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Feeding on Bread

January 10, 2010

In John 6:1-15 we learn that Christ crossed the Sea of Galilee and a crowd of people gathered to see and hear him. Why were these people there? Was Christ that charismatic that he drew a huge following of people due to his appearance, or were his words so captivating that people were inspired by every word he shared. I think the answer is more about the fact that these people were hungry. Hungry for something to feed the emptiness inside.

We were made to hunger for a relationship with God, and to hunger for food. Daily we need to eat food in order to survive and the thrive. We also need a daily relationship with God. Christ shared this the crowd and his disciples. He told them truth. He told them “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” By this he was not speaking of physically eating human flesh and blood, but of consuming a relationship with Christ that will grant eternal life. His flesh and blood, his life is real. When we feed on the Bread of Life, we find real life, life that lasts forever.

When the disciples heard the teaching their response was “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

Christ did not force the teaching on them. He was loving, gracious, and knew their hearts. He knew that some of them were not ready to believe. He asked them what they would think if they saw the Son of Man return to where he was before. Did they really understand the he was the Son of Man and that he was referring to returning to God? Did they realize this would truly happen such a short time in the future?

Many of the crowd and the disciples were feeding on bread when Christ fed the crowd, but they were feeding on their ideas, their concepts, and their beliefs about what was real. They were looking to Christ to be their Messiah, not The Messiah. They wanted him to be their king, instead of The King. They wanted him to be what they believed instead of The Truth. Many were not able to handle the Bread that Christ offered. They felt that the bread they were trying to live on would be better. The turned back to what they knew and understood, and they chose to no longer follow him. They choose to believe in their understanding of truth instead of The Truth.

We still are struggling with this today. The church is full of subjective truth, distorted teachings, and self conceived ideas. Our leaders are feeding on bread, but it isn’t always on the real Bread of Life, or they are not feeding in a way that they can teach us about the Bread of Life. We each are presented with the truth, as we have the ability to read and learn from the Word of God on our own. Romans 10:17 tells us, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Are you feeding on the Word? Are you feeding on a living and active relationship with the flesh and blood of the living Bread?

“I learned something that day.  To the degree that you have based your life on something other than the Lord, to that degree God’s love and the hope of the gospel will not comfort you.  You will not be comforted because you are hungry for another kind of bread.  You long for a king who will give you the bread you crave.  That bread might be a relationship, circumstance, or position.  It might be human love and respect, the desire for vengeance, or a certain economic state.  It literally can be anything in creation!  But they’re only two types of bread: Christ, the living bread, and everything else.  We set our hearts either on him or on something else.” (War of Words by Paul David Tripp, p98)

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