Jesus natural place of birth was Bethlehem of Judea. Bethlehem simply means, "the house of bread". And so from the "house of bread" came the bread of life. Was this a coincidence or as arranged by the father? Nothing with God happens by chance! God arranged the physical to illustrate the spiritual - the house of bread was the birthplace of the "bread of life", all meant to perfectly fit and communicate a message: this is God's chosen bread to fill the hunger of mankind!
And so just after the miracle of feeding 5000 men, excluding women and children, which are always in large numbers Jesus spoke the first of the seven "I AM" statements in John 6:35, " I am the BREAD OF LIFE" and for emphasis repeated the same words in verse 48 and verse 51. But just what spiritual truth was Jesus trying to pass across here? What is the significance of bread? Why the master didn’t says "I am the beans of life or corn of life?" Why use bread?"
Bread is considered a staple food—i.e., a basic dietary item. A person can survive a long time on only bread and water. Bread is such a basic food item that it becomes synonymous with food in general. Sometimes instead of saying we share a meal with someone we often say "we break bread together". Bread also plays an integral part of the Jewish Passover meal. The Jews were to eat unleavened bread during the Passover. When the Jews were wandering in the desert for 40 years, God rained down “bread from heaven” to sustain the nation (Exodus 16:4). Finally in the Lord's Prayer in Matthew Jesus asked us to pray to the father to give us "our daily bread", the bread here was used as a substitute for food!
When Jesus made that phenomenal statement that "I am the BREAD of life" he was equating himself to bread and saying, in essence, there is no life without me! Jesus was saying here, "I am the essential spiritual food for supernatural living". Because obviously, the master was talking about spiritual bread here even though the listeners were more attuned to the physical. There are great truths to learn from here.
Firstly, that the essence of the human life is spiritual, not physical - every question asked by the people here focused on the physical - e g 'sir give us this bread always, how can this man gives us his flesh to eat' etc. They were too pre-occupied with the immediate that they could not see the ultimate! The ultimate food is that which came down from heaven to fill the hunger of mankind! And 'those who cannot see the ultimate becomes a slave to the immediate!'