Summary: Message 13 from John's Gospel exploring Jesus' claim to being the Bread of Life".
Pastor David Welch
“Food for a longer and better Life”
Chapter one serves as an overture to this remarkable work introducing a multitude of themes effectively developed throughout the book.
Chapters 2-12 Focus 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.
Last week we listened to the first section of this symphonic development of a most vital theme of the book presenting Jesus as the “Bread of Life”. John employs both dissonance and resolve to underscore his theme. We have the dissonance of the unbelievers and the resolve of powerful truth proclaimed by Jesus to the heart of those who would both see and believe the message. John introduces this vital teaching of Jesus as the bread of life with a most remarkable demonstration of divine power. We touched on the miraculous provision of food to at least 15,000 men women and children out of just two fish and five bread cakes. There were many lessons concerning Jesus to be learned on that hillside concerning the power and passion of Jesus. The disciples stumbled through a test of their faith and miraculously arrived on the other side of the storm-tossed sea to a crowd of people anxious for more of the sensational. This chapter unfolds some of the most profound and deep truth in the entire Bible. We dive into a passage of the Bible using simple words to convey such lofty truth intended to transform every one who has ear to hear. This passage contains a host of questions that dictate the direction of the lesson.
Question #1 When did you get here? (How did you do it?) 6:22-25
22The next day the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other small boat there, except one, and that Jesus had not entered with His disciples into the boat, but that His disciples had gone away alone. 23There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You get here?"
Their question indicates a kind of curiosity in the supernatural not necessarily in the eternal. “How did you do it?” “How did you get here so fast from the other side without a boat?” “Tell us how you did it?”
• Jesus rebukes their motives 6:26
Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled.
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 object. “Sign” is plural because the feeding of the multitude was only one sign displayed that day. Jesus sent the whole day healing the sick and the miraculously transported Himself and the disciples across the sea. “Seek” is for a philosophical seeking, curiosity. You actively and persistently seek Me because you experienced a momentary satisfaction of your physical appetite by supernatural means.” You failed to see the signs pointing to the source of eternal satisfaction, a continual spiritual wholeness. You failed to perceive that there was something beyond the physical world. What you witnessed failed to progress beyond an earthly focus to a new heavenly focus. These people were more concerned with satisfying their stomachs than their souls.
Paul calls attention to enemies of the cross who also demonstrated such a faulty focus.
For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. Philip. 3:18-19
Maybe they made the long journey to get another free meal. For one thing, they were probably already hungry in in which case Jesus’ redirection of emphasis to the spiritual and reduction of emphasis on the physical would strike a chord.
• 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 (energeo Gk.), work for obtaining physical food that can only sustain physical life temporarily. Physical food only lasts so long before it perishes and becomes useless. Expend your energy on obtaining spiritual food that continually generates and sustains eternal life. This food continually endures. The satisfying taste and life sustaining properties never end. The word John used here is a present tense imperative (command). It is a command calling for a continuous expenditure of energy. It is the common word used for working to obtain, labor, and building. Don‘t weary yourselves or busy yourselves over the things of this temporal life but devote yourselves to the things that lead to eternal life. This is not the first time Jesus pronounced such an exhortation to expend ones energy for a desired result or reward or goal.