Sermons and Reflections

Jesus – the Bread of Life – February 17th 2019

John 6: 25-40

When Jesus said, “I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE”, he (absolutely) meant his hearers to know that the very God who provided the manna to their forefathers was (now) standing right in front of them! His claim, “I AM the BREAD OF LIFE” was more than just poetry – it was a sermon about food – difficult but dynamite…

John’s Gospel sets out to prove the identity of Jesus as the eternal, self-existent, unconditioned, unlimited & unfathomable I AM (God).

‘I Am’, ‘I Am Who I Am’ is an echo of God’s words to Moses from the burning bush; it was the signature of God – I will not be defined by you…

IE: ‘all of this, all that I AM I AM for you’ – light, the door, the shepherd-guide, the Resurrection, the Life, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Vine, the place of safety…

35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Most everyone loves food. Some food doesn’t love us! Everyone needs food. Food will bring people together… Everyone knows if you lay on a good spread, chances are the people will come! That is a fact of human nature and church life. People have always asked, ‘What’s on the menu?’ Throw in a little entertainment as well and they’ll hang around happily, ‘til you get to the gospel-bit! This is nothing new…

Two things only the people anxiously desire — bread and circuses.”

The government kept the Roman populace happy by distributing free food and staging huge spectacles, both designed to distract the masses – to keep the peasants from revolting…

Speaking to the crowds who had seen or heard about the miracle of the feeding of the 5k, and followed him to Capernaum, Jesus said,

The only reason you are here with me is for a free lunch. Let’s be honest. You’re not interested in me or in what my signs point to; you’re not interested in spiritual things; but in material things which have a limited shelf-life, like food. Don’t waste your energy! Don’t waste your time! Spend, instead, your energies in coming to me and seeking the eternal life that I can give you; spend your energy believing in me – the true bread, the bread of God…’

The people don’t like the sound of that.

‘Give us a sign instead. If you are who you say you are, entertain us, amaze us like Moses; if we can’t get bread we’ll have a circus instead! Then we’ll believe in you!’ (Really?!)

“I’ll believe in God if he puts a million dollars in my Swiss bank account!” (Woody Allen)

This is how most people live. It seems to be what their lives consist of. If they pray it will be for more stuff or better experiences. Material things: and the truth is most people will never be filled or satisfied. People can be well-off, well-fed, well-dressed, well-educated, well-entertained, well-liked - but never (well) full.

Their wardrobes are full but really they’re naked; their barns are full to bursting but, that very night, God may ask them for their lives back – but still they want more…

They are like the crew of the Black Pearl (In The Pirates of The Caribbean); these men are cursed because they have endless supplies of food but they have no taste, no real enjoyment from the food or nourishment; never enough and the food turns (manna) to ashes in their mouths…

These things do not last or satisfy. Why? Because…

He (GOD) has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. (Ecc 3)

When Jesus declared Himself to be the Bread of Life he was acknowledging that deep inside every human being there is a yearning that only God/He can satisfy – that of the human heart or spirit.

There are deeper needs (for meaning/significance/security and acceptance) he has come to meet, to fill the “God-shaped vacuum” – to bring restless hearts to rest when they find Him…

Jesus offers the crowd an invitation to stop, to turn, to look and come and to trust him to take care of all of those needs – not just for daily bread but for eternal life. Taste it and see…

Even when the Lord tells them again and again:

47 “I tell you the truth; anyone who believes has eternal life. 48 Yes, I am the bread of life! 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. 50 Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live…

Even with all of that on the menu (taste and see!) the conversation ends.

36 But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me…

And many in the crowd begin to murmur, and disagree and argue among themselves…

They leave because they want the same “Mouldy Old Dough!” (Lieutenant Pigeon)

However, there are some in the crowd for whom Jesus has become the Bread of Life, for whom Jesus has become someone real; they have seen and come and believed and received; they are kept and protected – now and always; they know where they’re going and know something of the real meaning of The Life…

What about you?

They know which side their bread is really buttered!

37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.

38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.

39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.

40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

 

MFR