Jesus: The Bread of Life (John 6)
There are people all over the world who wake up each morning with one goal in mind: Today I must work for food. They work hard all day, every day, just to provide enough food for their children to survive. We look at the destitute regions scattered through out the earth, we look to the homeless population here in America, and we pity them. But how different are they than us? After all, what are we working for? A house, food, clothes? Do we have more? We should consider ourselves fortunate. But often, we don’t. No, we enjoy great luxuries. Our luxury has become necessity and we have to work—and work hard—to sustain it. The truth is, many of us work for things that really don’t matter in the long run. This is the heart of John 6. Addressing the crowd that followed him, Jesus said: “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” (John 6:27)
As he performed the sign of feeding the 5,000, and then explained in the discourse that followed, Jesus declared boldly “I am the Bread of Life.” Without a doubt, he was claiming to be the exclusive source and substance of life. If that is true, and it is, each person is presented with a question: Are you working for the food that perishes, or have you come to the Son of Man for the food that endures to eternal life?
Jesus: The Bread of Life
This sign accomplishes three important things:
1. This sign REVEALS Jesus as the Bread of Life.
a. The Bread of God. (31-33)
b. The Bread of Life. (35, 48)
c. The Bread for the world. (33, 51)
2. This sign EXPOSES false disciples as those who work for food that perishes.
False disciples are those who
a. Work for food that perishes. (27)
b. Grumble about his claim to have come down from heaven. (41-44)
c. Dispute his assertion that he will give his flesh for the life of the world. (52)
d. Take offense at his demand that they eat his flesh to live. (60-61)
e. Turn back from walking after him. (66-67)
3. This sign IDENTIFIES true disciples as who come to the Son of Man for the food that endures.
a. The responsibility of Man in salvation. (35-36)
i. Come to the Son (35)
ii. Believe in the Son (35,40)
iii. Eat the flesh of the Son of Man (53)
iv. Drink the blood of the Son of Man (53)
v. Abides in Me and I in him (56-58)
vi. Come to know that Jesus is the Holy One of God. (66-69)
b. The Sovereignty of God over salvation. (37, 43-47)
i. Are given by the Father to the Son (37 and then explained in 44-45)
ii. Are kept by the Son (37-39)
iii. Are raised up to eternal life by the Son (39, 40, 44, 54)
Joseph Alleine, English Puritan wrote “A Sure Guide to Heaven” 1671
“Would you be certain whether you are converted or not? Now let your soul and all that is within you attend. Have you taken God for your happiness? Where does the desire of your heart lie? What is the source of your greatest satisfaction? Come, then, and with Abraham lift up your eyes eastward, and westward, and northward, and southward, and look around you; what is it that you would have to make you happy? If God should give you your choice, as He did to Solomon... what would you ask? Go into the gardens of pleasure, and gather all the fragrant flowers there—would these satisfy you? Go to the treasures of mammon; suppose you may carry away as much as you desire. Go to the towers, to the trophies of honor. What do you think of being a man of renown, and having a name like the name of the great men of the earth? Would any of these, would all of these satisfy you, and make you to count yourself happy? If so, then certainly you are carnal and unconverted.
If not, go farther; wade into the divine excellencies, the store of His mercies, the hiding of His power, the unfathomable depths of His all-sufficiency. Does this suit you best and please you most? Do you say, 'It is good to be here. Here will I pitch, here will I live and die'? Will you let all the world go rather than this? Then it is well between God and you: happy are you, O man—happy are you that ever you were born. If God can make you happy, you must be happy; for you have taken the Lord to be your God. Do you say to Christ as He to us, 'Your Father shall be my Father, and your God my God'? Here is the turning point. "Whom do I have in heaven but You? And I desire nothing on earth but You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26
An unsound convert never takes up his rest in God; but converting grace does the work, and so cures the fatal misery of the fall, by turning the heart from its idols—to the living God. Now the soul says, 'Lord, where shall I go? You have the words of eternal life.' [John 6:68] Here he centers, here he settles. It is the entrance of heaven to him; he sees his interest in God. Is this the case with you? Have you experienced this? If so, then 'blessed are you of the Lord'. God has been at work with you; He has laid hold of your heart by the power of converting grace, or else you could never have done this.