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By Pastor Lee Seese
Herald Correspondent 

Lines By Lee: The Bread of Life

 

December 20, 2018



Often when I hear the song “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” I think back to my seminary Hebrew studies. I must admit that not much of it stuck with me, nor do I use what I learned very often. However, I do remember that Bethlehem means “house of bread.” I have been to Bethlehem (Pennsylvania and Israel). The place where Jesus was born still isn’t much to text home about. But it is no coincidence that our Lord took on human flesh there. The wondrous Gift was given! The Bread of Life provides us with what we need.

I like bread and eat a lot of it. Garlic bread, croutons, tortillas, banana bread, buns, cinnamon rolls. None of that brown, flat, multi-grain stuff that my wife somehow gets down. I like the good stuff.

The religious leaders in Jesus’ day were trying to figure Him out. Some wanted to believe, but were hoping for Him to perform miracles to help convince them. They pointed out that their forefathers received manna in the desert. “He gave them bread from heaven to eat” (John 6.31). Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (32-33).

That sounded good to them. They requested Jesus give them the bread. Sounds like the woman at the well who wanted water that satisfied. “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty’” (35). This is a bold statement. Jesus is claiming to be sent from God and the Savior Son of God. Their response was similar to many people today. “Oh, I have to believe? Who does he think He is? Sounds like narrow-mindedness to me.” He is the carpenter’s son. We know Mary and Joseph. Jesus is from Nazareth not heaven.

All people need is to believe by faith that Jesus is God’s Son, who left heaven to provide the world everlasting life. One never has to die because He was born (50-51). Jesus is the only way. He gets very specific and exclusive in John 6:53-58. Christ puts it in different ways and repeats Himself. He came to satisfy and save. Every human hungers spiritually. He is the bread. God came in the flesh for mankind. One’s eternal destination is at stake. What did his early followers do upon hearing this? They grumbled. It is too much of a hard teaching and hardline. They turned back and no longer followed Him (66). They went away hungry. People are still walking away from Jesus with empty hearts. When I shared Christ yesterday with a hurting man, he said he has never done anything with Jesus. He is hungry, but is passing up the life-giving bread. The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Him tonight…and every night. Jesus longs to cast out our sin and enter in. He wants to be born in us. If you are a Christian you have the opportunity to offer the Bread of Life to a hungry world. The great glad tidings tell!

Think of all the people around the world preparing for Christmas. But not every heart prepares Him room. Most don’t even see Christmas as being about Jesus leaving heaven for their sake. Even if they acknowledge the true meaning of the birth, it probably doesn’t mean much to them personally. Jesus came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. People desire material abundance but want nothing to do with the God who supplies everything we need.

Knowing that tracking with Him as the Living Water and Bread of life was difficult for some people, Jesus made another declaration. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Of course, the Lord said this long before the days of electricity. There were no headlights, spotlights, flashlights, nightlights, or Lite-Brite. The world was pretty dark then. Oil lamps and torches existed. Today the world is very bright. We have all kinds of artificial light. Amazing displays of Christmas lights can be found everywhere. Yet, spiritually things are very dim. The Light of the World is Jesus. He said, “Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going” (John 12:35). “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”(John 3.19).

Darkness is not usually a good thing – unless we are trying to sleep (in heavenly peace). With Jesus, the Light of the World, all is bright. We don’t need to walk in spiritual darkness. The Bread offers us what we need. We must let Him satisfy us. Christ the Savior is born. Christ the Savior will return!

 

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