Summary: Message 14 from John's gospel. This message continues the discussion of Jesus' teaching concerning true life and true belief.
Pastor David Welch
“The Bread of Life” Part 2
John is the Gospel of belief.
Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:30-31
Chapter one introduces nearly all the themes expanded throughout the book.
Chapters 2-12 Focuses on the public ministry of Jesus.
Chapters 13-17 highlight the private ministry of Jesus with His disciples.
Chapters 18-21 emphasize the saving ministry of Christ.
For the last two weeks we have followed the development of a most vital theme of the book presenting Jesus as the “Bread of Life”. From here on out we will see increased contrast between those who believe and those who don’t. John introduced this contrast in chapter one.
He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, John 1:11-12
The presentation of Jesus as the bread of life in chapter six began with a most remarkable demonstration of divine power to physically feed a multitude of people. Follow this demonstration of power the disciples stumbled through a test concerning what they learned on the hillside and marveled at an instantly calmed storm and an instant arrival on the other side of sea.
The next day, probably still weary from several days of continuous ministry, Jesus and the disciples face the crowd of people who witnessed the previous day’s teaching, miracles and full stomachs as they rushed to the other side of the sea, anxious for more of the sensational. On the basis of a graphic picture of his ability to sustain physical life temporarily, Jesus now develops a most profound teaching regarding his ability and mission to sustain life both physically and spiritually for eternity. This teaching deserves more than a cursory glance; perhaps even a lifetime of study. This passage contains a variety of questions that dictate the direction of the lesson. I use these questions to frame our time together this morning.
Question #1 When did you get here? (How did you do it?) 6:22-25
Their question indicates a curiosity in the sensational not necessarily in the eternal. “How did you do it?”
“How did you get here so fast from the other side without a boat?”
• Jesus rebukes their motives 6:26
Jesus aims at the need of the heart rather than the subject of their curiosity. Their need is to go beyond the signs to the intended destination. You only seek me because I filled your stomachs when I really want to fill your hearts.
• Jesus redirects their focus 6:27
"Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal."
Here Jesus strongly encourages them to focus on the eternal rather than the temporal. Don’t expend your energy to obtain physical food that can only sustain physical life temporarily. Physical food only lasts so long before it perishes and becomes useless. Expend your energy to obtain spiritual food that continually generates and sustains eternal life. This food continually endures. The satisfying taste and life sustaining properties never end. This is a food that lasts forever.
Where does one find this kind of eternal food? The Son will provide this food yet in the future as a direct agent of the Father who already set His seal on the Son.
Question #2 “What do we do to work for this super food?” 6:28
They said therefore to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"
These people figure that there must be something they should be doing that would qualify them for the eternal bread line. They are looking for the short list.
• Jesus identifies the work of God 6:29
Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."
Jesus recognizes continuous belief in Him as the labor or focus that results in the food that continually obtains and sustains eternal life. Jesus uses the same word for work used earlier but changes it from a plural (works) to a singular (work). Only one necessary work acquires the food from the Son that initiates and sustains eternal life. Jesus supplies the food for eternal life simply through the act of believing in Him the bread of life. Continual belief, trust in Christ is the work of God. Salvation is no more complicated than choosing to access the right warehouse where such wonderful life-giving food is stored. He is the Father’s only authorized dealer for food that sustains eternal life.