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The Bread of Life, (part 1)
Good Morning, from the Voices of Hope Evangelistic Team, to all who are reading this message; I welcome each of you gathering by way of the internet. Once again, I praise God as we are able to share His Word all over the world.
The title of my message is “The Bread of Life” (part one) and the scripture is found in John 6:30-40 which we’ll read as we go through the message. If you would turn there, you will be able to follow along.
Today we come to one of the most beloved discourses that Jesus ever gave on the bread of life. This is given on the morning after He walked on the Sea of Galilee, the day after He had fed the multitude with the loaves and the fishes.
In this discourse Christ more than anything else presents His deity. As I’ve said many times this is John’s theme and by deity, I mean He is God, Christ is God, not a god, not one of many gods, not lesser than THE God but He is the one and only God in a human body. This is John’s theme again and again relentlessly, he bears on this theme.
It’s interesting in noticing that John is concerned about the words and claims of Christ then the miracles. The miracles are all right, but the words of Christ are really the burden of John’s heart. It’s almost as if John just sort of flies by the miracles, to hurry up and get to the claims of Christ.
John records them briefly and un-dramatically in order to get to the real meat in terms of the Word of God; it’s not so much what Jesus did in His ministry, it’s what He said that is definitive. All miracles can do is show divine power, they can’t define it. They can’t even describe it. And least of all, miracles can’t show men what’s required of them. You see, it’s not enough to have a miracle without an explanation. For example, Paul in Romans 1 says, It’s enough to look at nature and see God is. But you can’t stop there. Paul said that in Romans 1 but he also added fifteen other chapters to the book of Romans to explain what God requires and what He’s like and what He wants. It’s not enough to just see the miracles of Christ, you’ve got to hear what He says so He defines Himself.
The glorious miracle of the feeding of those people was fantastic. They saw it happen. They had no doubts about divine power. But they didn’t have the faintest idea about what to do with it. When they saw that miracle they said, “Wow, let’s make Him king and He can knock off Rome.” That wasn’t the point. They didn’t understand and so the miracles only drew their attention and then WORDS of Christ became definitive, the real crux of the matter.
They never questioned His power, but they were absolutely, totally in the dark about His purpose and His plan and so the Words of Christ had to be defined. And that’s just exactly why Jesus gives this discourse, to show them that His purpose is not political, His purpose was redemptive and it wasn’t physical, it was spiritual. He didn’t come to satisfy bodies; He came to satisfy souls. He came to do the Father’s will, a plan laid down in eternity past, and that plan had to do with a man’s soul, not his body.
So, the miracles and the feeding set the stage for this discourse, which brings us to verse 30. He has claimed to be the One sent from God. He’s told them He’s the One they need. They don’t accept this, they can’t; their minds won’t let them. So in effect they say, “Ah, that’s a pretty big claim, telling us You’re the One approved of God. You’re the One coming down here with this eternal bread. And we’re supposed to believe in You. Well, prove it. How do we know who You are?” That’s, in effect, what they say and Christ replies to them.
So, in verses 30–40 we want to see four things. They make two demands on Christ and Christ gives two replies. They never stop demanding. They never fall at His feet and worship Him. They never fall down and cry for mercy and love Him. They don’t do anything but demand of Him. “Do this … do that … give us this.” Christ is not for you or me to govern by our little whims and desires, nor for that multitude.
Demand number one, verses 30 and 31. “They said therefore unto Him, ‘What sign showest Thou then that we may see and believe Thee? What does Thou work?” “You tell us You are the approved one of God to hand out the bread? You tell us that we’re supposed to believe in You? Who are You? If You’re something special, prove it!”
That’s the same crew that the day before had been fed by the creative hands of Jesus Christ. What kind of proof do they want? As if the feeding of thousands, the men and women and children is not enough, they want something else. Church, this a profound lesson, that is exactly the character of unbelief. If we approach belief in terms of signs and wonders it’s a never-ending thing. It’s impossible for the natural man to be convinced of anything in terms of signs and wonders. If he can’t come to the point of simple faith in Christ and His finished work, all the signs and wonders in the world aren’t going to convince him. The Lord said “believe,” they said, “show us a sign.” The Lord said “have faith,” they said, “do a trick.”
This is so characteristic of mankind. Men can be confronted with enumerable evidences of the existence of God and still not believe. And it’s amazing how Christians fall into the same trap. We know the care of God, we know the protection of God, we know the love of God, we know God’s deliverance in various things and God’s working in our lives. We’re so grateful. And all of a sudden some great crisis comes into our lives and we say does God really care? Does God love me? God if You heal So-and-so, I will believe,” coldheartedly asking God to do a sign. “Oh, ye of little faith.”
There are never enough signs, never enough wonders, never enough miracles to shatter their stony heart. This crowd wants more tricks and they’re still hung up on free food.
Verse 31, look what they say. “You say You’re from God. You say You’re the one to deliver this terrific bread.” They’re still thinking of a physical bread but on a permanent basis. “You’re the one that can deliver this. All we have to do is believe in You and You’ll give it to us. How do we know that?” Then they say, “Our fathers did eat manna in the desert, as it is written he gave them bread from heaven to eat.” Get the implication. “Listen, Moses gave us bread from heaven. What are You going to do?”
They’re trying to emphasize to Christ that they want food. That’s why they picked that illustration. They’re saying in effect, You Jesus, You provided enough food for thousands of people, and You fed them till they were full, not bad; however, Moses provided manna from heaven for hundreds of thousands of people every day for 40 years, can You top that?”
And not only that, Jesus, You only multiplied what You had, Moses brought it straight down from heaven. How do we know You’re that prophet, the Messiah, the deliverer of this bread from God? How do we know You’re here to satisfy? I mean, how do we know You’re greater than Moses, look what he did as compared to what You did. Man, if You’re going to catch up with him, you better get moving.
This desire to use Jesus. I see it all the time.
I love Jesus’ reply in verse 32, “Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Truly, truly, verily, verily, amen, amen,” really tacking it down, “I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven, for the bread of God is He, the person, who cometh down from heaven and giveth life unto the world.” Jesus absolutely annihilated their whole reasoning.
He says, “You’ve only made four mistakes, not bad for one sentence.” Mistake number one, “Moses gave you not that bread.” That bread wasn’t from Moses. Back in Exodus 16:4, the Bible says, “Then said the Lord to Moses, ‘I will rain bread from heaven for you.’ ” All Moses did was organized the collection. Moses said, “You go over there and pick up that much … and you go over …” That’s all he did. Moses had nothing to do with that manna that came down. Jesus says, re-read your Scripture; that bread came from God.”
Secondly, “Manna is not the true bread either,” verse 32, “Moses gave you not that bread from heaven, that’s not the true bread from heaven. My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Incidentally, Moses’ bread didn’t last too long either. One day and it was gone. And if you took more than one day’s supply, it would spoil, except on the day before the Sabbath when you could gather a two-days supply. And it’s also interesting to note that Moses’ bread couldn’t give life. True bread comes from heaven and gives life … life. So Jesus explodes the argument thirdly by saying, “Moses gave you only physical nourishment, true bread is spiritual, it gives life.” It’s life-giving bread. It keeps you alive. He’s talking, of course, about spiritual death.
Then the fourth way He explodes the argument, He says, “Manna was only for Israel, in effect, this is for the whole world.” Notice it in verse 33, “Giveth life unto the world.” He’s saying to those Jews, “Oh, that was just a little bit of blessing for one little group of Israelites in one little spot in the world at one little time. The true bread is for every man and every age and every place, the world.” Manna fell in Israel’s camp. True bread is for all.
That must have been a hard thing for those Jews to understand because they assumed that everything revolved around Israel; that all of God’s purposes were involving Israel. And here He was saying you just got a little bit, the real stuff is for the whole world. So Jesus destroys their reasoning, He says manna was temporary and physical and the true bread is eternal and spiritual. Manna was for a few and the true bread is for the world and has an eternal purpose.
And besides, it’s not about how much bread He gave, as opposed to how much bread Moses gave, the question is what kind of bread He gives as opposed to what kind of bread God gave to Moses.
There’s one phrase and I know John would want us to emphasize if he were here. Verse 33, “For the bread of God is He who cometh down from heaven.” That is the incarnation of Jesus Christ. That statement is a tremendous statement on the fact that Christ is God. That bread came down from heaven.
Now look at verse 38, Christ says, “For I came down from heaven.” Go over to chapter 8 and verse 42 and you have the same thing. “Jesus said unto them, ‘If God was your Father, you would love Me for I proceeded forth and came from God.” Over in chapter 13 Christ adds to it this thought, “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He was come from God and went to God.” And over in chapter 16 verse 28, the same thought again, “I came forth from the Father.” And then in 17:8, “For I have given unto them the words Thou gavest Me and they have received them and have surely known that I came out from Thee.”
Christ again and again and again claims to proceed directly from God, deity. So Christ in His reply, in effect, is saying “I am the One come from God bringing a bread of life that gives eternal soul-satisfaction.”
They’re still hung up on the physical needs. So verse 34, “Then said they unto Him, ‘Lord, evermore give us this bread.” For all time, keep on giving us this bread.” They were still thinking about daily food. They were saying, in effect, “Keep on giving to us.” They never did understand what He was talking about. That’s the measure of the natural mind; it does not understand the things of God. They’re spiritually discerned and spiritual discernment is absent in the natural mind.
First, they demand “prove it,” and now they demand “give it.” You’ve got it, give it to us. Instead of saying, “Lord, what do we have to do to receive it?” Always demanding, always demanding.
His reply is tremendous. Jesus replies to their second demand to give them this bread. They were still talking physical. Verse 35. “Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life.” Can’t you just see them? Huh? He’s the bread of life? What is He talking about? I love this verse, “He that cometh to Me shall never hunger and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” You know He’s not talking about physical things, I get thirsty, I even get hungry, that’s normal. He’s not talking about physical hunger. He’s talking about the soul. He is saying, “I satisfy the soul.” The soul stops thirsting and the soul stops hungering when we meet Jesus Christ, isn’t that satisfaction? There’s no more hunger in the soul when you’ve met Jesus Christ. He becomes food and nourishment. He is the soul food that gives satisfaction.
I remember that song years ago, entitled, “I can’t get no satisfaction,” or something like that. What a commentary on our world and what a joy to just realize that I have absolute perfect satisfaction in Jesus Christ. He’s fed my soul, He keeps on feeding my soul, He quenches the thirst of my soul, there’s never a moment that I don’t have His supply.
There’s two key words in verse 35, Come and believe … come and believe. Those are the two things; you believe in Jesus Christ, you’ve got to come to Him. It’s not enough to believe, the devils believe and tremble. Believe in Him and come to Christ, that means to fall on your face before Him and say, “I’m unworthy, but I want Your love and I want You to redeem me.” He is the only One who imparts and sustains life. He says, in effect, “I am the bread and whoever believes that and comes to Me, and eats that bread his soul is satisfied.
The great union that a believer has with Christ becomes satisfaction as Christ is the food that satisfies the soul. It is Jesus Christ who came from God. It is Jesus Christ infinitely greater than Moses. It is Jesus Christ to whom you must come because it is in Him alone that you may believe and eat and drink of a food that gives satisfaction for eternity. And that food indeed is Christ Himself. Isn’t that a beautiful thought that Christ not only gives the bread, He is the bread? He said the same thing about life. He said, “I came to give life,” and then He turned around and said, “I am life.” He said, “I came to give you water,” and then He turned around and said, “I am that water.”
Everything that Christ gives He is. He said, “I came to bring peace,” and He is peace. He said, “I came to bring love,” and He is love. Everything He brings He is, so when you have Him, you have everything, Soul satisfaction.
There are a lot of people searching and there are a lot of people longing for something in their soul, but there’s no searching of the human mind and there’s no longing of the human heart that can know satisfaction apart from Jesus Christ. The hungry heart only needs one food, Jesus Christ.
Jesus says in verse 36, and it’s sad, “But,” and I can almost sense a despair in His voice, “I said unto you that ye also have seen Me and believed not.” Remember He said that back in chapter 5 and verse 40, “You will not come to Me that you might have life.” He says, “You saw the miracles, you just won’t believe.” That’s sad. They didn’t want Him. They only wanted His physical food. Oh, they followed Him all over the place not because they believed. They wanted what He had to give. That’s sad. I know folks like that today.
Verse 37, it’s a whole different view. Look what He says. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.” He’s saying to this multitude, “You have seen and you won’t believe.” And then like sunlight He turns and says, “But I know one thing, all that the Father gives to Me, they’ll come.” “You may not hear and you may not believe, but, O joy, all that the Father gives, they’ll come.” that was the great encouragement of the heart of Christ. That’s the encouragement of everybody who serves Jesus Christ. We look out over the multitudes and preach and pour our hearts out knowing the Father will send some.
If we looked at the world and judged God’s power by the response of men, we’d give up. I’ve many times poured out my heart and nothing happened. But, that’s all right, because all that the Father gives to Christ are going to come. Maybe not everybody but all that the Father gives are going to come. That’s what Jesus said. I love that, “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.”
Church, I’m not responsible for who gets saved. I refuse that responsibility. My Father’s got that responsibility so I can look over the multitude and say, “You won’t believe,” but then “Oh, but all that the Father gives to Christ, they’ll come.” I mean, that’s exciting. If you’re a Christian you’re a gift from God to His Son Jesus? That excites me. I’m not worth it by a long shot and I don’t know why God ever chose me for a gift, but He did in His sovereignty.
They are those of whom Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2:13, “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation.” In John 10 He says of His sheep, “All of My sheep have been given to Me by the Father,” all of them. And here in John 6 and verse 65 He says, “Therefore said I unto you that no man can come unto Me except it were given unto him of My Father.”
Every believer in this world is a gift of God the Father to Christ the Son. So Jesus does not despair over unbelief, because He knows that all who come to Him are gifts of the Father.
Verse 37 also says, “And him that cometh to Me I’ll in no wise cast out.” If you have been given as a gift by God the Father to Jesus Christ, you are as secure as the love bond between Jesus and the Father, that’s secure. Jesus is not about to throw away the gifts of the Father, it can’t happen.
Nobody in this world would even come to Jesus Christ if it weren’t given by the Father … no man comes unto Me except the Father draw him. Paul says in Romans 3, “No man seeks after God.” And anyone that the Father gives to Jesus Christ comes. Anyone who comes, Jesus receives and does not cast out.
Verse 38 tells why Christ would never refuse the Gifts of the Father. “For I came down from heaven not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” I wouldn’t refuse a gift from the Father because I came to do the Father’s will. I didn’t come to do Mine own will. I’m not here to do what I want. If the Father gives Me a gift, and that’s His will, I say, “Okay, Father, I’m here to do Your will.” When God gives a gift, Christ accepts the gift because Christ always does the will of the Father.
How many times has He already said that in John’s gospel? “I came not to do My will but the will of the Father.” “Mine is to do the will of Him that sent Me,” over and over and over He says it. And if the Father’s will is to give a gift, its Christ’s will to receive that gift, He never goes against the Father’s will. So, He says I came down from heaven not to do Mine own will but the will of Him that sent Me.
In verse 39, “And this is the Father’s will who hath sent Me, that of all that He hath given Me, I should lose nothing.” Notice the end of that verse, “And raise it up at the last day.” The same body of believers is going to be the exact same body that’s going to stand in the presence of Jesus Christ at the end of the world because He’s not going to lose one of them along the way. “I shall lose nothing but raise it …” notice that “it,” not them, it. What does the “it” refer to? The totality all.
But He doesn’t stop there. He closes with an invitation in verse 40. If you think it’s all in the decree of God, lest you think that election is all a part of God and we have nothing to do, you’re very wrong. I want you to see the human side of God’s sovereignty, verse 40, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me that everyone … does that exclude anybody? … that everybody who sees the Son and believes on Him may have everlasting life.” Do you see it from the human side? You see, the divine side is all wrapped up in the decree of God. The human side is anyone who wants to come.
That’s a great mystery of the Bible, the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. Jesus says all that the Father gives to Me will come to Me and nobody will come to Me except the Father gives him. Then He turns the thing right around and says but anybody who wants to come can. You say, “That doesn’t make sense?” Maybe it’s just because our brains are a little too finite to comprehend divine love and divine grace.
How do we reconcile it? We don’t. The Bible teaches both. Does that bother me? Not a bit. You know what it tells me? It tells me God’s deeper and more mysterious than my comprehension and I’m glad to know that.
It is true that the “everyone” who sees the Son and believes on Him are going to be ones drawn by the Father. But from my viewpoint, I have to respond, it’s my own choice. For example, I didn’t get saved because one day I discovered a list of who was elected and read my name under the R’s. No, I didn’t come to Christ one day cause I looked on my back and saw stamped there “Elected.” No. I came to Christ because I saw the Son and I believed on Him and I wanted Him. That’s the human side. But I know now that I saw Him and I believed and I wanted Him because God was drawing me.
I say to you as we close, if you can sense the reality of Jesus Christ and you have a desire to believe on Him and come to Him, that’s the Father drawing you. And if He’s drawing you, you better come because you’re to be a gift to the Son. Put your life in the hands of the soul satisfier.
I always think of the story of the prodigal son, he wanted life, really rip-snorting life. He looked around the house and said, “This house is a drag,” or some such words. “I’m getting out. I’m going to blow this thing and go where the action is.” We know what he wanted, he wanted life, real life and he interpreted life this way, life was clothes, shoes, jewelry, money, eat, drink and party time. That was life. He said, “I’m getting out of this place, I’m going where that is.” So he took off. Wow, clothes, shoes, money, jewelry, eat, drink, party time. You know what he got? Pig slop. Then he crawled up out of the slop and went home. And you know what he got when he got home? Clothes, his father put a robe on him, shoes-new shoes, jewelry-gave him a ring, money, all his wants, had a feast, eat, and drank and a party. Everything the prodigal son wanted he had in the father’s house.
This world is looking for a lot of things and looking in all the wrong places. It’s in the Father’s house. I don’t know what you’re looking for but I know who’s got it and Jesus Christ is the soul satisfier. You eat of that bread, you never hunger again.
Father, we thank You for Your Word, Your truth, so living, so vital, so thrilling to our hearts. Father, continue to teach us the joys of feasting on Jesus Christ and if there are some people here this morning who do not know Christ as Savior, may this be the day when they put their trust in Him. If they feel the drawing power of the Father, may they respond in love and faith and may they come to Him this day. There are people who don’t understand the fellowship of the body of Christ; there are people who don’t know Jesus Christ. God, we pray that You’ll help us to reach them. And for Christians, Lord, who have drifted away from the warmth of that first love, God, we pray that You’ll restore them.
We pray in the name of Christ. Amen.