Summary: In order to have life – real life, the God’s life which is a qualitatively different life – we must believe and put our faith in Jesus Christ who is the Bread of Life. In the life of the church the Lord’s Supper is a celebration of this transformative reality.
You can listen to the full message here:-
This message was not written or preached by myself.
Jesse Caulfield, a member of our congregation who preaches every now and then to give me a Sunday off, is the author.
Permission to upload and distribute this message has been given so the series can be complete.
Jesus the Bread of Life
Read John 6:25-59
Lucas favourite book is called Zed’s bread. It talks about a little boy and his brother – Zed - who make bread together. At the end of the book it lists many different types of bread – which Lucas has now memorized –
Pitta bread, chapatti bread, brown bread, white bread, crispbread, croissant, focaccia, pretzel, pizza bread, flat bread, frenchsticks, rye bread, and so on.
He can now point out these types of bread litter our shelves at coles, or woolworths or aldi , we have so many types of bread available to us! We don’t think about where they came from, or frankly worry about the cost. 85c for a loaf of aldi bread is incidental.
I had a friend who spent many years in the south pacific working on the remote islands as an I.T. support officer. He would often recount about coming back to Australia having spent 10 years there. On the small island where he lived, if he wanted bread he would go to the shop – not shops – shop. And the bread would be on one row of the first shelf. That was it. If there was no bread there, it meant they were waiting on the boat to arrive. And no bread, well, you had to scrounge around for something else – like cassava or tarot root if you wanted to eat staples.
When he came back to Australia and went to the supermarket he spent all day in there, standing, staring, he describes as almost traumatic, looking at row after row on the shelves of the different types of bread the different types of butter…
Supply of bread isn’t seasonal at coles. We are not worried about the aussie dollar dropping and affecting our cost of bread. We aren’t worried about the drought, if we can’t grow it, we have so much money we can fly it in and in fact, probably find it is cheaper anyway.
Some of us might think of bread in terms of something we might have on the side of our plate – we don’t need daily bread – there is so much food, there are so many options… we could easily go without ‘bread’ and not even miss it.
But not so in the time of Jesus. In that society -first century Palestine / Judah - 85 % of a daily wage (a denarii) would be spent on something like a loaf of bread and some cheese or fish. If you didn’t work, you starved. If you didn’t like bread or fish, you probably starved. Pastor Allan, you would be in trouble lol. I suppose there was corn ? or rice ?
Half the people in the world today live on a basic diet - a cup of rice and few bits of fish or green pick from the jungle or arid landscape around them. They get what Jesus is talking about in this passage far easier then we do.
For us, the motif “daily bread” is lost on us. But not so Jesus audience. They knew with absolute certainty what Jesus meant when he said “daily bread”. He was talking about the difference between living, and dying.
Our Scripture reading today can be summed up by the statement “in order to have life – that is, God’s life which is a qualitatively different life - I must believe, that is put my faith in, the one he sent, Jesus Christ”. Our author – John, the evangelist – follows the same pattern of story that we read in chapter three, chapter four, chapter five, and once again the same line appear on the lips of unbelieving crowds, Jews, or individuals…. “” (viz what are the works God requires), (which of course is a silly question) to which Jesus gives the same response – it is a gift and therefore you can do nothing but accept and put faith in the one God has sent – Jesus, the true bread.
However in this passage he uses the metaphor - bread – required every day to stay alive - to show how vital it is for a person to believe that Jesus has taken their place for their sins, on the cross; that he has died, so they don’t have to – and this is a matter of life or death! It is not just faith, but rather faith in Jesus - he is the object of faith – in his substitutionary death, as he explains that the bread must be broken and ties it to his flesh and blood which must ‘eat’ – a clear allusion to the cross – and so we have to believe that he died for us, in our place, in order to receive this life from God.