The Bread of Life

I AM: The Identity of Jesus in John's Gospel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction - The Menu

Did you happen to see the dark comedy-horror movie, "The Menu," last year?
Weird way to start a sermon I know, for those who haven’t it tells the story of a group of individuals who board a boat to sail to a private island and dine at the highly exclusive restaurant, Hawthorn, run by the illustrious yet mysterious Chef Julian Slowik.
As evening progresses, the identity of the diners and of Chef Slowik are unpacked – we discover none of the diners are actually there for the food...
Elitist social media foodie gatekeeper of the cult of celebrity chef, The snobby, cynical food critics who come only looking for flaws and categories to place the chef in, The aged couple looking for distraction from their loss and now loveless marriage, the washed up actor seeking to claw his way back to fame on the coattails of the prominent chef, a group of finance bros just looking to blow company money.
All unpacked over the course of a intricate tasting menu that moves from initial delight and excitement, to high-concept dishes which provoke interest, tortillas that confront, all leading to horrifying ends, no spoilers.

Cultural Commentary

While the movie isn’t for everyone due to its dark and violent nature (conscience to consider), not family night viewing.
Significance as a satire which “skewers” as one reviewer put it how fine dining / foodie movement built on continuously growing levels of novelty, distinction, grandiose experiences, celebrity, and elitism has ruined restaurants and helped fashion kitchen cultures that run on abusive behavior, burnout, and unhealthy work rhythms - unsustainable word used in announcements of closure of both Copenhagen’s Noma or LA’s Konbi)
Turn John 6:22, as we continue in “I AM: Identity of Jesus in John’s Gospel” we come to what I imagine to be the fourth Gospel’s “The Menu”
Examines the identity of Jesus (who is certainly not Julian Slowik) and ours through the imagery of food, which also “skewers” elements of not of a toxic restaurant culture, but a poisoned church culture.

Passage, Prayer, Outline

Join me in standing, if able for the reading, of the Scripture today.
Read John 6:22–68
Prayer. You may be seated

Outline & Overview

In John 6, like the Menu group who take a boat ride to an isolated place to be with a distinguished, yet mysterious individual - Jesus.
Though no Michelin stars or exclusive restaurants, fed 5000 people through the multiplication of a few fish and loaves of bread the day before.
Their conversation is centered on food and drink and culminates in an offered meal which moves from initial interest to provocation and challenge, ending in crowd’s horror.
Much like the diners of The Menu, the mixed motives and desires of the crowd are examined
Commentary and warning not on toxic restaurant culture but a poisoned church culture
All while unpacking Jesus identity through his "I Am" statement
We will explore this passage through three movements: The Hunger (John 6:22-34) , The Bread (John 6:35-51) , and The Offense (John 6:52-68) - what we want, what we actually need, and the decision we must make - appetizer, main course, before the challenging dessert.

The Hunger

The story opens with a Hungry crowd searching, looking, tracking down Jesus, sail across the Sea of Galilee. They find him in Capernaum and launch into a conversation where Jesus names the real hungers that have brought them there, prompting us to consider what we want.

Hungry for an Experience (6:26-27)

Jesus discerns why they are here, wastes no time...
John 6:26 (CSB)
Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
You’re not here because you saw or perceived that yesterday’s miracle was a sign, not here for what it pointed to, what you actually need (he’ll make explicit for them in just a moment)
He says, You are here, because you ate the loaves and were filled. You are here because you encountered a powerful miracle, an astonishing act. And you want another one.
Like a crowd of kids with a hired birthday magician, they’re clapping and demanding - do another one! Go on, Give us another!
They are here, because they HUNGER FOR AN EXPERIENCE.
Their hunger is for more than food, if it was food they craved they could have gone many places, in fact that’s what the majority of the yesterday’s crowd did. But those who remained, we’re told, are hungry for an experience, craving an event.
So Jesus’ responds...
John 6:27 (CSB)
Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal of approval on him.”
This verse, regularly used in sermons calling for people not to labor after possessions, career, wordly experiences as they all will not last - which is a totally biblical call - I’m just not sure that’s the context of Jesus’ words right here.
They’ve come asking Jesus to experience a miracle, for the power of Heaven to be shown on earth in a clear, real tangible way - whether it’s another supernatural feeding of food or otherwise.
With the focus being a miraculous experience, we might include other powerful moments - gifts of prophecy, tongues, visions, dreams, healing, powerful, profound times of worship when the Spirit of God is potently felt and our sense of time is lifted, moments of Revival, awakening, outpouring like what we’ve seen at Asbury College over 16 days of 24 hours a day spontaneous worship, now spreading to other communities.
And these kind of - miraculous moments - Jesus here refers to as, “bread that perishes
Hear me, I am not saying that JESUS is anti-experience or anti-miracle.
He’s done two miracles just in the previous 24 hours, in this alone book he’ll continue to go on doing miracles, signs - moments when heaven opens up and brings healing, provision, encounter, and a new, deeper revelation of Jesus. He’s pro-experience, he’s pro miracle.
So neither, am I saying that WE should be anti-experience or anti-miracle.
My regular prayer for our church is for the Spirit to bring an outpouring like what’s happened in Asbury.
Our next series, More, all about the ongoing work of the spirit in the life of the church - tongues, prophecy, healing, deliverance, powerful worship gatherings where the Spirit of God is palpably at work in our midst. We’re pro-experience, we’re pro miracles
What I Am saying, what Jesus is saying here, is that all of these good, wonderful, desirable, prayed and longed for experiences will not satisfy you as ends to themselves - but rather only when they serve as signs, to bring you that which lasts for eternal life.
The feeding of the 5000 was an afternoon experience - meant to sign - point them to the one who has what lasts. The miracle was miraculous, but it’s effects weren’t permanent - it’s why they are here now here on the other side of Sea - hungry again!
Similarly, many of those other good, desirable experiences - as profound, good and powerful as they may be - are not eternal, as Paul writes,
1 Corinthians 13:8–10 (CSB)
[A]s for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect [new creation] comes, the partial will come to an end.
Prophecy, tongues, words of knowledge are all great gifts of the Spirit - but they are all temporary works of God in this moment in the story of his redeeming of the world - like the multiplication of the bread and fish - miracles that are signs to the king and kingdom of heaven, and must be received as such.
In the words of the American revivalist preacher whose preaching God used to launch the First Great Awakening 300 years ago.
The mark of authentic spiritual experience is that you become satisfied with God for who he is, and not just for the benefits he gives you. - Jonathan Edwards
This is precisely what Jesus is naming in the Crowd, their hunger is not for Jesus, not for who he is, but for the beneficial experience he gives them.
Personal conviction this week, as stories of awakening and revival continue to pop up around our country in particular
What’s my hunger in my prayers? What’s my desire in our More series?
Is it for an experience? Is it for our church community to have this kind of experience?
Or more pointedly is my hunger for an experience that serves as a sign to me as a pastor of a community where this kind of act of God happens?
Or is my hunger for these things, simply because of who they will bring us closer to? And I want more of him in any way he’ll give of himself..
Danger of toxic church culture - poisoned by hunger for an experience, which overly focuses on revival, at the expense of the reviver. Happened here and it continues to happen whenever there is a work of God.
Past generations - movement of awakening and revival - rose up those who tried to schedule a “revival,” manipulate people into feeling something - when that failed they built their church around events of encounter - celebrity culture of talented musicians and preachers, fog machines, laser shows, motorcycles on stage all to concoct an experience for a hungry crowd. So much of American church culture, is a consumeristic hunger for experience – and church leaders who have given themselves over to being birthday clowns pulling rabbits out of hats.
Past two weeks at Asbury, as thousands of people flocked from all over the world - majority came with a hunger for God, but mixed in were those who made the trek simply for the experience, spectacle, to co-opt the moment for themselves - Interviews with the college leaders who stewarded the moment - say one of their primary works was protecting this moment from corruption. From those who weren’t there for the signs, but to eat their fill, to consume.
Jesus invitation is to an “expectation without agenda.” Strong conviction, desire, expectation of powerful experiences of God, but open agenda. We want what lasts, the person the experience points to, the Son of Man, the one God has set his seal of approval on.
But the crowd isn’t quite there yet, they hone in on Jesus’ “Don’t work” line, and reveal their second hunger - one many of us carry as well.

Hungry for an Exercise (6:28)

John 6:28 (CSB)
“What can we do to perform the works of God?” they asked.
Other translations, “to perform the works God requires?” Less: tell us how to do the bread trick, more: teach us how to have that seal of God the Father’s approval set on us?
Specifically, what can we do? In Greek, the grammar is Present active deliberative subjunctive,
Means we could translate it as, “What are we do do as a habit?”
They are here, because they HUNGER FOR AN EXERCISE.
Desire a rule of life, habituated spiritual practices, prayer schedule, disciplines, works so they might live as God requires - so they might earn his approval. “Tell us what to do”
John 6:29 (CSB)
Jesus replied, “This is the work of God [this is the work God requires]—that you believe in the one he has sent.”
We don’t get an answer like in the Sermon on the Mount, “When you pray, pray this...” “When you fast...” When you give to the poor...”
We are given not a practice but a posture of believing.
More than believing he exists, trust, loyalty, allegiance to Jesus as the one God has sent.
Hear me, Jesus isn’t anti-exercise - Anti-practices or spiritual disciplines - read Sermon on the Mount, read the Gospels, his invitation to “follow me” to become disciples, “entails living lives built around his pattern, his practices.”
Neither are we to be anti-spiritual exercises, just ended a series on Sabbath! Practice of Prayer in the summer, fixed hour prayer practice and more. Many of you taken up fasting for the season of lent, weeks approaching Easter - yes and amen!
But Jesus calls out in the crowd, would ask us to consider of yourself, “What’s the desire beneath your hunger for exercises?”
Spiritual practices don't give us "spiritual brownie points" or help us "work the system" for a passing grade from God. They simply put us in a place where we can begin to notice God and respond to his word to us. - Adele Calhoun
Often times, our hunger for exercises, practices is a hunger for spiritual brownie points, to work the system, to get God’s attention.
Seen this in myself in seasons - particularly on other side of failure or sin in some way - take up hefty schedule of prayer, rigid sabbath, giving or fasting - in attempt to assure myself - I’m still good.
While there is a place for wise application of habits or practices as a response to patterns of immaturity or failure - danger is jumping into those as a form of bypassing returning to Jesus as the one God has sent, as the one who holds not just forgiveness - but assurance.
Toxic church culture – one that explicitly or implicitly communicates, if you really want God’s love and blessing on your life than you need to do this. Turn the practices and habits of Jesus - which were meant to spring out of and deepen our belief in him – and fasten them as a carrot on a stick. Poison of legalism.
Jesus sees this propensity in their question, drives them to the deeper thing God requires, the deeper thing God is looking for and it’s belief – trusting surrender to Jesus as the one the Father has sent, in the midst of the good and bad of my life.
Jesus has challenged their hunger for experiences and exercises that only dead end on themselves - the thing you really need he’s said, is the Son of Man, the one God has sent, it’s believing in me...

Hungry for Evidence (6:30-33)

John 6:30–31 (CSB)
“What sign, then, are you going to do so that we may see and believe you?” they asked. “What are you going to perform? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
Okay Jesus, you want us to believe in you? Prove it! Give us something to believe.
Specifically, they point back to the story of Israel, lead out from Egypt by Moses, fed every day by manna, bread from heaven.
Belief that as the bread stopped falling when they entered the promised land, it would fall again when the Messiah came. Like Moses it made it rain, so would the awaited Messiah. So, Jesus, make it rain bread for us and then we’ll believe you!
They are, we might say, Hungry for Evidence.
Again, Hear me - Not that Jesus is anti-evidence, remember, he just did the multiplication of fish and loaves yesterday feeding 5000 people, which they were part of. He gives people signs.
Even for us today, Christian faith is not a blind faith religion - grounded in history, evidence, our belief is not intellectual suicide - huge part of my teaching - basis of faith.
But what they are after is a particular kind of evidence, where Jesus earns their belief by doing what they tell him.
Reminiscent of the story of Gideon in Judges 6, the Angel of the Lord comes to Gideon, calling on your life to deliver your generation from idolatry so God will strengthen you, be with you, he’s sending you.
Gideon not only talks to an Angel, but asks for a sign, which the angel provides in a miracle of a fire consumes meat, broth, and bread on an altar… Not-anti-evidence
But what happens, few verses later, “Gideon prays, If you will deliver Israel by me, Wool fleece on the ground if in the morning only dew on fleece, ground is dry, “I will know that you will deliver Israel by me. Exactly what happens, in fact the fleece is soaking wet, wring it out.
But what happens, Gideon prays again, fleece is dry and the ground wet.” God does as Gideon requests, and Gideon goes on to the work God called him.
But Gideon’s lack of believing in God to do and be what he’s said - his manipulation of God - becomes a shadow over the rest of Gideon’s life - one which God in the next chapter forces him to grow out of as he whittles his giant army down to a small party.
Both the crowd and Gideon, reveal a lack of trust, displayed in bartering game for evidence for God to prove what he’s already promised to do and what he has already given miraculous signs to confirm!
Even though they both witnessed incredible signs – they withhold their belief, until the evidence is exactly how they want it.
Some of you here today - facing similar craving - God is calling you into something - maybe that’s just a first step of believing in him or continuing in your discipleship - maybe it’s some particular calling he’s stirring up within you, bold endeavor like Gideon to risk everything for the sake of what God wants to do through you. Might not be something new, it may just be remaining faithful to where he’s already brought you, maybe to staying in LA.
But you’re playing the fleece game, asking God to make it rain bread, or some other miraculous sign before you move forward. Trying to manipulate a pathway to faith and obedience that plays by your rules, shaped by your own hesitation and fear.
Warning of this passage, Toxic Church culture - which seeks discipleship without risk, without fear, and therefore without faith - contain God to a box, to conform himself and his work in our chosen methods and means before we’ll believe him, but doesn’t last long until our faith withers and dies, and just as sad, Jesus says it limits us from seeing God working in new ways that might shatter our categories.
John 6:32–33 (CSB)
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
You’re looking for evidence to confirm your pre-existing assumptions about me - that I’m just another Moses to make it rain bread.
But my Father - the one who actually made the manna fall – has [present tense] sent bread down from heaven again, true bread that won’t just fill your stomachs – but give life to the world.
You’re asking for evidence of a new Moses and you’re missing the Bread right in front of you.
You’re looking for evidence that plays by your rules and assumptions before you’ll believe, but the greatest miracle is standing right here.
It’s difficult to tell how much the Crowd understands of Jesus’ words, we understand he’s talking about himself, but it seems as though they think he’s got manna, physical heaven bread in a box somewhere nearby as they say,
John 6:34 (CSB)
Then they said, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

2. The Bread

Jesus has spoken to three hungers that are dead-ends unto themselves, which if gone down can breed toxic, poisoned faith - the Hunger for Experiences, for Exercises, and for Evidence.
Through it all, not saying any of these are inherently wrong, but they are all symptoms and signs of a deeper hunger for “the true bread from heaven that gives life to the world”
Which repeatedly in the passage we’re told - is him.
John 6:35 “I am the bread of life” that is the bread that gives life
John 6:41 “I am the bread that came down from heaven.””
John 6:48 “I am the bread of life.”
John 6:51 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.”
Now first is his use of I AM - Title of our series, summary of last week – Jesus here takes on the greek translation of the Divine Name of God, “I AM” for himself. In doing so, identifies himself as the embodiment and incarnation of the Creator God and God of Israel while showing us who that God is, what he’s like...
So Why the bread imagery? As we noted, he’s picking this up out of the Manna, bread from heaven story, but there’s a greater invitation in the metaphor.
Though we today tend to think of bread as topping to a sandwich, side, or appetizer – for most of human history, it’s the staple of life for all people.
To quote speech from Julian Slowik in the Menu,
“Bread has existed in some form for over 12,000 years, especially amongst the poor. Flour and water. What could be simpler? Even today, grain represents 65% of all agriculture. Fruits and vegetables only 6%. Ancient Greek peasants dipped their stale, measly bread in wine for breakfast. And how did Jesus teach us to pray if not for our daily bread? It is, and has always been, the food of the common man.”
Jesus uses the imagery of Bread, not just because of it’s Biblical significance,
But also fundamental dietary importance for the people of his day, it’s food of survival.
And because of it’s universal reception. not food of elite, but common man, everyone.
Which is why, repeated over and again throughout his speech he repeatedly uses words like no one who comes to me, everyone who comes to me, anyone who comes to me
He is not just bread for Israel, the religious, those who have it all together but as he says in v51, “The bread for the life of the world...”
So what is the “life” which anyone in the world can receive through him?


John 6:35 he says, No one who comes to me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again.”
Now, Hunger and thirst, dissatisfaction, chronic restlessness are the air we breathe.
We crave, work to be satisfied by justice, spirituality, relationships, beauty, freedom, truth and power.
Might even experience satisfaction for a brief moment, but they are, as NT Wright calls them, Broken Signposts. In and of themselves, cannot be source of lasting satisfaction.
They are all, even spirituality as we saw in hunger for experiences - bread that perishes.
Don’t leave us with lasting satisfaction, we end up hungering and thirsting for more.
So we give up, make our peace with starving or we believe we must look somewhere else to be satisfied - some new justice issue, a new spiritual experience, a new relationship or marriage, a new spectacle, a new identity, a new truth, a new power.
They are broken and as long as we keep coming to them for lasting satisfaction, come up empty.
But they are signposts - meant to point us to the "I AM” who can satisfy.
Jesus offers us the life of satisfaction we crave - “never hunger, never thirst” - he offers it to anyone, everyone who believes in, comes to him.
It’s an incredible offer that, apart from him being God, would be a joke.
Healthy church culture: Doesn’t try to satisfy consumers with an experience, but satiate beggars with the bread of life - each week, enter simple task of setting the table with Jesus.
A life of deep, abiding satisfaction is available to you - but it will require you to stop believing in and coming to the breads that perish as where you’ll find it - you need to come to the one they all point to - The Bread of Life.


Next, Jesus says, John 6:37Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never cast out.”
I don’t know about you, but relational security, rootedness, safety are some of the greatest hungers for us as Angelenos.
More time you live here, the more people who have moved away, left you behind, cast you out of their life. The transience of this city destroys your souls. Leaves us hungry.
Or as a generation shaped by divorce, parents who walked out on us - secure attachment of a parent is our deepest longing.
Or for those of you living through the hellscape that is dating in the age of apps, face constant rejection, always having to perform to obtain commitment of another, always worried there’s someone better they’ll leave you for.
For most all of us - our deepest fear - is being cast out, left behind.
So we either keep everyone at arms length - live with assumption they’ll leave.
Or we are controlled by the fear - perform, manipulate, control others so they’ll stay.
And Jesus offers us a life of SECURITY, "anyone who comes to me I will never cast out.”
For those who come to Jesus, there is safety, security, covenant commitment.
You don’t need to keep him at a distance, waiting for him to leave you.
You can have a deep sense of rootedness, security - no matter the transcience of where you live, the rejection of others or even the absence of your parents.
But in the words of Psalm 27:10 “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord cares for me.”
Security based in God himself, “Everyone the Father gives to me, I will never cast out.”
You are a gift from the Father to the Son, cherished gift. Jesus doesn’t get tired of his gifts.
And so of course, a Healthy Church will never hold out exercises or practices as means of achieving secure assurance, but hold out the greatest necessity - is coming to Jesus.
That’s the work that the Father requires - v45 coming to Jesus - that’s listening and learning to the Father.
Anyone who comes to Jesus, believes in Jesus, belong to Jesus - he’ll never cast them out. Safe.
John 6:39 “This is the will of him who sent me: that I should lose none of those he has given me but should raise them up on the last day.”
Rest that we are secure, “he won’t lose one of those given to him” but even more “that he will raise us up on the last day.”


So many of us are crippled by fear of what the future holds - Wars, Famine, Economy failing, another pandemic, political upheaval, climate collapse - paralyzing for so many. And that’s just at a global scale - even more when we bring in the harrowing potentials of our own lives - sickness, cancer, layoffs, relationships falling apart, death, we all have our own lists.
But Jesus says in, John 6:40 “For this is the will of my Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
For those who come to I AM - our DESTINY is resurrection, raised to life, eternal life
That’s where your story is going - regardless of what the world or your life may throw at you.
In the words of Romans, 8, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
What’s often behind our search for evidence after evidence, is fear of where we’re going, fear of unknowns, of death. Desire evidence to prove that God is with us and on our side.
Healthy Church Culture fosters a resurrection gumption, boldness, courage in what God has called us to - we don’t need to go asking for manna, laying out fleeces. Jesus and his resurrection are the evidence and assurance of our resurrection, even death will not disrupt your destiny. We’re more than conquerors.
Huge invitation that is open to everyone and anyone, Jesus has set a universal, world-sized table, but no matter how much room he makes at the table, the reality is - you won’t be fed unless you sit down and eat.
Why at verse 52, as crowd begins to ponder at his metaphor choice, grumble, Jesus flips from the open and plural “anyone, everyones” to the singular and particular, “You, The one, The one the one...” as doubles down on the metaphor

Particular Invitation

Truly unless 53 you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life
54The one who does has eternal life, personal destiny,
56 The one who does remains in me and I in him, personal security
58 The one who does feast on me unlike the manna that perishes, will have personal satisfaction goes into eternity.
It’s an open invitation, it’s even one that the Father must draw, woo, bring us into, but Jesus says, you have to believe, you have to come to me, you have to eat my flesh and drink my blood.
If he is the bread, than to believe is to eat. But it’s metaphor that goes too far for the crowd.

3. The Offense

For them, The Offense, offer of cannibalism and drinking blood - both forbidden in the Torah.
Asked in v52 “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
In v60, “This teaching is hard, who can accept it?”
Disillusioned, grumbling, confused, offended, horrified at what Jesus has called them to do.
And Jesus doesn’t really seem to try to clear things up, basically says, it’s work of the Spirit to believe, to receive this life, and some of you just don’t want that - even if I ascended to heaven right before your eyes - you wouldn’t believe.
John 6:66From that moment many of his disciples turned back and no longer accompanied him.”
And he just lets them leave, before turning to the inner circle of his disciples...
John 6:67So Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?””
He gives them open opportunity to leave if they wished.
He doesn’t clarify his words for them, let’s the mystery, confusion, difficulty of his words just hang over their decision.

Hungry for an Explanation

This is point where I wrestled this week - We’d ask Jesus, why split the crowd over a good, but let’s be honest Jesus - pretty weird metaphor.
Why not step it back, here’s what I mean. Why just lay it out there in this strange, offensive, weird command - say take it or leave it? Why aren’t you afraid to offend people? Don’t you want to see people come to you?
More I chewed on it this week - I believe Jesus discerns a fourth hunger in the crowd.
They are Hungry for an Explanation.
They will believe, they will follow - only so long as what he calls them to is easy to understand, easy to apply, and fits within their preexisting assumptions.
The crowd rejects him because they don’t understand him at first glance.
They withheld believing in Jesus, because they didn’t understand Jesus.
Ever felt this way? Maybe you do right now!
Come to a season when something in Scripture, something the Spirit is calling you to - doesn’t presently make sense - “this teaching is hard, who can accept it?”
Jesus you made this universal invitation, but why such an exclusive source - you alone are the bread that gives life? “this teaching is hard”
The sexual ethic of Scripture, Bible says on gender, marriage, parenting, money, time or loving your enemy or forgiveness. “who can accept it”
What do you do when your hunger for experiences isn’t met, but following Jesus feels ordinary - or even worse when your experience isn’t ordinary but suffering, loss, pain?
What do you do when your exercises aren’t doing what they used to? When practices don’t provide the rest, intimacy, growth they used to?
What do you do when the evidence to believe isn’t what you’d like?
What do you do in all of these things when there is either no explanation or the explanations don’t presently answer all your questions?

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

One option, like the crowds, to leave the Jesus we don’t understand. But there’s another...
John 6:68-69 “Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.””
Peter and the rest of the twelve were just as confused and put off by his words.
They stay not because it all makes sense, not as mental assent to his explanations
But because they believe in the identity of Jesus - trust him as the one with eternal life, surrendered to the one who comes from God.
Though you may not be someone we can understand, we believe you are one we can trust.
Oswald Chambers Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you cannot understand at the time.
Now this doesn’t mean the calling is to blind faith, that we don’t pursue understanding, we certaintly do, it’s why we read and teach bible each week, meet and talk with people as pastor, classes, theology, recommended resources. We’re not anti-understanding, it’s that we don’t base our belief on it.
Augustine of Hippo Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.
Christian faith is belief seeking understanding - seeking to understand what it believes, believing in order that we might understand. Understanding is the goal of belief, but not its basis.
Between the crowd and Peter - is the question - what will you do when Jesus promises you satisfaction, security, and a destiny - but you don’t understand, confused at how it will it come?
Will you leave or will you stay? Will you Trust Jesus and look for understanding?

The Offense Became The Promise

Peter and the 12, who heard, though not understanding Jesus’ word of eating his flesh and drinking his blood but stayed with Jesus through their confusion.
Time passed without an answer but then on the night before his arrest, crucifixion, and death - he gathered with the same 12 - for Passover meal...
Luke 22:19–20 (CSB)
And he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way he also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
The words that brought so much confusion, word of offense, stumbling block to so many - you must eat my flesh and drink my blood - became for those who stayed - the Meal of promise.
What they didn’t understand back then, was that for Jesus to be the bread that gives life to the world meant that he would become the bread broken to give that life.
What they didn’t understand back then, was that for Jesus to be the Holy One of God meant that the climax of his mission would be a cross.
What they didn’t understand then, was that for him to give eternal life he would have to enter into death to secure that victory.
What they didn’t understand then, was that to believe in him meant receiving his body given for them and his blood poured out for them.
• The crowd was hungry for an Explanation, but Jesus gave us the Eucharist, Communion, the Lord’s Supper.
We hunger to understand so we can trust, but Jesus gave himself - proving himself as one we can trust - even when we don’t understand
Gave us Weekly meal when we come to eat the bread and drink the cup, to remember and receive his body broken and his blood shed.
We come Hungry, craving, starving for Jesus, the Bread of Life and enter into an...
Experience of our Satisfaction: Miracle of the Mystery of Real Presence, that as we take, eat, and drink - we are met by the one all those broken signposts pointed to - at the table our hunger for justice, spirituality, relationship, beauty, freedom, truth and power are satisfied in the work of Jesus
Exercise in our Security: Weekly Habit we do, not to earn Father’s seal of approval, but as a reminder of how we’ve received it, weekly reminder, that for the past seven days and the next seven (no matter our failures or the rejection of others) - “He will never cast out, He will not lose me.”
Evidence for our Destiny: We receive the sign of God’s great love for us, Jesus’ going to the cross for us and allow it to become our great source of courage in a world of fear - Our Evidence that God is for us, He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. Romans 8 - nothing can disrupt our resurrection destiny won by Jesus.
Are you hungry? For the life that satisfies, a life that’s secure, a life with an unshakeable destiny?
Are you hungry for the Bread of Life?
It’s the one prerequisite, the one work that God requires - is that you bring your hunger to the one he sent - to the one he’s given you to - to come to him, to believe, to eat and drink.
The table has been set for everyone and anyone, but the invitation is for you to come.
Time of Responding to our Hunger, Receiving Jesus’ presence.
Lord, in hunger I began to seek you; I ask you that I may not cease to hunger for you. In hunger I have come to you; let me not go unfed.
Anselm of Canterbury


Table & Sing

Time for those who believe, to come to the table - take the cup and bread, stacked on top of each other from the front - lift our little glasses high as we sing together - remember and receive the broken body and shed blood of Jesus.

Prayer Team

As we do, Prayer Team members on side of the room - made themselves available to pray with you - healing, wisdom, something you’re carrying out of the teaching.

Come to Me

Throughout the passage, Jesus pairs believing in him with coming to him.
One way we can come to Jesus, is by physically entering into a place and posture of belief, trust, and surrender.
Front of the stage, carpets - stand, sit, kneel.
Invitation for Three Groups to come...
Followers of Jesus - Repent of one of those 4 Dead-End Hungers: Experience, Exercise, Evidence, Explanation
Followers of Jesus - Come to him, the Bread of Life, for Satisfaction, Security, Destiny
Hungry for more of Jesus - You say never hunger or thirst, satisfy me. You say you’ll never cast me out, rest in safety. You say destiny of eternal life, embolden me.
Anyone who believes, trusting surrender to Jesus - did not believe, sense that Jesus is the one you were made for, Father drawn you to. Simple prayer - take communion - talk to me or someone before you leave today, celebrate with you
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