Summary: Jesus Is Real Wonder Bread 1) He is the bread that came down from heaven 2) He is the bread that leads to heaven
(Call children forward.) I need your help this morning. I want to make a sandwich but I’m not sure how to do that. First of all, can you tell me what ingredients I need to make a sandwich? Peanut butter, jelly, and bread? Is that right? Do we really need the bread? Of course we do! Eating peanut butter and jelly alone would taste good but it would sure be messy! Besides, peanut butter and jelly alone wouldn’t fill us up very well would it? Bread is the main ingredient of a sandwich; it’s what satisfies our hunger. Well I have some bread here that I think would work really well in a sandwich. It’s called Wonder Bread. I’ll bet they call it “Wonder” Bread because if you eat some of this bread, you won’t get hungry again. No? You don’t agree? You mean if I eat this bread, I’m still going to get hungry later on? If that’s true (and it is), it makes you wonder why they call it “Wonder” Bread?
This morning we’re going to hear Jesus call himself bread, not just any bread, mind you, but the Bread of Life. Or, we could say that Jesus is the real Wonder Bread. Why? Because Jesus is the bread that came down from heaven, and he is the bread that leads to heaven.
How was it that Jesus came to call himself, bread? A few weeks ago our gospel lesson from John described how Jesus fed over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. The people were so impressed by this miracle that they chased after Jesus. They wanted him to provide every meal for them. Wouldn’t you like that? Wouldn’t you like to have someone pay for every meal you would ever eat? If there were someone willing to do that for you, you wouldn’t need to work. After all, isn’t life all about finding enough food to eat and stay alive? Not exactly. Jesus made it known to the crowds that there is something more important to life than finding food to keep our tummies full. Jesus said to the people: “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (John 6:27a).
Aren’t we often like the people in our text? We get so wrapped up with life here that we forget that working to make enough money to pay the mortgage, or school, or to support a comfortable lifestyle is not to be our main concern. Rather we are to be more concerned with finding and eating the “food” that will connect us to eternal life in heaven. The crowd in our text too agreed and they asked Jesus for this food. Jesus declared to be that heavenly food when he said: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry” (John 6:35a). This wasn’t exactly the response the people expected and they began to grumble. They said: “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” (John 6:42) Jesus could maybe claim down in Jerusalem that he was from heaven, but everyone there in Galilee knew that Jesus was from Nazareth, and that his father was Joseph the carpenter. He couldn’t pull a fast one on them. They knew Jesus wasn’t from heaven!
I wonder if we don’t often treat Jesus with the same contempt? For example, Jesus claims to rule this world on behalf of and for the benefit of believers (Matthew 28:18-20). And yet when we hear about how a father of a young family falls asleep at the wheel so that the ensuing crash kills him, we wonder, “Jesus, where were you?” Or when loved ones battle chemical imbalances in their body so that from day to day they never feel the same, we say, “Jesus, why don’t you heal?” It’s OK to ask those questions but get your answer from the Bible. Don’t listen to Satan who would suggest that Jesus really isn’t all that he said he is. Yes, Jesus was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth but he is not just human. He really came down from heaven when he was implanted by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Jesus is God’s Son who rules and controls this world, every aspect of it, for our benefit.
Underestimating Jesus is not only foolish it’s dangerous. Just ask Satan. When the Son of God became the son of Mary, Satan took one look at Jesus and thought he would be easy prey. I suppose Satan saw Jesus the way a fish sees a lowly worm dropped in the water before him by a fisherman. A fish sees an easy meal and doesn’t learn about the hook until it’s too late. Likewise when Satan gobbled Jesus, he found that there was more to Jesus than the lowly human exterior. Jesus was also true God and devouring him meant only allowing the divine hook to be set deep inside of him. As a result of Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection, Satan, death, and sin have lost their power to terrorize us. Jesus has firm control of them. When I think of this truth, I picture fishermen in Japan who use cormorants to do their fishing. These birds are allowed to swim around and dive after fish but when they snatch one, the fisherman pulls tightly on the noose around the bird’s neck to keep the bird from swallowing the fish. Pulling on the noose also brings the bird back to the boat where its prize is pried from its beak and thrown into the boat. In the same way death still snatches loved ones around us and it will one day claim us, but we can be confident that Jesus is in control of death. When death snatches a believer, Jesus hauls it in and forces death to cough up its “prey” before we can be swallowed forever. That’s what Jesus meant when he said in our text that those who believe in him will be raised to life on the last day (John 6:44).