Jesus Is the Bread of Life
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Sept. 23, 2012
*Next Sunday is a fifth Sunday and we will worship the Lord through the Lord’s Supper. Our focus next week will be the power of the blood of Jesus Christ.
*Today we focus on the bread. In John 6:35, Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
*This was the first of the Lord’s famous “I AM” statements in the Gospel of John. And in order to understand what Jesus said, we need to go over two important background topics.
 First, we go back to Exodus 3, where the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush. It was at this time that the Lord first revealed that He is the great I AM.
*Starting in Exodus 3:10 the Lord said to Moses:
10. “Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.''
11. But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?''
12. So He said, "I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.''
13. Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, `The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, `What is His name?' what shall I say to them?''
14. And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM.'' And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.' ''
*In Hebrew this name “I AM” was “Jehovah” or “Yahweh.” This great name for God shows up 6,823 times in the Old Testament. The exact pronunciation and spelling has been lost, because this name was considered so holy that scribes and teachers would not even pronounce it or completely write it out. Instead, they would write the Hebrew letters equal to our letters YHWH. In many of our English Bibles it shows up as LORD written with all capital letters. (1)
*And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”'
*Jerry Shirley asks: “Have you ever stopped to think why God did not finish that phrase in Exodus 3:14? -- Why did He just say, “I AM has sent me to you?”
-Because there is no beginning and no ending to God.
-There are no boundaries.
-There are no limitations.
*Jesus Christ the great “I AM” is whatever we need!
-If you need a Comforter, He is a comforter.
-If you need a Provider, He is a provider.
-If you need a Savior, He is a Savior.
-If you need an understanding Listener, He is just that.
*God is the great I AM!
-There is no limit to what He is! (2)
*Jennifer Mears writes: No matter what you are facing, look to the great I AM!
I need help.
-God says “I AM.”
I need hope, peace, and love.
-God says “I AM.”
I need a fresh start.
-God says “I AM.”
I can’t hold on.
-God says “I AM.”
I’m not sure why I am here.
-God says “I AM.”
I’m not strong enough --
-God says, “I AM.” (3)
*The crucial truth that Jesus wanted to communicate to the people of Israel (and to us) is that He IS the Lord God Almighty, the great I AM of the Old Testament. So in John 6, Jesus made His first I AM statement, Jesus said, “I AM the Bread of life.”
 Now, the immediate background to our Scripture today is Jesus taking a little boy’s lunch and miraculously feeding 5,000 men, plus women and children.
*Please look at John 6:13-15.
13. They gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
14. Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.''
15. Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to a mountain by Himself alone.
*In vs. 16-19, the disciples got into the boat to head back to Capernaum. They were 3 or 4 miles from shore, when Jesus came to them walking on the water!
*Then in vs. 20-21.
20. He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid.''
21. Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.
*What a miracle! -- Jesus is Lord over all time and space!
Then the next day in vs. 25-29:
25. When they (i.e. the other people) found Him (i.e. Jesus) on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You come here?''
26. Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
27. "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.''
28. Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?''
29. Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.''
*With all of this background in mind, let’s read vs. 30-40.
*Jesus Christ is the great I AM of the Old Testament, so here He says: “I AM the Bread of life.” -- And this truth is packed with meaning for us.
1. First: As the Bread of Life, Jesus is our only resource for life.
*As Jesus said in vs. 32&33.
32. . . “My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
33. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
*Jesus Christ is the most wonderful, amazing Bread the world will ever see.
*Back in vs. 30&31, the people wanted Jesus to give them manna. That was the miraculous bread from Heaven that God gave the Children of Israel when they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Manna was amazing bread. But there was a big problem with manna: After a day or two, it got worms and started stinking. You just couldn’t eat it.
*Now, most of us would say, “We love bread!” -- French bread, white bread, wheat bread, corn bread, potato bread! Rolls or biscuits, home-made or store-bought, we love bread!
*There’s just one problem with bread. It gets old. Like that sandwich you make, and you are ready to dive in. But something interrupts you. And when you come back 20 minutes later: Dry as a bone. Then, there’s that sandwich you make. And you are two bites into it, when you look down and see mold. -- Uh!
*One woman said the only thing worse than that was seeing your husband go back and make another sandwich with the same bread! (4)
*Manna very quickly got too nasty to eat. But starting in vs. 49, Jesus pointed out another problem with manna: All of the people who ate it were dead. Jesus said:
49. “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.
51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.''
*Manna could never give everlasting life, -- But Jesus can!
-As the Bread of Life, Jesus is our only resource for everlasting life.
2. And He is rewarding for us.
*This is the second great truth about the Bread of Life: He is rewarding for us. And we see this truth back up in vs. 34&35:
34. Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always.''
35. And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
*“He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” -- What an amazing promise of satisfaction!
*In Jesus Christ we can find a rich, rewarding abundance for our lives, not in the gifts He gives, but in the Giver Himself. Too much of the time we tend to focus on the gifts of God more than the Giver.
*James McCullen tells about the time his 3 year old granddaughter came with her dad to meet Grandpa at the airport. James said the very first thing that little girl said to him was this: “I am not supposed to ask you what you got us.” (5)
*Church: It’s not about the gifts. -- It’s about the Giver. We need to understand that God wants us to be satisfied in Him. As John Piper says, "God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him." And Jesus promised that satisfaction, when He said: “He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
*As the Bread of Life, Jesus is rewarding for us.
3. And He must be received by us.
*The Bread of Life must be received by believing in Jesus. The Lord made this clear in vs. 35&36.
35. Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
36. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.
*We must come to Jesus in faith.
-We must believe in Jesus.
-We must put our hope and trust in Him.
*Sadly, many people do not believe. We see this again in v. 41-42:
41. The Jews then murmured against Him, because He said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven.''
42. And they said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, `I have come down from heaven'?''
*We must believe! -- Notice three crucial truths about this belief.
 First, belief is personal.
*As Jesus said in vs. 35: “I am the bread of life. HE who comes to Me shall never hunger, and HE who believes in Me shall never thirst
*Each one of us has to personally come to Jesus.
-Belief is personal.
 And belief has great promise.
*We see this promise for example in vs. 40, where Jesus said: “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
-Belief has great promise.
 And belief is penetrating.
*We can compare it to eating physical bread. The bread I eat for lunch doesn’t just stay in my stomach. It gets in, spreads out and influences all of my body. It gives me the strength to do what I need to do.
*True faith in the Bread of Life works the same way. Jesus begins to influence every part of our lives.
*When Alan Redpath’s two daughters were young, he once heard his wife say, “Girls, go get your father for breakfast.” The oldest girl ran up the stairs, and by the time the much younger sister made it, her big sister meanly said, “I have already told Daddy breakfast is ready, and besides I have all of Daddy.”
*The little sister took it hard, and a tear began to run down her cheek. So her father picked her up and sat her on his knee. She put her head on his shoulder, smiled big and then she said something profound: “You might have all of Daddy, but Daddy has all of me.” (6)
*“Daddy has all of me.” -- Church: That’s what God the Father wants for our lives. And when we receive Jesus, the Bread of Life begins to influence every part of our lives. Belief in Jesus Christ makes a difference in life like nothing else ever can.
-We must believe!
-We must trust in the Lord.
-We must receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.
*As the Bread of Life, Jesus must be received by us.
4. And He is God’s royal gift to us.
*Three times the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the King of kings. There is no other man like Jesus Christ. He is God the Son, who became a man. He is God the Father’s royal gift sent from Heaven above.
-So back in vs. 32, Jesus said to them, “My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.”
-In vs. 38, Jesus said: “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
-In vs. 46, Jesus said: “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.”
-And speaking of Himself in vs. 50-51, Jesus said:
50. “This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.
51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
*As the Bread of Life, Jesus is God’s royal gift for us.
5. And He is God’s reliable gift for us.
*Over and over in these verses, Jesus stressed His absolute reliability to us.
-And there are two great things we can hang our hope on here.
 First is the price Jesus paid:
*In vs. 51, Jesus said: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.''
*Of course He was talking about the cross. Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. He gave His life for the world.
-We can hang our hope on the price Jesus paid.
 And we can hang our hope on the promise He made.
*We see the promise over and over in these verses:
37. "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
39. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
40. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.''
47. "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
*And in vs. 51: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;
*Charles Allen told a heart-touching story from the days of World War II. As the war was drawing to a close, the Allied armies gathered up many hungry orphans. They were placed in camps where they were well-fed. But in spite of the excellent care, they slept poorly. The children seemed nervous and afraid.
*Finally, a psychologist came up with the solution: Each child was given a piece of bread to hold after he was put to bed. This particular piece of bread was not to be eaten, -- just to be held. And that piece of bread produced wonderful results. The children went to bed knowing instinctively they would have food to eat the next day. (7)
*That guarantee gave the children a restful and contented sleep.
-But we have an infinitely better guarantee in Jesus Christ the Bread of life.
*Jesus said: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)
*Let’s trust in the Bread of Life as we go to God in prayer.
1. Adapted from SermonCentral sermon “Jehovah/Yahweh - I AM” by Marc Kelley - Exodus 3:1-15
2. Adapted from SermonCentral sermon “Thou Shalt Call His Name I AM” by Jerry Shirley - Exodus 3:10-15
3. Adapted from SermonCentral sermon “Because I AM” by Jennifer Mears - Exodus 3:14-16
4. Original source unknown
5. Cross & Crown sermon “The Problem in America” by James McCullen - 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 - Memorial Day, 2002)
6. Sermons.logos.com sermon “THE ANCHOR HOLDS” by Michael Trull - Acts 27
7. “God’s Psychiatry” by Charles Allen - Source: SermonCentral sermon “I Am the Bread of Life” by Quintin Morrow - John 6:35- 092902