Summary: “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal”. (John 6:27)
Theme: Yearn for the food that endures
Text: Ex. 16:4-15; Eph. 4:1-16; John 6:25-35
One major problem facing the world today is that of climate change. Its effect is not only seen in rising temperatures but also in drought and famine. The worsening food situation is leading to starvation and death. There are also people with access to an abundant supply of food dying from starvation. These people suffer from an eating disorder that includes anorexia or bulimia. This eating disorder is a result of ignorance or wrong beliefs. We have all inherited an eating disorder from Adam. It rejects and leads us away from the food of life in search for other food. We end up searching for the food that can cure every disease including cancer and heart disease instead of yearning for the food that endures.
Man is a spirit, he possesses a soul and he lives in a body. Each part of the human being needs to be nourished. A strong and healthy physical body needs food and physical exercise to overcome 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 a physical body needs food and exercise to overcome hunger and sustain life so a spiritual body needs spiritual food and exercise to overcome spiritual hunger and sustain spiritual life.
Man was created in the image and likeness of God with a godly nature. When Adam yielded to sin he died and lost God’s image and likeness and with it his godly nature. All of us have inherited Adams sinful nature for in Adam “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). But “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) Jesus Christ is the Bread of life and the only way to inherit eternal life. Christ died to give us eternal life “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. (Rom 6:23) “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. For “Whoever believes in Christ is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God”. (John 3:17-18) Believe in Christ and inherit eternal 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. When man became separated from God, his source of life, he died. When Christ unites man with God he comes into contact with life and becomes a new creation.
The Jews had the greatest sign before them, the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet they did not recognise Him. They wanted a sign they could compare to the manna that came down from heaven and fed their forefathers in the wilderness for forty years. They failed to recognise the true bread from heaven, Jesus Christ, who came to feed the whole world so that they would never hunger again. So what sign could be greater than Christ Himself, God coming down from heaven as a man, as the true spiritual bread? Jesus Christ offers us everything we need in this world. He is the bread of life and 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.
Today we will be partaking in the Holy Communion. We will be partaking of the food that endures and that is a means of grace. Through it we affirm our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ and partake of His abundant provisions. Many Christians deny themselves the abundant blessings of God’s grace by not partaking of the Holy Communion. They feel unworthy and are afraid because of what Paul wrote in 1Cor. 11:27 “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord”. To partake of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner is failing to see the grace of God and the provisions of the sacrifice of Christ. When we allow anything to prevent us from partaking of the Communion we are saying we prefer to be under the Law than under grace. The grace of God is available to us in the Communion. Every provision of the sacrifice of Christ is made available to us. Some think this gives us a license to sin but the reality is that the grace of God is a means of overcoming sin in our lives.