Bread of Life

John “came to the tomb first, and he saw and believed” (John 20:8).

Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter

John 6:35-40

Egō eimi ho artos tēs zōēs. I AM the Bread of Life. 

After the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus revealed his divine identity in the form of an I AM statement, hearkening back to the revelation of God’s name to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14; LXX). 

Food, the fundamental need of all sentient flesh, was the chief catalyst in the protological trial of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. A desire for something more that would satisfy a mysterious longing drove them to partake of the forbidden fruit. Brokenness, division, and unquenchable hunger and thirst followed in its wake. Toiling for food from cursed ground became Adam’s lot as he and his progeny entered the treadwheel of “dust to dust” (Genesis 3:19).

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger…

John 6:35

The first persons who “come” (erchomai) and seek Jesus in the New Testament are the Magi:

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

Matthew 2:2

The chief priests and the scribes, quoting Micah 5:1(2), informed King Herod that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread” (Matthew 2:6). 

…and whoever believes in me will never thirst.

John 6:35

“Believe me,” Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well.

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

The verb “believe” (pisteuó) is deeply personal, involving trust and surrender to the Word of God who is “true” (aléthinos, “made of truth;” see John 6:32). 

But I told you that although you have seen [me], you do not believe.

John 6:36

“Seeing” (horaó) and “believing” (pisteuó) involve more than the retina. The Magi “saw” the star and the child, and worshipped him (Matthew 2:10-11). John the Beloved came (erchomai) to the empty tomb, and saw (horaó) and believed (pisteuó) (John 20:8). 

Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me…

John 6:37 

What does it mean to “give” (didómi) in the eternal Godhead of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Jesus repeated this verb over and over again during the Last Supper Discourse:

When Jesus had said this, he raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours…

John 17:1-9

Something or someone “given” (didómi) is a precious gift from one person to another. The Father has entrusted “everything” (pas) to the Son, and the Son will not “cast out” or “reject” (ekballo) any who come (erchomai) to him (John 6:37).

Jesus finally enfolds the “all” and “everything” (pas) given to him in the glory of the Triune Love.

and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.

John 17:10

In the Bread of Life discourse, which harmonizes with the Last Supper Discourse (where bread is broken), Jesus constantly attributes the origin of his mission to the Father.

because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it [on] the last day.

John 6:38-39

The Father and the Son act with a single, divine will. Human free will comes into play in both bread discourses as Jesus mourns the possibility of “losing” (apollumi) any of those given to him. 

When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled.

John 17:12

The mystery of free will is… a mystery…

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him [on] the last day.”

John 6:38-39

The Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, the Magi, St. John and all the saints who “came,” “saw,” and “believed” are shining guideposts in our journey to Bethlehem, the “house of bread.”

-GMC

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