There is only one food that is common to every culture on the planet, and that is bread.  Each culture has their own version, from Native American fry breads to Swedish limpa, but every culture in the world has some sort of bread.  This makes it a perfect metaphor for Jesus to us, one that is translatable to every context to which we might wish to minister.

Jesus is in the midst of identifying Himself using the primary Jewish festivals.  He has spoken of Sabbath, the weekly day of rest, to speak to the fact that He is doing the Father’s business.  And now He is speaking of Passover to say that He is the only “bread” that an sustain us for eternity; not the unleavened bread of the Passover and not the manna that came to them in the desert.

In fact, as Jesus identifies Himself as “the Bread of Life” far better than the manna of the wilderness, we get Jesus’ first “I am…” statement, the first of 7.  Through them, He is not just making a metaphorical lesson, but He is saying something far more.  When Jesus says, “I am…”, the word He is using is Yahweh, the name God gave to Moses when asked.  By making such blatant statements beginning with “I am…”, Jesus is proclaiming Himself to be God, the teaching that most infuriated the Pharisees, and the charge that ultimately got Him crucified.

As we continue to learn of Jesus, “I am…” statements, we have to ask ourselves what Jesus is to us?  If we take an honest look at ourselves and our faith, what is Jesus to us?  And what metaphor might we use?  “I am Aladdin’s lamp, giving you anything you want.”  “I am the Sheriff, ready to shoot you down if you slip up at all.”  “I am the Parlimentarian, making sure everyone knows and keeps the rules.”  What “I am…” metaphor would best describe your view of God?

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