SanLo Community, an update for the week of February 24, 2019…
Thank you Pastor Brian for the message from John 6:26-35, “Bread of Life.” In our preaching series, Treasuring Christ, from the book of John, it is my hope that we gain a greater hunger for Jesus Christ who calls Himself the Bread of Life. Before studying today’s verses, a quick summary of some miraculous signs that point to Jesus as the One who can truly satisfy our spiritual appetite. (v.2) Jesus heals the sick; (v.10) Jesus feeds 5,000; (v.19) Jesus walks on water; (v.21) Jesus, with disciples and boat, immediately or at once gets to the land they were going, like being transported in Star Trek. Any one of these events is enough to show that Jesus was not an ordinary man. With this background leading up to today’s scripture, let’s begin addressing the question, Why did Jesus call Himself the bread of life?
Jesus calls Himself the Bread of Life because… He SATISFIES hunger. (vv.26-27) When you’re really hungry don’t you look forward to getting a bite to eat? That grumbling in your tummy won’t go away until you get some food. You need something to eat to satisfy that hunger. Jesus uses those hunger pains to teach radical truth. (vv. 26-27) “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God has set His seal.” Verse 26 tells us that Jesus knows the motivation of the crowds following Him. He knew they sought Him out because He fed them. He knew that because He satisfied their physical hunger they followed Him. In these two short verses He peaks the interest of the crowd by saying not to work for food that is temporary and perishes but work for food that is eternal. Jesus caught their attention by satisfying their physical hunger to teach that spiritual hunger can only be satisfied through Him.
The story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with two fish and five loaves of bread (v.9) was barley bread. Barley was less expensive than wheat and therefore readily available for the masses. Barley bread illustrates that the Bread of eternal life is readily available to every spiritually hungry person in this world. Only Jesus can fully satisfy our spiritual hunger pains. There is no other who knows and meets our deepest needs; but there is more. Jesus not only completes our lives, He nourishes and nurtures life. Jesus is the source of eternal life that feeds our souls. We are kept alive eternally to live with Father God.
Jesus calls Himself the Bread of life because... He SUSTAINS life. (vv.28-35) Bread during the time of Jesus was a staple food. Barley and wheat fields were like the rice fields of Japan. Bread was eaten at every meal to maintain the energy to live. Bread sustained life as they knew it. (vv.33-35) “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world. Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” After Jesus raises the desire among the crowds to work for food that does not perish, they ask a reasonable question in verse 28, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” In other words, how can we work for this food that has no end? Jesus answered in verse 29, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” You can tell that the people didn’t recognize the eternal food was Jesus because of the next two verses 30-33. It’s comical that after the healings, feeding 5,000, walking on water and being transported they ask for more signs. Instead of more miraculous signs Jesus says in verse 35, “I am the bread of life.” This astounding statement is the first “I AM” of a series of “I AM’s” in the book of John. When Jesus said “I am the bread of life,” He in effect was calling Himself God the “I AM WHO I AM” from Exodus 3:14 “I AM” identifies God as the uncreated Creator, the source of all things, who originated everything and who sustains everything that exists. God is not made by something or someone, He is self-existent. The Jews who were listening automatically understood it as a claim to deity. “I am the Bread of Life”, is saying Jesus is essential for life. He is proclaiming that He is the life giving God who gives life in the present and the future. He is eternal life both now and forever. Jesus is God and those who believe this, that is the life sustaining work of God.
Maybe you have or are experiencing a heaviness of heart in your life. What part of your life do you feel spiritually empty? Husbands or wives, are you struggling in your marriage relationship? Is there a distance between the two of you? Parents do you feel overwhelmed or burdened with the challenges of raising your children? Maybe you’re a single person who battles loneliness or longing for a mate? As a young person the journey to define and discover yourself is daunting. Whatever is your situation, when dealing with life’s pressures, relief comes when we are spiritually fulfilled. Jesus, the source of life, the Bread of life, is the only One who can truly SATISFY and SUSTAIN you.