As mentioned last week, we are now well into John's "Bread of Life Discourse". In today's text Jesus introduces the concept by name. “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty" This isn't the first time we are hearing this type of thing, is it? Remember the Samaritan woman at the well? What did Jesus say to her again? “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Do you see the theme here? Jesus has something which meets and supplants the most basic need we all have, hunger and thirst...Not the hunger for food but the hunger for meaning, for connectedness, for love for belonging. Not the thirst for water or wine but the thirst for righteousness, justice, peace, harmony.
Jesus' ministry will feature healings and feedings constantly and this should be understood to be God's very real care for the physical needs of God's people. But satisfying the physical needs does not lead to ultimate peace, the body needs food today and will need it tomorrow and on and on until it returns to the dust from which it came. The soul and the spirit however, their longing will not end until it is satisfied in the fullness of the God who has made all things.
Jesus, The bread of life, first feeds the body, which is a gift of God for a time, and once the physical need is met then He goes about transforming the spirit of the person until, satiated in the truth of the Gospel, that person is truly and ultimately free.