The Bread of Life

Scripture Reading:  John 6:26-51
26 Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you
saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not labor for the food
which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give
you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “
This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He
sent.”
30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You?
What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them
bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Then Jesus said to them,
“Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from
heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who
comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
35 And Jesus said to them, “
I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he
who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not
believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by
no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of
Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I
should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent
Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will
raise him up at the last day.”

41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from
heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?
How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them,
“Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can
come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45
It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’Therefore everyone who has
heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except
He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in
Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness,
and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and
not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he
will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the
world.”

I have been so inspired and encouraged this week.  But not just at the Youth Pastor's
Summit I attended in Orlando.  Also, during our Friday Sabbath Service.  As my mother
explained the challenge the Messianic rabbi had given her to see things through from
the Old Testament through the New Testament, I was absolutely blessed by the
teaching.  On Thursday 2 of our 3 speakers spoke on John 6 using different verses to
illustrate their different points.  I decided to use this portion of text to show yet a
different point but also wanted to take up the challenge of tying it together with the Old
Testament as well.  So, before we get into dissecting this passage, I wanted to read
you a small portion from Exodus that we will be using for reference.

Exodus 16:2-4a
2 Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the
wilderness. 3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD
in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have
brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
4 Then the LORD said to Moses,
“Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you.

Before I get into the passage from John, I'd like to preface it a bit.  It was the day after
Jesus fed 5000 men (possibly 15-20,000 people) from the young boy's lunch pail.  The
people were so amazed at this sign that they were ready to make Him their King by
force, so Jesus withdrew Himself and ended up going to the other side of the lake away
from the people.  So this is the next day after the people went looking for Him and find
Him on the other side.  First, Jesus explains to them that they're not seeking Him
because of the signs, because of the miracle itself but because the ate.  Basically, It
was because they desired the things of their flesh and not the things of their spirit.

If you flip back to Exodus 16:3, the people complained not because God hadn't shown
Himself through awesome signs and wonders, but because of their belly.  They said,
Oh we ate so good in Egypt.  They neglected to remember that they were also
enslaved, mistreated, and beaten.  These OT people like their NT counterparts are
forsaking the things of the spirit for the things of the flesh.  Jesus then tells them not to
struggle over the food that spoils but struggle for the food that endures to everlasting
life.  He's telling them that they need to stop focusing on the flesh but rather on the
spirit.

So they ask Him how they should do what God wants.  He tells them to believe in Him
who He sent and here's where it gets really interesting.  They ask Him what sign He's
going to show them.  What?  By this point in His ministry He had already done many
miracles.  Why, just yesterday He'd fed thousands with a small boy's lunch.  John 6:14
says that when they saw the sign they knew Jesus was something special.  The next
verse makes it clear that they were ready to make Him King because of this sign.  How
quickly they forget, huh?  In our Exodus reference passage the people had just come
through the Red Sea.  God had just delivered them from 400 years of oppression in a
foreign land.  They'd seen the 10 plagues that had been sent on the Egyptians.  They
could look within their own families to their firstborn who had been spared during the
Passover yet they were still looking for Yahweh to prove Himself.  Both the OT people
and the NT people have a very 'what have You done for me lately?' attitude.  It seems
that not only is Yahweh the same yesterday, today, and forever; but so are His people.

So, the people here in John 16:31 challenge Him with saying that their fathers ate
manna from heaven.  They were clearly saying so what will You give us.  Ironically,
they're referencing the same passage we're using to connect this NT occurrence to the
OT.  But Jesus cut through all the fluff and gets to the real issue.  Moses.  They've
replaced Yahweh with Moses.  Jesus says that Moses didn't give you bread from
heaven.  Notice that they never mentioned Moses here but Jesus knows that its the
real issue.  Do you remember when God spoke directly to the people?  Let's go to
Exodus 20:18-19.  Their fathers had no problem replacing Yahweh's presence with the
presence of Moses and they had passed this down to their descendants.  What they
believed Moses said became more important than what the LORD actually said.

Jesus explains that Yahweh's true bread from heaven is He that comes down and gives
life to the word.  They ask Him to give them this bread.  It's obvious from their request
that they're not really listening.  He clearly said that the true bread was He who comes
down.  What they should have asked was, "Who is the true bread?"  Although they
didn't, the LORD here in the NT is just as longsuffering and patient as He was in the
OT.  He still spells it out for them.  Hey, it's Me!  But they saw and still didn't believe.  
Just like their fathers did in the wilderness.  They saw so many amazing signs yet
instead of going to their heavenly Father with great joy and gladness knowing He can
do all things and so requesting what they needed.  They chose to complain, and
grumble and murmur which was proof that they did not believe.

These NT people complain also talking about His father and mother and questioning
His statement instead of just asking Him what He meant.  If they had believed, they
would have asked for clarification.  Their complaining proved that they didn't believe.  
Then He explains that no one will come to Him unless His Father draws them out.  He
makes reference to Isaiah 54:13 by saying they'll be taught by God.  Now some might
say that's not fair.  Calvinist talk about predestination as if God is up there picking a
kickball team or something and choosing to leave some people out but that's not it at
all.  Remember the passage we read where they said we don't want to hear from God?  
Unfortunately, too many people fall into that category.  They choose not to hear from
God.  I submit that since it is written that He doesn't want that any should perish, He
must be trying to draw everyone out.  Some choose not to be drawn.

For the rest of this passage He lays out the entire truth of the Gospel.  Yet time and
time again they murmur and complain showing their unwillingness to accept the
spiritual food that leads to eternal life.  If Jesus had had a big barbecue they would
have cheered and shouted and made Him King by force.  They were more than happy
to receive the things of the flesh.  Let us not by like either of these groups that chose
to complain and murmur in the face of the LORD.  This week let's be aware of any time
we fall into that spirit of complaining so we will be able to recognize it and cast it down.  
Let's labor for the spiritual bread that leads to eternal life knowing and trusting that He
will supply your daily physical bread.


Sermon by: Denise Baxley
Date: March 12, 2006
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