"THE BREAD OF LIFE."
The setting: Jesus had been in a deserted area near Bethsaida ministering to a great multitude of people. Toward evening He said to Philip, "Where can we buy enough bread to feed all these people?" Philip figured it would take about eight thousand dollars to buy enough bread. There were about 5,000 men beside the women and children. Andrew suggested that a small boy had five loaves and two fish, but that was nothing in light of the crowd of people. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish and blessed them and ordered the disciples to distribute them to the multitudes. They all ate until they were stuffed, and they gathered up twelve baskets of fragments that remained. Jesus then commanded the disciples to get into the ship and go to the other side of the lake while He dismissed the crowd, knowing that the people were thinking of trying to take Him by force and make Him king, He went up in the mountain alone. The journey across the lake from Bethsaida to Capernaum is about six miles. When
they were about half way across the lake a strong wind came up, and they were seeking to row against it, but were making little headway. An interesting side note is that they were in all this trouble and jeopardy because they were trying to obey the command of Jesus. This should show that if I am doing the will of the Lord, seeking to obey His commands, it does not naturally guarantee smooth sailing. This was a second test of their faith in this story. John tells us that Jesus was testing the faith of Philip when He asked him where they could buy enough bread to feed all the people. We know that it was the time for the feast of the Passover which means that it was close to a full moon. In the bright moonlight Jesus perhaps could see them struggling to row against the wind, so He came to them walking on the water. When they saw Him approaching the ship walking on the water, they were frightened, but He assured them that it was Him. And when He got into the ship, immediately they were on the other
shore. In the morning the people on the other side of the lake were looking for Jesus, and when they could not find Him they came over to Capernaum where He was teaching in the synagogue, they asked Him how He got there and He answered, "You seek me because you ate the loaves and were filled. Labor not for the bread that perishes, but that which endures to everlasting life."
I. THEIR QUESTION; "WHAT SHALL WE DO THAT WE MIGHT WORK THE WORKS OF GOD?"
A. What does God require of me? What shall I do, to do the work of God?
1. You told us to labor for the bread that endures to everlasting life. Define for us what you mean by labor.
2. When God cursed man for his sin, He said that from now on he would earn his bread by the sweat of his brow.
B. Their scriptures had given to them the requirements of God.
, And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but:
a. To fear the LORD thy God.
b. To walk in all his ways.
c. To love Him.
d. To serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
2. Micah 6:8
: He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee?
a. To do justly.
b. To love mercy.
c. To walk humbly with thy God?
3. You say that is the Old Testament, the law. |What does the New Testament say?
a. Jesus said, "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
b. We immediately recognize that we have not been able nor are we capable to fulfill the ideal requirements of God.
c. Is there any other path for me? What work can I do to do the work of God?
C. Jesus gave to them the actual requirement of God for man now. "This is the work of God that you believe on Him whom He hath sent."
1. Wait a minute, is that all?
2. I can do that.
3. Though I have greatly failed to fulfill the ideal, I can surely fulfill the alternate.
II. THEY ASKED HIM THEN WHAT SIGN HE MIGHT SHOW THEM THAT THEY MIGHT BELIEVE THAT HE WAS THE MESSIAH.
A. They said, "Our fathers ate manna in the desert, as it is written he gave them bread from heaven to eat."
1. Moses had prophesied that there would come another prophet like unto him, and to Him they should give heed.
2. They were basically asking if He could give them bread from heaven.
a. This is essentially what He had done on the previous day.
b. He had fed all of them with the five loaves.
B. Jesus said, "My Father gives to you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who came down from heaven, and gives His life unto the world."
1. They responded, "Lord, evermore give us this bread."
2. This is much like the Samaritan woman when Jesus told her that He could give her water that would be so satisfying that she would never thirst again, she said, "I'll take some."
3. Notice that Jesus is following the same tact with them as He did with her. Beginning on the physical plane, He moves immediately into the spiritual plane. From physical bread to spiritual bread.
C. It was at this point that Jesus said, "I am the bread of life."
1. He then made this startling statement, "He that comes to Me shall never hunger and He that believes on Me shall never thirst."
2. When a person makes claims as radical as this, they cause you to react. You cannot be neutral. The statement is either true or false. He is either the bread of life, or a classic fraud. He will either satisfy your hunger or He is a deceiver.
a. There is only one way you can truly find out, the psalmist said, "O taste and see that the Lord is good." You must try it for yourself.
b. It should be noted that there are thousands here today who have partaken of Jesus Christ who will witness that He has so satisfied them that they are now content. Their search and quest for God is satisfied. How can you dispute their claims without trying for yourself?
c. It always boils down to personal choice and personal action.
d. Jesus said, "He that cometh to Me."
e. That is very personal.
f. What will happen if you come in faith believing in Him? He promised that you would never hunger or thirst.
3. A few sentences down He said, "And Him that comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out."
4. And still just a little further we hear Him saying, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me hath everlasting life, I am that bread of life."
a. Your fathers ate the manna, and died.
b. He who eats the bread that came from heaven shall not die.
c. I am the living bread that came from heaven. If any man shall eat of this bread, he shall live forever.
d. And the bread that I shall give is My flesh that I will give for the life of the world.
D. Here again is the glorious gospel.
1. Man has not kept the requirements of God.
2. To fail to keep His requirements is sin.
3. The penalty of sin is death, separation from God.
4. Jesus came to give His flesh, or His body, as an atoning sacrifice for man's sin.
5. He is God's only provision for the removal of man's sin.
6. To believe in Him is to have fellowship with God.
7. To not believe in Him is to suffer the consequences of your sin and live forever hungering and thirsting for fellowship with God which you cannot attain because of your sin that is standing in the way. You will always try to fill that recognized void in your life with pleasures or relationships, or some other pursuit that promises fulfillment, but in the end never produces.