Moses received the name of God ‘I AM’ from the Burning Bush and the Son of God who wears many crowns revealed seven of His traits as God to the world. These seven crowns reveal a particular identity of Lord Jesus as pertaining to His ministry as Redeemer of mankind. He starts with being the spiritual Bread for those who hunger for God to the True Vine that sustains one in God. This is the first of the series on these seven names of the Lord.
Meaning of His being the Bread of Life – When the Israelites were led out of slavery by Moses, they had no resources to feed themselves in the wilderness and God provided Manna, the food from heaven, to them for forty years till they entered the Promised Land. All of their needs were met by the LORD God for this entire duration of their sojourning in the desert land. People believed the Son of God to be the prophet that Moses had told them about as the Redeemer (Deuteronomy 18:15). About five thousand families, totaling about twelve thousand or more were fed from five loaves of bread and two small fish in the wilderness. When Lord Jesus perceived that they ‘were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king’, He departed to the mountain by Himself alone (John 6:14-15 & 32). To clarify to them about the source of manna, the Lord told them about it being provided by God the Father from heaven and not By Moses.
People ate the manna but still died in their sins but the ‘true bread from heaven’ from God is ‘He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world’ and escape spiritual death and receive eternal life in Him. It is with this that He reveals His identity as God, ‘I AM the Bread of Life’ that satisfies the hunger and thirst of everyone who partakes of that bread forever.
What is the promised life by the Lord? Adam was warned by the LORD God about immediate death on eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). The spiritual death was immediate and not only were they expelled from the Garden of Eden and presence of God but their way back was barred and guarded by the Cherubim. Clarifying about the merciful gift of eternal life from the LORD God to everyone to receive is for him, who ‘sees the Son and believes in Him’ (John 6:40). There are two essential requirements for eternal life in this; first, is to see and then is to believe. Greek word ‘theoreo’ is translated as sees, it means ‘to gaze, contemplate’ while concentrating on the meaning as we do in a theatre for an action to believe. LORD sent fiery serpents in the Israelites camp because of their evil thoughts and when many were dying due to snakebite, the LORD had mercy (Numbers 21:8-9). Moses was commanded to ‘make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole’ so that everyone who is bitten by the snake shall live when he looks at the snake. The death that mankind suffers from is due to the evil bite of the serpent in the Garden of Eden and when someone gazes at the Son of God in His Word, he is led by the Holy Spirit to believe and receive eternal life through forgiveness of sin and the effect of snake bite is removed.
This gazing upon the Lord is to learn, contemplate and believe in the purpose of His becoming man and then believing in the completion of that task by Him on the cross. Man was created from the ‘dust of the ground’ and to make him a living being God breathed into his nostrils the ‘breath of life’ (Genesis 2:7). Man essentially has an earthly component that requires produce of the earth and a spiritual element that must have spiritual diet from the LORD God to live. God gave for food to man all that the earth produced ‘every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth (not only in the Garden of Eden), and every tree whose fruit yields seed’ (Genesis 1:29). The daily visits of the LORD God to them provided them the spiritual manna which was stopped after their expulsion (Genesis 3:8). Lord Jesus, being the Son of God through whom everything was created, has restored provisioning of that spiritual food to all believers, thus bringing our souls to life and gives eternal salvation.
Lord Jesus being the ‘Bread of Life’ highlights that first, Lord Jesus is life (John 1:4) and without Him one is dead. Second, He shifts the focus of the people from the physical into the spiritual realm, from bread that perishes to the one that lasts and satisfies forever. Third, this is the first ‘I AM’ statement declaring His Divine status as God in the form of man, thus equating Himself to YHWH. Fourth, the words ‘come and believe’ is a call to know Him, to forsake the world and its desires and follow Him. Believing is to accept the factual correctness of His statement and that He is capable of and willing to deliver on His promise. Fifth, all who believe will have their hunger and thirst quenched and will be blessed and made righteous in front of God, as promised in the Sermon on the Mount also (Matthew 5:6). Those who come to Him, believe and receive Him are blessed to be the ‘children of God’ and become part of His family with complete restoration (John 1:12).
All sins and deeds of darkness of His children have been borne by the Savior Lord on His own body on the cross and in His resurrection we get new life with His righteousness imputed to us. There is no more hunger and thirst for being righteous for He is our Bread of Life.
Lord Jesus, Paschal Lamb – Apostle Peter describes Lord Jesus as the ‘lamb without blemish and without spot whose coming as Redeemer was ‘foreordained before the foundation of the world’ (1 Peter 1:18-20). Our redemption from the slavery of sin, forces of darkness and the devil has been through the shed blood of the Lamb of God. The curse of death that was on all mankind due to Adam’s sin separated man from the presence of God. Cherubim guarded the entry into the Tree of Life in the Garden as also to the Ark of Covenant in the Holiest part of the Tabernacle. The curtains on all sides of the Tabernacle had ‘artistic design of cherubim’ woven into them and the curtain separating the Most Holy place from the rest of the Tabernacle also had the same design. Any unauthorized person entering the Most Holy place would die. King Uzziah of Judah, in his pride, attempted to burn incense on the altar of incense and immediately suffered leprosy on his forehead as punishment.
The veil of the Temple was ‘torn in two from top to bottom’ and the Son of God surrendered His spirit into the hands of God the Father, entering and opening the way for all believers into the presence of God in our bodily form on earth and into His presence in heaven eternally thereafter. The cherubim guarding the entry into the presence of God provided the way for all believers. Apostle Paul clarifies this further that the indwelling Holy Spirit seals us in a permanent relationship with God (Ephesians 1:13).
The last plague on Egypt was the death of the firstborn of all man and beast alike and the Israelites were commanded to put the blood of a one year old lamb on the door post of the house they stayed in (Exodus 12:5-13). The angel of death passed over all houses, thus marked and no one died in there but all over Egypt, including Pharaoh himself, mourned the death of their firstborn. Lord Jesus has been described as the Passover Lamb, a Lamb without blemish or spot for He was free from sin (1 Corinthians 5:7). Lord Jesus was crucified during the time the Passover was observed (Mark 14:12). The believers apply the blood of the Lord to cleanse their ‘conscience from dead works to serve the living God’ (Hebrews 9:12-14). Passover is a time of ‘solemn observance to the LORD for bringing them out of the land of Egypt’ (Exodus 12:42).
Lord Jesus instituted the custom of the Lord’s Supper as an event of remembrance of His sacrifice for letting us escape eternal damnation and death through his death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). He broke the bread and told the disciples, ‘Take, eat, this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me’. In like 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’. Partaking of this during Holy Communion by a believer is proclamation of Lord Jesus’ death till His second coming. A believer is commanded to ‘do this as often’ and since He is the Bread of Life, He used the unleavened bread representing His sinless body. The breaking of the bread symbolizes His suffering and wounds on His body before and on the cross.
Prophet Isaiah had revealed the satisfaction that the Son of God would feel for ‘He shall see the labour of His soul, and be satisfied’ (Isaiah 53:11). That is why Apostle Paul has warned that when we participate in the Holy Communion in an unworthy manner, we bring judgment to ourselves.
Participating in Holy Communion – Apostle Paul warns all believers who join in the Holy Communion of adverse judgment for violation of Lord Jesus’ command (1 Corinthians 11:27-31). It is believed that he received this from the Lord by revelation; others think that he was told this by St. Luke; others think he learnt this from the other Apostles. But it is certain that he received it from the Lord though the mode of revelation is not clear.
Procedurally, Lord Jesus first gave thanks and so must we, as gratitude for being blessed to join such a solemn event. We are to remember His sufferings and sacrifice and understand and accept the full measure of that. Thanks are also to be given for the New Covenant that has changed our relationship with God, inner transformation that cleanses us of all our sins; writing of God’s laws in our minds and on our hearts. Through this He becomes our God and we become His people, part of His family (Jeremiah 31:33). It is also about looking forward with longing for the marriage supper of the Lamb when He will take communion with His people in heaven (Revelation 19:9). We do not make ourselves worthy in any way but open our hearts to Him and recognize His presence in us.
While repenting for our sins, we seek His blessed hand of empowerment to remain true. The command to ‘examine himself’ is not to exclude someone from the Lord’s Table but to prepare to come forward in the right manner. The Jews celebrate the event as the Festival of Unleavened Bread, while leaven represents sin (Exodus 12:15-20). Lord Jesus warned the disciples about the ‘leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy’ for everything will be revealed. Coming up to the Lord’s Table is with baring of one’s heart to the Lord by admitting the faults and turn our minds to Him. Lord Jesus cautions all believers to fear God whose judgment will have eternal consequences. The Jews were ready to walk out of Egypt while eating the Passover lamb and break all connections with slavery. Every time we step forward for Holy Communion, we also must renew our commitment to walk on the path of holiness.
The Israelites kept remembering the food and life of slavery and died in the wilderness and so shall a believer who keeps on remembering the past with craving. The right way is to ‘look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith’ and live imitating His way of life to be a blessing for others (Hebrews 12:2). He is the Bread of Life that gives life and that we must continue to receive everyday of our lives, both spiritually and physically while giving Him thanks and glory.
Lord Jesus is the real source of life, the new life that we enter into through faith in Him and His sacrifice on the cross. This is about being cleansed of all sin and empowerment to then live above sin. Receiving this is through leaving our old ways and walking in His light by opening our hearts to welcome Him to be our Lord and Redeemer.