Jesus said some astounding things during His earthly ministry and perhaps one of the most profound is recorded in John’s Gospel, but let me set the stage. In high school, I loved science and the laws that God has created to govern the various systems of life. One of my favourite lessons in my early science class, was the ‘Laws of Thermodynamics.’ Here, simply stated, is the first law: You cannot create or destroy energy. The amount of energy in the universe has been fixed since the beginning of time and will remain fixed until the end of time. This is one of the great discoveries of Albert Einstein. All we can do with energy is transform it from one state to another. Everything is made out of energy. If we only had the first law, we would have not have any problem about the use of energy because we could use it over and over again without ever running out! But we have the second law of thermodynamics that must be reckoned with. Take a piece of coal and burn it, the energy remains, but it is transformed into sulfur dioxide. Here is the second law: Every time energy is transformed from one state to another, a certain penalty is paid – availability is lost. In other words, energy being transformed moves from a useable state to an unusable state. A battery runs dead, your petrol tank needs to be refilled, and you will eat again today. So to recap: 1st Law says: Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transformed. The 2nd Law says: Energy can only be transformed in one way, towards an unavailable state.
Now we turn back two thousand years to the Son of God in John 6:35 – “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” Then in verses 48-51, He says – “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
Now, the first time we read of this great divine title I AM, is in the early chapters of the book of Exodus 3:2-3. Moses was keeping sheep for Jethro his father-in-law in the backside of the desert. He saw a strange sight, a bush that burned but was not consumed! So he removed his shoes and covered his face. Now then, a bush that burns is energy that is being transformed. But this bush as it burned was not consumed! It did not lose its availability! The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics was suspended – set aside. Why? As an incredible illustration: for out of the burning bush, which was not consumed, God spoke and said my name is “I AM.” I am ever constant – I am ever unchanging – I am everlastingly available! The only place in the universe where availability is not lost!
John 6:49 – “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.” Simply stated in every day terms, the second law of thermodynamics. Manna became available and the Israelites ate it. It was transformed into bodily energy, but its availability as bodily energy passed away and they died. This is universal law…”Man shall not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4). Then in John 6:48-50 Jesus says – “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.” I am the unchanging bread, I am ever constant energy, and I am the same yesterday, today, and forever. This is Jesus saying: “I am the ever available Christ – the inexhaustible source of forgiveness, grace, mercy, wisdom, and comfort. In the midst of a changing and decaying world, the one universal changeless factor to which needy people can turn for salvation, security, and strength is CHRIST! I am the living bread, eat Me and you’ll live forever!”
There is no other religion on the planet where its leader offers himself as life! Christ must become our life! We are not simply admiring Him, looking at Him in history, and analysing His teachings. We are absorbing Him, appropriating Him, acknowledging Him, and assimilating Him – for Christ is the very essence of true spiritual life.
No wonder Paul could declare with such unwavering confidence: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).