Summary: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst” John 6:35.

Theme: Yearn for the food that endures forever

Text: Ex. 16:2-4, 9-15; Eph. 4:1-11; John 6:25-35

One major problem facing the world today is the worsening food situation. Some countries are going through drought and famine and millions of people, especially children and women, are starving to death. The sad aspect is that climate change and the failure of the rains can not always be blamed for the problem. The problem is very often the result of fighting, wars, bribery and corruption, mismanagement, greed and lack of concern for human life. There are also people with access to an abundant supply of food dying from starvation due to an eating disorder. A person suffering from anorexia is so scared of putting on weight that they would rather starve to death than eat. A person suffering from bulimia often induces vomiting after eating and also ends up starving to death. Eating disorders are not limited to physical food and all of us inherited an eating disorder from Adam known as unbelief. This eating disorder rejects the food of life for the delicacies of death. As descendants of Adam and Eve we have inherited this eating disorder although the hunger for the right food still remains. This is evident in 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 make us yearn for the food that endures forever.

Man is made up of a physical material part, the body and an invisible immaterial part, the soul and the spirit. Both parts, when alive, need to be nourished. A strong and healthy physical body needs natural food and physical exercise to satisfy physical hunger and sustain life. Without food or without the right kind of food, a person will become malnourished and eventually die of starvation. We also need nourishment for the spiritual body. Just as someone who is dead physically does not need any food so someone who is dead spiritually has no use for spiritual nourishment. A spiritually dead person first needs spiritual life. And just as a physical body needs natural food to satisfy physical hunger and sustain physical life so a spiritual body needs spiritual food to satisfy spiritual hunger and sustain spiritual life.

Every person is born spiritually dead because of Adam’s sin and needs spiritual life. How do we receive this life? We receive this life by believing in Jesus Christ “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16. We need to believe in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. Material things, good deeds, Church membership and Church attendance cannot save us. We are saved by grace through faith and faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Some time ago I was watching “Who wants to be a millionaire?”. A contestant was asked what the Devil tempted Eve with and the four choices were riches, beauty, knowledge, or a wardrobe of clothes. I believe everyone here knows the answer. The contestant, however, did not know the answer. He still had one lifeline to call a friend but his friend also did not know the answer. The surprising thing was that this person was well informed about many other things. This man, like many others, did not believe or value the Word of God. Do you believe in Christ? We all need to have a relationship with Christ to be saved. Why not come to Him today and accept Him as Lord and Saviour? Only belief in Christ can give us spiritual life.

Christ declares, “I am the bread of life.” He uses the revealed name of God in the Old Testament, the name “Yahweh, I Am Who I Am”. It is a name that reveals God’s eternal and unchanging nature. It reveals that in God past, present and future are united in an eternal present - an eternal I Am. Jesus Christ by describing Himself with the words “I Am” is saying He is God. Jesus Christ is God and the source of eternal life. He gives eternal life and sustains it by the power of His Word. Only His Word can satisfy our spiritual hunger. We cannot say that we love Christ and not love His Word. In fact the measure of our love for Christ is the measure of our love for His Word.

The Jews had the greatest sign before them, the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet they did not recognise Him. They were more interested in His miracles, like when He fed 5000 people with five loaves and two small fish. This miracle involved a true act of creation, which no mere man could perform yet they still wanted a sign. They wanted a sign they could compare to the manna that came down from heaven and fed their forefathers every day except the Sabbath for forty years. The true bread from heaven, Jesus Christ, however lasts forever and feeds the whole world. So what sign could be greater than Christ Himself, God coming down from heaven as a man, as the true spiritual bread? Today we are still more interested in miracles than in Christ. We treat the Bread of life in the same way as the Israelites treated the Manna in the wilderness. Just as the Israelites became bored with the Manna and longed for the food they ate in Egypt so many Christians have become bored with the Bread of Life and long for the food they ate in the world. Indeed the Church is under considerable pressure these days from both within and without to include what is eaten in the world to their menu. Jesus Christ offers us everything we need in this world. He is the bread of life and should be our focus in life. But just as bread must be eaten to sustain life so Christ must be invited into our life to give us spiritual life and sustain it.

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