Summary: If there is any source of real lasting life anywhere other than in Jesus the Bread of Life then you should take it. But is there?
Those of you who attend our fellowship know that I lost my mother in law this week. She died just one day shy of her 89th birthday. We spent her last evening singing her favorite hymns and reading Scriptures about being transformed and a citizen of heaven and ushered her into the kingdom.
But I have concluded from this experience that death is just wrong. It seems wrong. It doesn’t seem we should die. And in fact, even science agrees that we were not designed to die. Some scientists assert that we die due to chromosomal damage due to things such as free radicals. Others now suggest that inflammation is the cause of aging. Some say that our bodies are not really designed to age and die, they just do.
One doctor told me once that if we live long enough, we’ll all die of cancer. He had a great bedside manner. My mother in law died in part because of a system wide infection in her blood. That is actually very close as to the real reason we die-but not from a bacterial infection but a sin infection.
Paul the Apostle said that "the string of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law." (1 Corinthians 15:56). When we do things that are against God’s character, His law, we sin-and when we sin then death can sting us. Since birth we have been infected with a terminal disease called "sin." We got it from Adam who disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).
Romans 5:12-14 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned- 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. ESV
We don’t want to die, and physical death is no picnic. But the truth is that who we are continues on after physical death. Just as there is life after death, so there is death after death. The Bible calls this "the second death" (Revelation 20-21).
Now aren’t you glad you came to church today? The reason I get into all of this is that we need to realize that there is a way to sustain life after physical death if we just eat right. It’s not a diet low in saturated fat but a diet high in spiritual fiber-Jesus fiber.
Last week we talked about the miracle of loaves and fishes that Jesus performed. The people followed Jesus to Capernaum because they got hungry again and wanted to see a trick. Jesus turns the tables on them and says to not labor after food that perishes but for the food that endures to eternal life. See there is a meal that you eat that will never leave you hungry and always satisfies. Jesus tries then to explain.
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The feeding of course reminded them of manna, that God, not Moses provided for the people coming out of Egypt (Exodus 16). Manna was a physical picture of a spiritual reality, that is, that Jesus is the food from God. They, like the woman at the well in Samaria, wanted a never-ending supply of physical bread. Jesus has something else in mind-a never-ending supply of life.
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This the first of 7 declarations by Jesus that relates Jesus to our needs as humans. (8:12 "I am the light of the world", 10:7 "I am the door of the sheep", :11 "I am the good shepherd", 11:25 "I am the resurrection and the life", 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life", 15:1 "I am the true vine"). "I AM" is the personal name for God. In Hebrew is can mean "the becoming one." Jesus is God and He becomes what we need: life, light, access, nurturing, truth.
You see, there is a hunger and thirst that is so far beyond the physical. It’s a hunger for life that never ends-it’s a satisfaction that we just can’t seem to quench with the stuff of this life here on earth. But people have a hard time grasping that.
As if Jesus wasn’t clear enough before he just states it outright that he himself is the bread of life. He is trying to tell them that their expectations are wrong. It isn’t about filling their bellies with food but about believing and trusting in the one who fills the soul and spirit with life.
(36) They should have been falling down on their knees in worship. They saw the miracle but didn’t go to the next conclusion: that Jesus was God.