Advent encourages us to pause and contemplate the arrival of Jesus as a man, offering eternal life to sinners in need of a Savior. However, amidst the holiday rush, we often lose sight of this vital focus. The glory of Christ is often overshadowed by the hustle and bustle of shopping, event planning, travel arrangements, and meal preparations. While desiring newer and nicer things is not inherently wrong, these desires can offer only temporary satisfaction, causing us to misplace our hope and joy.
The core message of Advent, however, is that Jesus descended from heaven to provide eternal satisfaction. John 6:47-51 illustrates this:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Jesus proclaims Himself as the “Bread of Life.” Before this declaration, He had performed miracles among the sick, drawing a large, eager crowd proving His Divine nature and power. Jesus’ compassion led Him to feed thousands, and they rejoiced, but they sought Him for earthly gain and were disappointed when He didn’t want to be their earthly king and slipped from their grasp to obscure Himself.
Later, the crowds returned for more food, missing the point of Jesus’s miraculous works. Jesus redirected them, urging them to believe in Him for eternal sustenance. Many had anticipated a Messiah who would provide manna, much like Moses did in the desert, but Jesus corrected their understanding, emphasizing that God sent the true bread that grants life (v. 33). He declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst” (v. 34). Many of the people grumbled, just like their forefathers of old.
In the Bible, bread symbolizes life. Jesus used this metaphor to emphasize that He is the source of true life. Just as the ancient Israelites needed manna to survive, the people of Jesus’ time needed spiritual nourishment from Him. He emphasized that their hope lay not in material possessions, an earthly Messiah, or good deeds. Rather true hope was in Him, the Bread of Life.
This Advent, consider where you seek life and hope. While the Sunday School answer may be “Jesus,” self-examination is essential. In moments of distress, where do you turn for solace? During this holiday season, do you find more joy in Jesus or the gifts and festivities.
The good news is that Jesus sympathizes with our needs and desires. He extends the offer of eternal life, even amidst doubt and confusion. This year, keep giving gifts, singing hymns and carols, and celebrating with loved ones, but prioritize feasting on the Bread of Life. Dedicate time to read His words, meditate, and talk with Him. Create an Advent tradition centered on shared meals, discussions about Jesus, and communion with Him. He calls out, saying, “I am the bread of life. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever” (v. 58).
Kids’ Version The kids’ version of this article has been edited and rewritten with kids in mind. Feel free to share this with your kids or read it to them during family worship. You can also find a video version of this article read by my children, here.
Advent is a special time when we celebrate Jesus, who gave us the best gift ever—eternal life! But sometimes, we get busy with gifts and parties and forget what’s important. We might even dream about cool stuff, but those things don’t make us truly happy. They definitely don’t keep us alive. Jesus is the one who gives us real joy and life.
Jesus came from heaven to give us eternal life and show us that real happiness is in Him. Let’s learn from what Jesus said in John 6:47 and 51: “I am the bread of life… If anyone eats this bread, they will live forever”. Before saying those amazing words, Jesus did mighty miracles and healed sick people. He showed them that He is God. Lots of people followed Him, hoping He’d be their king, but Jesus wanted them to understand that He was far more than that.
Later, the crowd came back, not to learn from Him but to get more food. Jesus said they should work for something even better than yummy food. They should work for eternal life by believing in Him. Just by believing they could live forever. Even after seeing miracles, some folks wanted more signs. They thought Jesus might give them manna like Moses did. But Jesus said, “I am the true bread from heaven, giving life to the whole world” (John 6:33).
When they asked for this special bread, Jesus said: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never be hungry or thirsty. (John 6:35). Some people didn’t like this message, just like their ancestors in the desert didn’t like Moses’ words. Jesus said only those God draws can come to Him. This was a hard truth, but they needed to hear it.
In the Bible, they needed bread to live. We also need food and water to live, just like we need Jesus for eternal life. If we don’t believe in Him, we can’t live forever with Him. Long ago, God gave manna to hungry Israelites, but they didn’t live forever, and they didn’t even trust God after He took care of them.
People in Jesus’s time need to feast on Him with their hearts to really live. We need to do the same thing. They needed to know that toys and stuff can’t make them happy. Jesus, the Bread of Life, gives us true joy and life forever if we love Him.
During Advent, think about where you look for happiness. It’s easy to say “Jesus,” but do you really believe it? Do you really mean it? When you’re upset or confused, where do you go? Does Jesus bring you more joy than the toys and fun stuff at Christmas?
Jesus knows what you need. He’s the gift of eternal life, even when you’re grumpy. He’s saying, “I am the bread of life. Anyone who loves Me will live forever” (John 6:58).
This Advent, have fun giving gifts, singing songs, and being with family. But don’t forget to enjoy the Bread of Life—Jesus. Spend time reading about Him, thinking good about Him as much as you can, and talking to Him. Ask your parents to start special traditions with your family, and make them all about Jesus. He’s calling you right now and offering you eternal life!
Daily Readings Day 1: Read John 6:22-59.
How does the surrounding context help you better understand Jesus as the Bread of Life?
How does Jesus being the Bread of Life impact your life today?
Day 2: Read Exodus 16:1-36.
How does this passage make us anticipate the coming of the Savior who is the true Bread of Life?
How does the gospel provide a greater hope than the physical manna from heaven?
Day 3: Read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.
How and why is the Lord’s supper greater than the manna in the wilderness?
What is the importance of the Lord’s Supper in the life of the church today? How does it point us to the gospel?
Song: “On and On” – Trip Lee
Republished with permission from Blogs.crossmap.com, featuring inspiring Bible verses about I Am The Bread of Life (Advent Devotional).