READ the whole passage.
I read verse 36 and have to wonder how many people today would be the same way. If Jesus Christ walked into this sanctuary right now and told us who He was, would we believe or would we require a sign. It makes me wonder how many people REALLY believe that Jesus is a real person and not just someone we read about in the book we call the Bible. We hear Jesus taught and preached, but many still yearn to have a sign or to SEE a miracle before they will truly believe. If you don’t think that is the case, then why are these miracle healers doing so well. Why do they draw such a big crowd when Jesus has already told us that healing comes from the Lord? What is it going to take to satisfy people? If Jesus isn’t the source, then just what IS the source of these people’s spiritual satisfaction?
Tonight we see that the source of Spiritual satisfaction is Jesus. If we are going to receive spiritual nourishment, it will be from Jesus. He is the only Bread that can feed our great hunger. Let’s break down this passage.
READ 30-31. Jesus had just told these people that it wasn’t WORKS (plural) that God required but one WORK (singular) and that was to simply believe in the One God had sent. They turn right around and ask Jesus what kind of sign is He going to give them to prove that He is the One God has sent.
So in verses 27 & 29 Jesus has claimed to be the Son of Man, the One who feeds man, who gives man bread which gives eternal life. He had just claimed the He was the One whom God had sealed, the One whom God had sent into the world, the One upon whom men were to believe. But the people demanded proof. This reveals a couple of things about the nature of man.
1. Man focuses on the physical and material. We already talked about that last time. Man, even today, will still ignore all the signs, even the miracles of God which surround him. Christ has just miraculously fed this crowd, yet the crowd ignored the witness of that particular sign. It wasn’t enough. They wanted more.
Moses had fed Israel for 40 years in the wilderness. Christ had fed them only once. Moses had fed Israel with manna falling out of the sky from heaven. Christ had merely multiplied bread from a few loaves in His hands.
2. Another revealing fact about man is that man demands that he first see, then he will believe. That is contrary to true faith. That’s not the way faith works. One must first believe, then he will see.
Faith is not fate. It’s a matter of the heart, a matter of how the heart must relate to others. If a person doesn’t believe in you, they don’t see. They might ask all they want, but it’s unlikely that you will do what they ask if you know that they really don’t believe you or trust you.
But if they believe and trust you, you will usually do whatever they ask. In the same way man must first believe God, then he sees. Faith must precede sight. Believe God and He will fulfill the desires of your heart.
In our story, the people’s complaint was twofold.
1. Christ had not fed them enough—not enough to prove that HE was who He claimed to be.
2. Christ had not fed them in the right way, not given them bread from heaven to eat.
We’re the same way. We never have enough. We crave and crave and are never really satisfied. Even in dealing with God, man never has enough evidence or proof to believe.
Man always wants to tell God how to act and deal with him and his life. Man wants his needs met in certain ways. It’s not enough for God to meet man’s needs. Man wants his needs met like he wants. He tries to dictate how God is to act. So much “religion” is nothing more than this, nothing more that man trying to spell out how God is to act and behave toward him.
READ 32. Jesus makes two strong points here.
1. Man cannot provide true bread, that is, true satisfaction. Moses wasn’t the one who gave Israel the manna from heaven. It was God. This tells us that WE have to do something if we want our hunger filled, if we want to be truly satisfied, if we want to be content, or comfortable, or at peace. So a person must look beyond other people and the things of this world to be truly satisfied. No man or thing of this world possesses the true bread.
2. God is the only one that can provide the true bread. Jesus was trying to point that out.
a. Jesus called God “My Father”
b. He said that only the bread that God gives is the TRUE bread.
c. I hope that you see that Jesus is not talking about physical bread. He’s talking about spiritual bread. Sure God promises to provide for the physical necessities of His followers, but physical and material bread is not what Christ was talking about in this passage. Physical and material bread lasts for only a short time. Once it’s consumed, it’s gone. Its satisfaction passes and man’s gnawing hunger comes back. That is true for any material thing of this world, not just bread.
But the bread God gives is spiritual bread, spiritual food for the soul. It’s the bread that man needs more than anything else on earth. Late in this chapter Jesus will refer to Himself as the bread that came down from heaven and that if we don’t eat of this bread we will have no life in us.
READ 33. How much clearer can Jesus be? They want a sign? Jesus says, “Here I am.” He makes at least 2 points here.
1. What is the origin of the true Bread? From God Himself. Jesus said the bread comes “down from” or literally “out of” heaven itself. This can mean several things.
a. The bread of God is not bread which comes out of the clouds above earth. It is bread which comes out of heaven, out of the spiritual dimension of God Himself. It is bread which comes from the very household of God.
b. I think we know by now that the bread we are talking about is not physical bread. It is of the nature of God, spiritual and eternal bread.
c. The bread of God is possessed only by God so only He can give it.
d. So the bread of God was a person. Jesus said, “The bread of God is “he”. “He” is a personal pronoun and the word for bread in Greek is “ho artos” which is masculine. He’s trying to tell us that He is not of this earth. He came from heaven, from God, out of the very presence of God.
2. Then He says that the Bread of God gives life to the world. So the purpose of the bread is to give life.
a. Think about how physical bread gives life.
• By nourishing and sustaining.
• By satisfying.
• By energizing.
• By creating desire (the need) for more.
• By being eaten on a regular basis.
Christ gives life to the believer by doing the same five things as bread. Jesus says the Bread of God came from heaven to give life to the WHOLE world—not just to one person or to one nation, but the whole world. He came to sacrifice Himself, to feed and save a starving world.
We see Jesus’ coming as the sacrificial Bread of God foreshadowed by the sacrifices of the OT. In Lev. 21:21-22 the sacrifices are referred to as the Bread of God or “food of his God.”
READ 34-35. This reminds us of what Jesus said to the woman at the well. There are 4 significant points we need to make from these verses.
1. The people requested the Bread of God. They called Jesus Lord but how much they understood of His deity is not known. It looks like it was just an address of respect. But the point is clear in the Bible. When a person asks for the bread of God, they must call Jesus “Lord” and be ready to submit to Him as Lord.
Note that the people said “from now on give us this bread.” This was a once-for-all request. They wanted the Bread of God once-for-all, so that they might have permanent provision. The Bible is also clear on this point. Salvation, that is, partaking of the Bread of Life, is to be a permanent experience. It is to be a once-for-all experience.
2. The second significant point is simply Jesus’ phenomenal claim, “I am the Brad of life.” This is another one of Jesus’ “I am” statements.
3. The third point here is that if a man comes to Christ, the Bread of Life, he will never hunger. The need to satisfy that empty place in a person’s heart will be filled.
4. The fourth point is that if a person believes, they will never thirst. Jesus switches the symbolism from hunger to thirst. What He is saying here is that man’s need is more than met. Not only is his hunger satisfied, but his thirst is quenched.
And that’s what happens when we believe in, and trust, and accept Christ. Every need of life, of nourishment, and of growth is met. Nothing is left out or lacking. This doesn’t mean that the person will never again hunger after righteousness. Because a person WILL from time to time seek righteousness, but their hunger and thirst will never go unsatisfied. They will be filled. Jesus used the word “never.” That’s a strong emphatic word to stress that man will never be thirsty again.
How is someone saved? “By coming to Christ.” We see that stated in verses 35, 37, 44, 45, 65.
“By believing in Christ.” John 2: 24.
READ 36. Christ was seen, but rejected, at least for who He was. The point is that the people were without excuse. They had every opportunity in the world.
The Bread of God had come down from heaven to give life to the world. He had been seen and was being proclaimed at that very moment. Any of the people could have easily come to Christ, yet sitting there and hearing the glorious news, they still didn’t believe.
So we have seen tonight that spiritual satisfaction, the Living Bread does at least four things. It nourishes or sustains; it satisfies; it energizes; and it creates a desire for more and more.
We’ll stop here for tonight. Next time we will talk about the assurance of the Believer.