The Bread of Life

I am the Bread of Life

The last couple of months, I have been leaning hard on my faith in Jesus. Since my wife Ali’s death in September my family has been supported amazingly by family, our church and friends, for which we are enormously grateful. At the same time, there is no other person who can do what Jesus claims, and it is only in him that I have found the very deepest hope and comfort.

I’d like to pick out seven huge statements that Jesus makes in John’s account of his life. I’ll be illustrating each of them in the hope that you will find in his words something of the wonder of what he says, and the riches that can always be found in him.

John 6:35 ‘ Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

I am not feeling content right now.

We are missing Ali – as a wife, a mum, a daughter, sister, friend. There is an ache and a hole – for me I’m missing the person I knew best, my closest friend. I’m missing her company, being able to tell her the little details of my day, missing her help and support with the house and children, missing touch and intimacy.

If I could ask for anything, what would it be? My wife back? That relationship restored?

In John chapter 6, Jesus takes pity on a hungry crowd, and multiplies one boy’s lunch to make sandwiches enough for more than 5,000 mouths. The people understandably continue to follow him around, and Jesus remarks:

“… I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you…”

I’m finding that I can look for satisfaction in a bunch of different places – in food, the tv, in video games, on the internet, on Instagram – and with almost any of those things I often find myself over-indulging, because it’s never fully satisfying. One more episode, another helping, another hour… I often finish up feeling either underwhelmed, or like I’ve overdone it.

Even with the thing that I could want most just now – to see and to hold my wife again – is something that would satisfy profoundly – but I believe God is wanting me to see that even that satisfaction wouldn’t last. Like the last solid meal that filled you up, but leaves you hungry again by the morning, there’s nothing that can truly satisfy us and keep us satisfied forever.

Except for Jesus.

Jesus says he is the bread of life. Look for your heart’s desires in him first, and you will find a source of life that will fill you up – that will never run dry, that will never go stale, that will never leave you feeling overfull.

How does that work? I’m choosing to spend more time with God than I have done previously – partly because some of those other things just don’t seem so important just now, but also because I’m taking him at his word that I will find in him more of that real and lasting satisfaction. So – less tv, internet, games – and more time talking to God, reading the Bible and seeing what he says to me through it. Instead of some of the other podcasts I would listen to while working, I’ve been listening more to worship music and to some different preaches.

And just like Jesus promised, as I do so I’m finding fresh peace, joy and comfort. As I spend more time in his word my head is filled with all the promises he’s made. I find hope of eternal life in paradise with him (Luke 23:39-43). I find acceptance in his outrageous, unchanging love (Romans 5:8). I find purpose in a life lived to love others and give him glory, and I find comfort in the promise that he can take care of all of my needs (Matthew 6:25-34) – whether for food or friendship or anything else.

In the valley, I’m finding that the more I look to him for my heart’s needs, the more deep and lasting contentment fills my heart. I’m missing my best friend, but finding there is a better friend still in him. Perhaps I can’t always hear him laughing at my jokes, but then to be honest Ali didn’t laugh at many of them either.

It still hurts, it’s still hard going, it’s still early – but I tell you this, I don’t believe there’s any better bread to be had.

God bless you, and may you find eternal satisfaction in Jesus Christ.