Alon’s Bakery and Market in Atlanta has won recognition as Best Bakery, Best Cookies, Best Sandwiches, and Best Dessert in numerous publications and polls. The 2008 Reader’s Choice Awards in The Sunday Paper had this recommendation: "Try the Apple Normandy bar: sugar dough crust filled with apricot marmalade, house-made custard, fresh apples, and streusel topping."
An Apple Normandy bar sounds delicious, but at some point after you’ve finished the last morsel you will be hungry again. In fact, the finest gourmet meal imaginable can’t keep someone satiated forever. Our bodies were designed by God to have an ongoing need for food.
This ongoing physical need should remind us to trust God to provide us with the food we need. It also should remind of us of our need for spiritual food, too. As the conversation continued between Jesus and the crowd in our reading today, Jesus proclaimed that He was the Bread of Life: unlike manna that needed to be sent from heaven day after day, He was the ultimate Manna. Belief in Him gave eternal life (v. 40).
When the people realized that Jesus was not offering them an endless buffet, they grew less interested (vv. 34, 41). Here was the Son of God, standing before them and offering them a relationship with God, the promise of resurrection life, and spiritual satisfaction. But they did not believe; instead, they grumbled (v. 36).
Belief in Jesus, the Bread of Life, is a response to the work of God in our hearts (vv. 37, 44). The Bread of Life ensures that we too will have life—we will have spiritual life with God now as well as resurrected bodies on the last day (vv. 39–40). What a gift!
Apply the Word
Jesus’ response to the crowd can instruct us in our attempts to share the gospel with others. We don’t know which hearts the Holy Spirit is working in to prepare them to believe in Jesus. Our responsibility is to share Jesus and then to trust that God will draw people to belief. We have the privilege of witnessing about the joy of life in Christ.