Study Series: Gospel of John – The Seven Great Claims of Jesus
Study 1 – I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35 and 48)
Bread, it is the ‘stuff of life’. One of the most basic staple foods known to man.
For the people of Israel in biblical times, it was expressive of the provision and the
sustenance of God Himself.
When our children were young we had a poster on the wall in our kitchen, by the table
where we ate breakfast together. It depicted a large family eating a long loaf of bread
together. Underneath were the words, “He who gives us teeth will give us bread!” A Jewish
Perhaps the ultimate expression of God’s provision of bread for the Jews of Jesus’ time was
the feeding of the people in the wilderness with the manna. For them, this was the ‘bread
from heaven.’ (see Exodus 16:14-36, for example).
It is true that God provided manna miraculously and provided enough for all. Yet, as Jesus
reminds the Jews in John 6:49, “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and are dead.”
In other words, the manna provided temporary bodily sustenance and life. The Greek word,
incidentally, for this sort of life is bios, from where we get words like biology.
Yet, like so much of the Old Covenant, what the manna also provides is a type, a shadow of
something far greater to come: Jesus. While the manna provided something temporary, and
was indeed temporary itself (it became mouldy if kept overnight, and stopped when the
people crossed the Jordan to enter the Promised Land), the true Bread from Heaven – Jesus
Christ – provides something eternal: everlasting life. Wherever Jesus speaks of Himself with
regard to life, a different word is used – zoe – teeming, abundant, and, in this context,
everlasting and spiritual life in all its fullness.
This is why He can say, “I am the living (from zoe) bread which came down from heaven. If
anyone eats of this bread, he will live (zoe) forever….” (John 6:51) and, further down, “…He
who feeds on Me will live because of Me…this is the bread which came down from heaven –
not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread (Jesus) will live
Please take some time to study and think over the scriptures I have listed.
1. How is manna a type and shadow of Jesus Christ?
2. How was Jesus the ‘true bread’ which comes down from heaven?
3. Where else does Jesus make the analogy of bread and His body – what is the significance
4. If you are a Christian, what does it mean to you that Jesus is the ‘bread of life?’
5. If you are not yet a Christian, can I challenge you?
As we study these great claims of Jesus, including this one, would you ask yourself a
question? Do you believe that what Jesus says of Himself here in John is true? If so, what
will you do as a result of that conclusion? You see, if Jesus truly is the Bread of (everlasting)
Life, then that fact requires a response. He is, then, much more than ‘a good man’ or even ‘a
Indeed, these great claims of Jesus point us toward the fact that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son
of God.” (John 20:31). And if that is so, then more than mental assent of the fact is required,
rather belief in Him.
It is my prayer that, through this series of studies, you would come to believe in Jesus Christ
as your personal Lord and Saviour, that you may have life (zoe) in His name.