‘I AM’ The Bread Of Life


Jesus Christ! The great ‘I AM’ The significance of ‘I AM’

‘Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your Fathers has sent me to you’ and they ask me, ‘what is his name?’ ‘What shall I say to them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’. And he said, ‘Say to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ Exodus 3:13-14.

‘I AM EHYEH’ first singular present of TO BE. HAYAH denotes that God is personal, eternal, self-existent i.e. absolute being.

1. Eternal, Psalm 135:13.

2. Self-existent, Psalm 88:6-7.

Then God, having revealed to Moses some essential aspects of His (God’s) personality informs Moses of the name by which He (God) wants to be known. God also said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, ‘YHWH the God of your fathers, has sent me to you, this is my name for ever and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.’ Exodus 3:75 / Psalm 135:13.

YAHWEH plural form

Genesis 1:26, ‘Then God said, ‘Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness’.

The plural in the name YHWH, us and our, can in my opinion be regarded as an indication of the plurality of God’s nature and character, of which the Son and the Holy Spirit are part; three distinct persons who can act individually though never in disharmony and who are united in the godhead as one God. That the Spirit i.e. the force of God was there at creation is clear, ‘and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters’. Genesis 1:2

That through Jesus all came into being is stated in John 1:1-3 and, John 1:18.

It was through Jesus, i.e. God Himself Incarnate that redemption would be wrought.

The name YHWH meaning ‘the Becoming One’ is the ‘redemptive’ name of God and refers to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ who is in the bosom of the ‘Father’ God; Jesus who is part of the Godhead. When Jesus made Himself equal with God He was merely speaking the truth and had indeed every right to utter the words, ‘I AM’ in such a special way.

The Jews understood perfectly well what was alluded to by the term I AM used by Jesus. ‘This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.’ John 5:18 / Leviticus 24:16.

Now, remember the Bible doesn’t use names for God in the same way as we use names today. God doesn’t have a name as such but He uses certain words to describe His character or nature. For example, the word El-Shaddai describes His nature as the all-sufficient One, the all-powerful One.

The word Adonia describes His character as Lord, Master, the One with all authority. The word Yahweh describes His nature as the everlasting, self-existing One.

And so when God speaks to Moses, He is not giving Moses a name as we understand it. But He’s telling Moses to tell His people that Yahweh, ‘I AM THAT I AM’, the self-existing One has sent you. God is basically saying to Moses I don’t need a name but I will give you one to tell my people.

Now remember the Israelites have been in captivity in Egypt for 400 years and so God goes on to say in Exodus 3:15 just in case my people have forgotten who ‘I AM’, tell them ‘The LORD, (The One with all authority), the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob has sent me to you.’

Now let’s fast forward a couple of thousand years. We know that the Gospel according to Matthew focuses a lot on prophecy where Matthew points out time and time again that Jesus is the promised Messiah. The Gospel according to Mark focuses a lot on Jesus’ miracles and Mark uses the word ‘immediately’ regularly.

The Gospel according to Luke focuses a lot on Jesus’ humanity and shows Jesus as being the Son of man. And finally, the Gospel according to John focuses a lot on Jesus being the Son of God which shows the Deity of Christ.

But have you ever wondered why all the ‘I AM’ claims of Jesus are found in John’s Gospel?

John writes in John 20:30-31 ‘Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name’.

Now John never uses the word miracle in his gospel but he does use the word sign regularly. And there are 16 signs recorded in John’s gospel, 8 are things which Jesus did and 8 were things which Jesus said. John is basically saying that the ‘I AM’ claims of Jesus are signs, selected from many other signs. And he says these signs are selected with a purpose in mind and that purpose is that you believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be.

And so just as `I AM’ is God’s own identification of Himself in Exodus 3:14 to Moses. Remembering that strictly speaking, it is not a name, but a declaration of His Nature. When we come to the ‘I AM’ claims of Jesus, we need to remember that Jesus was not giving Himself a Name or a title, but was asserting His Deity. In other words every ‘I AM’ reveals some aspect of His nature and purpose.

‘I AM the bread of life’

‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, no because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves’ John 6:26

This proves that Jesus knew exactly what was in the people’s minds and he told them plainly. He exposes the selfishness, greed covetousness and laziness of the people who want to have something for nothing.

‘Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life.’ John 6:27

Here Jesus is not saying that one should not work for one’s food; He is merely stating priorities, especially in view of the state of mind the people have, they are in the first place concerned with physical and not with spiritual things; Jesus is pointing out that their way of thinking should be totally reversed and exposes their way of thinking as being carnal.

‘Therefore do; not be anxious, saying, ‘what shall we eat?’……..but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.’ Matthew 6:31-33

The Manna

The first mention of bread is found in Genesis 14:18.

Notice the bread is an offering. Bread was a symbol of friendship and fellowship. To the Jews, during the time of wandering in the wilderness, it was material bread, to sustain the body, it was perishable, ‘Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and they died.’ John 6:49

Moses gave the manna which was not his own. Exodus 16. The Jews used to wipe their hands with the leftover bread and throw it on the ground, Matthew 15:21-28 / Luke 17:19-21.

The True Bread

The bread of life is the word of God, Matthew 4:4. In our text, John 6:25-59 it is Jesus, who is the Word of God, He is the true bread from the Father in heaven.

This bread is offered to the whole world and for all times to come but it is immaterial ‘bread’ to sustain the spirit. It is also non-perishable, ‘I AM the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever.’ John 6:57

The bread Jesus gave was His own; His ‘flesh’, symbolically, i.e. His teachings and literally, He would lay down His life and die for man. Jesus is the bread of life who offers everlasting life.

This statement of Jesus follows the feeding of the 5000 people who were trying to force Jesus to be king. In other words, they were looking for social security, so they don’t have to worry if Jesus feeds them. We take bread for granted but it’s a universal staple of food and diet and for some a matter of life and death.

The Giver of the food, Psalms 104:27-28 / Psalms 136:25 / Matthew 6:26. Just as the Manna was given daily, Exodus 16 so it is even today, Matthew 6:11.

Jesus is the giver of all food since He is God. We have spiritual fellowship with Jesus and partake of Him in communion for which Jesus chose the symbols of bread and wine. The whole idea of breaking bread is about being intimate in sharing your meal, your bread, your fellowship and friendship, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

‘Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.’ John 6:27

The Seal is a symbol of ownership and genuineness; Jesus is the one sent from the Father and can therefore be trusted as being the one who is in a figure of speech the representative, the extension, the ambassador of the Father; even more than this: Jesus is the manifestation of God on earth, ‘No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.’ John 1:18

Jesus is God Incarnate, John 1:1 / John 1:14.

‘Jesus said to them ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.’ John 6:35

God is the source of all knowledge and truth and Jesus is God. Whoever goes to Jesus will never be in want of spiritual food and drink since no matter how much ‘food’ we take from him there is always more.

From the food, He provides us we draw strength and never shall our soul thirst for peace so that we should search for spiritual peace elsewhere than with Jesus. His ‘flesh’ is food indeed and his ‘blood’ is drink indeed, John 6:55, His teachings are sufficient for all our needs in our present life and (also in view of) the life to come.

‘He who comes to me.’ This involves action on behalf of the sinner. Although Jesus is pleading to the sinner to repent and come to Him (Jesus) he is by no means exercising coercion upon the sinner. It is necessary that the sinner comes of his/her own free will to Jesus in response to his loving plea.

‘He who believes in me.’ This involves another action of the sinner, an action which might be described as one of perseverance resulting in restfulness. It is not enough for the sinner to believe that he/she needs Jesus and as a result of this to go to him once this has been done the sinner should keep on believing i.e. trust, and rely on Jesus.

This is the sort of belief that creates the effect described: he who believes in me shall never thirst i.e. shall know the peace of mind and heart and shall be able to say truthfully ‘it is well with my soul’ regardless the worldly situation one may find oneself in.

‘All that the Father gives me will come to me.’ John 6:37

This is said in connection with the fact that God does not want that anyone should perish.

The plan of salvation consists of:

1. The initial objective aspect. An action coming forth from God who gives to everyone without distinction or discrimination whatsoever the chance to be saved.

2. There is the subjective aspect. An action coming forth from a man who individually has to decide whether or not he will grasp God’s lovingly extended hand.

The subjective aspect being possible thanks to the objective aspect, we might say that, although the sinner decides out of his/her own free will and not by coercion. God gives the repentant sinner into the arms of Jesus their Saviour. Without the initial objective aspect, which is an act of merciful grace given by God, salvation would be an impossibility.

‘For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.’ John 6:40

What an assurance of security we find in these words! If we do what is expected from us; if we believe, go to Christ, keep on believing in trusting obedience He will not cast us out! And He will raise us on the last day to the resurrection of life, not of judgment as for those who did not do what is good. John 5:29.

‘Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely, he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, ‘The LORD is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. ‘Because he loves me,’ says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.’ Psalms 91