This passage of scripture occurs after Jesus' feeding of the 5,000.
In the 6th chapter of John's gospel Jesus speaks as the sustainer - the Bread of Life
We must understand that Jesus, in one incarnate body, has many characteristics. Think about it, John has already proclaimed Him to be the Word of God who was with God in the beginning, the one who became flesh and dwelt among us.
Now Jesus himself is professing to be the Bread of Life.
It is important, however to realize that everything we need, God has. Paul says in Philippians 4:19, "And my God shall supply all you need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
James 1:17 says "every good and perfect gift comes from above."
Bread was the staple food of the common people in Judea and Galilee and as such was a symbol of life itself. But the bread also held spiritual significance. Remember when the Lord was preparing the children of Israel for their great exodus from captivity? It was the last great plague, which now we call the Passover.
Instead of the crowd preparing to participate in the Passover celebration, which included a meal, they were looking for Jesus to feed them once again. They did not seek Jesus because of the signs of His messiahship, they sought Him because they ate and were filled.
Christians today get sold out on physical things and partialities and never get the big picture. We get caught up in physical things and rarely the spiritual. We pay tithes to get the blessings, not because it is a command rather than an option. We clothe the naked for a tax write-off or to make room in the closet for new stuff, not because it is what Christians are supposed to do. We sing in the choir to be seen, not to give praises to God.
We seek after the wrong things, or we seek after the right things for the wrong reasons. Just like the crowd that sought after Jesus, we want quick fixes to long-term problems. We want the kingdom while trying to bypass the King!
It is funny how the crowd knew the Law of Moses and could parallel the Law of Moses to Jesus' ministry only when it could benefit them.
They could see that the feed was a miracle just as the manna their forefathers ate in the wilderness was a miracle. More than likely what was on their minds was that Jesus could feed them for years and they would not have to lift a finger. After all, the manna lasted 40 years.
But it was not to be. Jesus said “I am the bread of life.” In other words, He was saying “I am all that you need. In me there is eternal life.”
Just as there is food for the physical man, there is food for the spiritual man.
Jesus told Satan, “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
These words are food for the soul. The soul is the spiritual man. We have to learn to feed the spiritual man so that he may grow up, mature, and do great things for God.
Whatever we need, Jesus has it for us in His Word. We can't just feed the physical man and allow the spiritual man to be malnourished. We must remember that Jesus is that life sustaining bread that came down from heaven.