressed they searched for him.

Are you searching for more of Jesus? It takes effort. The crowd didn’t find him where they did the day before.

We need fresh food every day. We cannot expect to experience Jesus and feast on him in the same way as we found him yesterday. We need a fresh experience of his love and the Holy Spirit. We need to seek what he is doing today.

We are promised that if we seek Jesus we will find him. He wants to be found by us but he wants us to make the effort

Following Jesus is not always easy. We are not sponges that are automatically filled. We are expected to seek God and when we find him to spend time with him, engage in conversation and listen.

These followers thought they knew what they wanted, time with Jesus, free food and miracles; the excitement something new.

Sometimes we have selfish reasons for seeking Jesus. We may need healing or a miracle in our lives.

We may want wealth. The prosperity gospel attracts.

We may come because we need friends or enjoy the music, for recognition, or opportunities.

Jesus wants us primarily to come because we want him.

The crowd asked Jesus a daft question

“Rabbi, When did you get here?” It was none of their business. Jesus was not accountable to them for his whereabouts but it got the conversation going.

It’s important we start speaking to Jesus even if we don’t know how to pray, deliberately coming into his presence.

Instead of answering the irrelevant question, Jesus tells them they have come because they ate the loaves and had their fill.

Jesus had not given the crowds exotic food. He had given a poor person’s meal, course bread and tiny fishes which had multiplied until there was more than enough

The majority of the people in the world would be desperate to have the kind of meal Jesus provided.

It is important we show the hungry that Jesus loves them by providing food for Food banks and living more simply

The crowd, mainly farmers and fishermen would have been desperately trying to earn their bread so they and their families did not starve. They knew what it felt like to be hungry when their crops failed, when the Roman soldiers took a large proportion of what they had worked for, when they had to pay high taxes and when they even had to support the Jewish priestly caste.

When we are terrified of not earning enough our reaction is usually to work harder. Some of us have worked in jobs until we have reached breaking point and had to leave. The harder we have worked the more pressure we have been put under and the less productive we have become.

We have worked knowing that others will reap what we have sown. Those who have the power to employ or sack us will become richer. Life is unfair!

Yet those who have reached the top of their professions are still not satisfied.

We have put work before the Lord the creator and giver of bread. All that we have and are come from him. Jesus tells us to not work for that which spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life.

Jesus gives us food we do not have to work which we can feast on for eternity. It is a free gift. We cannot buy it. No wonder these followers were confused

They are still obsessed with work and ask, “What must we do to do the work God requires?”

We tend to think that God will reward us more or pour out his love upon us more freely if we are good, care for the poor, serve others and work hard.

These are all good things to do but God gives good gifts to us because he loves us. We do good because we love him not to make him love us more.

Jesus replies, “The work of God is to believe on the one he has sent.”

Jesus wants us to trust him, to come to him to provide our physical needs and give us eternal life. Life here is very short. We do not know how long we have got left.

The puzzled followers asked Jesus to perform a sign so they might believe. Maybe Jesus would provide manna, the honey tasting bread that God provided for the Hebrew people as they wandered through the wilderness.

There is no harm in asking Jesus for a miracle to answer our needs. More than signs or miracles we need Jesus. He is sufficient

He wants us to believe and trust that God has sent his only Son into the world that we might have everlasting life through him.

He is the heavenly manna who came down from heaven, the bread of God that gives life to the world.

The followers asked Jesus to always give them this bread. Jesus replied, “I am the bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry.”

He is the great “I am,” the eternal God, who was, who is and who is to come who has no beginning or end.

For food to be nutritious, it has to be absorbed into our beings and become part of us.

For Jesus to do us good, we need to invite him to become fully part of us so we become like him.

Some people are often never satisfied. The more we have, the more we want, whether it is status, money, power, control, possessions, learning, fitness, beauty, friendships or love

The more we spend time with Jesus, the less we will want those things which our not good for us.

Only Jesus can satisfy our longings and fill our hungry souls. He is the one we cannot do without

Lord Jesus give me a hunger for you. Be all that I need and satisfy my soul.