Spiritual Food For The Soul
Spiritual Food For The Soul
(A Portrait of the Bread of Life)
John 6:31-35 & 48-51 & 58
The human body has a remarkable to assimilate all manner of foods.. No matter what the variety of a person's taste, the foods they eat are digested and assimilated into blood, bone, flesh, etc. The body survives on a variety of foods or will exist for periods on one food. Bread is often called, "The staff of life", because it contains almost all the nutrition needed for the human body. Jesus talked about the "Bread of Life" and I want us to focus our attention on this bread.
I. The Bread of Life is Heavenly Bread (vv. 32-33 & 50)
Everyone here has knowledge of bread. Maybe everyone here ate bread today. Several of you have, on some occasion, baked bread. We know about bread. There are several obvious contrasts between heavenly bread and earthly bread. You may think of others but, let me sight several.
1) Earthly bread is man made; heavenly bread is God made.
2) Earthly bread must be eaten regularly; heavenly bread is eaten only once.
3) Earthly bread has many earthly ingredients; heavenly bread has one heavenly ingredient.
4) Earthly bread is baked in mans oven; heavenly bread is prepared in heaven.
The people in the text should have understood more about heavenly bread. They had knowledge of their forefathers and Moses being fed on daily portions of manna from heaven. They call attention to this as it is recorded in verse 31. Jesus made reference to this manna in verses 4-9. But, the Bread of Life is the Bread of Heaven.
Manna came down and the Bread of Life came down - how? How did the bread of life come down from heaven? Luke, the physician, tells us, "...The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, ..." The virgin birth assured the bread of life to be heavenly bread.
We should take opportunities to talk to people about salvation. We can ask them "how does a person go to heaven?" Get them to tell you what their thought is related to salvation. The answer given will tell you if their view of the Bread of Life is earthly or heavenly.
Earthly bread says, "be baptized, join the church, do good works, make reforms etc." Heavenly bread says, "...believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved,..." (Acts 16:31) The Bread of Life is heavenly bread.
II. The Bread of Life is Jesus (vv. 35 & 48 & 51)
There are over 50 personal pronouns in this chapter. Many of them are emphasizing Jesus as the bread of life. For Him to say He is the bread of life would be blasphemy if it were not so. Notice verses 41 & 42, it states that people began to murmur when Jesus said, "...I am the bread of life.." But, our Lord said it because it is the truth.
John records in his gospel seven different "I Am" titles Jesus gave himself. Here he says:
"I am the bread of life."
"I am the light of the world". John 7:12
"I am the good shepherd: " John 10:11
"I am the door." John 10:7 & 9;
"I am the resurrection." John 1l:25;
"I am the way, truth and life." John 14:6; and
"I am the true vine." John 15:1
The Greek language construction places this "I Am" in an emphatic position. We could easily translate "I am the bread of life and no one else is
Jesus doesn't allow room for comparison. In substance He says in verse 32, "I'm greater than the prophets." The words of verses 53-57 are called "hard sayings" by those of verse 60. But, Jesus is simply referring to the Lord's Supper because it, as yet, has not been instituted. Those who eat his flesh and drink his blood are told they will have eternal life.
The thief on the cross was given eternal life but, he did not ever partake of the Lord's Supper. This is symbolism. Eating and drinking are ways of expressing a full acceptance. A poetic phrase in a song of this century says, "Drink to me only with thine eyes." Jesus is the bread of life and all should yield their life to Him.
Jim and Linda Rice shared slides of their mission work last year. Some of the children shown had severe cases of malnutrition. However, some of them looked healthy. To an untrained eye they might a appear to have full stomachs; even a little potbelly. But, they suffer from a lack of protein and are susceptible to many diseases..
Today many people without Christ look full and happy to the untrained eye. But, they have a serious malady called "unbelief". It will cause them to spend eternity in Hell if they don't repent and receive Jesus, the bread of life.
III The Bread of Life is Eternal Bread (vv. 50-51; 54-58)
Would you like to have eternal life? It is available to everyone who receives Jesus as the Bread of Life. This is eternal bread and it is expressed in contrast to the manna of Moses day (v.58).
Manna must be eaten every day. The bread of life is a one time eternal life meal.
Sometimes criticism comes our way, as someone says, "You believe a doctrine called once saved, always saved." I like to respond, "no, I believe in eternal life." The scriptural term is not once saved always saved, however, the Lord does say He gives eternal life. Please note other verses in this sixth chapter.
In verses 39, the Lord says it is the Father's will. "...that of all which He hath given me I should lose nothing,..." In verse 40 Jesus further states, it is the Father's will, "...That everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, hath everlasting life,..." Now when those verses are set along side of verse 54, it is obvious the bread of life is eternal bread.
In contrast to earthly bread, it is clear this bread of life is eternal. Earthly bread will mold and decay. The manna would stink and attract worms. This bread gives life in quantity and quality. In verse 35, the
words "hunger and thirst" are in the emphatic position. It could be translated "shall not ever hunger: and "shall not ever thirst." Why? It is eternal bread.
This bread is called "true bread" in verse 32; "bread of God" in verse 33, "bread of life" in verse 35, "bread from heaven" in verse 41 and "living bread" in verse 51.
How does a person get this bread? We must be drawn by the Father to the Son. Do you sense the power of God drawing you to Jesus? Are you hungry for the bread of life? It is a sign of God quickening your spirit with His. This is the divine condition.
The human element is expressed as you exercise the faith God gives to you. You must take the step of faith and acknowledge Jesus as Lord. The poet expressed this way: