I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
The people had just witnessed an amazing moment where Jesus passed out some bread, enough for more than 5,000 people. And it was no accident that He fed that multitude with bread that He broke and passed out to them. It was a picture of Jesus and the work that He was going to do. What prompted the feeding of the multitude in the first place but that Jesus saw them and had compassion on them and desired to meet their need. And what prompted Him to give His life for the world but His love for us all and a desire to meet our greatest need, to fill us up with something substantial and good and satisfying.
Jesus is the true bread from heaven, better than the manna that sustained Israel in the wilderness all those years before. Back then, if the people wanted to survive, they had to partake of the manna because there was nothing else to eat. They would have starved without God’s provision. They would have never gotten where they wanted to go. And so if we want to have eternal life, there is no other option than to partake of what God gave in a miraculous way to keep us from starving to death in the wilderness of sin.
Jesus gave all that He is for the life of the world. It is no accident, then, that Communion is the picture of Christ’s sacrifice. It means something that we break bread and partake, because we have to understand that only through Jesus is our hunger alleviated and our need met. Only in Christ is true life, and for us to have eternal life, it must come from an eternal source. It came from the eternal Son of God who was broken for us.
It’s about so much more than bread, but this is something we can understand. We know what it is to be physically hungry, but we have also experienced those hunger pangs spiritually, as well. People everywhere are looking for that next loaf of bread, that next something to satisfy and take away that hunger inside. But those things are only temporary. Only Jesus can supply something that can truly fill us up. He came to us to be broken and then given for us if we would choose to accept Him.