Summary: In Jesus we have all we need for body and soul.
Has anyone here ever heard of the Atkins diet? It’s the new diet trend that’s sweeping the country. And the diet works like this: you can eat as much food as you want (within reason), but you have to avoid all carbohydrates and sugars. So, no more bread, no more rice, no more cookies, no more pasta, no more potatoes...anything with carbohydrates is out. But the good thing, is that of everything else, you can eat as much as you want. Now my parents are on the Atkins diet, and from their experience, I’d have to say that it works. Both have lost quite a bit of weight and feel much healthier. They are enjoying the benefits of a good diet. Well, today in our sermon, we are going to talk about a different kind of diet, one in which you can it bread. It’s called the “Jesus diet.” In our meditation this morning we are first going to see the heavenly ingredient of this diet and then we are going to see the eternal benefits that God wants us to enjoy, the eternal benefits of the Jesus diet.
I. Note its heavenly ingredient
But first of all, we should probably set the stage for what is going on here in the text. You see, Jesus a couple of days earlier had fed more than five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two small fish. The people were so impressed that they wanted to make Jesus their king–their earthly king who would free them from the oppression of the “evil” Roman Empire. But instead, Jesus sent his disciples to the other side of the lake and he went off secretly to a mountain to pray. Then later that night he miraculously met up with his disciples by walking on water. And so, the next day, when the people realized that Jesus had gone to the other side of the lake, they jumped in their boats and jet skis and hurried over to follow him, because they still wanted to make him their earthly king. And that’s when Jesus told them that they shouldn’t seek the food that spoils, but rather that they should believe in him the bread of life...
And that is the diet that we are going to talk about today, the Jesus diet. The ingredient of the diet...pure bread. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life which came down from heaven.” And what do we know about this bread? Well, first of all that he is true man. Jesus said in verse 51: “This bread is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world.” Jesus came to this world as a man to take our place under the law and to give his life on the cross for our sins. But this bread is also eternal, it is the bread that came down from heaven, it is the Son of God. And because he is God’s Son, Jesus’ sacrifice counts for the sins of all people of all time. And that is why he is the bread of life, because he came to give life and forgiveness to the whole world.
But we see here in our text that the “Jews” didn’t like what Jesus had to say, that they grumbled and complained. (It’s important to remember that John uses the word “Jews” for those who in their unbelief opposed Jesus. All of the original followers of Jesus, as well as Jesus, were actually Jews.) But anyway, some in their unbelief opposed Jesus. You see, they understood very well what he was saying, and they just didn’t like it. “How can this man, whose parents we know, whom we saw grow up with our kids, whom we went to school with...how can he be the one who gives eternal life?” As Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians one, this message of the cross, this message of the gospel is foolishness to the world.
But Jesus’ response to their foolish unbelief points us to the truth about our diet, because the truth is that we aren’t the ones doing it. In a diet, usually the ones who lose weight are those who have stronger wills, who can stick to it, right? Well, the Jesus diet has nothing to do with our will or how strong we are, because by ourselves we don’t have the will or the strength to do anything good. You know, it’s so easy for us to think that we are doing so much for God. That we chose God, that we have stuck to it out here Pompanp even in the rough times, going to church, doing what God wants...that we are here because we have an iron will. But no, Jesus explains to us that “no one can come to him, unless the Father draws him.” The truth is that we are weak and helpless...Just look at all the times we get angry, have evil thoughts, the times lie, cheat on our taxes, misuse God’s name...even though we don’t want to. We don’t have much will power.