Bread of Life

I Am  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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John 6:35–36 NIV
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
I am. Two very simple words that point to the identity of someone. The two words leave no room for argument, they leave no grey or uncertain area. I am means… I am.
For instance, when I say, “I am a husband and father,” these words not only identify my role in my family, but also my being married and having children.
These words speak of my identity as a married man and a dad to four amazing kids. This identity is confirmed through:
The presence of my wife.
The presence of my kids.
The world knows the truth regarding my statement because of the relationships that make me a husband and father.
These are provable, verifiable relationships. They are a part of who I am.
Tonight, we begin another trek through the book of John looking at another aspect of Jesus.
The focus of this study is simple: within the book of John, Jesus makes seven “I am” declarations. Each one of these declarations point to an important aspect of Jesus’ ministry and character.
Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus encountered people who… struggled to accept the Lord for who He was.
This did not stop Jesus from loving everyone He came into contact with.
This did not stop Jesus from continuing to operate according to the Father’s plan for His life.
The statement I made a moment ago regarding my status as a husband and father are provable, verifiable relationships. The statements Jesus makes in Scripture are the same… provable and verifiable… but not in ways that the world might expect.
Jesus is… who He says He is in Scripture. Jesus is… the Son of God, the One who came to save us from our sins. He is who He says He is
Problem is… people tend to not see Him in this way for their own preconceived ideas or desires regarding who Jesus should be in their eyes.
For example, there is a phrase in our culture that simply says, “Never meet your heroes.” This sounds a bit strange as one would think that a person would love to meet the person they look up to! The problem is, when that encounter happens, the hero is often not the person they were believed to be or hoped to be - this creates a mountain of disappointment and even frustration.
Ever been there? I know I have. And truly it was no fault of the person I met… they were who they were, but I had in mind a different character and demeanor.
The problem with people in Jesus’ day is… they had some preconceived ideas regarding who the Messiah would be and how He would operate. Jesus did NOTHING out of character for the Messiah promised in Scripture… however, the people had injected their personal agendas into their interpretation of what Scripture had said. We see this then, and we see this now.
Our culture likes to make statements regarding who God “should be” based off their feelings and agendas. They want God to line up with their expectations instead of them lining up with God’s standards. In truth, it is the reversal of the master and servant relationship.
We are to serve God, not vise versa. But when we as a society say to God, “we want you to be this, do this, and overlook that,” we are reversing the roles making demands instead of following His commands.
This series is designed to remind us of seven important aspects of who Jesus is and how it impacts our relationship with Him.
And our first study is found in John 6. We find Jesus talking to a crowd following two well-known miracles recorded in the gospels.
Miracle one - the feeding of the five thousand.
A crowd had gathered, it was getting late in the day, and Jesus told the disciples to feed the crowd. This was no easy task - John 6:7 makes clear not even eight months of wages could do the task… and all they had was five loaves and two fish.
But how many know tonight that God can use the smallest resource and turn it into the biggest miracle? Jesus feeds the crowd and ends up with more leftovers than what they had to begin with! And after this takes place, look at how the people respond
John 6:14–15 NIV
14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Jesus had not come to be king of a land… He came to be the king of their hearts.
Miracle two - walking on the water
The disciples had begun to journey across the lake and they were about three and a half miles out, they encountered a storm. Jesus walks out to them and they are terrified.
We know the story of what happens from there, but do we know the story that happened on the shore?
The people realized there was only one boat… and Jesus had not entered it. The crowd finds Him in Capernaum but they have no idea how He got there… and this begins the conversation where Jesus would give His first “I am” declaration.
Two miracles back to back. A crowd trying to figure out who this guy is… and a problem existed within their search perimeters. The crowd was being led by their physical hunger… and not their hearts. They were more interested in the “miraculous signs” that fed their bellies instead of the Son who came to save their souls.
Jesus speaks to this problem right out of the box.
John 6:26–27 NIV
26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Ouch… that was a stern redirect by Jesus! He called out the intentions of the crowd. The people were not there to serve the Lord… they were there to serve their personal interests!
And if we are not careful, we can end up in the same place!
In this moment, Jesus was nothing more than the guy who provided them with a free meal… with a good experience. Culturally, we have been taught to chase after “good experiences.”
We rate everything… how good or bad something is based off what? Experience.
I will never eat there again because I had a bad experience.
I will give my business to them because I had a good experience.
I will hang out with them because I had a good experience.
I won’t go back to church because I had a bad experience.
Our relationship with Jesus is NOT something that should be rated by experience… it is something to be lived by faith.
Experience based pursuit is founded in preference - personal desire and agenda. It is founded in what WE want. It is a selfish pursuit.
Everything has to be just right before we will commit. this is NOT how the kingdom of God operates.
Faith based pursuit is founded in what HE wants and has for us! It is grounded in HIS WILL for our lives.
Do you believe God has a plan… that God has a will? Do you desire to see His will become the reality of your life? IF that is your desire, you must be willing to wholly surrender your will to His will.
In His correction to the crowd, Jesus reveals what should be the true pursuit of our lives: Work for the food that endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will give you.
When asked what that work looks like, Jesus said this in Verse 29
John 6:29 NIV
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Sounds simple, right? Yet this is a taller order than we must realize.
In order to believe, personal preference MUST GIVE WAY to the pursuit of His presence. We must STOP chasing things we think will make us feel alive and become dependent on the One who is the giver of life! Jesus IS the bread of life!
This evening, I want to look at two quick points regarding what it looks like to receive Jesus as the bread of life. He is that which sustains us… He who gives us life to the full or life more abundantly. I believe this world is looking for this new life… but the world often looks in the wrong places for this life. So point one is simple:

Stop Looking for Life in ALL the Wrong Places.

The crowd in Jesus’ day could not see the bread of life standing right in front of them. Take a look at the conversation in John 6:30-34
John 6:30–34 NLT
30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? 31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”
The people were STILL THINKING WITH THEIR STOMACHS! They missed the point entirely! But before we become overly critical of their response… we need to examine our response tonight as well.
Before we ask God for more of the bread of life… we need to realize that the bread of life has already been given! Jesus is that source and sustainer of life!
And there is no substitute for the life that can only be found in Jesus. Yet so often people try to look for this life in other things and other ways.
This life will not be found in your hobbies, your career, your finances, or even your health. This life will not be found in relationships, in materials, or in experiences. The life given by God can only be found in the true bread of heaven who IS Jesus Christ!
The problem with the things of this world is… they will not last. Nothing in or of this world will last forever. Yet so many choose to find life in things that will rot and decay.
I will never forget something I saw at the Smith County landfill. I was taking a load of trash to the dump and saw something on top of the pile I had never seen before.
A large boat was sitting on the very top of the trash heap. That boat, at one point, represented someone’s dream… someone’s desire. At some point, someone worked hard to earn the money to buy that boat.
It used to go across the water. It used to be a place of fun and recreation. But now, it sits at the top of the trash pile waiting to be crushed.
The treasure… had become trash. The owner had moved on to something else. At some point, that boat could no longer produce the experience the owner hoped for… it no longer satisfied the need.
How hard to we find ourselves working and striving for “things” to fill us with life… things that will ultimately one day end up at the top of the trash heap?
How much effort do we place in chasing such treasures when they will ultimately leave us empty? Yes… we might have good memories from good moments… but at what cost?
Here’s the deal… Jesus PAID THE COST IN FULL in order for us to have life to the full!!!
Those who receive the bread of life will NEVER be hungry or thirsty again! The life Jesus gives satisfies the need we all feel and face!
God the Father sent His Son to FULLY SATISFY THIS NEED! But before we can receive it, we must stop looking for life in the wrong places!
Secondly, we must also

Submit to the Will of the Father

Now… what would submission to God have to do with receiving Christ as the bread of life? EVERYTHING!
When the people asked Jesus for a sign, they used the example of manna from heaven as a sign they would believe.
Jesus reminds them that Moses was not the producer of the manna, God was. God sent this resource to the people.
The same applies to the bread of life - GOD SENT THIS RESOURCE TO THE PEOPLE.
It is God’s plan… HIS WILL… for us to find sustaining life to the full in His Son, Jesus.
Jesus reveals this later on in the discussion
John 6:37–40 NIV
37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Did you catch what Jesus said? God’s will is that EVERYONE who looks to the Son AND believes in Him shall have eternal life.
God’s plan for you is not for you to perish. His will for you is life - ETERNAL LIFE. But in order for His will to be accomplished there was given one stipulation: Look to the Son and BELIEVE in Him.
Jesus has and will come through on His end. Look again at what He said.
God’s will for Jesus is that not one given to Him would be lost, but would be raised up at the last day. Jesus came to accomplish the will that God had for Him… and Jesus will NEVER stop fulfilling that will.
Now it is up to us to believe. It is up to us to look to the Son… to the One God sent to carry out His Will. The instruction has been given, but it is up to us to submit and to surrender to this will.
Again, the temptation is to look elsewhere other than Jesus. But true belief in Him will keep us focused on Jesus as the giver and sustainer of life.
And this is where the people in this moment fail miserably - they fail to believe. They fail to surrender.
Immediately they begin to grumble. Immediately they fail to receive Christ as the bread of life. They see Jesus as nothing more than the son of Joseph and Mary and not the Son of God.
Therefore, they failed to complete the work of God Jesus laid out in John 6:29 - to believe in the One GOD had sent.
This is God’s plan. This is God’s will. We will either accept it, or reject it. We will either walk by faith or pursue the next “experience.” Either way, God has given us the choice.

Do the Work of God - Receive the Bread of Life

What will you choose? Which way will you go?
This might seem like a silly question to ask a Sunday night crowd… but hear me out.
The crowd that was with Jesus had witnessed two miracles back to back… and they wanted more. They really didn’t want more of Jesus, they wanted more “miraculous signs” because they couldn’t see the miracle of Jesus standing before them.
If we aren’t careful, we can miss it too. If we aren’t careful, our preferences can cause us to miss out on His presence.
Action to appease our preference places our self in control.
Action to pursue His presence moves self out of the way as we look to the Son and believe.
Jesus is EVERYTHING Scripture says He is. He is the Messiah, God’s answer to our universal sin problem. He is the giver and sustainer of life. He is who He says He is!
In order to do the work of God as laid out by Jesus, we must be willing to say no to self and yes to surrender. We must be willing to give all to Jesus.
What preferences are you holding on to that risk keeping you from looking and believing?
The people preferred a sign… God had given them a Savior.
The people preferred an experience… God offered something eternal.
There is no substitute for the Bread of life God offers us today.
John 6:58 reiterates this truth.
John 6:58 NIV
58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
Are you ready to receive Christ as the bread of life?
Are you willing to submit to God’s will for your life?
What must be done is simple: Look to the Son, and believe.
Help us, God, to look to Jesus as the gier and sustainer of life.
Help us to receive and to live by the plan You have for us.
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