Metaphors in the Bible: Jesus, the Bread of Life

There are many metaphors in the Bible that help us to understand God better. One example is Jesus comparing himself to bread. He called himself the "bread of life" that came down from heaven. Here is the passage from the Bible:

"For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world... I am the bread which came down out of heaven." (John 6:33,41 WEB)

In this article, we'll look at how Jesus is like bread, and we'll talk about what Jesus meant when he told us to "eat his flesh."

Jesus Gives Life

One way that Jesus and bread are alike is that they both sustain life. By eating bread, we gain strength that we need to stay alive and to thrive in the work we do. Similarly, but to a much higher degree, "eating" Jesus (using the comparison to bread) gives us the strength and endurance that is necessary to live a productive and successful life that brings glory to God and builds up his kingdom.

How We "Eat" Jesus

In John 6, after Jesus told the crowd that he was the bread from heaven, he then told them to eat his flesh, and that "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life" (v54 WEB). While it's obvious that Jesus wasn't asking them to literally eat the skin off his body, at first glance it may seem less obvious what "eating his flesh" refers to. But if we skip back a couple chapters in John, we get a big hint about what this riddle refers to.

"The Word became flesh, and lived among us" (John 1:14 WEB). If the Word became flesh, and that flesh was Jesus, and we are to eat Jesus' flesh, then Jesus' flesh is the Word of God.

So when Jesus tells us to "eat his flesh" he is urging us to partake of the Word of God. This of course involves reading the written Word of God, the Bible, but goes far beyond just reading words on a page. Partaking of God's Word involves a radical change in lifestyle, a shift in thinking that puts Yahweh and his desires first. It compels us to act as Jesus acts, to demonstrate his love in all that we do, to live in the fullness of Christ. To do so - to live in Christ's fullness - is to truly live eternally, for eternity begins here and now.

In Remembrance of Jesus

How can we be sure to remain conscious of Christ, the Word of God? When Jesus gave bread to his disciples to eat, he told them to "Do this in memory of me" (Luke 22:19 WEB). We, too, can remember Jesus every time we eat bread, or even every time we eat anything. As we eat, we can remember that just as we partake of bread (or food in general) in order to live, so also we partake of the living Word of God in order to thrive now and throughout eternity.

So we see that this metaphor in the Bible of Jesus being the bread of life not only helps us to understand God better, but also enables us to think of Jesus constantly, in order to have a lifestyle of true communion with him. Let us continually think of Christ, whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do.
About The AuthorJonathan Hostetler lives in southern Pennsylvania. He grew up in a strong Christian family, dedicated his life completely to Jesus at the age of 9, experienced a spiritual breakthrough at the age of 15, and is now in his mid twenties, joyfully serving Yahweh and sharing Yahweh's message of salvation and hope both on the internet and in person.
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