I Am the Bread of Life – John 6:21-71
This message is a part of our series on the Gospel of John.
Find the rest of the messages in this series here.
I’m so glad to be back with you. It was a lot of fun to preach at the National Convention last week to a couple thousand people and broadcast online through a few different mediums- not gonna lie. That was a lot of fun. This is home. I’m glad to be with you and I’m thankful for Pastor Eric breaking down the beginning of John 6. Can I just say that it is such a blessing to me to have Pastor Eric, who I know is going to be faithful to the text preach in my stead.
Pastor Eric covered the beginning of chapter 6 and I’ve got the 2nd part, but this part is like more than 2/3 of the chapter. It’s 50 verses. It could totally be 4 sermons… So ya’ll pray for the 11:00 service cause I could just go ahead and preach all of it…
I’m going to highlight some key themes through these 50 verses.
The number one idea I want you to get is the idea of I am.
In the gospel of John we have 7 signs or miracles and 7 I am statements.
These I am statements that Jesus makes about himself are powerful declarations that He is God.
It comes from Moses encounter with God at the burning bush. Moses says who should I say has sent me?
God says, tell them the I AM has sent you.
The idea here is that God is I am that I am. The idea is really more of an ongoing existing, so I be who I be.
This works for God, but it doesn’t work for us.
For us we need connections- we need context.
When Kevin Bass introduced me at the National he introduced me as a Grandson, son, husband, father, pastor, and friend.
He was giving context to who I am.
When we said see you later to Bob Scales a couple weeks ago, they obituary listed all of his family, both those who have preceded him in death and those who are still with us…
God is on a whole other level.
God can say, I am who I am.
God has no ancestor. God has no one who predates Him.
God has no one who is His equal. God has no colleagues.
There’s also an element of I am who I say that I am, not who you say that I am.
I like the way Matt Chandler put this, he said you can think whatever you want about the big yellow ball in the sky- you can say it doesn’t look that big. It doesn’t seem that hot. Get up close to it and you’ll realize just how big and hot it is…
However, God does give us analogies to who He is so that we can understand Him.
So if you were make a model of the Solar System, you could see how big the sun is in relation to the other planets.
-BIG YELLOW ONE IS THE SUN
Jesus gives us these statements which help us understand God.
This statement comes in a specific context.
Read John 6:24-27
In our context it might be hard to understand this compulsion, or at least appreciate it. In our culture today, you can be poor and be overweight. We have so perfected our agricultural and preservation systems, that food comes at a relatively cheaper cost than ever before.
In their day, food came at a high cost. The only overweight people were wealthy. Food was a lot of work. The only way you could eat lots of it was to have plenty of money…
Where as a Mercedes Benz might be a status symbol in our culture, a spare tire around your gut was a status symbol in those days…
For someone to have the ability to make food appear like Jesus did in the beginning of this chapter, that was huge!
Jesus said, the reason you are looking for me is not because you believe, but because you were filled. You are looking for more bread.
In verse 27 Jesus speaks to this labor they give themselves to… He says labor not for the meat which perishes, but rather labor for the meat which passes not away.
In verse 28 they want to know what they’ve got to do.
They are looking for a checklist.
If I can just do these things and then I’ll know that I’m good.
That I’m set.
We all want this, just tell me what to do!
Verse 29, Jesus says the only work to do is to beleive.
It’s a checklist of 1 thing… But it’s not easy.
It’s simple, but it’s not easy.
You see, believing is more than saying “I believe God is real.” Believing Jesus is saying He’s right. He knows more than me. Whenever we come to a place where my heart and will want to go left and he’s pointing to the right, I’ll go right.
Now the people get a little sneaky, because they say. Oh, well show us a sign that we might believe. By the way, Moses brought bread down from heaven, maybe you could do that…
Last year for Trunk or Treat, our family dressed up as the cast of Napoleon Dynamite. By the way, my costume was the best costume I’ve ever done because I still regularly wear those pants as pajama pants… the kids love it…
The plot of that movie is that Pedro is running for class president. He closes his speech by saying that if you vote for me, all your dreams will come true.
This is clearly an outlandish statement that he can’t deliver on, like most politicians, he’s just trying to get their vote.
Jesus on the other hand, he doesn’t say follow me and I’ll give you what you want. He doesn’t say follow me and I’ll feed you with this bread. Rather, he says, follow me, not so your belly is full.
Follow me so your soul is full.
He tells them, the bread of this world does not endure.
It doesn’t last.
Jesus is trying to tell them, you’re worried about what you can get for the here and now and I’m trying to give you something so much
more important than all of that…
You’re striving after something you’re fathers had, and they died. Let me give you something greater than all of that, let me give you something that can truly satisfy and endure.
You see, we strive all of our lives for things that do not satisfy.
If you could wave a magic wand and make some aspect or every aspect of your life better, you would still be unsatisfied.
If you were suddenly famous. If you were suddenly rich.
If you were suddenly living in a better place.
If you suddenly had a better job.
If suddenly your guy was in control in Washington DC.
If you were suddenly control in Washington DC…
None of that would satisfy. It would be empty.
It would be like an ice cream cone. Nice, but gone way too quick.
Candy might draw a crowd, but it doesn’t feed an army.
The prosperity gospel might draw a crowd, but it doesn’t make disciples.
The people were disappointed, but then they became offended.
They were curios how Jesus was going to give them bread in and of himself, Jesus doesn’t soften the blow here. Instead he doubles down on what it causing them to be offended.
He wasn’t being offensive for the sake of being offensive.
However, he wasn’t capitulating on the truth of who he was.
He was telling them that in him was the bread of life.
Jesus would make this statement more clear with the disciples at the last supper. He would equate the bread they were eating with his body which is broken for them on the cross.
He would equate the wine they were drinking with his blood which would be spilt in great amounts at the cross.
He would connect this eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood with trusting in His sacrifice on the cross.
We are plugged into life by being plugged into the source of life.
We are only able to access the source of life because Christ took the sin which separates us from the father.
This gives us life, life eternal and life abundant.
Remember, John wrote the life story of Jesus so that we might believe on His name and that by believing we might have life.
We miss out on life whenever we go running after some thing that promises to give us the life. We miss out on life whenever labor for bread of this world.
Today, we don’t labor much for bread.
Maybe you’re toiling for money.
Maybe you’re desperate for affection.
Maybe you’re dying for meaning.
We are all looking for some sort of indication that we matter. That we’re important. That we’re doing a good job.
Here’s what’s rough in our current culture and context.
We have a device that we carry around with us 24/7 that regularly tells us we are not enough.
I love using technology.
This past week I worked hard on the media commission producing several video clips each night.
It was great for within hours of a new Executive Secretary being elected that I had the clip of his opening remarks online for missionaries in Utah, Japan, and Spain to watch.
We honored Tim and Pam Jones on successfully planting their church in PA, I had that clip up that evening and missionaries were able to see that we honor the sacrifices they make…
I love all of that, but I’m also recognizing there’s a serious downside with that upside. There are pros and there are cons.
Nicole shared this thing with me. A woman posted a little article about how she was at the pool with her kids.
They took photos…
Somewhere a mom in a messy house with screaming kids is looking at that and thinking, man I’m really an awful parent. I’m just struggling to make it and they spent the day at the pool with all these color co-ordinated outfits…
In Christ, I have life. Real life. It’s not because I finally get my act together and do impressive stuff and lose the weight…
Listen I had coffee and an Oreo for breakfast today, I’ve not been on my A game with making healthy choices, but the fact that I’m a mess doesn’t mean that I don’t have life in Christ.
In Him is life and satisfaction, he is the bread of life. He gives us not satisfaction for our cravings, but sustenance for our souls.
If we are only coming to Him for what we can get from Him, we are not in Him. By the way, we can do this for religious reasons as well. Most of these people were extremely religious. Far more religious than you or I…
This passage tells us Jesus taught these things in the synagogue…
They knew all about Moses…
(I already know everything about Moses)
You can be religious and treat Jesus as your spiritual ATM.
The disciples no longer followed Him.
67Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
There were no doubt things Jesus said and did that Peter was not a fan of, but whenever Jesus came against the desires of Peters heart, Peter submitted.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
I was grieved one morning while studying for a sermon. Months ago. I was thinking of people who had sat right where you are sitting. They had listened. They had complimented sermons.
They had talked about how great our church was…
Then at some point the mission of God among us bumped up against what they wanted.
Instead of submitting to that, they walked away.
Belief that Jesus is the Son of God leads to surrender.
Judas – v. 70-71