Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Break Thou The Bread Of Life"1 (Lyrics)
Years ago, Granny gave me her recipe for bannock bread, which is a neat, round loaf baked on a flat sheet in the oven. It is simple food for plain people, but so satisfying. When I make it, it is not only delicious to eat, but baking it fills me with fond memories of a resilient, intelligent, and funny lady.
I don't imagine that the bread of Jesus' day looked anything like Granny's bannock, but it was a simple, staple food, just as it is for people today. All four gospels recount how Jesus performed the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. The next day, some of those present in the crowd that followed Him had seen the miracle, and sought Him out again. They were undoubtedly hoping that He would produce the miracle once again and provide another meal!
John 6:26-27,35 – Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal. I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." (ESV)
The Lord Jesus wanted to lift the peoples' thinking from earthly concerns, like eating and drinking, to the realities of heaven and spiritual life. God is as necessary for our spiritual health and well-being as food is for the body's survival. His work, and the reason that He came from heaven, is to give God's Word and eternal life through Himself. Jesus' gospel and ministry is the spiritual bread needed by us to enjoy and feast on for life.
It's tempting to want a miracle instead of the Miracle-giver. It's so easy to get caught up in daily struggles and necessities, that we lose sight of the Lord and His wonderful salvation, and pray only for a miracle. Jesus is asking us to lift our minds and hearts to the spiritual sustenance that He brings. He will provide for our physical needs, and the best satisfaction comes from a life with the Lord.
Prayer: Dearest Lord, "O bread of life from heaven, O food to pilgrims given, O manna from above: feed with the blessed sweetness of Your divine completeness the souls that want and need Your love." (author unknown). We thank You for Your salvation and presence, which we need each day to feed our souls. Amen.