Come to the Bread of Life
Series: The Gospel of John
This week Pastor Matt invites us to Come to the Bread of Life (Jesus)
1. Come to Him for eternal life
2. Come to Him for satisfaction
3. Come to Him to never be cast out
– ESV Study Bible – Study notes on the Gospel According to John
– Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament – The Gospel According to John – -Andreas Kostenburger
– Pillar New Testament Commentary Series – The Gospel According to John – DA Carson
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” Have you noticed that kind of desire, that kind of hunger in yourself that nothing in this world can satisfy? Have you noticed that you’re never quite satisfied? What do we do with that kind of hunger? Ultimately nearly all of us tend to take our hunger to people for satisfaction. We look to the companionship of a best friend, the love of a child, the security of a spouse, the approval of a parent, or the applause of the right people to satisfy our hunger. We take our hunger to people. And still it’s not enough, we are never quite satisfied. Why? Let’s modify the C.S. Lewis quote: If we find ourselves with a desire that no person in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another person. You’re too glorious for any person in this world to satisfy. You were made in God’s image. You have eternity in your heart. You exist to glorify and enjoy God forever. Of course, no one in this world can satisfy you. Enter the Lord Jesus. In our passage, Jesus says these unforgettable words, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). What should we do with our insatiable hunger? The answer is the big idea of our passage this morning: Come to the Bread of Life. Let’s be honest, we’ve been taking our hunger to other places for a long time. How do we come to the Bread of Life? Three ways: (1) Come to Him for eternal life (2) Come to Him for satisfaction (3) Come to Him to never be cast out.
COME TO HIM FOR ETERNAL LIFE
Our passage this morning contains the one miracle, the one sign, that is recorded in all four Gospels; the feeding of the 5,000. Let’s set the scene. After some serious conflict with the Jewish leaders over Jesus’ divine identity, Jesus and his disciples head to the other side of the Sea of Galilee and large crowds of regular folks gathered to Jesus. In an act of abundant compassion toward the crowds, Jesus takes the meager lunch of a poor boy and multiplies it to feed five thousand men, not to mention the women and children. Everyone is full to the brim and there is still food leftover. The crowd sees the sign, concludes that Jesus is the Great Prophet like Moses, and immediately seek to take Jesus by force and make him their earthly king. Having none of that, Jesus withdrew from the lakefront to a mountain by himself, proving once and for all that it’s more virtuous to be a mountain person than a beach person :-). Jesus’ disciples then get in their boat and quickly get caught in a huge storm, but Jesus comes to them walking on water and brings the boat immediately through the storm to the land. How instructive! Friends, Jesus does not promise to keep you from storms in 2022. He’ll put you through storms, but since he’s Lord over the storm, he’ll be with you and will bring you through them.
Believe it or not, the next day is the day when the real action begins. The crowds that Jesus fed finally find Jesus and they flock to him again. And this time, Jesus gives them a holy ear full. John 6:26 – Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 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.” Now, Jesus is not condemning having a job and providing for your family. In fact, the Bible says that if a man will not provide for his family, he’s denied his faith (1 Tim. 5:8)! J.C. Ryle captures Jesus’ warning well: “What our Lord did mean to rebuke was that excessive attention to labor for the body while the soul is neglected, which prevails everywhere in the world. What He reproved was the common habit of laboring only for the things of time and letting alone the things of eternity – of minding only the life that now is and disregarding the life to come.”
Jesus’ warning startles the crowd into asking the ultimate question. If we aren’t supposed to just work for the things of time, then how do we work for eternity? John 6:28-29 – Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” The crowd is asking Jesus the ultimate question; the question everyone is asking. They’re asking what works do we need to do to be right with God now and forever. How do I achieve Nirvana, enlightenment, and be sure that I am going to heaven? What are the steps, the pillars, the path to be doing the works of God so that we are sure we have eternal life? It’s the question we are all asking because all of our hunger is ultimately hunger for God. Jesus’ answer is so unique, so counterintuitive. The “work” that God requires is a non-work. The work that God requires is simply believing, receiving and resting in Jesus alone for salvation, because all the work has been done. Brief gospel-explanation and appeal for conversions (see connect card).
COME TO HIM FOR SATISFACTION
Jesus tells the crowds that the work that God requires is to receive and rest in, to believe in, Jesus alone for eternal life. The crowds immediately respond by saying something crazy, something I could totally see myself saying. John 6:30 – So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? He literally just fed 5,000 of them with five loaves and two fish, and their response is, “well, you better do something to prove we can trust and believe in you!” Man, just like me. The crowds proceed to provide Jesus with a Bible history lesson. John 6:31 – Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” One of the most significant events in the Bible is called Israel’s exodus from slavery in Egypt. It’s so important that the entire second book of the Bible is devoted to recording it; Exodus. Once God miraculously led his people out slavery in Egyp, God’s people journeyed and wandered for forty years in the barren wilderness before arriving at the Promised Land. During their wandering in the wilderness, God miraculously sustained his people by showering bread from heaven, called manna, each day, except on the sabbath. The crowds ask Jesus for a sign, reminding Jesus about the bread from heaven. Now, let’s pay close attention to the way that Jesus responds because his response will reveal the meaning of the feeding of the 5,000, the sign. John 6:32-33 – Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Translation, the manna, which was quite real, was actually just a type or shadow of a true and greater bread of God that has come down from heaven to give life to the world. Now for the big reveal. John 6:34-35 – They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. Jesus is the true manna that comes down from heaven and, unlike the first manna, whoever comes to him will never hunger again. The manna was a shadow and Jesus the Bread of Life is the reality. Jesus feeds 5,000 because he himself is the true bread from heaven. By using the term “I am,” Jesus is actually saying that he is God come down from heaven to satisfy our deepest hunger. How do we know?
And if Jesus proving that he is the true Bread of Life by feeding 5,000 isn’t stunning enough, we should notice that when Jesus says, “I am the bread life,” he’s uttering the first of his seven “I am” sayings. What’s the big deal with the statement “I am…”? A moment ago I told you that way back in the book of Exodus, the second book in the OT, the Lord led his people out of slavery in Egypt through a leader named Moses. Well, Moses was something of a reluctant prophet. When the Lord first called Moses to confront Pharaoh and rescue God’s people, we read in Exodus 3:13-14 is in the background when Jesus says “I am” – Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” When Jesus says, “I AM the Bread of Life,” he’s saying that he is more than a miracle worker who can feed five thousand for a day. He is none other than God the Son who has come down from the Father to satisfy the deep hunger in our souls forever.
I am doing #Bavinck2022
Read from Bavinck
That’s just what Jesus says…“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger,”
Question: where are you looking to satisfy your hunger? Who is it? Your hunger will crush them.
Bring all your hunger to Jesus and feast on him this year.
Means of grace
When you’re hungry, ask him to satisfy you. Keep coming to him
COME TO HIM TO NEVER BE CAST OUT
The problem with taking your hunger to people is that they can always cast you out.
Peers that you want applause from
We want the significance and security of being loved by the right people, but in various forms they can always cast you out and let you down. Enter Jesus. John 6:37-40 – All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” What we have in these verses are the doctrines of election and perseverance. The reason why we can be so sure that the Son will never cast out anyone who comes to Him is because the Father chose before the foundation of the world everyone who comes to the Son. He chose us not according to anything he foresaw in us but according to his sovereign good pleasure. And the ones that the Father draws to the Son are the same ones that the Son will never cast out. And all who come to the Son, the Son will, not might, glorify. He will not lose one of all that the Father has given to him. He will raise us up on the last day and give us eternal life. In other words, you can be completely sure and assured that if you come to Jesus it’s because the Father has drawn you and since the Father gave you to the Son, the Son would never cast you out. With that kind of security, you can genuinely enjoy a friend, child, peer group, parent, or spouse because you’re coming to them wrapped in the security of the one who will never cast you out.
Invitation: come to the Bread of Life for the first time or the millionth.