Athletes, celebrities, politicians, movie and music stars all claim to be something. Some claim to be the best at their profession, while others claim their stance on a particular topic. When they make these self-identity remarks, a lot of times the statement begins with “I am…” We can make similar claims about ourselves, for example: I am John, I am a husband, I am a youth pastor, I am a cat lover (no shame). While Jesus was active in His earthly ministry, He famously used “I am” statements to make declarations about who He is. To best understand who Jesus is, we started a new series called “Who am I?” and we’ll be looking at the “I am” statements Jesus made.
We kicked off our series by looking at the statement found in John 6:35, when Jesus said “I am the bread of life.” Just like how we hunger for literal food and thirst for water, spiritually - in our souls - we all crave something. It seems like we all have a void to fill in our lives. Some people try and fill that craving with high achievement in sports or school, others may look for satisfaction in the friendships and relationships they have, and others may fill that void with things like clothes or latest technology. But when your team loses or you get a bad grade, when friendships fall apart, or you can longer purchase the latest item - you’re left hungry. These things leave you craving more, and that void in life just cannot truly be filled.
On Sunday, we read through John 6:25-40. To summarize, Jesus had just miraculously fed 5,000 people with only a few loaves of bread a little bit of fish. Later, when the people were hungry again, they chased after Jesus because they knew He could offer more food. Jesus told them to not seek after “food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life.” When Jesus claimed that He is the bread of life, He was not talking about literal food that we must consume to ease our hunger pangs, He was talking about Himself as the gift of eternal life. This metaphor is interesting because Jesus is as important to us as food is to our hunger and as air is to our lungs - even if we don’t know it.
Everyone is spiritually hungry at some point, and everyone asks that question: “Why am I here? What is my purpose in life?” When people recognize things are missing in life, its common to try to fill that void with things like relationships, sports, excelling in school/work, or cool clothes - only to be left hungry when these things lose their temporary satisfaction. But Jesus says that He offers something that will never leave you hungry or wanting more. In John 6:35, when Jesus says that He is the bread of life, He also says, “Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Don’t crave food that spoils. If you make “things” you’re number one priority, you are in for disappointment. Things like friends, sports, social media - pursuing these are the food that will spoil and leave us hungry. Jesus, having a relationship with Him, is the only thing that will satisfy us forever.
Hunger for Jesus. It’s easy to say - just hunger after Jesus! But honestly, it takes work. It really takes developing a hunger for Him. In this passage in John, people asked Jesus to perform another miracle, after He had just fed 5,000 with table scraps. A lot of times we can ask God to show Himself to us - to ask Him to prove that He’s real. But God has already proven He is real by sending His Son Jesus, and giving us His Word. Matthew 4:4 says, “Man doesn’t live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” We can develop a hunger for this spiritual food by getting into God’s Word. Find a devotional or Bible reading plan that guides you through Scripture (N&F, I provided the CRUX Devotional for you, that would be perfect!). Get into routine prayer and spend time conversing with God - be honest with Him, ask Him for your needs, seek Him!
So what are you craving? Is it the things of this world, that are guaranteed to leave you hungry time and time again? Things of this world will only leave us wanting more, but Jesus will satisfy for a lifetime. He is the bread of life.
Check out the series intro video below!