JESUS, THE BREAD OF LIFE.
Read John 6:22-42.
We see what we want to see. Unfortunately, what we see is commonly determined
by our interests at the moment, not by the obvious which stares at us. As a result, we often
search for something that is not there, and are completely oblivious to what is in plain view
right in front of us.
Let me set a little background for the reading. Jesus took the 12 to the uninhabited side of
the sea of Galilee. Mark 6 states Jesus made this trip with the intent of providing all 13 of
them with some rest. Jesus had become so popular it was hard for him to find time to eat.
The 12 had successfully completed a mission which both elated them and exhausted them
Thousands of people recognized them and went by foot to where Jesus and the 12 went by
boat. In Mark, this huge group of people are described as sheep without a shepherd, and
Jesus had compassion on these thousands of people. He spent a day planned for rest
teaching and healing these thousands.
Late in the day, Jesus told the 12 disciples to fed the group. The 12 were astounded, and
replied, "Two hundred days wages would not be enough to buy food for this group!" Jesus
then with very little food fed the huge group all they wanted to eat, and he did it in a very
At dusk he told the 12 to go back across the sea of Galilee while he stayed and prayed on
the mountain alone. It was that evening Jesus walked on the sea to them in windy, wavy
- Now let me focus your attention on what happened in our
- The people Jesus fed woke up the next morning knowing the 12 had left by boat
that Jesus had stayed.
- Yet, they could not find Jesus, and they were hungry again.
- They were totally confused as they tried to understand what had happened.
- Around that time small boats began to arrive at this uninhabited area.
- Many decided they should take the boats, go to Capernaum, and see if they
could find Jesus.
- He obviously was not there, so the only option they had was to look for Jesus on
the other side.
- They found Jesus on the other side.
- Their first question, "Rabbi (teacher), what did you get here?"
- Jesus' response: "You look for me for the wrong reason."
- "You are here because you are hungry."
- "You are not here because you understand I have something to teach you
about God and eternal life."
- "Do not work for food which rots in a short time; seek eternal life from God."
- Their second question: "What should we do to do God's work?"
- These were people who lived in a religious nation devoted to God their
- These were people who went to the synagogue every Sabbath (that is what
you did on Saturday if you lived in Israel).
- These were people who had heard God's laws discussed since birth.
- Yet they asked, "What are we supposed to do?" (Sounds too much like us!)
- Jesus' answer, "Put your faith in God and me--that is God's work!"
- Their third question: "If we are to place our confidence in you, you need to give
us a sign. What are you going to do?"
- (I smell manipulation coming on!)
- They even had the sign they wanted him to do: "Our forefathers ate manna in
the wilderness when they left Egypt--Moses gave them bread out of heaven
(and gained their confidence).
- Jesus replied, "You need to get your facts straight!"
- Moses did not give them bread out of heaven.
- God gave them bread out of heaven.
- When God gives bread, God's bread gives life.
The incident they are trying to use to manipulate Jesus into feeding them is
recorded in Exodus 16.
- The Israelites spent about 2 months in the wilderness traveling to Sinai where they
would receive the Ten Commandments.
- They are not to Sinai, but they are quite close.
- They begin to complain, "We wish we had died in Egypt where we had meat to
eat and could eat bread until we were full. Moses, the only reason you had for
bringing us out here in the wilderness was to kill us."
- God said to Moses, "I am going to give them what they want, and I am going to
do it in a way to will reveal if they trust me."
- "I am going to send them bread."
- "But Sunday through Thursday they can gather only one day's supply."
- "On Friday they will gather two days' supply."
- "If Sunday through Thursday they gather more than one day's supply, it will
rot, stink, and will not be eatable."
- "But the two days' supply they gather on Friday will not spoil; it will still be
good to eat on the Sabbath."
- "I will prove again to them that I am God."
- "At night they will have all the meat they want in the quail I send."
- "In the morning they will have all the bread they want to eat in the manna I
- Early in the morning, around the camp, a heavy dew fell.
- When the dew dried up, it left a fine flaky substance that looked like frost.
- When the sun got hot, it melted the manna.
- Note: God provided the manna, but the Israelites had to gather it.
- The only description of how it tasted was it was like honey wafers.
- Honey wafers was not the common food of slaves!
- Yet, Israel was to have honey wafers every morning.
- While they were unfamiliar with manna, they knew bread did not come from dew!
- The first morning manna appeared, Israelites asked, "What is that?"
- Moses replied, "It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat."
To hear the giving of manna from the perspective of Israelites in John 6,
Moses give Israel manna, and Israel exerted little or no effort to eat it.
- From their perspective, I hear them trying to manipulate Jesus by saying, "Now it is
your turn! If we are to believe in you, show us something!"
- "Give us this bread that gives life!"
- "We are hungry (physically), and it would be wonderful never to be hungry
- Listen carefully to Jesus' response.
- "I am that bread God sent."
- "I am the solution to hunger and thirst."
- "I am the one who can give you life."
- "The problem: you do not believe in me."
- "Everything God will send to people He will send through me."
- "I will not lose those who come to me; I will resurrect them."
- "Eternal life is believing in me and my power to resurrect."
- I want you to pay careful attention to something.
- They did not say, "Look at what he did for us; he must be who he says he is."
- "We better listen to him!"
- Instead, they grumbled.
- "He says he is the bread--that is not what we want!"
- "We know who he is and where he came from--how can he possibly say he
is from heaven!"
- They only saw what they wanted, not what was!
Warning: Do not try to manipulate God.
- God's primary purpose is not about the physical but about the eternal.
- Do not be so focused on physical expectations and desires that you do not see
- Do not be obsessed with what you want; be obsessed with what God wants.
|Money is not
permanent.Sex is not permanent.Lifestyle is not permanent.Prestige is not
permanent.Only Jesus' resurrection is permanent.|
May God grant us the "eyes" to "see" the permanent. May we not seek to manipulate God,
but seek to surrender to God and His purposes.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 20 November 2005
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