Meeting your essential needAugust 8, 2021
Metropolitan UMC, Indian Head, MD
New International Version
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. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[a] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
This is one of the great passages of the Fourth Gospel, and indeed of the New Testament. In it there are two great lines of thought that we must try to analyse.
First, what did Jesus mean when he said: ‘I am the bread of life’? It is not enough to regard this as simply a beautiful and poetical phrase. Let us analyse it step by step. (1) Bread sustains life. It is that without which life cannot go on. (2) But what is life? Clearly by life is meant something far more than mere physical existence. What is this new spiritual meaning of life? (3) Real life is the new relationship with God, that relationship of trust and obedience and love of which we have already thought. (4) That relationship is made possible only by Jesus Christ. Apart from him, no one can enter into it. (5) That is to say, without Jesus there may be existence, but not life. (6) Therefore, if Jesus is the essential of life, he may be described as the bread of life. The hunger of the human situation is ended when we know Christ and through him know God. The restless soul is at rest; the hungry heart is satisﬁed.
Second, this passage opens out to us the stages of the Christian life. (1) We see Jesus. We see him in the pages of the New Testament, in the teaching of the Church, sometimes even face to face. (2) Having seen him, we come to him. We regard him not as some distant hero and pattern, not as a ﬁgure in a book, but as someone accessible. (3) We believe in him. That is to say, we accept him as the ﬁnal authority on God, on all humanity, on life. That means that our coming is not a matter of mere interest, nor a meeting on equal terms; it is essentially a submission. (4) This process gives us life. That is to say, it puts us into a new and lovely relationship with God, wherein he becomes an intimate friend; we are now at home with the one whom we feared or never knew. (5) The possibility of this is free and universal. The invitation is to everyone. The bread of life is ours for the taking. 
Notes from Point 1
Notes from Point 2
Notes from Point 3