John 6:47-51:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 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.

John chapter six contains the first of Jesus’ “I am” statements. It is spoken following the miracle of feeding the five thousand and in response to the people’s request for a sign. The people who had eaten, knew that this was a miracle, and that a prophet was in their mist. They were so taken that they were going to try to take Jesus by force and make him their king. It is to these people, on the next day (vs 22-25), that Jesus is having this discourse concerning this amazing claim. Jesus referred to himself three times as bread (vss 35, 48 and 51), and the Jews murmured at him because of the statement (vs 41). Neither did he refer to just any bread, but he claimed to be the bread sent down from heaven which is more nourishing and life sustaining than the manna eaten in the wilderness (Exodus 16:13-18). Jesus knew the incredulity of the people, who sought him out because their bellies were filled by the five barley loaves and two small fish (John 6:9).

Jesus challenged them to “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (vs 27). He told the people to “believe on him whom He hath sent” (vs 29). When the people brought up the manna from the wilderness, Jesus claimed to be the “true bread from heaven” that was so much more nourishing and sustaining.

They asked the lord to “evermore give us this bread” (vs 34). They wanted their physical hunger satisfied, but Jesus promised to provide so much more. He claimed he would provide in such a way that they would never hunger and thirst again. He promised everlasting life to those who believeth on him. Then the Jews murmured at him, because he said,” I am the bread which came down from heaven” (vs 41).

When confronted with their skepticism Jesus made one of those emphatic, “verily, verily” statements.

John 6:47-51:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 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.

Herein lies the key for all of us who intend to partake of the bread of life. We must eat it. The Jews unwilling to believe scoffed at Jesus requirement to eat of his flesh and drink of his blood. (This was exactly what Israel was required to do with the flesh of the Passover lamb. Christ would be our final and ultimate Passover which was sacrificed for us (I Corinthians 5:7.) This was again one of those emphatic, “verily, verily” statements.

John 6:53:
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.

God sustained the children of Israel for 40 years in the wilderness with the manna from heaven, supplying what they needed in a miraculous way. But that manna (which was a type of Christ) could not meet their spiritual needs as could the “bread of life” that came down from heaven in the person of Jesus the Messiah. God would sustain His people for much more than 40 years. This bread from heaven would sustain eternal life forever. In Jesus our spiritual hunger is satisfied and our spiritual thirst is quenched (John 4:13-14; 7:37-39).

How is this accomplished? For us it happened through the gift of holy spirit, whereby we were sealed (Ephesians 1:13) as Jesus was (vs 27). This establishes and guarantees our eternal life. Our abundant life is realized as we eat of Jesus’ flesh now. This we do just as he taught us. “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me” (vs 57). Our search for spiritual fulfillment comes to an end and the God shaped hole in our heart is finally filled when we like Paul learn to live through him (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 4:11-13).

By Wayne Clapp