Summary: Jesus is the true Wonder Bread.
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The Taggart Baking Company of Indianapolis was planning to launch its 1.5 pound loaf of bread. But first, the new product needed a name and identity. Vice President Elmer Cline was charged with merchandising development of the new bread loaf.
Inspiration struck while Elmer was visiting the International Balloon Race at the Indianapolis Speedway. He was awestruck by a sky filled with hundreds of colorful balloons. To Elmer, the image signified a sense of “wonder,” and Wonder® Bread was born. (www.wonderbread.com/history.asp)
Jesus is the true “Wonder Bread” who fills us with wonder and amazement: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry” (John 6:35a).
The feeding of the five thousand is the fourth sign John used to demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God (cf. 20:30-31).
Matthew tell us, “The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children” (Matthew 14:21). Jesus may have fed as many as twenty thousand people! (Twenty thousand people would fill Halifax’s Metro Centre twice.) That’s a lot of people to feed with five loaves and two fish!
Instead of focusing on the miracle, today’s sermon will be about what happened after the miracle.
1. Jesus turned bread from a boy’s lunch into Wonder Bread: bread that MULTIPLIED.
The crowd was filled with wonder because of the amazing miracle.
“After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, ‘Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself” (vv. 14-15).
“The Prophet” is the one prophesied by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.”
The Jews of Jesus’ day believe that the Prophet “like [Moses]” was a reference to the Christ (Messiah). The NT declares that Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy.
“Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people’” (Acts 3:23; cf. 7:37).
Moses had fed the Israelites in the wilderness with manna (“bread from heaven,” Exodus 16:4). After Jesus miraculously fed the multitude with bread, they got excited. They thought they had found the Christ. And they were correct; Jesus is the Christ. But He was not the kind of Christ they were looking for. They were expecting a Christ who would be their king and drive the Romans out of their land. That was not Christ’s mission.
2. Jesus came down from heaven to be our Wonder Bread: bread that gives ETERNAL LIFE.
We are filled with wonder because Jesus can satisfy our deepest hunger.
The crowd was hungering for political power, not spiritual life. They wanted their physical needs met, not their spiritual needs. “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill’” (v. 26).
“Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (vv. 49-51).
John informs us that when Jesus fed the multitude “the Jewish Passover Feast was near” (v. 4). In John’s Gospel, three Passovers are mentioned:
• During the first Passover, Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (2:19). John explains that “the temple had had spoken of what his body” (v. 21).
• Near the time of the second Passover, Jesus announced that He would give His life to the world (6:33, 51).