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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Bread of Life -- John 6:25-36

Jesus tells the seeking sinners to not work for physical food that spoils, but instead work for the spiritual food of the Word of God which is Eternal and endures eternally. As the crowd ate the multiplied bread and was satisfied, the Bread of Life the Word satisfies our spiritual hunger.

Next the crowd asks Jesus, "what must we do to do the works God requires?" The Law that they followed required the work of man through the demands of God, but grace through Jesus Christ is the work of God alone. The crowd felt that righteousness and salvation should come from man also since the Law required certain actions of man. An example is they had to raise a lamb, bring it to the temple and kill it as a sacrifice to God for atonement. In Jesus, God did this for us.

Jesus responds to their question about the work required, "The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent." V29 God did the work! He sent Jesus to redeem the world back to Him. There is no work of man attached to Jesus. He is the sent One of God who is God. God did one work that we are to believe in to have eternal life. Love begins and ends with God. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Man cannot do anything to gain God’s favor or love. God did it all. We can please God by loving both God and man through walking in His Word, but we cannot gain any more love or favor than God has already given us through His precious Son. God showed us this when He introduced His Beloved Son "in whom I am well pleased." Why was God well-pleased with His Son? He did only what the Father told Him to do and said only what the Father told Him to say out of His love and connection to the Father. Love by its very nature wants to please the One we love. Jesus said in John 14:21, "He that has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me." In other words, we obey His commandments out of our love for Him, not through demand. It is a willing obedience, just as Jesus and the Father illustrated their love for us through Jesus’ death on the cross for the atonement of the whole world. In an earthly love relationship, it would be normal for us to want to do things that please the one we love and vice versa. Jesus is saying that this is what He wants from us. He showed His love for us willingly by dying a terrible death on the cross to restore us to God and give us eternal life. He wants us to show our love for Him through sacrifice and obedience.

We must not only believe in Jesus; He wants us to "follow Him." In other words, become like Him and walk as He walked. He wants to imitate Himself in us. The only way this can happen is through the power of the Holy Spirit and Word through willing obedience out of love. Just as Jesus and the Holy Spirit gave Peter the power to walk on water, they will give us the power to walk in obedience to the water of the Anointed Word. God’s grace and truth through Jesus Christ is not God’s provision to overlook sin. It is His provision to overcome sin. When we allow Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s cleansing and transformation by removing sin in us, we are changed and lifted up into the higher realm above sin and destruction. When we try to trust in ourselves, we sink!

This time Jesus didn’t give them "natural" bread. He gave them spiritual bread that was to teach them about Him and His Kingdom. Only Christ can satisfy the hunger of humanity. He can satisfy our hunger for truth because He is the truth. He can satisfy our hunger for love because He is love. He can satisfy our hunger for life because He is the Life. He can satisfy our hunger for peace because He is the Prince of Peace. He can satisfy our hunger for wisdom because He is wisdom Truth. He can satisfy our hunger for holiness because He is holy and makes us holy.
On Him (Jesus) God the Father has placed His seal of approval. v27 A seal authenticates something to be true. God has set His seal upon Jesus. The One who holds the seal acts on behalf of the owner of the seal. In Biblical times, kings would give their seal to a person who is appointed to act upon their behalf. Joseph in the Older Testament is an example of this. He had Pharaoh's seal and acted upon his behalf.

Those who believe in Jesus are sealed by the Holy Spirit and are His ambassadors who are to act upon His behalf by walking as He walked and doing as He did.

Demand a Sign 

"What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you. What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’" John 6:30-31 In Judaism, a sign from heaven is the highest form of legitimacy. God gave Noah the sign of the rainbow that He would not break His covenant with Noah. The Jews reminded Jesus of God’s provision of bread to eat in the wilderness journey in fulfillment of His promise in Isaiah 49:10. This manna was limited and for a time. It fed their physical hunger. But Jesus is far greater than Moses. He is the Bread of Heaven as the whole and eternal Word of God who gives spiritual life to the world. His life and bread are permanent and forever. In verse 49, Jesus says to the Jewish crowd, "Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and they are dead." In other words, this manna couldn't give them eternal life.

Again Jesus will respond with a spiritual teaching. "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread of heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." Jesus, of course, is talking about Himself. He reminds the Jewish crowd that it was His Father in heaven not Moses who supplied this bread. He says that the bread of God is a person who came down from heaven and gives spiritual life to the world.

The crowd responds, "From now on, give us this bread." They are still thinking of their physical hunger. Jesus will respond with a spiritual message. Since Jesus is from the spiritual realm and is spiritual, He must take their minds from the physical to the spiritual. He speaks the first "I am" statement.

Bread of Life

"I am the Bread of Life." He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty." John 6:35 Jesus reveals that He is the Bread of Life sent down from heaven that gives eternal, spiritual life. "I am" identifies Him as God of the Older Testament. (see Exodus 3:14)

The manna sent by God in the wilderness was a type and shadow of Christ. Jesus said the following no doubt pointing to Himself, "This is the Bread which comes down from heaven that 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." John 6:49-51 Jesus is the Living Bread (Truth) that gives us eternal life.
                                                           (to be continued next week)



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