The gospel of John is a gospel of “sevens.” Seven is the number of completion or perfection. We see seven witnesses, seven women, seven disciples, seven feasts, seven “signs,” and more. Beginning today, and over the next several weeks, we will look at the seven “I AM” statements from Jesus as recorded in John’s gospel.
Jesus’ use of “I AM” throughout his ministry was shocking to the first-century Jewish listener, and it is significant for those of us who follow him today. You will recall that God revealed Himself to Moses saying, “I AM that I AM,” essentially saying, “I don’t need a name. My very existence is sufficient.”
Jesus employed the phrase “I AM” to describe himself, leaving no doubt regarding his claim of deity.
I Am the Bread of Life
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” – John 6:35, ESV
Prior to saying this, Jesus had fed the five thousand. There were those who continued questioning Jesus’ identity claims. Those questioning him referenced the manna their forefathers had eaten in the wilderness (Exodus 16:13-18), and their reference provided a context for Jesus’ statement that he is the bread of life. In terms of life, real life, feeding on Jesus never leaves us hungry.
Neither will we thirst, Jesus says. He said the same to the woman at Jacob’s well (John 4:13-14). “If you drink this water, you’ll thirst again, but if you drive the water I give, you’ll never thirst.” You will recall the Psalmist saying, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2, ESV).
Jesus said it again at the Feast of Tabernacles. Standing, he said in a loud voice, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. (John 7:37-38, ESV)
In Jesus, and only Jesus, our longings are satisfied. Our spiritual hunger is filled and our thirst is quenched. He is the bread of life.
Next week we will look at Jesus as the Light of the World. Never again will we walk in darkness.