“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” (John 6:35)
Jesus told the crowd who had obviously come to him for the sake of bread not to work for the food which perishes but for that which lasts forever. It was more like a conversation with the people. Jesus was leading them somewhere – the Holy Eucharist.
First, Jesus began by explaining to them that the miracle they had just experienced (the feeding of the five thousand) was only a sign; a pointer to the fact that God is truly a provider, that He truly cares for his people; that He is willing to go to any extent to ensure that we get our needs just as God was willing to feed the Israelites with manna during their sojourning in the desert.
Secondly, Jesus made them understand that there are different types of bread; the earthly bread and the bread which comes down from heaven. While the earthly bread represents all that this world has to offer (food, money, power, luxury, etc. which often create more hunger in us) the bread which comes down from heaven truly satisfies and give us Life.
At this point, the people asked Jesus, we want this bread that comes from heaven. “Give us this bread always.” We don’t want to eat the bread that leaves us hungrier, we want the bread that is from heaven. Jesus then told them: “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
This statement of Jesus is quite heavy. First, it is a pointer to the Holy Eucharist; the body and the blood of Jesus Christ truly present on the altar under the appearance of bread and wine. When we eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus in Holy Communion, we become candidates of heaven where we shall no longer thirst nor go hungry.
Secondly, this statement sheds great light on the earlier statement of Jesus: “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” (John 6:26). The people came to Jesus seeking for bread. Now Jesus is saying “I am the bread of life – I alone can satisfy the deepest longing of your heart, He who has me lacks nothing.”
To this day, many still come to Jesus simply to get their own share of bread, not because they desire to build a relationship with Jesus. Christians today do not come to Jesus rather they see Jesus as a stepping stone towards their real desires. If only we can value Jesus above everything else in this life, we would discover that to have Jesus is to find true satisfaction.
When you have Jesus, you have peace of mind; the kind of peace that this world with all its glamour and power cannot give. Only in Jesus can our hearts find rest as St. Augustine teaches us. On the flip side, when our relationship with Jesus suffers, everything else falls apart. We begin to look to the world to provide that which only Jesus can give. It is like ignoring a river while trying to drink from droplets of water that fell on a leave.
We all need to have a solid relationship with God to survive in this world. Stephen had this deep inner connection with God. In fact, it is from the lips of Stephen that we get to hear how heaven looks like. Stephen’s vision of heaven helped to form our creed: “He ascended into heaven, where he is seated at the right hand of God the father.”
Keep your relationship with Jesus alive, fuel your spiritual life, create time daily to be alone with God in prayer, have a daily routine of meditation, bible study and other spiritual activities, never stop it. It is the energy that is more powerful than food.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, make me realize how much I need you. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 7:51-8:1, Psalm 31 and John 6:30-35