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Bread of Life

Bread of Life


With Passover fast approaching in late April this year, I felt God leading me to begin painting Jesus as the Bread of Life. I have wanted to paint this Name of God for many years, and the timing could not have been more perfect.


As though knowing this, a friend of ours, Dr. Jason Hubbard, recently shared this revelation of Jesus, the Bread of Life, and from this revelation the vision of what to depict on the canvas became clear:

“Jesus claimed, “I am the bread of Life, the Living Bread” in the context of the Passover feast. It was the first ‘I am’ claim in the gospel of John, connected with a noun.

All amazing claims of Christ, but “I am the bread of life” is hugely audacious! Jesus is saying you cannot make it in life without me. I am absolutely necessary for human existence. You need me as much as you need your next meal. Indeed, more than your next meal!

When Jesus made this claim, John is careful to tell us that “Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand” (John 6:4). The Passover was and still is a time to remember -a time to remember God’s great acts of salvation when God set his people free from slavery in Egypt…And the Passover feast was and still is a time to renew hope.


Moses - the one who led Israel out of bondage to freedom, the one who prayed for manna from heaven- this Moses promised that one day God would send another leader, like himself, to speak God’s life-giving word.

What does this have to do with Jesus’ claim? Jesus says, “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to Me shall never hunger, whoever believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). The tense of the verbs “come” and “believe” are in the present tense, which emphasizes continual action: “keep on.” Jesus is saying, “Keep coming” and “Keep believing.” Whoever keeps on coming will never hunger. Whoever keeps on believing will never thirst.

The great multitude at Passover understood the “keep coming.” The people of Israel had to go and pick up the manna each new day (Exodus 16:22-30). He is saying in essence, “I am the bread of Life. You need to come to Me every day, keep coming.” When we find ourselves empty and hungering too much for the bread that perishes, it likely means we have fallen out of the habit of the “keep coming.” Keep coming, keep believing. Every day.

There is another important portion of the Bible read and studied during Passover. It is Genesis 2-3. Jesus works with that text as well when he makes his claim.

At the very beginning God placed Adam and Eve in a garden. In this garden, the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground-trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food” (Gen. 2:9). We see two aspects to this. On the one hand it is attractive—this is the earliest reference in Scripture to beauty. But it is also useful—what grows in the garden provides nourishment and sustenance. The name Eden means “delight or pleasure.” So the garden was to be a place of deep delight, rest, pleasure and provision. God spoke to Adam and Eve, “Eat from any tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat of that tree you shall surely die.” God wanted Adam and Eve to remember, treasure and enjoy him. They were to live dependent on Him. Every meal was to be a place of remembrance, gratitude and worship! And yet they ‘ate’ for their own pleasure unto themselves and were “cast out” of the garden.

Because of their sin, declaring independence from God, which is what eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil means… because of that sin, humanity is cast out of the garden of Eden. “So the Lord cast them out” (Genesis 3:24). And then the Lord stationed angels to guard the way to the ‘tree of life’ to protect them from living independently forever.

This text is in the minds and the ears of the worshippers during the time of Christ at Passover. Jesus declares, “ I am the bread of Life.” Not just the bread, but the Bread of Life. After making this claim, Jesus says next, “All that the Father gives me will come to me. And the one who comes to me, I will certainly not ‘cast out.’ Do you hear Jesus? The way to the tree of Life has been opened. He opened it by dealing with the problem of sin.

Jesus says, “I am the bread of Life. Your ancestors at the manna in the wilderness and they died (John 6:48-49). He presses on. Listen! “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that you may eat of it and not die” (John 6:50). To eat the Bread that is Jesus is to enter into the life we lost at the fall!

That is the context in which Jesus makes his “I am the Bread of Life” claim. Jesus is saying in essence, “I am that without which you cannot live. I am the final satisfaction of the human soul. Come to Me, everyday. Believe in me, everyday. I give you Myself as Living Bread!”

This is why communion is so important in the life of the church. When we meet around the Lord’s table to remember his dying for the sin of the world, he comes to us and feeds us.

“She took and ate.” Took and ate. Those two words do not come together in the rest of the biblical story. We do not find ‘take and eat’ together elsewhere –

Until the Bread of Life says, “Take, eat, this is my body given for you.”


-Dr. Jason Hubbard

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