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Sunday, August 26, 2018

posted Aug 28, 2018, 7:43 PM by Site Administrator

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I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE

 

John 6:22-40

Key Verse 6:35

 

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."

 

First, "Do not work for food that spoils" (22-27). In the previous passage, after having fed the crowd of five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, Jesus trained his disciples through the storm because of his great hope and vision for them. While they were going through a very hard time, he was praying for them. Jesus even came to them in the middle of the lake, walking on the water, in the midst of the storm. It was really cool! Jesus was really awesome! While the disciples received this special training and came to Capernaum, what was the crowd on the other side of the lake doing? Verses 22 through 25 shows that they had stayed where Jesus had fed them, and, the next day, they began looking for him. They reasoned that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. So, "Jesus must be here," they thought. They never imagined that he had joined his disciples overnight by coming to them walking on the water. Eventually, however, they realized that he was not there. "Where did he go?" They did not stop looking for him. They got into some boats that had landed there from Tiberias and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. Usually, it is the shepherd who looks for the sheep, but here the sheep were working hard and looking for the shepherd! When they found him on the other side of the lake, they exclaimed, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" They looked like good sheep, looking for the shepherd earnestly. If we have this kind of sheep, we will be happy. But how did Jesus respond? Look at verses 26 and 27. Let’s read these verses together:

 

26Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."

 

Jesus was not happy with the crowd. He did not welcome them. Rather he pointed out their wrong motive, saying, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill." They spent time and energy to look for Jesus so that they could fulfill their own desire trough him - they wanted to utilize him for their own desire. How do you feel, if some people look for you earnestly, googling your name, finding your address, contacting your colleagues and family members, willing to travel a long distance, so that they can utilize you for their own purpose? Definitely, not good. Neither does Jesus. This makes us think about why we come to Jesus. Why do I come to church, why do I spend time and energy in looking for Jesus? We must do all these, not so that we can get what we desire in and through him. Instead, we must do all these to worship him, because he is our God; we must do all these to serve him, because he is our king; we must do all these because we love him.

 

Jesus told them, "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you." This statement of Jesus shows us what we should live for. The phrase "work for" refers to the purpose of all our struggles. We go to school and study hard, spending countless hours in the classroom and in the library. What for? Some of us work full-time, eight hours a day, five days a week. Again, what for? What is our purpose? What are we working for? What are we living for? Outwardly, the crowd was looking for Jesus, spending time and energy. But Jesus pointed out that they did so to get some food that would spoil.

 

"Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life." Here, Jesus sums up all people’s life struggles into two categories according to their purpose. One is to live for something that spoils, and the other is to live for something that endures to eternal life. We must check out whether we are living for something that spoils, whose value decreases and will eventually be gone, or for something that endures to eternal life. During high school many teenagers work hard for popularity and attention. So they do so many crazy things and enjoy some popularity. But after high school, no one remembers them, and they only feel miserable and lonely. They worked for food that spoils. Some people work for romance or affection. They invest everything into it, including their youth, purity and all their potential. When they feel like they have found the right one, they jump into a marriage relationship. But soon after, it loses value, and they don’t feel that sense of romance or happiness anymore. Rather, they find that the other person is totally different after marriage, and they fight a lot, hate each other and divorce. They worked for food that spoils. This is what people in the world do all the time - no matter what they do, eventually, they work for and live for something that spoils such as money, career or marriage. As a result, their life is empty and meaningless. That's why at the end of their life, all of them scream, "Tragedy! Tragedy!"

 

But the problem is that this is how many Christians live their life also, pursuing what spoils, pouring out their time and energy on things that will not last. The worst matter is that, like these crowd in the passage, some people pursue what they desire even by utilizing Jesus, using the church or the name of Jesus. As children of God, we must be different. Jesus says in Matthew 6, "The pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." We must live for food that endures to eternal life. What food lasts forever? Nothing in the world lasts forever. Only things of God last forever - God's name, God's kingdom, God's words, God's people, and everything we do for God last forever. Jesus here introduces himself as the very one who gives us food that endures to eternal life, which we must work for and live for. As the authorized person with God's seal of approval, Jesus gives us the mission we must live for and die for. When we live for this mission, pouring out our time and energy, our life is really fulfilling, because what we have worked for does not spoil, but remains. Again, as children of God, we must love God alone, and thereby, we must live for Him alone. Work for food that endures to eternal life, which Jesus your God gives you.

 

Second, "The work of God is this" (28-31). Look at verse 28. The crowd did not want to give up their desire for a free meal. They said to Jesus, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Wow! If they were to get what they desired, they were willing to do anything God required - maybe, memorizing 10 verses a day, or praying one hour three times a day, or taking care of homeless people, or having Bible study and attending worship service, or even doing some evangelical activity. They were willing to do whatever, if they could secure what they desired. 

 

At this, Jesus said to them, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." Let's read verse 29 together:

 

Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

 

Their concept of the work of God was general: there are many things that are generally expected for God's people to do such as being nice to others, taking care of poor people, or doing some religious things such as attending the church for worship service, or praying. They were willing to do all things. But Jesus answered them that what God wanted them to do was not such things, but to believe in the one God had sent them. That's what God required them to do - to believe in the one God had sent. When God sent Jonah the prophet to the people of Nineveh, what God desired was that they would accept him as his messenger, pay attention to his message and turn to Him in repentance. When God sent Jeremiah the prophet to the people of Judah, His will was that they might accept Jeremiah as his messenger and accept his message, instead of saying, "I already believe in God." When God sent Jesus to the people of Israel, God's will was that they might accept him as His messenger for them and turn to Him in repentance, instead of insisting their own religious life and Bible knowledge. 

 

The work of God is indeed to believe in the one God has sent. When people believe in the one God has sent as God's messenger, personally sent to them to help them and guide them, there they experience God's love deeply; then, God's will for them becomes very clear as they pay attention to the message and guidance of that servant, and thereby, they can see everything clearly - what they must do and how to serve God - not just doing tasteless religious rituals endlessly, but doing exactly what God wants them to do; then, they can pour out all their energy, strength and wealth on serving and pursuing God's will upon their life, as a result, their life becomes action-packed and powerful. This is the work of God: to believe in the one he has sent.

 

When we think about this carefully, we can see that the work of God which God requires us to do is very personal and practical - believing in the one God has sent us. God is reaching to us very personally showing us what He wants us to do and how we should serve Him by sending us his messenger - there is God's calling and His assignment on each person. Yet, people's problem is that, instead of accepting what God is doing in their life by sending his servant to them, they turn the work of God into something general and religious. One young man was very touched by God's word during Mark 10 Bible study about the rich young man. God showed him what to do - "One thing you lack: Go, sell everything you have, give to the poor, then you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." He knew what God was talking about - his girlfriend - so that he would live as Jesus' disciple. When he came to the next Bible study three days later, he exclaimed, "I could not sleep for the past three days." Yet, eventually, he refused God's will upon his life, because he didn't want to give up his girlfriend. Instead, he quit the Bible study, saying that he would go to other church. What God wants us to do is not that we may live a religious life going this church or that church; God's will is not that we may be nice to others, doing a lot of philanthropic things; instead, he wants us to accept his will upon us and do what He wants us to do very specifically. That's why the work of God is very personal and specific; it is very real and practical. God does his work by sending his servants. Jesus says in John 13:20, "I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me." The work of God isthis: to believe in the one he has sent.

Third"I am the bread of life" (30-40). Look at verses 30 and 31. So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you?" Since Jesus declared that he was the one whom God had sent and the work of God was to believe in him, people challenged Jesus to prove his identity as the one sent by God through a miraculous sign. And they hinted at what kind of a miracle they wanted him to perform, saying that, Moses, as the one sent by God, gave their forefathers manna in the desert. So, if Jesus provided bread, like Moses had done, they would believe in him as the one sent by God! How did Jesus respond? Look at verses 32 and 33. Let’s read these verses together:

 

32Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

 

The crowd said that Moses had fed their forefathers with manna in the desert. But it was not Moses who gave them manna, but God. They twisted the truth of the Bible to fit their desire to get bread from Jesus; Jesus corrected them, not toargue about Bible facts, but to show them what God does for people. Jesus introduces God as the One who gives people bread from heaven. Here notice that the expression, "from heaven" is repeated 3 times. When the Israelites came to the desert according to God’s guidance, they had one serious problem: They had nothing to eat in the desert! How could at least two million people, survive in the desert, not only for one week, or one month, but for forty years? They survived because God hadprovided them with food to eat each and every day, but, this food, called "manna," was very special in that it came down from heaven. All foods that we eat daily come from the ground. All kinds of pasta, rice, Rib Eye steak, bread, and delicious fruitcome from the ground. But this manna came down from heaven. They ate heavenly food. God could have fed them however he wanted, like turning rocks into bread. So why did God feed them in this way? Through this, God reveals a deep spiritual truth. Human consists of two parts: the flesh that came from the dust of the ground and the spirit that came from heaven, from GodSince our body came from the ground, God provides all kinds of delicious and nutritious food from the ground. And because of this provision of God, we maintain our life, grow strong and prosper on earth. But since our spirit is from God, from heaven, God provides food for our spirit from heaven, so that our spirit may grow strong, sound and healthy. Manna in the desert shows God’s deep desire to nourish our spirit with heavenly bread so that our spirit may grow strong and we may enjoy a soundspiritual life. This is our God who is concerned about our well being, both physically and spiritually; He is the One who provides us with physical bread and spiritual bread. He is our Father in heaven who loves us and provides us with everything we need so that we can enjoy a delightful life. 

 

Jesus says, "It is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." Manna has such profound meaning, and yet, it is still the shadow of the true bread from heaven, which God gives. What is then, the true bread from heaven? Jesus says, "For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven." It is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came down from heaven and gives life to the world. Jesus is the true bread God gives us so that our spirits can be nourished and grow sound and healthy; with him, we can live a spiritual life, and enjoy life, zoe, eternal life, that is truly fulfilling. This is God's design.

 

Then, as soon as the crowd heard Jesus mention about the bread from heaven to give life to the world, they were so excited! That’s what they had been talking about! So they shouted in unison, "Sir, from now on give us this bread." They completely misunderstood what Jesus said and kept asking for physical bread not only at that moment but, from then on, for the rest of their lives. How did Jesus respond? Look at verse 35. Let's read this verse together:

 

"Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’"

 

This is Jesus' declaration that he is the bread of life, the bread of zoe. He describes the blessings people can have by coming to him as "never go hungry" and "never be thirsty,"which mean true satisfaction, truly fulfilling. When you have this true satisfaction, true fulfillment, you do not look for things that will satisfy you in the world any longer; so, you stop wandering in the world; instead, your soul find deep peace and rest. All these are what zoe, life that is in Jesus is about. When you come to Jesus, you will have this true satisfaction and fulfillment; then, you don't live as endless wanderers on earth any longer, but you live as children of God loving God and serving Him. 

 

This bread of life, the very bread that gives zoe, that truly fulfilling life to everyone who eats it is what all peoples on earth have been looking for. Some people thought that making a lot of money will be the bread of zoe, but they all died in emptiness. Some people think that finding that someone special will be the bread of zoe, but they all become so bitter and empty. Often, we become like the people in the passage, pursuing something we desire even in Jesus; sometimes, we are sidetracked by money because of financial burden; sometimes, when we are not married, we dream about romantic marriage life even in Jesus; sometimes, we even want to cut a deal with God about these things. Then, we become hungry and thirsty; we are not so fulfilled; instead, we become strange in words and actions. Why do such things happen to us even in Christ? It's because, instead of coming to Jesus, we come to those things. Remember that only Jesus is the bread of life; only he is the bread of zoe. Jesus wants us to pursue him so that we can have zoe in him, so that we may never go hungry or thirsty. 

 

Look at verses 36 and 37. Let's read these verses together:

 

36But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

 

Sadly, even after Jesus offered them this gracious and wonderful gift, they rejected his offer. But Jesus was not discouraged because he knew that, even though all of them rejected him, there were people prepared by God - they would come to him and believe in him. Even though the whole crowd was not willing to deny their desires for breadJesus was comforted at the thought of seeing the people whom God had prepared for him - they would accept his teaching and follow his guidance. Jesus says in John, "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." What kind of people are those on the side of the truth? They are the ones who acknowledge the truth and live by it, even if it is costly and painful. Such people listen to Jesus, while others makes excuses. They come to Jesus. When we think about this, we see that real Christians are no ordinary in God's eyes - they are great - those on the side of truth. Jesus says, "Whoever comes to me I will never drive away." Their sins may be great; they may have lived as party animals; maybe, they were gang members, or thirsty Samaritans. Yet, no matter whatthey have done, if they come to Jesus, he will not drive them away; instead, he will accept them, cherish them as those prepared by God. 

 

Look at verses 38 through 40. Let's read these verses together:

 

38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

 

Jesus says, "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me." If Jesus had done what the crowds demanded and satisfied their desires, he would have been instantly accepted and popular. But it was not God’s will for Jesus to make them accept him by satisfying their desires. God’s will for him was to take care of the people sent by God so that he shall lose none of them but raise them up at the last day. He would not compromise with the crowd even if all of them should leave him. Instead, he was looking for the people who would come to him and believe in him as the bread of life that gives life to the world. He would teach them, protect them, live together with them and eventually, lay down his life for them so they could flourish and enjoy their life.

 

Jesus is the bread of life that came down from heaven to give life to the world. People are hungry for many things. In search of meaning and purpose for their lives, they wander a lot without having any rest of their souls. But Jesus declares, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." Let’s come to Jesus with all our problems and pursue him, and we will never go hungry.

 

One Word: Jesus Is The Bread Of Life

 

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