I apologize for the lateness of this post. We have been experiencing internet issues the past few days.
The Living Bread
Life & Light Community Church
Message from 10/15/2022
Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.
“Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
John 6:41–51 (NASB95)
Many of us have seen, or at least heard, of the cartoon of the man stranded on a housetop asking God for help. Another man in a boat comes along and the man on the housetop replies, “God will provide.” As the water rises another boat, bigger this time, comes along and, again the man replies, “God will provide.” Finally, the water reaches the top of the house, and a helicopter comes by and the man, again, replies, “God will provide.” As the water reaches the man’s waist, he cries to the heavens, “God why haven’t you helped me?” A voice from heaven replies, “How much more help do you need?!”
I think it is safe to say that we have all missed God’s help from time to time. The crowd in our passage today has certainly missed The Living Bread as Jesus stands before them as the bread from heaven. The crowd, however, insists that their fathers ate manna from heaven, and they want what their fathers had. Sadly, the people miss the point that, while their fathers ate manna in the wilderness, they all died, and Jesus offers them living bread from heaven that leads to eternal life.
The Jews grumble about Jesus saying He is the bread come down from heaven, claiming they know His father and mother. But no one can come to Jesus unless drawn by the Father, for the bread out of heaven The Living Bread for those who believe. These receive true bread from heaven and live forever.
Many today continue to challenge that Jesus came from heaven, claiming He was simply a man – a good teacher who lived a good life. But only those drawn by God can truly know Jesus as bread out of heaven – The Living Bread for eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Christ.
In this message we seek to answer the question, “How is Jesus The Living Bread come down from heaven?”
Jesus is The Living Bread come down from heaven that the world might have life.
1). The Father sent The Living Bread from heaven to draw people to Jesus as the Christ.
Only those who have heard and learned from the Father can come to Jesus.
Throughout the gospel account of John, we have been taking care to see the connection to the Torah in John’s writing. The crowd begins to grumble among themselves because Jesus has said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” Why is this an issue? The crowd that has followed Jesus to Capernaum is likely from Nazareth, the village where the family of Jesus resides after returning from Egypt. Thus, the crowd states Jesus is the son of Joseph, whose father and mother they know. They mistakenly believe they know the truth of where Jesus has come from and thus, they grumble about this statement. What is the connection to the Torah? The grumbling of the crowd.
In the Torah, Exodus and Deuteronomy to be exact, the people complain about their hunger and God provides meat and manna, in Exodus 16, and then they complain about their thirst in Exodus 17. Finally, we see the people called out for their grumbling in Deuteronomy 1:27. Sadly, the Israelites complained even when God provided manna! Earlier this crowd had been bragging about how Moses gave them manna from heaven. Now, standing before them is the One who will give them bread, something better than manna, because their fathers ate the manna and died. The bread that Jesus will provide is living bread, because He Himself has come down from heaven.
Remember these are Israelites, they have been taught they are God’s own people. Jesus tells this crowd that no one can come to Him unless they have been drawn by the Father. While we must understand that there is an individual application here for each one of us, we must also understand that there are great national implications here for these Israelites. No person, Jews, Gentile, Greek or any other nationality, can come to Jesus on their own volition and power. Each must be drawn by God the Father. Which helps clarify the following statement that they will all be taught of God.
Most modern-day commentators believe Jesus is quoting the prophet Isaiah, but what Jesus has in mind here is the prophet Jeremiah chapter 31:31-33 – the New Covenant text. This text helps us understand that Jesus has, indeed, come to restore ALL of Israel – the House of Israel and the House of Judah. As we learned earlier, the Samaritan Israelites represent the House of Israel and the Judean Israelite represent the House of Judah. The Samaritan Israelites, who believed because of the word they heard, represent the Ten Northern tribes which have assimilated into other cultures. They too, are part of the end times plan of restoration for Israel by God the Father.
For the Christ follower, we too have been given the opportunity to partake of the living bread that came down from heaven. Jesus is the living bread we need every day. He alone can provide for our physical needs as well as our spiritual needs. The bread He offers is far better than any bread – or manna- because the bread He offers is living bread which leads to eternal life. Each of us, in our own way and in our own experience, has heard and learned from the Father, who has then drawn us to His Son, Yeshua, Jesus the Christ.
Questions for discussion/reflection:
What do you find yourself grumbling about during this season of life?
Think of a recent desert experience in your own life; how did The Father’s Provision sustain you during your desert wanderings?
How is God the Father drawing you closer to Jesus during this season of life?
Jesus is The Living Bread come down from that the world might have life.
2). The Father sent The Living Bread from heaven to provide eternal life to those who believe.
Only those who believe – place their faith and trust in Jesus – will live forever.
As the people press Jesus on the issue of manna in the wilderness, Jesus acknowledges the fact that their fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, but then He adds another fact to the discussion – their fathers ate the manna and died. Jesus is making a point here about the entire generation that came out of Egypt – the entire generation are the fathers of the crowd who have been following Him; these are the one who ate the manna and did not enter the Promised Land – they all died. Jesus is exposing the hypocrisy of this crowd, those who dare to compare the manna provided by Moses against The Living Bread – the true bread from heaven.
The next statement from Jesus is one that, again, sounds very familiar, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;” Where have we heard something similar to this? This goes back to the Samaritan woman at the well again. “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Again, we see a contrast of the Samaritan Israelites who believed because of what they heard and the Judean Israelites who do not believe even when they see the miracles of Jesus. This group of followers is just like the generation of unbelieving Israelites in the wilderness.
Jesus tells these followers that the one who believes will have eternal life. What, exactly, are they to believe? First, they are to believe in Christ as the Son of God. The Son is the only One from God and the only One who has seen the Father. Secondly, they must believe Jesus is the One who has come out of heaven. He alone can grant eternal life to those who believe. He is the Giver of Life and the Source of Life. Thirdly, they must believe Jesus is the Bread of Life. As the Bread of Life, Jesus is the One who provide nourishment both physically and spiritually. Fourth, they must believe Jesus is the Living Bread who gives eternal life. He alone is living bread that gives life. He alone came down out of heaven to give life to the world. He alone provides nourishment – spiritual food – for humanity for spiritual and eternal life. Finally, they must believe that Jesus gave His flesh for the life of the world.
For the Christ follower, in a very real sense, Jesus has given His flesh that we might have life. Of course, this is a foreshadowing of His work on the cross as our Passover Lamb. Each week we celebrate the body that has been broken and given for us. But do we stop for even a moment and examine what that means for us in our busy schedules from day to day? Do we understand the full impact of His being lashed at His scourging and how the torn and battered flesh has given us life? To believe and fully understand this is more than a simple mental acceptance. To believe is to receive Jesus as Lord AND Savior. His sacrifice for those who call Him Lord demands obedience, faithfulness, and loyalty.
Questions for discussion/reflection:
When was the last time you questioned the superiority of The Living Bread, thinking you have found something better?
What has convinced you that Jesus is the Bread of Life? If you are not convinced, why?
How has Jesus given His flesh that you might have life?
Jesus is The Father’s Provision of living bread from that the world might have life.
Jesus the Christ has come down out of heaven that we might have life and life abundantly. That does not necessarily mean we have lots of stuff, but rather, in Him our life is full and rich in ways we could never imagine. If you are struggling to believe, ask yourself what is holding you back. Pinpoint those issues you still have keeping you from freely and fully giving yourself to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Once you have identified those issue, turn to the Scriptures. Find those Scriptures that speak directly to your issues. Trust the Holy Spirit to lead you to the truth. Stand firm on the promises you find in those Scriptures that speak to your doubt. But above all, listen. Listen for God will speak to your issues and help you overcome your doubts, for it is those who have heard and learned from the Father that are granted eternal life.
We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord,
Amen and amen.
Next Week: John 6:52-71