I Am the Bread of Life

Pastor Don Mossman

Text: John 6:35-51 Theme: I am the bread of life

Introduction

This week many of you will go to the NW Washington Fair in Lynden.  One of the attractions you may find will involve foods offered at the fair.  They will offer some of the fair favorites as the huge plate of curly fries, Dutch poffertjes and pancakes called panekoehen, and of course who can pass up the moowich (two huge chocolate chip cookies with a huge slice of ice cream in between).  Oh yes, new this year will be frog legs and alligator strips.  They say they taste like chicken.

A food staple for all of us is good ol’ bread.  Virtually every country on the face of the earth has some form of bread for sustenance. We are most familiar with our local wheat/white breads, tortillas, English muffins and scones, bagels, cakes and cookies of all kinds.  And those Christmas favorites, yum, as German stollen and pumpernickel, Italian panetonnes, Hungarian poppy seed rolls, British sugar plums and gingerbread, Irish soda bread, to only name a few.

  1. Jesus refers to himself as the bread of life and with good reason

          A.  Confusion as to what Jesus means

You will recall the miracle of the feeding of the 5000.  It was a sumptuous meal for those who were often hungry and not sure where their next meal may come from.  So the next day they seek out Jesus again but he had moved on.  They follow after, and finding him they hesitatingly ask, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”

Jesus knows what they really want is another “happy meal”, and so he says, “You are seeking more bread.  Let me tell you about bread.  I am the bread come down from heaven.  He who eats of this bread will live forever, will never hunger or thirst again.”

What?  Did we hear correctly?  From heaven? The man is bordering on blasphemy.

         B.  Today’s debate on who or what Jesus represents

We live in a cynical world.  People just want to be left alone.  “I have my form of religion, you have yours.”  A majority of the SBNR (spiritual but not religious) don’t identify with a religious faith at all, and if they do, are more likely to be polytheistic, believing in different gods and different ways to approach and appease their god.

Examples: Comedian Jim Carrey: “I am a Christian.  I’m a Muslim.  I’m whatever you want me to be.  It all comes down to the same thing.”  That quote is years old now.  His recent statements about faith remain confusing.  “Christ on the cross suffered terribly and was broken by it to the point of doubt and feeling absolute abandonment.  Then a decision is made – to look upon the people who are causing that suffering, with compassion and with forgiveness.  And that’s what opens the gates for all of us.”  No, Mr. Carrey, you still didn’t get it right.  When it comes to the way of salvation, that‘s not funny.

          C.  The people then and now by nature cannot know Jesus as Savior

Luther: By nature man is spiritually blind, dead and an enemy of God.  By himself, he cannot know the true God.  We need help.  John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.”  John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him.”  John 14:6,I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me.”

Jesus uses a double negative to make a totally true point. “Whoever eats of this bread, whoever believes in me, surely you will not hunger, will not thirst again.”  Of this, one should not have any doubt.  This is the life Jesus gives – eternal life now here on earth and for eternity.  When we ate of the bread of life, that is, when we first believed, we gained eternal life, and that climaxes on the last day.

We have present blessings of forgiveness, of victory over sin, death and the devil, of his comforting presence in our lives.  Many of our blessings are also in the future.  When he raises us up on the last day, perfection dawns.

           D.  The Jews grumbled and asked for more signs, so the people could believe his claims. He referred them to Moses and the sign of the manna made available each morning those 40 years in the wilderness.  In addition, he claims, “I am that sign you are looking for.  I am the bread of life.  The manna was really a picture of me.  The people ate of the manna and they died.  Whoever eats of me will not die.  And I will raise him up on the last day.   

John 6:51, “And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”   The life of the world via the cross, his suffering and death.   Yes, Jesus is the living bread, the living water.  He is the food and drink that will sustain you as you wander in the desert of this world until you reach the promised land of heaven.

Conclusion

You may want to bypass the food at the fair.  Anything offered after our church service is good.  Donuts, cakes, cookies and this time of the year, zucchini bread, all good.  But the taste of the bread of life is different.  Eating of the bread of life is believing in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  And he will raise you up on the last day.

sdg

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