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Searching for the Food That Truly Satisfies

Have you ever had this experience?

You’re sitting on the sofa watching TV, and you remember that there is food in the fridge that you’d almost forgotten.

Suddenly, you crave that piece of pie sitting in the back of the fridge — or that last shiny, crisp apple in the fruit bowl.

As you lick your lips in anticipation, you hurry to the kitchen — and discover that your much-anticipated food has… to coin a phrase…” gone off.”

Isn’t it just the worst thing in the world to find that the food you so anticipated is completely inedible?

I thought of this when I read this verse again the other day.

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. (John 6:27, NIV)

When Jesus talked about “food that spoils,” He probably had in mind the manna in the desert in the book of Exodus.

In this story, the Israelites were looking down the barrel of starvation. Around six weeks after the dramatic events of their escape from Egypt, the glow of those God-soaked events had dimmed — and they were hungry.

God hears their cry and promises to fill their bellies with food. But that food came with a little test of faith.

Then the Lord said to Moses; I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way, I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. (Exodus 16:4, NIV)

The Israelite people were initially delighted when manna came down from heaven — but when they ignored God’s instructions and tried to store it for future consumption, they found it soon spoiled.

Moses said to them, No one is to keep any of it until morning. However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. (Exodus 16:19–20, NIV)

Of course, the manna was purely a physical food. It’s rare for our food to spoil by the following day — but keep it for long enough, and eventually, it will — even if we keep it in the fridge.

The physical food of manna in the desert and bread in the wilderness is good and necessary. But behind both is a more profound yearning for food that lasts.

And this was the problem that Jesus was dealing with as the crowds made their way across to the other side of Galilee.

They only wanted some physical bread to satisfy their temporary hunger pangs — the penny hadn’t dropped about the bread of life.

Jesus continues plugging away — trying to get them to understand the deeper meaning of the Bread of Life.

But the people are fixated on the manna — completely missing the point.

Eventually, he has to spell it out in words of one syllable…

Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry (John 6:34–35, NIV)

(OK, so “hungry” has two syllables, but you get the point…)

Jesus did not come to GIVE bread — he came to BE bread.

Understand that, and you’ve got the most important takeaway from this whole chapter.

And there are a whopping 71 verses in John chapter 6.

Too often, we try to have it both ways. We want to be connected with Jesus, and we also want a steady diet of the things of this world. Jesus is the only food which will really satisfy us.

He knows that we can live in this world, have a job in this world, support our families in this world, and do all the many things we do in this world as long as those things don't become what we work for and look to sustain our hearts and souls. Jesus alone can be a life-giving and sustaining source of our identity and nourishment. He offers us the "food that endures for eternal life.”

We can scoff as many sandwiches as we like — and we will be hungry again tomorrow.

Bread only satisfies our hunger for a time.

Let's ask for this renewed hunger to be nourished by Jesus, to be in communion with him. From that grace will come the deep and lasting desire to share what we have received gratefully. The one who is bread broken and given for us will help us be bread which is broken and given for others who need us.

But Jesus is the Living Bread — He satisfies our deepest needs and desires and longings forever.

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. (John 6.51, NIV)

Remember: Jesus came NOT to GIVE bread, but to BE bread….


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