Jesus Was Many Things: Bread, Shepherd, Word, Vine, Way
Jesus said He was many things, which are all true and connected. He's the bread, the shepherd, the way to life, the vine, the Messiah, the Son of God, John said He was the Word. All true, but may be difficult for people to grasp. This is why we seek God always, for wisdom. And He reveals to us the meanings. God will not reveal it to unbelievers, as Jesus said in Matthew 13:11, He replied, “The knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.
Everything Jesus is, are all connected - they all lead to our complete spiritual benefit, through Him. Jesus Himself supplies all our needs as Paul said. Jesus is all these things for the whole world. not some for the Jews and some for the gentiles:
The Bread for the forgiveness of our sins - the daily Bread in the Lord's Prayer.
The Word - the scripture we need for our spiritual growth, and gaining knowledge of God.
The Way to the Father.
The Vine to keep us the branches, spiritually sustained.
The Shepherd to guide us to green pastures.
Expanding on some of the things Jesus is:
Jesus the Bread
His sacrificial body is the Bread that believers feed on for the forgiveness of their sins. Thus the daily Bread in the Lord's Prayer. God gives us the Bread of life when we ask. It is not a blanket statement once-and-for-all - I'm covered by His blood, and go on in life. We ask for forgiveness daily as He said. And God forgives us daily, exactly as Jesus said in the Lord's Prayer!
The problem with Protestant doctrine is they could not reconcile what Paul said with what Jesus said. But there is an explanation why the difference, here: Was Jesus' Teaching only for the Jews, and Paul's for the Gentiles?
Biblical references pointing to Jesus as the Bread:
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
Notes: The bread is the Body of Jesus
John 6:32-33 and 6:51
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.” “For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Jesus said: "This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever."
Notes: Showing a parallel between the Bread (His body) and the manna in the desert, which couldn’t be hoarded more than one day (Exodus 16:4). Thus, God’s desire for our daily dependence on Him.
[The day after the miracle of feeding the 5,000] Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Notes: Jesus said this after they had been looking for Him all day because they were hungry and needed food to eat, then found Him. Another big evidence that the "earthly bread", is not it in the Lord's prayer.
Jesus the Word
John 1:1 and 1:14 say that Jesus was the Word, that became flesh. So Jesus can be viewed as the scripture that we feed on for our spiritual maturity. The scripture was given to humankind for their benefit. Jesus the first born and our Lord, supplied all our needs as humans to be able to seek God and His righteousness, and conform to His likeness and gain salvation.
John 1:1-4, 14
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
14 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Jesus the Vine
Consistent with the Bread and the Word (sections above), the Vine provides feeding to us the branches. Jesus said He is the vine and we are the branches. Implying continual feeding for our spiritual survival. And that as branches we could break off if not maturing in the knowledge of God. Paul echoes Jesus in Romans 11:16-17.
Jesus said: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
Notes: The branch is continually nourished by the Vine. Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. Without the Lord’s Prayer daily, a branch will wither and die.
[Paul said] ...if the root is holy, so are the branches... If some of the branches have been broken off...
Jesus the Way
Consistent with being the Shepherd, being the Way leads us to the Father.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Jesus the Shepherd
Again here, Jesus is the Shepherd and the Gate in the same verse. He is everything for our spiritual sustenance. Without Him we'd be lost - meaning without him we would just live randomly unanchored on this earth, then perish into darkness after death.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
Notes: He was saying this to the Jews. But look at Verse 16: The other sheep are the gentiles. And the final one flock is the church, made up of the true believers. And one Shepherd, today's Jesus in the flesh seated at the right hand of God.