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John 6: 35-51
I want us to talk about food for a few moments ... is that O.K.? Not difficult for most of us. Perhaps you have a restaurant you really like and even a favorite meal when you go there. My wife and usually eat at home but last Sunday we went to Cracker barrel. They have a meal there called Sunday chicken-2 pieces of chicken and I order a side of chicken and dumplings and fried okra and always ask for a little extra cholesterol on the side. I heard of a health food restaurant with a billboard that says “eat here and live longer.” Not to be outdone the BBQ place next door posted a sign that said, “eat here and die happy.” Have you ever noticed that when you eat your favorite meal an interesting thing always happens. About 3-4 hours later you could eat it again. You’re hungry all over again. We always want more.
All of us I believe are on a search for something that will satisfy us and will satisfy us completely. But we don’t find it. That’s because most of the things in life don’t satisfy; they just leave us empty and still wanting more. In John 6 Jesus does something that He did repeatedly. He started talking about something that was material and then He turned it into something spiritual. He talked about physical birth with Nicodemus in order to get him to think about being born again. In this chapter He talks about being physically hungry and then talks about being spiritually satisfied.
Before we move any further let me give you some background about bread. In the NT, bread was the most important part of the meal. When you and I go to a restaurant we focus on the main dish, not the bread. In the day of Jesus, if they served meat, it was always a side dish. Bread was always the main dish. So when Jesus says that he is the Bread of Life He is saying that He is what matters .. the most important thing in life. In that day, everyone had access to bread. Rich or poor, they made their own. Bread was one of those things that brought people together. When you broke bread with someone you were friends for life.
The temple was always supplied with bread ... shewbread. It was always a symbol of God, a reminder to His people that every time they ate bread, they were to think of Him. In this passage Jesus had just fed the 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and two small fish. The disciples then get into a boat and head to Capernaum. A storm comes up, Jesus comes walking across the water and tells them not to be afraid. Now the crowd who are all hungry again because what they had eaten didn’t satisfy them, they jumped into their boats and set out to find Jesus. Jesus says to them ..vv. 26-27. The key word here is the word work. Like may of us, the people thought they needed to do some sort of work in order to earn God’s favor. I love this answer Jesus gives in v. 29. “The work of God is this ..to believe in the one He has sent. In other words, if you insist on working, here’s your job description: BELIEVE IN THE ONE WHO GOD HAS SENT.
Well instead of doing the simple thing and just believing, these people had the nerve to ask for another sign. Let’s see, you fed the 5000, walked on water, what else you got? But we do the same thing. We ask God over and over to do something for us while we forget what He’s already done. Our minds always think of now. We forget our blessings.
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