So they said to Jesus,"Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life;whoever comes to me will never hunger,and whoever believes in me will never thirst." John 6:35After Jesus had explained that the manna in the desert was not given by Moses but by the Divine One, the people naturally desired to have this bread again, to experience as had their forebears the saving, life giving sustenance of the Divine One. Jesus gave an unexpected answer. "I am the bread of life." In other words I am the life of the Divine One who has come "down from heaven" and is living among you as a human being. You receive that life giving, never ending sustenance of the Divine One by coming to me and believing in me.
The same is true for me today...and every day of my life. The challenge is not to "believe Jesus" but rather to "believe in Jesus." That one little additional word makes all the difference. It is not that I believe what Jesus said is true but that somehow I come to believe in him. When I believe in someone, it is a judgement about who that person is. When I believe in someone, I trust them to be who they are in a more or less consistent way. I believe in what they represent. I believe in their role in the world and perhaps even in my own life. Further I want people to believe in me as well.
When I believe in someone, I am placing my trust in them even if there appears to be evidence to the contrary. I have a relationship that is beyond the simply transactional and goes to the heart of who someone is and who I am.
This is what Jesus is calling me to embrace. It is only by believing IN him that he becomes the bread of life for me. It is only by believing IN him that I will never hunger or thirst in my deepest spirit.
So, do I believe in Jesus as the Divine One incarnated as a human being who came to show me the path to everlasting life? Do I believe in Jesus as my brother who provides me a path into the eternal life of the triune divinity? Do I believe in Jesus as the way of life that will lead me into my truest and deepest reality?