God's Soul Food

For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33).

As I explained in my previous post, hope is what energizes the soul, and promises are what we feed our soul in order to get hope—just like we energize our bodies by eating food.

Human beings are specifically designed to eat a particular kind of soul food: God’s Word. That’s why in both the Old and New Testaments, God emphasized that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4).

When God speaks, it is much different than when you and I speak. When we speak, we describe or defend our perceptions of reality. When God speaks, he speaks reality into being. Our words describe life and action. God’s word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12).

When God speaks creation, things other than himself come into being: angels, galaxies, gnats. But when God speaks himself, he speaks uncreated, eternal deity. That is his Son, who called himself the life (John 11:17, John 14:6).

This is what the Apostle John was getting at when he says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John1:1). Of course the Word is God. When God speaks himself, he cannot be any other.

And when the Word of God speaks, he speaks the words of eternal life (John 6:68).

This is why Jesus called himself “the bread of life” (John 6:35) and said, “the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33).

God has given human beings one source of true soul food: his Son. Jesus Christ, the Word of God, God the Son, is the great Promise, for “all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Corinthians 1:20). He is the soul’s bread, and “whoever feeds on this bread will live forever” (John 6:58).

What could possibly give more hope to our sinful souls than Jesus’ promises of complete forgiveness of our sins, the removal of all of the Father’s judgment and wrath against us, to always be with us (Matthew 28:20), and give us eternal life in God’s presence with full joy and pleasures forever (Psalm 16:11)? Nothing!

These are the “precious and very great promises” (2 Peter 1:4) that are designed to nourish our souls.

Once we grasp this, it helps us make sense of Jesus’ strange-sounding words, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53).

For Jesus, as we will explore more in the next post, eating is believing.

Jon Bloom (@Bloom_Jon) is the author of Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith and serves as the President of Desiring God, which he and John Piper launched together in 1994. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Pam, their five children, and one naughty dog.