The Bread of Life Print E-mail
Written by Victoria Radin   

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread, which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (John 6:48-51)

Although Yeshua was identified as the Son of G-d, the Root and Offspring of David, and the Good Shepherd, He is also referred to in metaphor as: the Vine, the Rock of Salvation, the Stone the builders rejected, the Light of the world, the Light of Life, the Fountain of Living Waters, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the Bright Morning Star, the Temple, the Door, the Bread from Heaven, the Bread of G-d, the Bread of Life, and the Word of G-d.

While all these metaphors give one pause for deep thought, the most fascinating representation is Yeshua’s own description of His body as the Bread of Life as above stated in John 6:48-51, considering the fact that He also is called the Word of G-d. 

The L-rd told the prophet Ezekiel, to “eat the scroll” that contained a message he wanted Ezekiel to deliver. The words, he said, tasted like honey in his mouth.

“Moreover He said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.’ So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.’ So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness.” (Ezekiel 3:1-3)

This passage reminds us that the Psalmist describes G-d’s Word as sweeter than honey.

“How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)

Moses informs us that manna, the bread that came down from heaven (John 6:58), tasted like honey as well.

“And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” (Exodus 16:31)

Just as the L-rd instructed Ezekiel to “eat the scroll”, Yeshua instructed His followers that in order to attain eternal life, they must ‘eat’ His body, which is also called the Word of G-d. 

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14)

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven.... the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.... unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.... He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.... As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me...He who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:51, 53, 56- 58b)

Yeshua was pointing to the Old Testament ritual known as ‘the cutting of a covenant’ (Genesis 15:9; Jeremiah 34:18-19). In the cutting of a covenant, a sacrificial animal was slaughtered, cut in half and separated. The parties to the covenant would walk between the pieces reciting the oath, ‘May it be done to me if I do not keep my oath and pledge.’ Then the covenant sacrifice would be roasted and eaten completely, thus making the covenant part of their very bodies. After the meal, the parties would seal the covenant by drinking the blood of the sacrificial animal, signifying that the blood of the animal was on them if their oath was broken (i.e. they would die). The ‘blood of grapes’ was substituted since Jews were forbidden to drink actual blood (Lev. 17:11). 

Yeshua, on the night before His crucifixion, broke the bread that symbolized His body and drank the cup representing His blood. He was instituting the terms of a blood covenant: eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the sacrifice. 

“…Yeshua on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner, He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the L-rd’s death till He comes.’” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

That is why the apostle Paul, understanding the seriousness of breaking a blood covenant, instructs:

“...let a man examine himself, and [then] let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the L-rd’s body. For this reason, many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep [die]. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.” (1 Corinthians 11:27-31)

In both the Old Testament Covenant Meal and the New Testament Communion (Covenant Meal), the purpose was the same: G-d desired that mankind should be brought back into an intimate relationship with Him. Yeshua is the Word of G-d, our complete spiritual nourishment just as bread represents all physical nourishment. When we have His Word in us, we can accomplish everything He intended for us to do and be.

Yeshua was teaching His followers that the terms of this New Covenant would necessitate that they consume the Word of G-d so fully that it would become the substance of their very nature. Just as food and drink become part of your physical body, so the Word of G-d must convert you spiritually into the image of G-d. The L-rd showed Moses this principle.

“So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the L-rd.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

The birthplace of our L-rd makes a clear connection between His sacrifice and the ‘bread’ that he would give, His flesh. Bethlehem, meaning ‘house of bread’ was the birthplace of both King David, the shepherd-king of Israel (1 Samuel 17:12) and Yeshua (Micah 5:2), the Good Shepherd, the Son of David and Lamb of G-d. The shepherds of Bethlehem were in charge of raising lambs for the Temple sacrifices. Thus Yeshua, who declared He was the Bread of Life, was born in the ‘House of Bread’ [Bethlehem] and was raised as the sacrificial lamb for all mankind.

Partake of His ‘flesh’ daily, consuming the Word of G-d that you might grow into the image of G-d. And renew your Covenant with Him frequently in the partaking of the Bread and Blood of our L-rd Yeshua.

Barukh HaShem

Blessed is the Name of the L-rd

 

 

 
 
 
 
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