Sermons

Summary: A SERIES OF MESSAGES BASED ON JESUS' "I AM" STATEMENTS IN THE BOOK OF JOHN

I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE

JOHN 6:25-41

INTRODUCTION:

WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, SATURDAYS WERE ALWAYS A SPECIAL TIME AT OUR HOUSE. IT WAS A DAY THAT WE DID A GENERAL HOUSECLEANING. WE ALL HAD A JOB TO DO, AND MINE WAS TO DUST THE STAIRS, AND HELP CHANGE BED LINEN. IT WAS ALSO A SPECIAL DAY BECAUSE IT WAS A DAY THAT MOM WOULD BAKE BREAD. ALMOST EVERY SATURDAY THERE WOULD BE A BIG PAN OF BREAD DOUGH RISING ON THE CUPBOARD. I USED TO LIKE IT WHEN THE DOUGH WOULD COME OVER THE SIDES AND ONTO THE CUPBOARD BECAUSE I COULD EAT SOME OF IT AND MOM WOULDN’T NOTICE BECAUSE WE’D BE PUTTING IT BACK INTO THE PAN. SHE’D ALWAYS MAKE SIX LOAVES, AND A PAN OF ROLLS, AND LET ME TELL YOU WE DIDN’T NEED TO BE CALLED TWICE FOR SUPPER THAT NIGHT. FRESH HOMEMADE BREAD SMOTHERED IN MOLASSES AND BUTTER, BEANS AND HOMEMADE ROLLS, LIFE DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT, EXCEPT FOR THE DAY THAT SHE INTRODUCED ME TO FRIED BREAD DOUGH. I DECLARED A NATIONAL HOLIDAY THAT DAY IT TASTED SO GOOD.

BREAD WAS A STAPLE FOR US, AS I’M SURE IT WAS FOR MANY OF YOU. WHETHER WE WERE RICH OR POOR, THERE WAS ALWAYS BREAD ON THE TABLE, AND WE FOUND COMFORT IN IT.

THE STORY IS TOLD THAT AS WORLD WAR II WAS DRAWING TO A CLOSE, THE ALLIED ARMIES GATHERED UP MANY HUNGRY ORPHANS. THEY WERE PLACED IN CAMPS WHERE THEY WERE WELL FED. DESPITE EXCELLENT CARE, THEY SLEPT POORLY. THEY SEEMED NERVOUS AND AFRAID. FINALLY, A PSYCHOLOGIST CAMP UP WITH THE SITUATION. EACH CHILD WAS GIVEN A PIECE OF BREAD TO HOLD AFTER HE WAS PUT TO BED. THIS PARTICULAR PIECE OF BREAD WAS JUST TO BE HELD – NOT EATEN. THE PIECE OF BREAD PRODUCED WONDERFUL RESULTS. THE CHILDREN WENT TO BED KNOWING INSTINCTIVELY THEY WOULD HAVE FOOD TO EAT THE NEXT DAY. THAT GUARANTEE GAVE THE CHILDREN A RESTFUL AND CONTENTED SLEEP.

EACH OF THE “I AM” STATEMENTS REPRESENTS A PARTICULAR RELATIONSHIP OF JESUS TO THE SPIRITUAL NEEDS OF MEN AND WOMEN. JESUS IS THE LIGHT IN DARKNESS, THE GATE TO SECURITY, AND THE SHEPHERD THAT GUIDES. TODAY HE IS THE BREAD THAT SATISFIES AND GIVES LIFE ETERNAL. IN EVERY “I AM” STATEMENT JESUS WANTS US TO RECEIVE HIM, NOT FOR THE GIFTS HE CAN GIVE US, BUT FOR WHAT HE CAN BE TO US.

RAVI ZACHARIS WRITES THIS ABOUT JESUS’ STATEMENT “I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE”.

“ JESUS’ WORDS WERE INTENDED TO LIFT THE LISTENERS FROM THEIR BARREN, FOOD-DOMINATED EXISTENCE TO THE RECOGNITION AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE SUPREME HUNGER OF LIFE THAT CAN ONLY BE FILLED WITH A DIFFERENT BREAD. FOD AND POWER BLIND THE MIND TO THE NEED FOR NOURISHMENT AND STRENGTH OF SOUL.”

IT WAS ST. AUGUSTINE WHO NOTED THAT EVERY SINGLE PERSON HAS WITHIN THEM A GOD-SHAPED VACUUM IN HIS SOUL. WE CAN AND DO ATTEMPT TO FILL THAT CAVITY WITH A HOST OF OTHER THINGS, BUT FINALLY NOTHING FILLS OUR HUNGER FOR REDEMPTION AND SIGNIFICANCE EXCEPT JESUS AND HIS GOSPEL.

TODAY WE’RE GOING TO EXAMINE THIS WONDERFUL STATEMENT THAT JESUS MAKES TO US. I HOPE IT WILL BRING GREATER SIGNIFICANCE AS WE COME TO THE TABLE TODAY. COME ALONG ON THE JOURNEY WITH ME AND AS THE SCRIPTURE STATES “TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD.”

BIBLICAL CONTEXT:

THE BIBLICAL CONTEXT OF THIS PASSAGE BEGINS WITH CHAPTER FIVE AND THE FEEDING OF THE FIVE THOUSAND. NOW WE KNOW THAT THIS WAS NOT THE ACTUAL NUMBER OF THOSE FED. IT WOULD BE MUCH HIGHER AS ONLY THE MEN WERE COUNTED. JESUS PERFORMED MIRACLES OF HEALING FOR THE PEOPLE AND ALSO TAUGHT THEM. JESUS THEN ASKED HIS DISCIPLES WHERE THEY MIGHT FIND ENOUGH BREAD TO FEED THE PEOPLE. PHILIP VOLUNTEERS THAT EIGHT MONTHS WAGES WOULDN’T FEED THEM ALL, AND ANDREW FINDS A BOY WHO HAS THE FIVE BARLEY LOAVES AND TWO FISH. WITH THAT JESUS PERFORMS THE MIRACLE AND FEEDS EVERYONE, WITH THE DISCIPLES GATHERING 12 BASKETS OF LEFTOVERS.

THAT NIGHT FEARING THAT THE MISPLACED ZEAL OF THE CROWD WOULD NOT COMPEL THEM TO MAKE HIM KING OF ISRAEL BY FORCE, JESUS W2ALKED ACROSS THE WATER TO REACH THE CITY OF CAPERNAUM ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LAKE. UNDETERRED, THE CROWDS THE NEXT MORNING ALL PILE IN BOATS, CROSS THE SEA OF GALILEE, AND WHEN THEY FIND HIM BEGIN INTERROGATING HIM ABOUT HOW HE CROSSED THE LAKE WITHOUT A BOAT AND IF HE WILL PERFORM ANOTHER MIRACLOUS SIGN TO PROVE HE IS THE MESSIAH. WHAT BECOMES SADLY CLEAR IN THE ENSUEING DISCUSSION IS THAT THE CROWD FOLLOWING JESUS COMPLETELY MISSES THE POINT OF THE MIRACULOUS FEEDING OF THE 5000, AS WELL AS THE OLD TESTAMENT ANTECEDENT THE MIRACULOUS FEEDING OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL BY GOD IN MANNA – BREAD FROM HEAVEN – DURING THEIR FORTY YEAR WILDERNESS WANDERING.

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Talk about it...

Danny Brightwell

commented on Jul 23, 2014

This is an excellent sermon - you're illustrations are spot on. I love the last one. Thank you for sharing and I hope you won't mind if I share some of your comments with the congregation in my church.

Douglas Phillips

commented on Sep 9, 2015

Sorry I didn't reply to you but I had let my pro account close. I'm glad you found the sermon helpful.

Bill Boyce

commented on Feb 7, 2016

I agree with Danny. This is a really well done message. I made use of your last illustration also. I felt your observations on the crowd were spot on and Biblically grounded.

Douglas Phillips

commented on May 24, 2017

Hi Bill: Again I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I had let my subscription run out and just sent more messages in. I'm glad it was helpful and your agreement that it is biblically based is encouraging. Keep preaching the Word. Doug:

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