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Best of Daily Reflections: The Bread of Life

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."

John 6:35-51

In the sixth chapter of John, Jesus was having another of his window-rattling conversations about “manna from heaven.” In Jesus’ day, manna was a reminder of a specific time in the history of the nation of Israel. Just say “manna” and his listeners were transported back thirteen hundred years to Israel’s forty-year exile in the wilderness. Each day there in the wilderness, God fed the Israelites with manna (bread from heaven). This heavenly bread was such a big deal that they made a point of celebrating it every year during the Passover meal.

Jesus masterfully used this discussion about bread to teach them that, even though thirteen hundred years had passed and they had settled the Promised Land, founded a nation, constructed a capital, and built a glorious temple, life still felt like exile in the wilderness, and people were still hungry for bread and famished for God.

Today, more than two thousand years later, we’re still starving.

We have a whole television network dedicated to food, with expert cooking instructions, celebrity chefs, and cutthroat cooking competitions. Yet we are a starving culture. In an interview with Journal Chretien, Mother Teresa said,

The spiritual poverty of the Western World is much greater than the physical poverty of our people. You, in the West, have millions of people who suffer such terrible loneliness and emptiness. They feel unloved and unwanted. These people are not hungry in the physical sense, but they are in another way. They know they need something more than money, yet they don’t know what it is.

What they are missing, really, is a living relationship with God.

The only path to satisfying our unrelenting hunger is to walk every step with Jesus and do exactly what he tells us to do.

BIBLE PASSAGE:

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."

Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" Jesus answered them, "Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."

John 6:35, 41-51

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What are some of the signs of the kinds of starvation Mother Teresa describes? Which of these kinds of hungers do you know in your own life? If Jesus really does satisfy our hungers, why do we resist him?

PRAYER: Merciful God, first of all, forgive me for willfully ignoring the world’s suffering. Secondly, if you really are the satisfaction of my deepest hungers, teach me how to feast on the fullness of all you are to me. Amen.

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