Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bread of Life

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, 
and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

I didn’t get to spend time sitting with my bible yesterday, but the Lord totally spoke to me while I was working with Abigail on her Bible homework. It was a good reminder that giving myself to the Word doesn’t have to follow a certain comfortable and familiar formula (i.e. me + bible + comfy chair (+warm drink if possible)) For her class each week we memorize a verse and do some meditation time. While we were meditating, the Lord gave me this picture:

     I saw Jesus standing in front of a vast, endless ocean of loaves of bread. He was smiling. Large, hefty loaves of bread were piled up behind him, and they went as far as I could see, out to the horizon. I knew it was showing His inexhaustible resources. I was struck with the understanding that the supply needed to be inexhaustible, because we need to continually be fed from His hand. The elimination of hunger that resulted was not because of some magical quality within the bread. In other words, it was the coming to Jesus that resulted in being filled and hunger being satisfied. This was not a matter of acquiring something that would once and for all bring satisfaction. Being fed was a natural result of coming to Him, but once having been fed we were not then able to walk away without experiencing that same gnawing hunger once again.

     I knew there were many people before Him, but I only saw one person, right at His feet. I felt this was speaking to Jesus’ intimate knowledge of the needs of each one who came to Him, and the way He tenderly cares for each one of us. He was not simply tossing food into the hungry masses. He was personally and intimately providing exactly the nourishment that was needed for that specific person at that precise moment.

     I had a brief picture of Jesus turning around to the immense pile of loaves and searching for a specific loaf, but I knew in an instant that this was a picture of my own distorted understanding of His ways, and not the true nature of what God was showing me. I asked the Lord for understanding, and I saw the searching through loaves as somehow representing Jesus looking for a thing outside of Himself to give. I saw myself flipping through my bible, looking for just the right verse that would really speak to me in the moment. It was as though I was identifying the “bread of life” that quenches hunger as being embodied within a specific encouraging word, a scripture, an impression, etc. I was seeing His perfection of knowing of me and his perfect resource as being hindered by a delay in connecting me with just the right “thing” that would satisfy.

     Suddenly I was looking at him again, and He was shining brighter than before. Whereas before the sense was of a room full of light, where He was out of place, this time the light was clearly emanating from Him. He was luminescent. He began to reach his hands into his own belly, and as He did the ocean of bread disappeared from behind Him and the most intense light I’ve ever seen burst out from the place where He reached inside Himself. I instantly knew that the bread He was giving was not simply available to Him to give, it was within and of Him. He Himself is the bread of life. We are nourished by His very essence, His character. In coming to Him we receive of Him, and this alone is the bread that satisfies.

     He was meeting the very specific needs and satisfying every cry of hunger within those who came to Him, but it was not by means of anything external to Himself. He reached inside Himself and from within came forth what was needed to give life. Now, I don’t mean that what He gave was the same for each person from that point on. There was still distinction in what He gave. But there was no hesitation, no searching, no pondering what would be needed, and nothing added apart from what He Himself was. He simply gazed lovingly in the eyes of the one before Him, reached into Himself, and brought forth exactly what was right.