Summary: Jesus makes the claim that his body and blood are our food and drink if we would live. A look at John 6 helps us see deeply into the meaning of life and suffering and joy.
(The audio of this sermon includes reading John 6 as well as other important content not in the notes)
In Greek mythology, King Tantalus was punished in the underworld by being chained in a lake. Its waters reached to his chin but receded whenever he bent down to satisfy his burning thirst. Over his head were branches laden with choice fruit, but they immediately withdrew whenever he reached upward to satisfy his hunger. A symbol of utter frustration, his name is immortalized in the English word "tantalize." So, too, seeking to know God, or to satisfy the human soul apart from Christ is utterly futile.)
Which is the most tantalizing to you: an offer of eternal life, or an offer of earthly fulfillment?
Which of these does your heart long for the most, and which do you believe in? Jesus taught us that we can’t hold on to both. In fact, whatever controls your heart’s desire, controls your life. Your heart refuses to serve 2 masters.
Jesus’ work is integrally tied up in the will of the Father. As he speaks here he defines the meaning of being the bread of life.
God had fed the children of Israel in the wilderness when they had no food.
This food sustained them through their pilgrimage toward the promised land.
Bread from heaven and water from the rock. These were not eternally satisfying and fulfilling, they were temporarily sustaining and provisional for the travel to the ultimate destination.
Jesus as the bread of life is not saying that he will make this life on earth the heavenly glory we long for. He is saying that he is the sustaining provision for us as we walk by faith in him toward the last day. Three times Jesus says, “I will raise him up at the last day.”
Followers of Jesus must accept that until the last day comes we are in the wilderness. We are pilgrims on our way. Jesus will be our food and drink on the way.
If you are looking to Jesus for fleshly fulfillment, you will be disappointed. If you are expecting fleshly satisfaction, health and wealth, healing from all sickness and disease, freedom from trials, suffering and pain, you will be disappointed. Jesus never promises relief from physical ailments and trials along the way. In fact, Jesus promises that these will surely come to all who follow him.
John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
Rom 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Rom 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
2 Tim 1:8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
2 Tim 1:9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
1 Pet 2:19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.
1 Pet 2:20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.
1 Pet 2:21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
Jesus is the bread of life, the living bread of heaven given to feed us and sustain us as we journey toward heaven. Jesus promises us eternal life if we believe in him, feed on him and remain in him. Look at the list of things he says:
1. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 35
2. All that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will not cast out. 37
3. I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 39
4. Everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day. 40
5. No one can come to me unless the Father draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 44
5. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 45