In John 6:35 Jesus answers, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever comes to me will never go thirsty.” When we first see this, we may think Jesus is simply saying he is our spiritual food that will sustain us. However, when we read into the context of his words, we see even greater depth to his preaching. Jesus spoke these words to the crowd during the time of the Passover. This is the celebration of God delivering his people from Egypt. God provided mana for his people to eat. The “bread from heaven” (Exodus 16). This was a bread that simply had to be picked up. The significance of this is something can be lost in our modern times. Most of us buy bread from the store, probably pre-sliced! But in ancient times, bread-baking was an all day affair. From grinding, to mixing, to baking, it was hard work. But it was a staple of their meal times, so they worked everyday to have bread to eat. So the novelty of having bread…without work? This was amazing!
And this is what Christ promised: salvation without works. We don’t have to strive for the blessings of God. We do not have to struggle to be “good enough.”Jesus is the bread of life. And when we come to him we find favor with God. When we find our identity in him, we see we are loved. When we trust our lives with him, we find freedom from our sin, but also freedom from our works.
Here’s how we played through this on a preschool level.
Bread Making is Hard Work!
As I mentioned, most of us don’t understand how it is to make bread. My toddler definitely does not understand what went into making her peanut butter and jelly sandwhich. So we made some bread.
We used the Bread in a Bag recipe from Busy Toddler, because it is basically a fool-proof recipe. I cannot make bread. I kid you not, I have messed up banana bread a time or two. This recipe you cannot ruin! It’s little work for mamas, but lots of fun work for little hands.
In preschool time, I imagine making and waiting for this bread feels like forever! Again, bread-making is hard work!
*Alternatives: If you are looking to use this idea with a larger group of children, or are in a time-crunch (i.e. Sunday school, children’s church, etc.) You could use pre-made dough, and have little ones knead the dough as they enter the classroom. When you get ready to start the class, have an adult volunteer put dough in the oven while you continue the rest of the lesson. Then little can eat the bread when it it done, or take it home to eat later.
Talking with a Toddler
When the bread was finally done, we cut some slices, and gushed about how good it tastes. I simply mentioned to my girls that Jesus is the “bread of life.” Then I just casually mentioned that Jesus is like having bread this good all the time, but we don’t have to put in all the work to eat it.
Jesus is the free bread from heaven. We can find our hope, our sustenance, and our salvation in him. We don’t have to work for it. It is a gift. There are so many times when I find myself striving to earn my own salvation. If I could just figure out how to be more patient. If I could just be disciplined enough to get the house clean. If I could just figure out how to wake up earlier to get that workout in. If I could just. be. enough. Friends, we don’t have to work to be enough. Our enough is found in Christ. He is why we are right with God. All these other pursuits can be good. Waking up early disciplining ourselves to get stuff done, being more patient with our littles. All good ambitions. But let’s remember where our hope is found. It’s in Christ, and in him alone do we find we are enough.