Christ, the Bread of Life
By Fred O. Blakely
Vital Considerations from John 6
The Necessary Partakement of Christ. “For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world” (Jn. 6:33). This is an aspect of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus that men would do well to consider. Christ Jesus is the Propitiation for sins, not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world, as John declared (cf. I Jn. 2:1-2). And yet if men do not personally partake of Christ, He will profit them nothing. Just as the manna fell down from Heaven to sustain the lives of the children of Israel, yet it only imparted life, when- ever and wherever it was gathered and eaten.
So it is with the Bread of God. He came down into a world that was dead in trespasses and sins for the express purpose of giving life. Consider the following words: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men" (Jn. 1:4). "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (Jn. 10:10). "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent" (Jn. 17:3).
Christ Jesus is the Bread of God, and beside Him there is none other. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and no man cometh unto the Father but by Him (cf. Jn 14:6). He who has come down from Heaven is alone the appointed Lifegiver. He is bread that must be eaten by men. Christ Jesus did not merely bring ideas from Heaven to be agreed with, or laws to be obeyed. No, He Himself is the bread of God, and He must be taken and eaten by men, if they are to have life.
He came to give life unto the world, but oh, how little of that life has been received. There are myriads walking down the broad road that leads to destruction, who will not come unto Him that they might have life. But if they would come and eat of the bread of God, which amounts to believing and obeying the gospel, they would have life, and have it more abundantly!
Partaking Evermore of Christ. “Then said they unto Him, Lord, evermore give us this bread” (v. 34). May this continue to be yours and my prayer until that time when we shall put off this earthly tabernacle, or until Christ shall come again. May each of us have an increased desire and craving for the Bread of Life! And let us take heed that the troubles of this life do not knock the edge off of our craving and longing for Christ, the Bread of God.
As we have said before, there is nothing once-for-all about this eating and partakement of Christ, as many current-day theologies imply. This thought is consistent throughout the Scripture. Early on, in the garden of Eden, it was understood that a continual eating of the tree of life was necessary, if men were to live forever (Gen. 3:22). Centuries later, in the wilderness, the children of Israel had to daily gather and eat the manna if they were to be sustained by it (see Exod. 16). And now, in the present time men must continually eat of the Bread of life if they are to have life. Finally, in the world to come, we read of "the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7; cf. 22:2, 14), which implies that even there a continual deliberate partakement of life is necessary for the ones who are counted worthy to enter there. Only there in that world we will partake throughout the eternal ages without resistance and oppositions from the flesh, the world, the Devil. It shall be the joy and rejoicing of our hearts to be led by the Son of God to the “living fountains of waters” (Rev. 7:17) that are there and to drink of them.
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst” (v. 35).
It was not in His life only, that Christ is the Bread of Life, but also in His atoning death. If Christ had not put away sins by the sacrifice of Himself, He would not be to us the Bread of Life. But “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (I Cor. 5:7). From one very vital perspective, what we see in the gospel accounts of the Lord Jesus is "a body" being prepared of God for sacrifice (cf. Heb. 10:5). We see Him there teaching, and preaching, and doing miracles, (and these were all very important), but from a higher perspective God was preparing Him to be the “one offering” (Heb. 10:14) for the sanctified ones, and “also for the sins of the whole world” (I Jn. 2:2).
Hear the words of the Apostle Paul on this matter: "Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God" (Heb. 10:5-7).
As the great Teacher alone Christ is not to men the Bread of Life, nor as the greatest of Preachers, or doer of mighty deeds. Rather, it is in His offering of Himself for our sins that He is to us this bread and heavenly nourishment.
He that Cometh to Me. These comers shall never again hunger aimlessly, or ignorantly. They shall never again hunger for something they do not have, nor could not have. Once men have tasted of the Lord, that He is gracious, they will continue to hunger and thirst for more of Him. But now they know what they are hungering for. They desire only Him who layed down His life a ransom for many!
“I am that Bread of Life” (v. 48). If men are to be saved and arrive safely in the world to come, their relationship with Christ cannot merely consist of agreeing as much as possible with what He said, or of a casual occasional trust in Him. He is to men the Bread of Life, and the partakement of Him, or the lack of such partakement, is a life and death matter.
And incidentally, men partake of the Lord Jesus Christ as they consider earnestly the involvements of His death in their behalf. The preaching of the cross is the divinely appointed means of provoking this earnest consideration of Christ. To us which are saved it is the power of God.
To the spiritually-minded it is greatly nourishing to their spirits to consider the Lord Jesus Christ and His death in their behalf with its manifold aspects. Yea, there is nothing in this world to compare with Christ, who is the Bread of Life. To believing hearts, He is precious, yea, He is altogether lovely. His sufferings and death are nourishing to consider, because of the cleansing and pardon and remission of sins which those sufferings have wrought for those partaking of Him. The preaching of the cross brings us face to face with Christ’s sufferings, impressing upon us anew and afresh that it was for us that He died!
“Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die” (vv. 49-50).
All men by nature are dead in trespasses and sins. They are “alienated from the life of God” (Eph. 4:18) and they “come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Death, death, death, shall be the portion of all men, if they do not eat of this Bread! We need to regularly persuade one another, and as well our fellow men, of this, for it is only as we eat of this Bread, that we shall not die! It is not in the professing, nor in the claiming, nor in the starting of the race to heaven, but rather it is in the continual eating of Christ, that we shall not die.