Yeshua said, “I am the bread of life.” Bread in Hebrew culture is the most general concept of food. They did not have a diet heavy in meat or even a variety of vegetables. They subsisted on mainly whatever grain was in season and the products of fruit trees and their animals (milk, cheese, etc.) Yeshua is using the illustration of the staple of the Hebrew diet to show the necessity for His presence within every person He is speaking to. Psalm 104:15 states that “bread makes a man’s heart strong.” In this way, Yeshua is demonstrating that without Him, people will die as if they are starving to death. The Judean people would have been very perplexed and even disgusted by what they were hearing as the Torah forbids the touching of dead bodies, much less eating flesh of human beings. Yeshua continues in this passage and says that they also need to drink of His blood. This would have caused a major uproar within the community as the act of drinking blood I emphatically forbidden in the Torah. Leviticus 7: 26-27 states, “You are not to eat any kind of blood, whether from birds or animals, in any of your homes. Whoever eats any blood will be cut off from his people.’” So for Yeshua to be stating something like this would have certainly made Him a heretic in the eyes of the Jewish people.
But what was He truly saying? He is alluding to the Manna in the wilderness with which God used to save the people in the Book of Exodus but He is bringing forth His superiority to that bread. The bread which saved the people of Israel in the wilderness saved them physically, whereas Yeshua came to save us spiritually. With this concept in mind, we must ask what spiritual principle is He bringing forth here. Eating is something that humans do multiple times a day and this act is what nourishes us to endure physically. With mortal bodies destined for destruction, we see that this act is merely as placation of an inevitable result, which is our death. Yeshua is speaking of doing an eternal act that once we do it one time, we will be nourished for all eternity. Once again, Yeshua uses an extremely practical concept to illustrate the highest of heavenly principles. The Book of Hebrews describes another aspect of this concept with regard to the work of the Messiah;
For the Torah has in it a shadow of the good things to come, but not the actual manifestation of the originals. Therefore, it can never, by means of the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, bring to the goal those who approach the Holy Place to offer them. Otherwise, wouldn’t the offering of those sacrifices have ceased? For if the people performing the service had been cleansed once and for all, they would no longer have sins on their conscience. No, it is quite the contrary — in these sacrifices is a reminder of sins, year after year. For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Hebrews 10: 1-4
Much like eating, the sacrifices were a placation of an inevitable result, the spiritual death of the people offering them. The people hearing this message given by Yeshua did not understand that He was pointing them toward a greater covenant that would come. Hebrews 10:10 states, “It is in connection with this will that we have been separated for God and made holy, once and for all, through the offering of Yeshua the Messiah’s body.” Every time we eat a piece of physical food, we should give thanks that we have eternal bread through Yeshua HaMashiach that will sustain us forever.
Cole Davis and Other Contributors