Summary: “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst” John 6:33, 35.
Theme: We need the food that comes from heaven
Text: Ex. 16:2-4, 9-15; Eph. 4:17, 20-24; John 6:24-35
The worsening food situation, especially in the developing nations, is one of the major problems facing the world today. We have all seen pictures of starving and dying children from areas devastated by famine and in Africa millions die yearly from hunger and starvation. The sad aspect of this problem is that it cannot always be blamed on the failure of the rains. It is very often the result of civil wars, bribery and corruption, mismanagement, greed and lack of concern for human life. Starvation also occurs in the developed nations where there is an abundance of food and we sometimes read of people who have abundant food and yet die from starvation. They die from an eating disorder and many of us are familiar with the one known as anorexia. Those who suffer from this disease are so scared of putting on weight that they would go to great lengths to prevent it. They would often induce vomiting after eating and end up starving to death. But eating disorders go beyond the physical food we eat. We have all inherited an eating disorder known as unbelief that results in the refusal to eat the food of life and a preference for the delicacies of death. It was unbelief that made Adam and Eve sin in the Garden of Eden by eating of the only tree that they had been forbidden to eat from. They were allowed to eat of every tree, including the tree of life but not of the tree of knowing good and evil. Instead of eating from the Tree of Life and living forever, they ate from the forbidden tree. Their action led to spiritual death and separation from the tree of life and all of us have inherited this eating disorder. Although man no longer had access to the tree of life the hunger and the appetite remained. This is the driving force behind the search for the wonder drug that can cure every disease, the wonder diet that can prevent cancer and heart disease, or the wonder food that can be eaten without putting on weight. This search is really intended to lead us to the right food, the living Bread. Christ is the food that deals with our spiritual eating disorder. We need this food that comes from heaven.
Man consists of a physical material part, the body and an invisible immaterial part, the spirit and the soul. Both parts, when alive, need to be nourished. Just as our physical body needs to be kept strong and healthy, so also does the spiritual body. The physical body needs food and physical exercise to satisfy physical hunger and sustain life. Without the right kind of food a person will become malnourished and eventually die of starvation. We also need nourishment for the spiritual body but this body first needs spiritual life. Just as someone who is dead physically does not need any food so someone who is dead spiritually has no use for spiritual nourishment. And just as a physical body needs food to satisfy hunger and sustain life so a spiritual body needs spiritual food to satisfy spiritual hunger and sustain spiritual life.
Because of the sin of Adam all of us are born spiritually dead and need spiritual life. Only the Living bread can give us this life. How we receive this life can be illustrated in the behaviour of a group of tourists whose boat overturned above a waterfall. As they were being carried down the current people on the shore managed to float a rope out to them. Some of the men seized it. Others held on to the boat and refused to let go and the rest, seeing a great log come floating by, let go of the boat and clung to it. The men who held onto the rope were safely pulled to the shore. But the others who believed that they had a better chance went right over the fall to their death. The boat and the log were of no benefit to them because what they needed for their safety was something to connect them to the people on the shore. Anything that does not connect us to Christ will fail us. Material things, good deeds, Church membership and Church attendance cannot save us. Only our relationship with Christ can save us and we need to be sure of this relationship. Some time ago I was watching a quiz on TV and a contestant was asked what the Devil tempted Eve with. He did not have to give the answer all by himself but choose from four answers given to him - riches, beauty, knowledge, or a wardrobe of clothes. I believe everyone here knows the answer. The contestant, however, did not know the answer. All he knew was that it was not a wardrobe of clothes because there were no wardrobes in those days. He had the choice to ask a second person to assist him but his friend also was not sure of the answer. The surprising thing was that this person was well informed about many other things. This man, like many others, needs the food that comes from heaven. They need to have a relationship with Christ. All of us need to have a relationship with Christ to be saved from destruction. We are all born spiritually dead but can become spiritually alive by coming to Christ and accepting Him as our Lord and Saviour. Only Christ can give us spiritual life and sustain this life.