John 6.22-59 Jesus the Cannibal

November 18, 2007 Series: Gospel According to John

Topic: Gospel Passage: John 6:22–6:59

John 6.22-71: Jesus the Cannibal

November 18, 2007

Sam Ford

 

The First of the "I AM" statements

When someone says ‘bread', different images probably go into your mind.

 

This study on the gospel of John is subtitled, Hello, I am Jesus. It's a bit of a play on words in that the gospel of John is where he makes a series of I AM statements declaring and describing who He is through metaphor. In today's passage we read the first of the "I AM" statements. Jesus is the bread of life which means I'm some sort of Christian Cannibal.

 

V.22-27 -EARTHLY BREAD VERSUS ETERNAL BREAD

22 On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23 Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" 26 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal."

 

We are a laboring people.

We are a laboring people. Work has been a part of our lives since the Garden of Eden. Work was in God's plan from the beginning; he designed it as another means through which we would glorify Him. We have defined work somewhat narrowly as that which we do to make a living-to pay the bills. But work is, in fact, anything we exert effort to achieve. Work is the means through which we obtain what we want. What do we want? Some want security, others want regard, still others want joy, meaning, or purpose. Like everything else in creation, however, WORK ITSELF was plagued by sin. Everything we labored for was meant to bring God glory...but now it is often limited to self-glory. Work was no longer easy or enjoyable; it became not laborious, painful, and mis-guided.

 

Do not labor for food that perishes

This well-fed crowd tracks down Jesus after he made a feast for 5,000 out of a few barley loves and fish. There not certain exactly how Jesus got to the other side of the sea so they ask the one they still think is nothing more than a good teacher. He tells them that they aren't laboring or WORKING to find Him, they are working to get some more bread.

 

We all work. We all have jobs to pay our bills, to provide food, shelter, and other things to our families. It is not sinful to pursue the materials of this world. But we do more than just labor to live. Most of the time most of us pour the efforts and energies of our lives into laboring for "food" of this world; seeking out "things" apart from God to do more than just meet NEEDS but in fact to satisfy, fulfill, or give us meaning. We work hard to get "stuff" and what you have or don't have begins to not only dictate whether you are happy or sad, but who in fact you are all together.

 

Our world provides all kinds of bread that perishes, it just doesn't last. Strangely, these things around us provide much more than "entertainment." We live in a world where we need the NEXT BEST THING, we live in a world where CONSUMERISM replaces RELIGION. Alan Hirsch in his book the Forgotten way makes some interesting observations:

  • Suburbs are build around the around the central consumerist temple called The Shopping Mall.
  • Teenagers walk aimlessly through the corridors of covetousness looking for an answer that somehow evades them.
  • Parents saunter through the same malls indulging in a dose of "retail therapy."
  • We change identities like we change clothes. We do this either by moving into the groovier inner city, or by dropping out and becoming all natural/organic, changing our clothes, changing our friends, buying this product, joining this network of people.
  • Everything, even personal identity and religious meaning, becomes a commodity that we can now trade in, depending on the latest fads, and by consuming the latest products.

 

Church shopping suddenly makes a lot of sense. The church is forced into the role of being little more than a vendor of religious goods and services. Worship becomes pure entertainment where people go to have experience and emotional high.

 

Labor for food that endures for eternal life

So how should we labor? We should work. We should labor to find fulfillment, satisfaction, and meaning. But our efforts and their energies cannot be only focused on getting fed now. We are to pour our efforts into those things that MAY NOT give us immediate satisfaction with a full belly. But you can fill your belly with all kinds of crap to make it full, but eventually you'll pay the price as you ride the porcelain pony into the high sierras. Working for the things of God means SEEKING the things of HIS KINGDOM...

  • Knowing God's Word read our bibles like men digging for treasure.
  • Knowing God wrestle in prayer, like men fight for their lives with the deadly enemy.
  • Continuous Worship must take our whole heart to the house of God and worship (not just be entertained) and leave and continue to worship
  • Knowing our Spiritual Battle We must fight against sin and the devil's attacks

 

V.28-34 HOW DO I GET ETERNAL BREAD

28 Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." 30 So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.' " 32 Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but 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." 34 They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."

 

What do I have to do to get ETERNAL bread?

In our consumer minded culture, we believe that IF WE HAVE A PROBLEM, we can buy something, pay someone, or otherwise find a way to solve the problem. Just tell me what the problem is, I can GOOGLE someone to fix it for me.

  • YOU ARE SELF-CENTERED...here, I'll pay a charity to prove I'm not
  • YOU HOSTILE and REBELLIOUS...I'll just pay for therapy (Dr. Phil will help)
  • YOUR UNDER GOD'S WRATH...let's make a bargain
  • YOUR BANKRUPT...I'll just get another job
  • YOUR GUILTY...how much to get me out of jail?

 

You get "LIFE" by believing in Jesus.

THE WORK OF GOD is to BELIEVE in JESUS. Believing in Jesus has to be more than just admiring Jesus. It must be more than just recognizing what he has done intellectually or even being really moved by what he did emotional. At it's core, belief in Jesus is trust in the cross of Jesus Christ alone to reconcile you with your God. It is trust that you CANNOT find answers to the questions of WHO YOU ARE, WHY AM I HERE, WHAT IS RIGHT, WHAT IS WRONG, apart from the cross. Until you actually trust Jesus for those things, you will consume any number of things as you work to find satisfaction.

 

Why should I believe? Prove it...again.

Many of you listening to me will not believe me. In fact, the only thing that will cause you to believe will be proof...even if Jesus has already given a ton of it. These guys say, sure, why don't you give us some more bread and then we'll believe you. At their core, these guys do not get it...IT'S NOT A PHYSICAL PROBLEM...our PROBLEMS are SPIRITUAL. These guys are saying, hey Moses gave our fathers new bread every morning. Jesus says, GOD not Moses gave the bread to make sure you didn't die. The new MANNA, is not bread, it's a "HE"....give us this bread.

 

You're still not listening...your problem is not an empty belly, or a bad marriage, or an unsatisfying job, or whatever disease you might have, it's the fact that you are spiritually dead.

 

V.35-40 THE BREAD IS A PERSON NOT A COMMODITY

35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

 

The source and key to life is not a COMMODITY that can be achieved, bought, or found, it is a person. This is so different than the other world religions.

 

If you come to me, you shall not hunger or thirst.

I am the bread...I am the food for man (not A FOOD) Man is starving. I am the bread of life, that which GIVES and SUSTAINS LIFE. Just think of all the things we AS HUMANS, hunger and thirst for....meaning, purpose, unconditional acceptance, love, forgiveness, true freedom, joy, peace, friendship, leadership, protection....the list goes on. This is so much different than the "bread" of the world...it doesn't last (job, relationships, sex,) we always want more. A person satisfies indefinitely.

 

If you come to me, I will not cast you out.

One of the greatest fears we have is that when someone finds out about who I really am, then the gig is up. I'll be out. We all fear that sense of rejection. NO ONE wants to be rejected. Let's be honest, our world if full of rejection-because of the "STUFF" that we don't have. You lose yourself, your identity, your purpose because you don't have the job, the relationship, the "stuff' that the world says means success.

 

If you come to me, I will not lose you.

But what if I mess up after we "get married?" What happens once we're in relationship and I let you down? Confess and I will cleanse, but I will never forsake. (Marriage example). We can't lose Jesus...more accurately stated, Jesus can't lose us. Your job can end. Your computer can explode. Your car can breakdown. Your marriage can end. Your flesh can die. The empty tomb tells us that Jesus has power over everything, even death.

 

V.41-46 NOT EVERYONE WILL TAKE THE BREAD

41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." 42 They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven'?" 43 Jesus answered them, "Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me- 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.

 

Why should we believe this guy?

Jesus doesn't even bother to argue who he is. Instead, he simply states that there will be people who will not believe this foolishness. Then he says some of the hardest words in the Bible...

 

No on can come to me unless the Father draws him: TOTAL DEPRAVITY

We are totally depraved. We are completely rebellious toward God. Man's NATURAL state is to not seek God, it is in fact to seek satisfaction in everything BUT God. We do not seek God for who he is...we only seek God when we want him to preserve us from death, pain, or simply hunger. Apart from God's gracious touch...we are what John 3.20-21 already said...evil and evil love darkness.

 

Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me: IRRESISTABLE GRACE

But there is hope. A quick reading might lead us to believe that there are a lot of people who have learned and heard but they do not come. There is a difference between hearing about Jesus and hearing Jesus himself (Paul of Damascus Road). We can resist God. But if GOD wants you...then he can overcome any emotional, intellectual, or whatever resistance you might have.

 

How does this impact us?

It definitely impacts our view of evangelism, in terms of who is actually doing the work of salvation. It also impacts our view of our own salvation. If God chose me, then I can have confidence that he will not change his mind. Jesus says, flat out, I will not lose anyone.

 

 

V.57-59 THOSE GOD HAS CHOSEN HAVE EATEN JESUS' FLESH

47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

 

53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

 

56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not as the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever." 59 Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

 

If you put faith and trust in what the world can offer, you will get what the world can offer.

Satan will give you exactly what you want if it will lead you away from a dependence upon God. Satan wants you to be tempted and overcome by what the world can offer. For the moment, it will appear, think, even feel like LIFE...but in the end, you will DIE and simply walk into HELL having had a more comfortable life. You will pour your energies into obtaining the world's bread, and you will enter eternity without the only bread that counts.

 

If you are a Christian, you are a Cannibal.

If you want to live after you die, you will believe in Jesus. A lot of people can say they believe in Jesus but trusting in Jesus means that HE IS YOUR BREAD OF LIFE.

  • We EAT Him and Live - Nothing else is offered (Bread and Water) -people put him in the napkin....and pretend
  • We FEED on Him - Nothing satisfies more. I need Him to live as husband, father, employee, parent, man...etc.
  • We SAVOR Him - Nothing tastes better. I want Him to enjoy

More in Gospel According to John

April 27, 2008

John 17.13-26 Sent, Like Jesus

April 20, 2008

John 17.1-12 Prayer of Jesus

April 13, 2008

John 16.4-33 Jesus Overcomes the World