2/16/14- Jesus as Bread
“Jesus as Bread”? John 6- 2-16- 2014 Lake Murray Presbyterian? Dr. J. Ben Sloan
Click here for video?(Also solo from SunUp service “Loaves Were Broken, Words Were Spoken”
?Jesus as Bread?? John 6:1-15, 35, 2/16/14
There are seven ?I am? sayings in the Gospel of John that all point to the extraordinary claims of Christ to divinity.
The storm was coming.? All the TV stations prophesied it.? All the internet sites were blasting it.? My emergency text from the county told me to be prepared, and get ready to stay off the road.? So I did the crazy thing.? It was as crazy as going shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving or trying to buy flowers on Valentine?s Day- I went to the store to buy not milk, not eggs, but? bread.? Bread is still an essential.? If I had bread- and something to make it go down, I?d be set.? Even those of us who are allergic to gluten still need a bread substitute.??? Bread has been a necessity since we first became civilized, and stopped being hunter-gatherers.? The stuff that makes bread can be stored- as Joseph stored the grain in Egypt for the seven year?s famine.
I. JESUS AS BREAD- Jesus described himself in this passage as the ?Bread of Life coming down from heaven.?? He had just fed the 5,000 and the people were amazed.? The feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle beside the resurrection referred to in all four gospels.?? John is the one who reflects back on the meaning of it all for us.? A small boy brought a few loaves and? two fish and Jesus blessed them and they multiplied to feed 5,000.? We too should bring our small gifts to God- and let Him bless them.? It is not how much we give that is important.? The boy gave everything he had for the whole crowd.? He held nothing back.? When He gave his bread to the Bread of Life, believing he would still have some lunch himself,? Jesus blessed him.? This was not just an ordinary event.? The people responded by proclaiming Jesus as The Prophet spoken of 1300 years before by Moses.? Then they wanted him to be King.? Now Jesus wanted the people to recognize he was king.? But they wanted him to be king just so he could give them physical bread to eat.? Jesus claimed to be bread and claimed to be King- but His kingdom was not of this world- and the real true bread was not Captain John?s or Sara Lee?s.
When it snowed so much- and we didn?t move our cars for three days, I started looking for bread.? I found two loaves that I didn?t expect to find in our little bread box. One was a loaf of whole wheat that Kay bought and it was great.? But the other was a loaf of white bread that I had bought that had been hidden underneath other things.?? I wanted this bread, but it was blue and moldy and inedible.? The fact that things in this life get moldy reminds us that we need to be able to use our temporary lives for an eternal cause.? Jesus said to not work for the bread that fades (6:27; Isa. 55:2).? We work for bread.? But we should work for the bread that doesn?t go bad- the eternal glory of the Bread of Life.
II. JESUS AS MANNA-It is hard to understand this passage without referring to the people of God receiving daily manna in the wilderness.? God provided for them daily.? Jesus said to pray, ?Give us this day our daily bread.?? Jesus is God?s ultimate provision for our needs.? Our ultimate need is not even daily bread- but eternal salvation.
III. JESUS AS OUR SATISFACTION- Isaiah asks ?Why do you spend all your labor and money on things that do not satisfy??? Jesus said he is our satisfaction.? Where do Americans spend their money?? A CNN Money survey found that for those who make between $20k and $100k No matter what your income level, you will spend half your money on housing and transportation.?? So if we make more money we upgrade our housing and our cars.? Many use their cars as their office.? But the value of cars decrease with time.? Edmunds says if you buy a $30k car the minute you drive it off the lot you lose $2,500 in value.? In 1 year the value dives $6,000.? In 5 years the value dives $17,800.? If you were to invest your money in the stock market and they told you the value of your investment would go down 41% in just five years, would you continue to invest in it??? There is a balance between getting around in reliable transportation and overindulging in cars.? Isaiah asks the question- why do you work so hard for the things that will not last?? Even in a recession, when our debt is high as a country and as families, we have been muffled in our ability to spend on things as we would like.? But that doesn?t seem to have changed our heart.? The answer to Isaiah?s rhetorical question- ?Why do you spend all your money on what will not satisfy?? Is that we do not have enough faith that Jesus is the Bread of Life- that He is our satisfaction.? We live to relieve the temporary itches instead of finding a permanent cure to the rash of discontent deep inside of us.
How do you find satisfaction in God?? It is realizing He is the One who gives us life, gives us love, gives us peace, gives us hope.? It is in stopping struggling against God, or holding back from Him.? It is in making Christ your Lord as well as your deity.? Almost all of us would say we are Christians.? But we refuse to come to Him, committing to Him as Lord.? God calls to us and says ?taste and see that the Lord is good.?? There are lots of people who say that God is not good.
Someone once asked If God is good why is there not enough food for starving people.? The problem with that question is it is false.? There is enough food, some who have studied it have said two or three times enough, and there is enough know-how to make more food.? Someone was telling me when the Olympics were in Atlanta some from Africa were distressed by the amount of food thrown away.? The problem is often humans.? So the Syrian government bombs bakeries in rebel held territories and uses food shortages and sieges despite the 1977 Geneva Convention that outlaws such methods of warfare on civilian populations.? I saw this problem with my own eyes in Cuba.? Where a trainload of oranges were rotting at the port because of government bureaucratic manipulation while the people were starving.? When we were in Cuba a young 10 year old boy was shot sneaking into the neighboring banana farm to get a banana.? The Cuban government was determined to export bananas- even though the people living outside the banana farm were starving.? Food is necessary to live.? While there are tons of problems with food distribution, there is enough food.? Jesus is necessary for eternal life.? While whoever wants to come to Him may- many do not. ?The problem is not that the Bread of Life is not available- but the problem is mainly we do not do a great job of telling people where the Bread is, and we do not come to the Bread of Life ourselves.
On this President?s Day weekend, I?d like to include a story of physical and spiritual hunger.? In the winter of 1777-78 the snow lay all around Valley Forge Pennsylvania much as it is right now.? The American army was hungry, cold with much frost-bite, defeated, and with little hope.? ?Many were about to give up the ship and the cause.? Isaac Potts was a young Quaker Loyalist who was forced to provide grain for the army in the area.? Potts was in the snowy woods when he heard a noise.? He saw General Washington kneeling in the snow praying with his horse next to him.? He later told Presbyterian minister Nathanael Snowden that seeing Washington pray so earnestly moved him- and he believed the American?s would win and it changed him from a loyalist to a patriot.?? It was surviving the physical hunger and the spiritual hunger at Valley Forge that shaped that army and changed them.? Washington called out to the Bread of Life for help and everything changed.? We will find if we call out to this same source for help, we will be answered as well.