Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 12 The all sufficient bread of life . The soul satisfying Bread of Life.

. The soul satisfying Bread of Life.

THE SOUL SATISFYING BREAD OF LIFE

 

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-F1wV7Qgel9g/TW1dON5r9cI/AAAAAAAAADA/b31oUNBH5fg/s1600/the+bread+of+life.jpgJohn 6:48-51 (ESV) 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Introduction:

 

Well we are still in the discussion between Jesus and the Jews surrounding this great and glorious miracle when He fed between 15-2000 people from five loaves and two fish. Because of some repetition in the narrative, I first thought of referring you back to a few sermons ago, but felt rather to be consistent with the text and to expound it because it is before us.

 

In preparation the text spoke book volumes to me so I though why should it not speak book volumes to you as well, it is in any case not my words but it is the Word of God before us. So let’s get into the text before us this morning and our main focus today will simply be from verses 48 – 51. Now, anyone who reads the gospel accounts in a serious fashion will quickly discover that the most common view of Jesus among those who do not believe in this world is completely untenable.

 

The most common view of Jesus among unbelievers is that Jesus was a good man.  He may have been a prophet of God.  He may have been a great religious leader. He may have been a great moral example. But He was not God come to earth, He was not God who became a man, and He did not give His life to atone for the sins of human beings who would believe in Him. This view, that Jesus was just a good man is made completely impossible by the statements of Jesus Himself. This view is made impossible by statements like we have in the verses before us.

 

How many of you have heard the word “trilemma” before. We all know “dilemma” well, but “trilemma”. Some of you have heard of CS Lewis and he faced a “trilemma” with regards to the identity of Jesus. CS Lewis looked at the whole issue of the claims of Christ and concluded one of three possibilities were true. Either Jesus was a: Lunatic: Jesus was not God, but he mistakenly believed that he was. Or he was a Liar: Jesus was not God, and he knew it, but he said so anyway. Or He is Lord: Jesus is God.

This morning I want to tell you that every one of us will at the end of this sermon have to tick a box and depending on the box you tick, you will have to live a lifestyle that measures up to that box. We will leave that for later. Now it is true that Christians have never had doubts over which of these possibilities is the true one. Indeed, if you just listen to the words of Jesus Himself you have to completely rule out the idea that He was just a good man.  If He was not God come to earth then He was either a conscious fraud, or He was a very deluded man and not someone to be followed. I know that most of you this morning, maybe all of you will give praise to God that He was neither a fraud nor deluded, but was indeed Emmanuel, God with us.

 

There are three things I want us to see together from verses 48-51 this morning.  Jesus reaffirms some powerful things that He has said about Himself in this conversation with the unbelieving Jewish leaders.  And in that reaffirmation three things emerge. Firstly:- The  claim of the great “I am”, secondly :- The Contrast between Christ and manna and thirdly:- The Call to eat.

Point 1. The claim of the Great I Am.

48 “I am the bread of life.”

 

We live in such a crazy world where the value of eating of Christ and enjoying the peace of God which passes all understanding is not understood. Just this week the report from Paris after the terrorist attacks is that people are encouraged to continue with their lives, which is great, but listen to the quote: “People there are determined to embrace the things that make life worth living: food, wine and friends.” The invitation to all of them is simply this “I am the bread of life, come and eat of me.”

 

Now, just think if I, and I hope you view me as a good man, stood up this morning and I said to you “I am the bread of life, come and eat of me.” Be honest with yourself. How many would say there goes pastor Nicki, cuckoo – to say the least. Is this the claim that someone could make who is just a good man? Could you imagine anyone that you know personally, who could make a claim like this and you would still think of them as a person to be followed?

 

This is no small claim. The people had asked Jesus, earlier, to perform a miracle that outdid the one associated with Moses.  They said that Moses had given them manna from heaven, bread from heaven. Jesus corrected them and told them that Moses had not given them the bread but that the Father had, and that now in their very presence God had given them something greater than that which was associated with Moses.  God had given them the true bread from heaven, and He was standing right in front of them. Jesus said in our previous text: “I am the bread from heaven” and now He says: “I am the bread of life”.

 

This is an unmistakable claim of pre-existence, of deity and of being the way to God, the way to eternal life. And this is not one isolated statement.  This is a major theme in John’s gospel.  This is the first of many “I am” statements that Jesus made and that John recorded.

In John 8:12 Jesus says: “I am the light of the world.” This is repeated in John 9:5.

In John 10:7 and 9 Jesus says: “I am the door of the sheep.”

In John 10:11 and verse 14 Jesus says: “I am the good shepherd.”

In John 10:36 Jesus says: “I am the Son of God.”

In John 11:25 Jesus says: “I am the resurrection and the life.”

In John 14:6 Jesus says: “I am the way the truth and the life.”

In John 15:1 & 5 Jesus says: “I am the true vine.”

 

How do you deal with these claims? These are either the claims of someone who’s feet you fall at or someone we give the boot to. I believe we have a dilemma and not a trilemma. You either believe Jesus or treat Him as a lunatic. So in our text this morning Jesus is claiming to be real manna. What He is saying to the Jews is that the manna given during the time of Moses, while meeting a real need at the moment, was also a physical illustration of a spiritual truth that finds its fulfilment in Him. The question for us this morning is: if the manna in the Old Testament was a physical illustration of a spiritual truth, how do they compare, and how do they differ.

Point 2. The contrast between Christ and manna.

John 6:49-50 (ESV) “49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.”

 

Jesus focuses on the differences here, but earlier He had pointed out that there is some comparison. We all know the story of the manna that was fed to the Jews in the dessert. In the section before us we discover it all the way from verse 32. Well so what are the comparisons?

2.1 What do they have in common?

2.1.1 They both came from heaven.

 

The Scriptures are clear where the manna came from: Numbers 11:9 (ESV)9 When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it.” Psalm 78:24 (ESV) 24 and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven.” But the Scriptures are as clear where Christ came from. In John 1 John reminds us that in the beginning the Word was with God and the Word was God. In John 3, Jesus told Nicodemus that He had come from heaven. In our text last week in verse 46 we read: John 6:46 (ESV) 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.

 

Just think of the attack of the words of Jesus on the minds of these Jews. Jesus was just as much from heaven as the manna was. Jesus is claiming to be one with the Father because He is not as inanimate as the manna was, and the Jews understood His claims. They knew He was claiming to be equal with God. You see it in John 5:18 (ESV) 18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” John 8:56-58 (ESV) 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” This “I am” statement is a clear claim to eternal existence and thus a clear claim to deity, which is why they took up stones to kill Him.

 

2.1.2 They were both given by the Father.

Psalm 78:23-25 (ESV) 23 Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, 24 and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.” John 6:31-33 (ESV) 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Though He is God, and equal to the Father, yet He willingly submits Himself to the Father as a Son.  And in that sense, though He came of His own volition into this world, it is also true to say that He was sent by the Father into the world to redeem a people for God with His own blood.

 

2.1.3 They were both incomprehensible.

Many years ago when our eldest daughter Leighton was small we would tell her to say grace and she would start thanking God for the meat and the pumpkin and the rice and then she would stop and say: “mommy, what’s that?” and we would tell her it is cabbage and she would thank the Lord for cabbage and so we would go on. We just never thanked for Brussel sprouts. Do you know that is exactly the meaning for manna?  It means, “What’s that?”  When the Jews referred to this bread from heaven they were saying:  {mawn}   "MaN hu?” = "what's that?"

 

They had never known anything like it; they had nothing with which to adequately compare it. And did you know that in the person of Jesus of Nazareth you have someone whom we cannot fully comprehend because He is the infinite eternal Son of God. How do you completely understand God?  And then how do you completely understand a union of the divine nature and a human nature in a person? You can’t.  The right and worshipful and acceptable response to this Jesus is to believe Him, not claim that you fully understand Him.  It is to come to Him for life, not to claim that you fully comprehend how He gives you life. The Jews ate the manna, they did not first call for a laboratory test to see what the fat contents is or how many vitamins it had. I always tease that for me Biltong is vitamin ‘B’ and that’s it. Well, they ate their vitamin ‘m’ and that was it. No questions, this is clearly from God and we eat. Sadly when it came to Christ, they had double standards. Just some logical observations without reading too much into it.

2.1.4 They were both sources of life

You must eat to live.  The people had no way to provide for their own life in the wilderness and so God provided for their life from heaven with the manna.  The manna sustained physical life; the Lord Jesus gives spiritual life.

2.1.5 They both had to be appropriated

The manna did them no good if they didn’t eat it, and Jesus, the true bread from heaven does someone no good unless they take Him in, and receive Him, and appropriate what He has done for sinners in His life and death and resurrection.

 

2.1.6 In both cases it was a personal issue.

You cannot eat for another person.  Someone must come to Jesus as an individual.

 

2.1.7 They both satisfy hunger

The people were hungry and so God gave them manna from heaven.  No one will come to Jesus unless they are hungry and what they must be hungry for is not something temporal, but something eternal.  They must be hungry for a right relationship with God.  They must be hungry for the forgiveness of their sins.  They must be hungry for the kind of life that they have not possessed from birth and that does not lay within their power to provide for themselves.

 

But notice that what Jesus focuses on here is not how he and the manna are alike, but how they are different.

2.2 How do they differ?

2.2.1 Temporal life vs. eternal life

Manna could not give everlasting life.  Manna could not give spiritual life.  God has sent bread from heaven that will give man life that is spiritual and that is forever. John 11:25-26 (ESV) 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” The moment someone comes to Jesus he lives.  He lives spiritually.  He is forgiven of all his sins that have separated him from Holy God.  He is given perfect righteousness as a gift so that he stands before God clothed in the righteousness of Jesus and is fully acceptable. His blinded eyes have been opened.  His stone heart has been made soft.  His deaf ears have been given hearing.

 

The ignorance of his has been replaced with understanding.  His stubborn will has been broken to submit to the living God.  HE IS ALIVE AND HE WILL NEVER DIE.  This life will never be taken away from him, not how and not for eternity. Not manna or anything else in the world can do that for you.

 

2.2.2 Non-living bread vs. living bread

The other difference is that the one bread is a substance, a non-living thing. The other bread is a person.  He is the living bread, who has life in Him and gives life to all who come to Him. What does it mean to become a Christian? It is not some encounter with a non-personal force. It means that you have come to receive a living and real person. It means that the very one whom you read about in these gospels comes to you and lives in you and you live in Him.

Point 3. The call to eat.

John 6:51 (ESV) 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

It is a promise.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. I am going to deal with this in much more detail next Sunday, but in short, what does it mean to “eat Jesus”? He wasn’t talking about cannibalism. Nor was he talking about something sacramental. He was simply saying that He must be received by faith.  You must come to Him personally and appropriate what He has done for sinners by believing on Him.  You receive Him by believing in Him. Look at the most glorious of promises. If you eat of Jesus, you will live forever. Well that is one verb. “He who eats.”

 

But what else did we see in John 6, what other verbs are there? John 6:47 (ESV) 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” We saw it in verse 40 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:35 (ESV) 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

This makes plain what He means by eating.  He means you appropriate Him by believing, coming, looking and eating of Jesus. In plain terms, do not put your eyes on physical things, not even when it comes from above, you can only look at the person of Jesus. How is it that a man can be saved by just believing?  Because all the work necessary for a man to be right with God has already been done.  This bread, in order to save us, had to die.  This bread gives life because of a great sacrifice. His flesh, offered in death, would mean the life of the world. Not just Jews, but for the gentiles as well. Not just one race – but it is for all races. Not just one class – but it is for all classes.

 

The question is: Have you ever eaten?  Have you come to Jesus for life? Let’s get back to our test. What is Jesus to you? Is He a lunatic? If He is a lunatic, my friend, you do not need to eat of Him, you can reject Him. Is He a liar? Well then He deserves the same treatment. Is He Lord? If He is Lord, then look at Him, believe in Him, come to Him and eat of Him and your soul will be satisfied.

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church – 22 November 2015