This is the Wednesday sermon for February 27th, 2008.
JOHN PART 23
The true bread of life
Last time we saw that Jesus was the only answer to mankind’s spiritual hunger. The Jews were following Him because He provided bread. But the miracle was pointing to something greater, and that was the spiritual hunger of people and the only thing that satisfies that hunger – the true living bread of God.
As many of you can tell, I love to eat. Sunday afternoon, Mac and Jackie took our family to Tomball to a place called Mel’s diner. They are known for their burgers and catfish. Well, I had the catfish, and let me tell you, it was delicious. And while that catfish was delicious, it only fills my stomach and stops the hunger for a short period of time. You see, I will get hungry again.
You see, that is the problem with earthly food. It only satisfies for so long, and then we will grow hungry again. What Jesus said was so true, “Man shall not live by bread (earthly food) alone.” For all of mankind there is a greater hunger than physical hunger – and that is spiritual hunger. And there is only one type of food that satisfies this hunger. That food is the true bread of life that came down from heaven.
Jesus talks further about this subject here in the passage we are looking at tonight. Let’s look into it.
1. The people Jesus just fed demand a sign.
John 6:30-31 GW – The people asked him, “What miracle are you going to perform so that we can see it and believe in you? What are you going to do? (31) Our ancestors ate the manna in the desert. Scripture says, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'”
A. Here is this crowd that has been with Jesus for a couple of days and they are demanding a miraculous sign. What is so interesting is that Jesus has already given them two signs. One He did, the other they do. What were the signs.
This is the same crowd that Jesus the day before had feed miraculously with the bread and fish. That should have been enough of a sign for them. This same crowd also wanted to do the works that would be approved or accepted by God.
John 6:28-29 NET – So then they said to him, “What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?” (29) Jesus replied, “This is the deed God requires — to believe in the one whom he sent.”
B. Some scholars believe that the Jews were looking at the coming Messiah as some sort of Super-Moses. A Midrash (Jewish Commentary) on Exodus 16:4 says that just as the former redeemer (Moses) caused manna to descend from heaven, so also the latter Redeemer (the Messiah) will cause manna to descend as well. They thought this of Jesus if He really was the Messiah.
C. What were they exactly looking for in Jesus?
Someone who would provide for each and every physical need. They thought that He would provide food, shelter, and deliverance from Rome. And they could just set back and enjoy the ride.
D. But Jesus didn’t come for their physical needs. He came for a much greater need, and that was their spiritual need.
You see, like us, these Jews are lost in their sins, they can’t save themselves, they are hopeless. Jesus came to seek and save all those, like them and us, who are hopeless – who are lost.
2. Jesus gives them a two fold answer.
John 6:32-34 GW – Jesus said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. (33) God’s bread is the man who comes from heaven and gives life to the world.” (34) They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread all the time.”
A. First of all, Moses did not give them the manna, but it was the Heavenly Father.
The Jews always appealed either to Moses or Abraham. They put Moses on this pedestal, saying he provided their ancestors food to eat. Jesus on the other hand, always appealed to His Heavenly Father. You see, it was the Father who provided the manna, Moses was just a vessel He used. It is always a dangerous thing to put any person upon a pedestal. The reason is because, people will always fail you, we are not perfect in anyway, and those who think they are, are self-righteous and full of pride. The only one we should put on a pedestal is the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. Jesus reveals to them what the true Bread of God is.
The manna that fell from heaven is not the true bread of God. Neither is the multiplication of the loaves and fish. You see, the true Bread of God is nothing that comes from this earth, but it is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
C. The manna in the wilderness only provided for the physical needs of people and that people was one nation – Israel.
Jesus being the true bread from heaven provides for our spiritual need, and not for just one nation, but for all the world.
3. Jesus reveals Himself as the true Bread of life.
John 6:35-36 GW – Jesus told them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never become hungry, and whoever believes in me will never become thirsty. (36) I’ve told you that you have seen me. However, you don’t believe in me.
A. Here, Jesus reveals Himself as this true bread that has come down from heaven, giving life.
Jesus is also using the Greek equivalent of God’s covenant name YHWH. He is in essence saying that He is the God that appeared and led Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses by using this name. This covenant name for God that Jesus uses for Himself is important to John. So far I found that it is used in John’s Gospel about 12 times.
This means, that on 12 occasions in the book of John, Jesus makes claims of deity.
B. What does Jesus mean that He is the Bread of life?
In Greek the phrase literally means, “I am the sustainer of life.” You see, if you don’t eat food, you die. Food is literally the sustainer of physical life. In the same way, if you don’t partake of the person and character of Jesus Christ and do not abide in Him, then you don’t have spiritual, or eternal, or supernatural life. Eternal life can only be found in Him.
4. The Christ-followers assurance.
John 6:37-40 GW – Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me. I will never turn away anyone who comes to me. (38) I haven’t come from heaven to do what I want to do. I’ve come to do what the one who sent me wants me to do. (39) The one who sent me doesn’t want me to lose any of those he gave me. He wants me to bring them back to life on the last day. (40) My Father wants all those who see the Son and believe in him to have eternal life. He wants me to bring them back to life on the last day.”
A. Notice in verse 37 that is the Father that brings us to Jesus Christ.
Over the years, we have tried to draw people to Jesus through manipulation, fear tactics, forcing people to say prayers, and even trying to bring people too early to Christ, in my opinion. It is not our timing, but it is the Father’s timing. It is by according to His will and plan, by His Sovereignty.
John 6:44 GW – People cannot come to me unless the Father who sent me brings them to me. I will bring these people back to life on the last day.
You see, all of us deserve hell. We all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. But Jesus provided the sacrifice, and the Father draws us through the Holy Spirit to Him. The Father doesn’t need our manipulation, nor our emotional appeals. He just needs us to preach the Gospel message. The Greek for the word “Those,” is interesting. It is in Greek Grammar called, “Neuter Singular.” This means that God is bringing, or given the total body of believers to Jesus at one time – and that time I believe is at the cross. The Father gives all the ones who will follow Jesus to the Son, and the Spirit enables all of them to come and believe in Christ Jesus.
B. Jesus purpose for coming is to do the will of the Father (vv. 38-40).
Jesus was all about one purpose, to do and fulfill the Father’s will. His purpose was to keep that which God had drawn out of the world. This is a great promise for the Christ follower. We abide in Christ, He abides in us. When we are in Jesus, nothing can take us out of His hand. We are secure in His care. Those the Father brings or draws, Jesus Christ keeps, and resurrects in the last day.
How can we apply this study to our lives?
• God has given us the ultimate sign of His love – the Cross of Christ. We don’t need any other.
• In our problems you and I face, put your faith completely in Christ finished work because that is how God will work through your situation – through the cross.
• Ultimately it will be Christ who will sustain you and keep you through every circumstance, so continue to abide in Him.
Next time we will look at how we are to partake of Christ.