Only Jesus can fill the hunger of our souls
by Scott Crook
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35
The day following Jesus’ miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 as recorded in John 6, Jesus discusses with the crowd in Capernaum a greater meaning to the miracle. He warns them that if they follow him only to get more food, they will miss out on a greater blessing. He tells them they need to believe in him. They speak of how God had miraculously fed their ancestors in the wilderness with manna—bread from heaven. They saw this as a miraculous sign from God, and they want another miraculous sign from Jesus. Jesus tells them that God gives the true bread from heaven, which gives life to the world. The crowd responds, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
One of the challenges I have with my family is choosing a restaurant when going out to eat. With the different tastes of my six children along with my wife’s and mine, an all-you-can-eat buffet offers the variety that satisfies. Each person finds what fills and pleases, and we leave accomplishing the goal—to eat and to celebrate. Whenever we do this, I always feel hungry and thirsty sometime after. Whether in the morning, the next day or later, I am hungry and look for my next meal.
With that thought in mind, Jesus isn’t equating himself with some all-you-can-eat physical buffet when he says he is the bread of life and whoever comes “…shall not hunger, and…shall never thirst.” Jesus means that there is a hunger in our souls for something only he can satisfy. In coming to him in faith, we find in a relationship with Jesus Christ the satisfaction for our soul’s hunger and thirst. We understand this relationship is eternal life, for Jesus promises to raise up each person who comes to him (John 6:39-40, 44). As Jesus equates himself with eternal life, we know the eternal saving power of God, in Christ, that is ours at conversion.
We also come to know spiritually sustaining power from an ongoing dependent relationship with Jesus. We will need to keep coming to Jesus to satisfy our desire for more of him. Something in us is only satisfied by him, and the more we get, the more we desire. We must resist the temptation to search in wrong places to satisfy that longing. We were designed to worship, but can be “idolatrous” by looking somewhere other than Jesus to find that which can be found only in him—soul satisfaction. Jesus is the bread of life, which eternally satisfies the hunger of our souls.
Scott Crook is lead pastor at Grace Bible Church in Gettysburg, SD.