Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
The Wall Street crash of October 1929 announced that a worldwide depression had begun. This Great Depression saw one in three Australian breadwinners without a job. Hunger was commonplace and people ate bread and dripping and bread with a little milk and sugar to survive. Soup kitchens were established to feed the starving and sustenance payments in the form of foods such as bread and potatoes were made available.
So, when Jesus exclaims on several occasions in John 6 that He is the bread of life, we can conclude Jesus is implying that we are hungry and are in need of sustenance. Of course, Jesus is speaking of a spiritual sustenance that will satisfy our spiritual hunger and thirst.
He has got something that is as basic and necessary spiritually as bread is necessary to satisfy a hungry belly. He is offering something that if you don’t have, you will find yourself absolutely lost.
But the metaphor of bread means even more than that. Jesus is not just telling us that what He has to offer is lifesaving – he is also revealing that it satisfies from the inside. He is talking about soul satisfaction, about an incredible satisfaction and contentment that doesn’t depend on what is happening outside of us.
Our culture says that to make us happy and content, to have a satisfying life, is to look for “things” outside our body. Some of us set our hopes on a romantic relationship, some on career, some on our government leaders or a social cause, and some of us on money and what it will do for us. But whatever it is that makes you say “If I have it, if I get there, then I will be someone; happy and secure”; Jesus reminds us that there is nothing outside of us that can truly satisfy the hunger that is deep down inside of all of us.
Jesus is God’s man, who is the bread of life; the One who will satisfy the hunger that is deep inside us. He offers us absolute, immeasurable satisfaction in the core of our being regardless of what happens outside; regardless of the circumstance. No wonder we celebrate the wonder of Jesus at Christmas time.