The True Bread Out of Heaven
Jon QuinnTHE JEWS MADE AN INTERESTING REQUEST following an impressive miracle of Jesus. Jesus had fed over five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. When everyone was done eating, the leftovers filled twelve baskets.
Many of them began to search for Jesus the next day, but Jesus charged that they were searching for Him for the wrong reason. It was not because of the miracle and what it signified about Him; that He was the Son of God. It was to have another dinner (John 6:26).
Jesus tried to steer them in the right direction, urging them to reevaluate their priorities. His teachings would do much more good for them than the food He had provided the previous day. The miracle itself was merely God's stamp of approval showing that Jesus' teachings were valid (John 6:27).
The request the people made of Jesus shows that they were not much interested in what He had to say about eternal, spiritual things; but rather in what He was able to provide in a material way. They challenged Him, "What then do you do for a sign, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform? (John 6:30).
It's remarkable! These people had sought Him out because of the signs He had already done! They had already witnessed God's seal of approval on Jesus. They were there because they already knew what Jesus could do! The sad thing is that they really only wanted Jesus to feed them again (which, incidently, would be for the third time). These people, like many of their counterparts today., had little appreciation for the value of the wonderful things Jesus was teaching them.
Jesus did not bend to their desires. He would not be used in such a way. How sad that many churches today are willing to yield the spiritual, divine mission which God gave them in order to offer the people whatever it is that is popular. How unlike Jesus it is!
Notice what kind of bread it is that Jesus' business is all about. We must let His business be our business. His goals and purposes must become our own.
"Jesus therefore said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven." (John 6:32). Their ancestors had been fed in the wilderness. The source of the manna had not been Moses, but the Father in heaven.
Everything Jesus did and spoke also came from the same source. Jesus' unique character and abilities could not have been produced by His earthly parents, His environment, or His culture. To reject the true bread is to reject God.
"Jesus therefore said to them, I am the bread of life . . ." (John 6:35). Jesus is not the giver of the bread, but is Himself identified as the bread. Jesus does for our souls what the manna of Moses' day did for their physical needs. Without the bread of life, we die.
Jesus uses the term, "I am" frequently as He illustrates the nature of His relationship with us. He tells us that "I am the light of the world"; "I am the Door"; "I am the Good Shepherd"; I am the Resurrection and the Life"; "I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life" and "I am the True Vine." The idea of "I am the True Bread" conveys His sustaining power as well as His ability to relieve our spiritual hunger. Manna perished. The bodies it sustained for a season eventually perished as well. Jesus, the Bread of Life, lives forever. The soul He sustains lives forever with Him.
"For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world." (John 6:33). We can see several characteristics of the true bread:
1) It is the Bread of God (vs. 33); It comes to us by virtue of the Father's grace. While there are many "breads" offered by the world; materialism, pleasure, cults, and other religious creeds of men; drugs and so on; there is only one "bread of God." His name is Jesus.
2) It is the True Bread (vs. 32); It is genuine and has positive effects on our spiritual health. It is nourishing and gives us strength.
3) It is The Bread of Life (vs. 35); Through Jesus we have hope of eternal life. There is no need to drift aimlessly, spiritually starving and dying. There is hope in Jesus. Those who trust Him shall not be disappointed!
" . . . and gives life to the world" (John 6:33). There are many things in our world which are useful and valuable. Many focus on these things as their purpose for living. Things such as money, health, property, pleasure or prestige. But these things also have a serious weakness. They are destined to perish. They cannot give life. They fail in the end.
Jesus, the Bread of Life, offers us that which the world cannot. What He offers is what so many are hungry for, but many times are also too blind to see. The hopes offered by the world are ultimately blind and dead things. The hope offered by Jesus is alive.
" . . . he who comes to Me shall never hunger and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." (John 6:35). Jesus uses two words here to describe how we may have the life He offers. The words are "comes" and "believes". The first thing that must be noticed is that the Greek counterparts to these two words are in present tense. Jesus says that to have life in Him; to never hunger or thirst; that we must "be coming to Him" and "be believing on Him." Jesus is not talking of a one time act here. He is talking about two unending processes. If I stop "coming" to Jesus or stop "believing" in Him then these assurances are not mine!
"Coming" to Jesus refers to discipleship. We follow Him as our example. We seek to walk in His steps. This is not an isolated act but an ongoing manner of life.
"Believing" in Jesus refers to placing our confidence in Him. We are trusting in Jesus when we are obeying His voice. It is more than simply something we are feeling or thinking. It includes our doing. Again, "believing" is not a one-time event but a way of life.
Sadly, many of the people gathered around Jesus that day were uninterested in the Bread of Life. If they couldn't feast on more loaves and fish, then they would go home (vs 66). When Jesus turned to His apostles, He urged them to make a decision as well. They were free to go. Peter responded; "Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God." (John 6:68,69).