What is the Bread of Life?
GOD has designed HIS visible creation in such a way so as to communicate unto us the spiritual realities of HIS invisible kingdom. Many of these manifestations are referenced in the Bible, such as "fountain of living waters" and "bread of life". Physical necessities such as food and water are often used by GOD to illustrate our need for HIS word, which one must partake of to spiritually live. As Jeremiah wrote, "Thy words were found, and I did eat them..." (JEREMIAH 15:16). He meant that he received them for his spiritual nourishment.
Yeshua (Jesus) learned this principle early in life, and was so fully fed, so well nourished, that John could write of Him, that GOD's word had become flesh. Yeshua so perfectly manifested the ways of GOD that He was in essence revealing the Father. His entire life emanated the fullness of GOD. Yeshua was that great Prophet GOD had promised unto Moses, when HE said, "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him" (DEUTERONOMY 18:18).
Hearing and speaking all that was commanded, Yeshua was GOD's word made flesh. As the living Word, He proclaimed, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" (JOHN 6:35). Yeshua Himself physically "hungered" (MATTHEW 21:18) and had "thirst" (JOHN 19:28) on occasion, so there is no doubt that He was referring here to a spiritual hunger and a spiritual thirst, which can only be satisfied by eating and drinking the words of GOD. Lacking those words of GOD is likened in the book of AMOS to a famine.
AMOS 8:11-12 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
GOD can withhold HIS words just as easily as HE can withhold the rains. Lack of the one results in just as great of a famine as does lack of the other. Just different kinds. One is a physical famine while the other is a spiritual famine.
It is of vital importance that if we want to truly live, we must be given and receive the words of life. Scripture proclaimed that Yeshua was this "word made flesh" (JOHN 1:14). As the bodily manifestation of those words of GOD which the believer must have to live, He was similarly that Bread of life sent from heaven to satisfy the spiritual hunger of man.
JOHN 6:51 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.
It wasn't His actual flesh or even His person which came down from heaven, but rather the words of GOD. It is the words of GOD which He spoke that we must consume, not His flesh. Ever hear someone say, "you are what you eat"? That doesn't mean I am going to become an apple if I eat one. It only means that if I eat healthy food, I'll probably be healthy, but if I eat unhealthy food I'll probably be unhealthy. Similarly, Yeshua consumed and perfectly spoke the words of GOD and could therefore declare "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (JOHN 14:9).
Many references to Yeshua in the fourth Gospel can only be understood in remembering that Yeshua was often referred to figuratively, as being some other object. John the Baptist likened Yeshua to the "lamb of God". Yeshua referred to Himself as the "temple", the "door" and the "true vine". When the Evangelist wrote about our Lord he was often referring figuratively, not literally. Yeshua was no more a literal lamb, temple, door or grapevine than He was bread from heaven. Yet, figuratively, because He spoke words from His heavenly Father, His words were from Heaven. As spiritual nutrition, what He spoke was vital for His listeners sustenance. As such, only those who found and consumed the words He taught were promised life, eternal life.
As with the manna in the wilderness, this Bread from heaven must be gathered daily. A weekly gathering will not sustain us. Nor can we gather tomorrow's bread today. Each morning, that day's bread must be gathered and eaten to spiritually nourish and sustain us in our pilgrimage.
Many wrongly assume that this passage in the fourth Gospel is talking about going to Mass and eating wafers or drinking sips of red wine. Not so! This is about reading, and hearing and believing GOD's words. Taking communion is not in itself going to give anyone life. We need the words of GOD to live. Only those words can satisfy our spiritual hunger and give us spiritual nourishment. The account continues.
JOHN 6:53-57 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
Of course, Yeshua is not referring to His literal flesh and blood, but to eating and drinking the words which He spoke. The Father gave HIS Son an opportunity to live by giving to Him HIS word. In turn, Yeshua gave His followers the same opportunity by giving them those same words. If they were to be transformed, GOD's word must be their diet, not wine and crackers, nor even His literal flesh and blood.
MATTHEW 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
"Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" are more words than are found in our Bibles (MATTHEW 2:23). And "every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" suggest a continual hearing. It's not a one time affair. The written word guides the way unto the spoken word. The written word defines the parameters within which the believer is expected to live. It reveals the way of GOD. Without the written word the believer would no doubt be wandering aimlessly in a thick fog of ignorance. But after receiving, and remembering, and continuing in that written word, he can begin that spiritual journey.
"spirit of truth"
Yeshua promised His followers that if they would obey His words, He would ask GOD to give them this spirit of truth which was to dwell within them. That was His only stipulation, if they would obey, then they could receive.
JOHN 14:15-17 If ye love me, keep my commandments [precepts]. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Because of disobedience and unbelief, those who followed the ways of the world could not receive this spirit of truth, neither knew they anything of its existence. It was reserved for those who chose to obey His word, and as such, this "spirit of truth" was to teach and remind them of Christ's teachings. The apostle Paul wrote it thus, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (PHILIPPIANS 2:13). James called it "wisdom that is from above". This is nothing other than being able to live by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of GOD.
JOHN 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost [spirit or breath], whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
1 JOHN 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
It is most interesting that the Greek word for spirit, pneuma, is also regularly translated "breath" and "wind" (JOHN 3:8; 2 THESSALONIANS 2:8; REVELATION 11:11). Some Lexicons define it as "the movement of air". Likewise, the Aramaic word "ruha" is translated spirit, wind and breath. Our Lord even said that the words that He spoke, "are spirit" (JOHN 6:63). In the Hebrew Bible it is written that GOD "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (GENESIS 2:7). Those words of GOD are simply carried on HIS breath.
Consider for a moment how the Creator fashioned one aspect of our physical makeup. Take a deep breath and then exhale. Now do it again but this time half way through the exhale, redirect the breath to make some sound, like Hi. Our breath carries our words. Our communication one to another is not much more than breath. As if almost by magic, invisible breath carries on its wings words that make our communication one with another possible. That is how wonderfully GOD designed our bodies. Is HE not endeavoring to teach us that this is also how simply HE can communicate with us?
Elsewhere in scripture, the whisperings of the still small voice from the spirit of truth is called revelation and inspiration. However, one must first be obedient to the written word which he has already received from the scriptures, to then be in a position to expect to receive inspiration and hear revelation. Our Lord declared, "But if ye believe not his [Moses'] writings, how shall ye believe my words?" (JOHN 5:47). The first work is to receive and understand the written word. In that proportion, the door of the heart is opened to receive revelation and inspiration. Moses' words prepared them to receive Yeshua's words. Yeshua's words prepares His followers to receive the spirit of truth.
Many claim to hear from GOD and profess to know HIS will. Scripture gives us the means whereby we can measure their boastings.
1 JOHN 2:4-6 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments [precepts], is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Howbeit, the love of GOD was not perfected in them in an instant. It was a gradual transformation, as they continued to read, hear and obey His word. The purpose to be given this revelation and inspiration was to have the love of GOD perfected in them. Not only in their thinking but more and more in their actions. The accomplishment of continuing in the word is so that they might acquire the fruit of the spirit. Here in Paul's epistle to the Romans (12:9-21) are the marching orders.
Let love be without dissimulation [hypocrisy].
Abhor that which is evil;
cleave to that which is good.
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another.
Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
Recompense to no man evil for evil.
Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head [this is an Orientalism, meaning that when we do these things, we will be a blessing to others].
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
These are some of the good works they were given grace from GOD to accomplish. Being able to do these things required a transformation within them. One doesn't just wake up one morning and decide, "ok, today I'm going to start loving my enemies". Rather, GOD had to teach them how to love. HE even had to teach them what love is, for with its many counterfeits the world had successfully hid true love.
To escape the corruption of conforming to the world's ways, they had to be transformed. This was accomplished as they continued to hear and obey "every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of GOD". As they remained faithful to that anointing, over time their transformation was accomplished.
JOHN 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
To drink is to receive. It is to receive the word that is offered. Not to set it aside for another day or spill it upon the ground with indifference, but to consume it as did Jeremiah in days of old. Too many think that GOD's grace is an excuse for us not to obey GOD. They think that if they just believe in their minds that Yeshua is Lord, than it doesn't really matter all that much how they live their lives. Yet, the simplistic truth that Yeshua is to be our Lord completely negates that lie clothed in weakness and steeped in religion. If He is truly Lord, then He must be obeyed.