To live is Christ, because Jesus is life. He is God’s very own eternal life. The Greek word for God’s life is zoe. It is only by trusting in Jesus that we can receive his life. Yesterday we saw how Jesus used the imagery of new birth to explain zoe to us. Today let’s see another way Jesus will explain his life to us- bread.
Take a look at how Jesus’ conversation with the crowds unfolds in John 6. He had, the day before, fed the multitude of people with bread in what we commonly call “the feeding of the 5,000.”
John 6:27. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life [zoe], which the Son of Man will give to you.
John 6:33-35. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life [zoe] to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life [zoe]; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
John 6:40. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life [zoe], and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:47-51. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life [zoe]. 48 I am the bread of life [zoe]. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living [zoe] bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live [zoe] forever. And the bread that I will give for the life [zoe] of the world is my flesh.”
Jesus is connecting his life to the manna of the Old Testament. God fed the Israelites in the wilderness with bread from Heaven. This was God keeping them alive physically. But Jesus is the bread that comes down from Heaven that keeps us alive spiritually, eternally.
Look again at verses 33-35. What good news for us! This Bread is for the whole wide world (kosmos), it is for “whoever.” Jesus is the love of God in person. The bread that the whole world longs for. Look at verse 51. Jesus is THE bread for THE life. And notice again (verse 47) that this comes simply by believing.
Jesus points us to HOW his life will be made available for us at the end of verse 51. “The life of the world is my flesh.” He is pointing us toward his death. His efficacious death for the sins of all mankind.
Do you remember the Last Supper? Jesus said, “take, eat, this (the bread) is my body, broken for you.” Jesus has moved us from the manna of the wilderness to the Passover meal. The bread of affliction is now representative of Jesus’ life. A life he would sacrifice for us on the cross so that we may share it, just as the Apostle’s did on that night when they ate it with him. And so just as they took the bread into their own bodies and gained physical life, we take Jesus into our own lives and gain his spiritual life.