JOHN:The Book of Heartfelt Belief
The Bread of Life
Jerry A. Collins
The tendency for many people is to figure out how they can get to God on their terms. They want to know God and have a relationship with Him but according to the path of their choosing. Nevermind that God has clearly spelled out His terms. I want to have it my way, according to my understanding. Our passage exposes some of the wrong reasons people attempt to turn to God and why they reject His right of passage when they finally understand it.
1. JESUS IS THE BREAD OF ETERNAL LIFE 6:22-29
In vss 22-25 since Jesus did not get into the boat the crowd supposed that He had stayed in the area overnight. Finally realizing he disappeared they came in boats seeking Jesus vs 24. It is a good thing to seek Jesus. But what is your motive? Their question introduces the following discourse.
This section begins with Truly, truly which will introduce the four key section of this discourse. Jesus never alludes to the miracle of walking on the water since it was a private sign for his disciples and not the crowds. Though it would have been perfect opportunity to swell the crowds with that explanation. But Jesus has more serious explanation for them. It is in the form of a rebuke. The essence of which is that Jesus is more than just a meal ticket vs 26. The point is to stop working for the food that disappears and seek instead the bread which remains to eternal life, the bread which I give vs 27. The point is not to have an earthly focus. Jesus claims to have the Fathers seal upon Him meaning that His offer is a genuine one. The seal is the testimony of God and authenticates Jesusí claims for this message. If Jesus would just spell out the work they could do to please God they could obtain this eternal life vs 28. Our tendency is to earn Gods favor by working for it. Salvation is Godís work not manís vs 29. No works are involved except the work of faith in Christ whom the Father sent. There are no other terms.
2. HE IS BREAD OF ETERNAL LIFE BECAUSE OF HEAVENLY ORIGIN 6:30-40
Its evident that these wanted to see and then believe. Indicates that had no faith or spiritual perception vss 30-31. They thot Jesus feeding less significant since manna fed whole nation 40 yrs but Jesus corrects this perception in 3 ways. (1) The father not Moses gave the manna. We should always see our heavenly father as our provider never a person, job or self. (2) Father still giving manna even then from heaven in Jesus. (3) True bread from heaven is Jesus not manna. Jesus repeatedly said he came down from m heaven (32-33, 38, 41-42, 50-51, 58). (4) This bread of God gives real and lasting life. Since mans real problem is spiritual not physical, sin having cut us off from God who is life, resulting in spiritual and physical death, Jesus gives true life vs 33. Jesus is not a human solution but a heavenly one. Again the theme of misunderstanding in john. saw it with nicodemus and born again, well and water of life, now here bread. Sir give us the bread all the time not just the 40 yrs. Jesus response is that he is speaking of spiritual bread not literal bread. (1) Never emphatically means that. (2) Seeing does not necessarily lead to believing vs 36. Reminded of rich mans request for someone to go tell his family. (3) Father enables people to come to Jesus 37. Everyone the Father gives to the Son comes to Him in faith and Jesus receives them. The Father gives and the son receives them. (4) He turns none away who come to him and He loses none of those He receives 38-39. (5) All who come and are received cannot be lost by death vs 39. Jesus will raise them up. (6) Both the Father and the Son have determined this 40.
Our salvation is as secure as the godhead. Our destiny is secured and insured. Salvation is not a hope so or believe so faith but a know so faith. Jesus is the fathers full provision for our spiritual need and has supplied. 3. JESUS CONQUERS DEATH FOR US AS THE BREAD OF ETERNAL LIFE 6:41-51
The grumbling about Jesus in vss41-42 reminds us of their ancestors in the wilderness who murmured Ex 15:24. His opponents closed their eyes to the witness and testimony of Jesus heavenly origins including John the Baptist and Jesus father. Jesus point is that they do not believe because they cannot believe vs 44. No one can come to Jesus without divine help. So ensnared by unbelief unless God draws them they are hopeless. We do not know who god is drawing so we must cast the seed everywhere. Jesus turns to scripture to make his point Isaiah 54:13 applying the prophecy of the coming kingdom, when all of Israels sons will be taught by God to the inner work of God today in peoples hearts who will come to Christ. So a believer is characterized by his faith in Christ for eternal life 47-48. Manna only met temporary needs and ultimately brought death but Jesus is bread of a different kind, from heaven, and conquers death 50-51. My flesh indicates his substitutionary death.
4. AS THE BREAD OF ETERNAL LIFE JESUS SUSTAINS HIS FOLLOWER SPIRITUALLY 52-71
Again misunderstood Jesus clarifies by figure of speech that only by eating his flesh and drinking his blood can one reside in Christ and He in them since this alone sustains life beyond death to eternal life. This figure of speech applies to having faith in His full work of salvation. Satisfaction to the Father, reconciliation to man, redemption toward sin, substitution and justification toward all sin. Progressing from grumbling to arguing to downright rejection the crowds and then many disciples give up on him. Jesus message is not one they were waiting for! The disciples, though, do believe. Peter summarizes (1) no one else has words of eternal life, everyone elseís words are ultimately about this life (2) Believing in him over last 2 yrs had come to understand who he was. A. Being Christlike does not confuse popularity with leadership since popularity comes from meeting short-term felt needs of a large number of people, leadership comes from changing the long-term focus of a few. B. Christlike leadership happens when followers are invited to leave but choose to stay because (1) see no where better to go to hear of eternal life (2) believe what leader believes having over time come to know holiness thru the leader.