Daily Encouragement: Year 2, Day 43

From Handbook to Gods Promises


Eating Abstract Bread
(John 6:63)

Children know how old they are. They proudly announce it to anyone who will listen, and—unlike most adults—look forward to their next birthday with great anticipation. They understand the passage of time as it relates to their lives. But when we try to explain to a child that God doesn’t have an age, that He’s always existed, that He wasn’t born, that He lives in eternity, we stop when we realize the child is looking at us like a puppy with its head cocked to one side. Moving from the concrete to the abstract is difficult for children—even spiritual children, like Jesus’ disciples.

As Jews, the disciples were thoroughly versed in the Old Testament accounts of the miracle of manna in the desert (Ex. 16). Although it was indeed a miracle, it was still concrete; the Jews could touch and eat the bread that Moses provided from heaven. But when Jesus began talking to them about “food which endures to eternal life” (John 6:27), neither the disciples nor the Jewish crowds understood. And when Jesus referred to Himself as the “bread of life” (v. 35), they were underwhelmed. After all, under Moses’s leadership, hundreds of thousands of Israelites had been miraculously supplied with bread for forty years; Jesus had done it once for five thousand people. Moses’s bread was truly from heaven; Jesus’ bread was ordinary. The disciples and the crowd were still focused on the concrete, and the situation only got worse.

When Jesus began talking to them about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, many of the Jews got offended and left. This was heretical language for a Jew! Ultimately, Jesus had to remind the disciples that physical, fleshly things have no eternal importance; it is only through the Spirit that true life is found. The words He was speaking were “of the Spirit” and needed to be “spiritually appraised,” as the apostle Paul would say years later (1 Cor. 2:14). Physical bread sustains physical life, but only spiritual bread (words of truth) can sustain spiritual life.

As fleshly people who have become spiritual children, we must learn to comprehend spiritual words in order to obtain spiritual life.

God’s Promise:
If you will consume God’s words, you will never be hungry again.