Although Christmas is highly celebrated, Easter is where it’s at in terms of Christian celebration! In December we celebrate our Savior’s birth. But Easter is when we celebrate His death and resurrection. Let’s be honest, Easter is the real Christmas! Everyone has been born. But only one man has died and been resurrected by the power living inside of Him, the Holy Spirit.
When I read the Gospels I always look for the details that aren’t always obvious on the first go around. I try to piece together a timeline of events. I like to know where cities are in relation to other cities. How long did it take for Jesus to walk there? What did it smell like? Who else lived there that I might have read about already? What happened there a year before this story was written? What would happen in this same place a year later? Bible scholars call of these details “context”. Today, we like context too. It’s why war battlefields are turned into historical monuments and why we have apps like Timehop on our phones. We love to know what we were doing just a year-or-two-ago today.
Right before His death on Friday, Jesus celebrated the holiday of Passover. It was the most important festival of the Jewish calendar. Passover was the time the people of Israel remembered how God had protected their ancestors from the plague of the death of the firstborn in Exodus 12 and subsequently brought them out of Egypt freeing them from slavery.
In John chapter 6 we read the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. It’s a pretty well-known story even if you don’t attend church on a regular basis. This story is also told by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. However, John is the only writer of the four that tells us that this story happened during Passover (John 6:4). A large crowd had followed Jesus to the Sea of Galilee and it was obviously pretty secluded because the disciples suggested Jesus send everyone home instead of teaching that night. Jesus, however, had a different plan. We read that there was a child who had five loaves of bread and two fish that he offered to Jesus. Jesus multiplied it, enough for everyone to eat and having twelve baskets of fragments left over. (vs 13)
The next day the crowd remained and Jesus tells them, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.” Completely missing His point the crowd asks, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus replies, “This is the work of God that you believe in him who He has sent.” The crowd then asks Him for a sign, reminding him that the Israelites were sent manna from Heaven while they were in the wilderness (apparently feeding them from just five loaves and two fish the day before was not a good enough sign!).
Jesus, in remarkable patience answers, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (vs 35, 38)
What was the will of “him who sent me” that Jesus was talking about? It was that on that very day, three years later, Jesus would die on a cross as the perfect sacrifice for our sin, forever granting us forgiveness and cleansing of our sins. Nonetheless, if that was the end of the story, Jesus would have been like anyone else born on this Earth. It is Easter Sunday that reminds us who He really is: the Bread of Life. I wonder if it came to the minds of the disciples that glorious Easter morning; that just three years prior Jesus had said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:51)
This Easter we have assurance that “the bread of God has come down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (6:33) May we always hunger for and be filled by the Bread of Life.