In the movie, “The Game Plan,” Dwayne Johnson stars as an arrogant egotistical superstar quarterback named, Joe. He is throwing a party in his apartment, which like many parties, involved lots of alcohol, women, music, and loud fun-filled laughter. One of his teammates starts to leave the party early and Joe stops him and says. “Hey, where you going?” Then he adds, “You need to get a life.” His teammate responds, “You call this life, Joe, that’s not life.” The party is over, the house is quiet, and Joe is sitting on a couch looking lost, sad, and painfully alone.

What is life? Life is a mysterious word. Why am I here rather than not here? What does life consist of?

What is life? Life is a mysterious word. Why am I here rather than not here? What does life consist of? Two millennia ago there entered into the historical record of life on earth, news about a man who made an astounding claim. This claim was witnessed and recorded by a man named John, who quoted earth’s visitor as saying, “I am the bread of life, anyone who comes to me will not hunger” (John 6:35). Joe, in the paragraph above, was hungry for something. What do you do when you are hungry? The parties Joe attended obviously did not satisfy his hunger; he ached inside for something more. But what?

He has something to say to us. Do I care? Do I really want to hear what a person of that stature has to say?

There were four words John used to introduce Jesus’ claim, “Jesus said to them.”  Think about those four words! Here is the powerful and wise creator of everything good that has come into existence (John 1:3; Genesis 1:31), a true alien who came to earth from another world (John 18:36), the one who was with God and was God (John 1:1, 14). He has something to say to us. Do I care? Do I really want to hear what a person of that stature has to say? Do I listen? The individuals in the crowd to whom Jesus was speaking, people like Joe, and you and me; are we not people who would greatly profit by what he has to say?

What is life? One aspect of life is the material things that surround us. We are physical beings who live for our work, our play, our hobbies, our families, our friends, our travels, and myriads of other things that offer to satisfy our hungers. I have discovered that material things lack the full meaning of life we crave. We work to get the material things we want, only to find that what we wanted gets old, or wears out, or we get tired of it, and we want something else. We hunger for the next thing we think will give our life meaning and satisfaction.

Another aspect of life includes immaterial things. I hunger to have my guilt forgiven and to be rid of my guilty feelings. I want to be loved and accepted by family and friends. I want peace to calm my fears. I want to live in a world that is secure and safe. I want to be known and respected. I want a job that is fulfilling and enjoyable. I wish I had good health. I want to live and not die. What do we do when we are hungry for the immaterial things of life?

“I am the bread of life,” said Jesus, “whoever comes to me will not hunger.” Could it be possible that Jesus is the only one in the entire universe who can completely satisfy our hunger, both for things material and immaterial?

“I am the bread of life,” said Jesus, “whoever comes to me will not hunger.” Could it be possible that Jesus is the only one in the entire universe who can completely satisfy our hunger, both for things material and immaterial? According to the Bible, that is precisely what Jesus will do. All good and perfect gifts come from this one who is God. Life itself, and all it means, comes from him. “He who did not spare his own son, but delivered him over for us all, how will he not also with him freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32)? The thing is, we humans tend to want everything now. The truth is, although he satisfies many hungers now, the rest come later.

It is easier to wait for the satisfaction of unfulfilled hungers when we grasp the deeper meaning of Jesus’ claim. Does “I am the bread of life” mean that, just as we must eat bread (food) to stay alive, we must somehow take him in as the giver and sustainer of life? If so, how does that work? How do I get Jesus into me so I no longer experience hunger? How that happens and what that means he states in Revelation 3: 20, “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with me.” If we do that, we will experience what the Psalmist experienced, “Who have I in heaven but you? And besides you, I desire nothing on earth” (Psalm 73:25). With Jesus as our bread, we will not hunger. As I was finishing this meditation, my four-year old grandson came into the room. I asked him, “What do you do when you are hungry? He said, “Eat.”

 

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Jay Ashbaucher is a native of Northwest Ohio and is currently a retired pastor and published author. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and has been a pastor and teacher in Montana for over 44 years. Jay taught grief classes in a hospital setting, and worked for twenty years as a fifth-step counselor and lecturer in an alcoholic-drug treatment center getting to know the hearts of people struggling to get well. While pastoring in Montana, he had enjoyed racquetball, hunting, fishing, and traveling the Big Sky State. Now living in Southeast Michigan, Jay enjoys his family, reading, hiking, golf, time with friends, and time with his fun-to-be-with wife. They have two happily married children and seven grandchildren.