What is Jesus Saying and What Was the Feeding of 15,000 Really All About?
The miracle of the multiplying bread pictures the salvation Christ offers in Himself as the Bread of Life:
Bread His body
Multiplied Atonement offered and applied
Eating Believing/personal receiving
Satisfaction Fullness/completeness of Christ
Extra bread His all-sufficiency
When Jesus said, “I am the bread of life,” it didn’t mean He was a baker; it means He is a Savior. Hungry people the world over eat bread with an understanding of what the bread inside their stomach means. Take it. Believe it will satisfy. Place it in your mouth. Chew it. Savor it. Bring it into you inwardly by swallowing. Feel its satisfaction of hunger. This is what the crowd didn’t understand. Their thoughts toward Jesus were material and fleeting. They were just about their bellies being filled. Jesus as their King was a means to their superficial need.
People still seek Jesus in the same way. They experience need in a wilderness experience of their life. Life is difficult. Life is hard. They feel desperation and seek Jesus to fix or heal or meet some temporary need. They pray for God’s help. That’s good and we should do that. But if that is all we seek, we are like the Jews who simply wanted their bellies filled. Jesus didn’t die for our hunger, He died for our sins and to save us from God’s righteous judgment of them. “I am the bread of life” had nothing to do with empty stomachs but had everything to do with empty hearts and souls.
“I am the bread of life.” I am the broken and multiplied Savior of the world. That’s what the miracle was about. The boy provided the bread, but it had to be broken and multiplied to meet the needs of the many.
That is what it means for Jesus to be the Bread of Life. His mission. His love for mankind. His willingness to be personally broken that His death in our place could be multiplied over and over again across the centuries, even to us here today. He is the Bread of Life, which can be received by faith into the soul and will satisfy our spiritual hunger forever. Sinners are hungry people – hungry for forgiveness; hungry for life – eternal life.
Like the manna in the Old Testament, it wasn’t about the bread, it was about Him. In fact, I wonder, what was Jesus thinking as He broke the bread, over and over and over again? This is my body which is broken for you. And this. And this. And this. Over and over. Every tear and every piece was a picture of Jesus’ body broken on the cross.
“I am the Bread of Life” implies a final question, is He your Bread of Life? Every man, woman and child in the crowd that day was a picture of this room as well. Jesus offers Himself like bread to us. Each one of us must decide if we believe He is the source of eternal life. Are you hungry for Him? Will you personally receive Him by faith as Savior?
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
©Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.