Then said they unto Him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.
But I said unto you, That ye also have seen Me, and believe not.
Can you imagine being face to face with Jesus Himself, listening to His words, and just not “getting” it? That’s what was happening here. Maybe the concept He was teaching was just too novel. Maybe they were used to thinking in literal terms. It was hard for them to understand the spiritual, the heavenly implications of Jesus’ words.
I’ve read this passage over several times this week, and each time I have to pull myself up short in being critical of these people. After all, they were Old Testament Jews, and the Law had been interpreted and re-interpreted so much that the original was lost in the revisions. The Jews had become accustomed to the indisputable authority of the religious leaders, and the heavy burden of all the nit-picking rules that came not from God, but from the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and priests. Speaking from my own life experience, I know that people who get by paycheck to paycheck, IF they’re careful, have to be practical. You have to deal with what IS, not with what you WISH. And most of the people surrounding Him at this time were like that. They worked, they ate, they followed the Law, they slept. Repeat. They didn’t think often in terms of what lay beyond their every-day lives.
Jesus was offering them an eternal banquet, but so far all they really were looking for was free bread. Not just for that day, but “evermore.”
Instead, they were given these wonderful words of life: “And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” Remember the woman at the well in Samaria? Jesus had offered her the Water of Life. The difference was that she realized something very exciting was happening, and she ran and gathered up the townspeople so they could have the Water of Life, too.
Now, along with being the Living Water, He was saying He was also the Living Bread. Those who believed on Him would never be the same. Their lives would change. Their eyes would be opened to the Son of God, and they would never question again whether or not they would be in heaven someday. They could feast forever on the Living Bread, drink forever from the Living Water, and be assured of eternal salvation.
But they didn’t get it. Jesus said, “I said already that you have seen Me, but you don’t believe Me! I’m standing right here, you can reach out and touch Me, and you still don’t believe Who I am!”