Summary: Jesus made His claims through ordinary lessons from life which people could relate to. In this case he used BREAD.
I AM the Bread of Life
INTRODUCTION: John chapter 6 opens with the scene where a great crowd of people have gathered to hear Jesus. It is getting late in the day; and Jesus, wanting to test Philip, asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all of these people.” Philip answered, “There’s not enough bread to go around for all these people even if we had the money to buy it.” They found a little boy who had 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish. There were around 5000 men in the group plus the women and children. Andrew spoke up and said, “but what is that among so many?” However, Jesus knew already what He planned to do. He instructed the disciples to get the people seated.
The crowd was probably impressed by his miracle-working power and even more so by the fact that he cared. They had watched him heal the sick and now feed all of these people with a small lunch. But the miracles did not cause the people to believe in Him. They acknowledged the fact that He was a Prophet who had come to the nation of Israel, and they were considering taking Him by force and making Him their king.
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and He went to the mountains to pray. Later the 12 disciples left by boat to go to Capernaum. The next morning the people were looking for Jesus. When He did not come, they searched for Him and found Him at Capernaum. They asked, “Where were You? How did you get over here?”
Jesus said, “You are not looking for me because you are interested in the miracles. You are looking for me because I fed you.” Once again Jesus started where the people were--with food and made the transition to a spiritual application.
Today’s scripture is another one of the “I AM” claims of Jesus--I AM the Bread. How does this scripture speak to us today?
1. What Is Our Focus?: Jesus knew that these people were only concerned about their physical needs--the food that He could provide. They looked upon Him as a free meal ticket. They made Him the God of their liking--He could help them to be successful, to rescue them from problems, to respond quickly to their complaints, and give them bread without the need to work for it, and they could keep Him far enough away when they wanted to do their own thing. He gave them some advice at this point. He said:
1. Don’t focus your life and your efforts on food that spoils.
2. Focus your life and your efforts on the food that will enable you to live forever.
3. I can give you that food, and God Himself has confirmed that I can give it to you.
Today as you think of your own life, what do you focus your life on? What needs do you spend most of your time trying to satisfy? Listen to what you are saying as you talk to your family and friends every day. People today work really hard for a lot of things to satisfy them to the exclusion of things that REALLY satisfy. Some people are spending all of their time on their careers to the exclusion of everything else--driving themselves for success. Others are making sure their children are at every ball game to the exclusion of other things. People say “if I don’t have something BETTER TO DO, I’LL COME TO CHURCH.” Some make sure that their homes are the top priority to the exclusion of other things that last far longer. Jesus is not saying don’t have a good career, a nice house, leisure activities, or money in the bank. But He is saying, “Don’t labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life.” He is not saying, “Don’t work. You need some money--but don’t make that or any number of other things your Primary Reason for working.” Someone once said that in every person’s heart is a “loaf shaped vacancy until Jesus fills it.”
St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until we rest in Thee.” Are we filling our lives with things that are not really satisfying to us?
2. They Didn’t Get the Point: As Jesus made the transition from the natural bread to the spiritual bread, they just didn’t get it. How often do we, too, miss the point? We feel confused as we read the scriptures or as we try to “figure God out.”
Story: There was a man who wore a badge on his coat with the letters BAIK. People would come up to him and ask what the letters meant.
He would answer, “Boy, am I confused.”