John 6:22-29 - The Answer to Man’s Great Hunger

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Answer to Man’s Great Hunger

John 6:22-29


man has a gnawing hunger within for both the physical and the spiritual. Just as there is physical hunger that only physical food can satisfy, so there is a deeper, spiritual hunger in the pit of the human soul that only spiritual food can nourish.  Man hungers for both food and material things and for God and spiritual things, things such as love and joy and peace. Therefore, most of man’s time and energy are spent in seeking to satisfy his hunger. This passage deals with the answer to man’s great hunger.

         1.   Answer 1: know that man has a great hunger, a great need (v.22-25).

         2.   Answer 2: acknowledge that man’s motive is corrupt (v.26-27).

         3.   Answer 3: labor for food that endures—that gives eternal life (v.27).

         4.   Answer 4: do the work of God—believe (v.28-29).

1.       Recognize & Know that man has a great hunger, a great need (v.22-25)

The people had been miraculously fed. It was a common belief that the Messiah would give manna from heaven even as Moses had done; in fact, it was thought that the Messiah would give more than Moses had given. The people were convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, so they wanted to lay hold of Him and make Him king (John 6:1-15). Note four things.

a)        The People Acknowledged Their Need (v.22b)—The people acknowledged their need for the Messiah. They had need and they knew it. Confessing their need was not a problem for them

q  Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Mark 2:17).

q  There are sinners who think they are righteous and refuse to repent & acknowledge their need.  This is why preaching to people to come to Jesus because “He has a wonderful plan for their life,”  will not appeal to someone who is, in their eyes, all right, that is not the gospel. 

q  We need to recognize that we are sinners & turn from our sin

b)        The People Noted Jesus’ Absence (v.22b-23)—There had been only one boat docked at shore, and the disciples had taken it to cross the lake. However, Jesus had not accompanied them; He had stayed behind. The people thought He was over in another section of the crowd or else off somewhere by Himself. The fact that He was not close by did not dawn upon them until the next day.

The Point Is Filled With Lessons:

q  The people, knowing they had need, wanted their need met. Jesus had proclaimed that He could meet their need, but He was gone; therefore, their need was going to go unmet unless they could find Him

c)         The People Sought Jesus (v.24)—Believing that Jesus was the answer to their need, they did what they should have done: they sought Him. Other boats had drawn up to shore during the night, probably seeking refuge from the storm. Therefore, the people immediately took passage on these boats to cross over to Capernaum, hoping to find Jesus. Note How Diligent They Were In Seeking Him:

1)        Man Should Search Diligently To Find Christ

(a)      He should seek and seek until the Lord is found—Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near (Is.55:6)

(b)      David instructed his Solomon to “know God… serve Him with a loyal heart & a willing mind… if you seek Him He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever (1Chron.28:9). 

(c)      God said in Jeremiah 29:11-13—For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

2)        Strive To Enter the Kingdom of God (Luke 13:22-30)

(a)      This Means There Is Conflict & You Need To Push Your Way Into The Gate

1.         The Word strive here is agonizomai-we get agonize. 

q  It is used in as an athlete agonizing to win a victory (1Corinthians 9:25)

q  Laboring fervently (Colossians 4:12)

q  Of fighting the good fight of faith (1Timothy 6:12)

q  Fervency, striving just to get in

2.         Many will seek to get in but will not enter, they find out the cost and they say forget it (v.24)

q  That’s why it is difficult, there is a conflict that goes on in the hearts of people when they are hearing the message.

q  You may say, “I need to get saved I do not want to end up in hell, but I like hanging around my friends, I want to party, I want to do all these other things in life, then I will give my life to the Lord.

q  You must submit your heart in humility & say “I’m a sinner, I need the grace of God, & I am willing to give up all my desires and want’s & achievements in life & live for Jesus Christ.

3)        The Multitude Came To Be Healed Or To Watch The Healings. Many people today come to church to be entertained-to have their ears tickled (2Tim.4:3).  Few come for what Jesus could do for them spiritually. 

Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

4)        These peoples faith was founded on miraclesand a faith that if founded on miracles is never pleasing to God.  Paul wrote in Romans 1:16-17 that the just shall live by faith. 

5)        The faith that is pleasing to God is that which is founded on His Word alone (Rom.10:17).  God’s Word should not require miracles to verify it

Asa Started Well In Seeking God, But Did Not Finish Well  (2Chron.14:1-11; 16:7-12)

d)        The People Questioned Jesus’ Absence (v.25)—In their minds the Messiah was to give manna from heaven to meet the needs of the people just as Moses had done, only more so. They could not understand why Jesus would leave them, especially if He was the true Messiah.

Thought 1. This point is crucial, for men of every generation do wonder and question the fact:

q  If Jesus is really the Messiah, why does He so often seem absent and far away, especially in times of trouble (Sept.11th)?

Another way to word the same thought is: If there is a God and if Christ really is the Son of God, why is the world in so much trouble and why are so many people suffering? Why would Christ not place Himself right in the midst of the world and its problems? Why would He not go ahead and solve the problems, meeting man’s needs immediately? The answer, of course, is what this passage is all about.

2.       Acknowledge that man’s motive is corrupt (v.26-27a)

a)        The Motive For Seeking The Messiah Was For What They Could Get Out Of Him (v.26)

1)        Man Is Interested In Getting His Needs Met, Whether By Someone Human Or Divine— Man is interested in himself, not in acknowledging and honoring Jesus to be Lord, and not in serving Him and making Him known to a lost world.                                                                                          The thoughts of the crowd were focused on how wonderful it was to be saved from hunger and to have their needs met. Here was a Savior (Messiah) who could meet all their needs, who could satisfy and give them a complete and full life. He could provide all things for them and deliver them from all their enslavements and enemies. Every need could be filled and satisfied.

2)        Man Should Be Interested In The Messiah For Who He Is And Not For What He Can Get Out Of Him. Very simply, as with any person, the Lord wants to be sought and loved for who He is and not for what He can do for a person.

1.         That is why it is so important to teach the work that Christ has done for us, it will give you are heart to love, worship and serve Him (2Cor.5:14)

2.         The Lord (Messiah) is not a tool to be used; He is a Person to be sought and loved. The crowd should have seen that such a miracle could have been done only by the Son of God Himself. Therefore, seeing and standing before the Son of God, they should have fallen down before Him in all humility. They should have humbled themselves...

a.         to recognize and acknowledge Him to be the Son of God.

b.         to worship and praise Him for who He is.

c.         to offer their lives to Him, all they were and had.

d.         to see that all things belonged to Him and were due Him.

e.         to see that He was not the One who should be giving to them, but they were the ones who should be giving to Him. He was the One who should be receiving, not them.

b)        Sought Food That Perished—Misplaced Labor (v.27a)

1)        The Dialogue Between Jesus And The Crowd Plays On The Term Labor (work)—the people misinterpreted the word labor to mean they had to work for salvation.  

1.         Judaism stressed righteous works, but Jesus singles out one work: faith in him

2.         They were willing for Him to heal their bodies and fill their stomachs, but they did not want Him to cleanse their sins, recreate their hearts, and transform their lives. They gladly came to Him for the “food which perishes,” but they had no appetite for “the food which endures to eternal life”

3.         Such self-seeking is foolish, for all things pass away, even man himself. A day is not guaranteed, much less a year (James 4:13-17)

2)        Jesus Pointed Out That There Are Two Kinds Of Food

1.         Food for the body, which is necessary but not the most important;

2.         Food for the inner man, the spirit, which is essential. What the people needed was not food but life, and life is a gift. Food only sustains life, but Jesus gives eternal life.

3.         The words of Isaiah come to mind: “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?” (Isa. 55:2; Prov.23:4).

4.         The earth and its things with all their pleasures and feelings do not satisfy.  They still leave a man empty, incomplete, unfulfilled, hungry, dissatisfied, seeking more and more. (James 4:2-4; Eccl.6:7; Is.29:8).

5.         The earth and its things with all their pleasures and feelings pass away (Rom.8:5-6; 1Cor.15:50; 1Jn.2:15-17)

3)        Labor For These Things:

(a)      (Col. 1:28-29)—Him we preach, warning & teaching every man… to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus…   (Col.4:12)—Laboring fervently in prayer for others that they may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God…   (Phil.4:3)—Laboring in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

(b)      (1Thess.1:2)—Labor of love…   (1Thess.1:9)—to serve the living and true God…   (Eph.4:28)—Laboring with our hands for which is good, why?  That we may have something to give to him who has need.

3.       Labor for food that endures—that gives eternal life (v.27b-d)

a)        Evaluate Your Motives

Jesus Tells Us In The Sermon On The Mount: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Take A Moment To Examine You Anxieties.  Do you work for “food which endures,” or is getting your daily bread your all-consuming passion?  Jesus goes on to offer guidance for getting out of the valley of worry: “Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The Source Of This Food That Endures Is The Son Of Man—In Jesus Christ, God satisfies the hungry soul with the gift of “the finest of the wheat” (Ps.81:16).  Jesus is the bread that nourishes us unto eternal life—if we’ll but receive the Fathers gift.

Jesus Did Not Come Just To Sustain Life, But To Give Life (John 4:14; 7:37; 6:33-35)

4.       Do the work of God—believe (v.28-29)

The people thought in terms of works (plural). They thought that by doing good works they could win the approval and acceptance of God. If they did enough good and lived a life that was moral and just, God would save them and give them the food that satisfied, the food and life that was both abundant and eternal.

       It was the same with the rich young ruler: ‘Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ (Luke 18:18)

       It was the same with the stricken Jews on the Day of Pentecost: ‘Men & brethren, what shall we do?’(Acts 2:37)

       It was the same with the Philippian Jailer: ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ (Acts 16:30)

a)        There Are Those Who See People In Three Categories.

1)    There are good people, people who do plenty of good works. They live good, moral, and just lives; therefore, they are acceptable to God.

2)    There are bad people, people who do mostly bad works. They live immoral and unjust lives; therefore, they are not acceptable to God. They are not saved.

3)    There are compromising people, people who do both good and bad. They live both moral and immoral, just and unjust lives. They are close to securing God’s approval, not quite, but close. By doing just a few more good works and living just a little more morally, God will accept them.

b)        Jesus Corrected The People’s Thoughts, Their Concept Of Salvation By Works

1)        They did not secure the favor of God and were not acceptable to God because of works (plural).

2)     They received God’s favor and acceptance because of a work, one work (singular). The work of God is only one: believe—“believe on Him whom God has sent”.

3)     Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9

5.       What Are The Principles Behind Finding Satisfaction In Life?

a)        Jacob & Esau (Genesis 25:27-34)  

1)        Beware Of Paying Too High A Price For Temporary Satisfaction. Esau traded the lasting benefits of his birthright for the immediate pleasure of food. He acted on impulse, satisfying his immediate desires without pausing to consider the long-range consequences of what he was about to do. We can fall into the same trap.

1.         When We See Something We Want, Our First Impulse Is To Get It. At first we feel intensely satisfied and sometimes even powerful because we have obtained what we set out to get. But immediate pleasure often loses sight of the future. We can avoid making Esau’s mistake by comparing the short-term satisfaction with its long-range consequences before we act.

2)        Beware Of Exaggerating Needs In Order To Rationalize Poor Choices. Esau exaggerated his hunger. I am “dying of starvation,” he said. This thought made his choice much easier because if he was starving, what good was an inheritance anyway?

1.         The Pressure Of The Moment Distorted His Perspective And Made His Decision Seem Urgent. We often experience similar pressures.

b)        David When He Was In the Wilderness of Judah (Psalm 63:1-5)

1)        God Alone Can Satisfy Our Deepest Longings! Hiding from his enemies in the barren desert of Judah, David was intensely lonely. He longed for a friend he could trust to ease his loneliness. No wonder he cried out, “O God, . . . my soul thirsts for you, . . . in a dry and weary land.” If you are lonely or thirsty for something lasting in your life, remember David’s prayer.

c)         Solomon Explains That Striving After Pleasure Is Vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:11-26)

1)        Real, Lasting Satisfaction Can Only Be Found In God—Is Solomon recommending we make life a big, irresponsible party? No, he is encouraging us to take pleasure in what we’re doing now and to enjoy life because it comes from God’s hand.

1.         True Enjoyment In Life Comes Only As We Follow God’s Guidelines For Living. Without him, satisfaction is a lost search. Those who really know how to enjoy life are the ones who take life each day as a gift from God, thanking him for it and serving him in it. Those without God will have no relief from toil and no direction to guide them through life’s complications.

2)        The Desire To Satisfy God’s Requirements Ought To Be Our Highest Goal—Many sincere seekers for God are puzzled about what he wants them to do.

1.         The Religions Of The World Are Mankind’s Attempts To Answer This Question.

2.         Satisfying God Does Not Come From The Work We Do, But From Whom We Believe. The first step is accepting that Jesus is who he claims to be. All spiritual development is built on this affirmation. Declare in prayer to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (see Matthew 16:16), and embark on a life of belief that is satisfying to your Creator.

3)        Christ’s Presence Satisfies Our Deepest Desires—People eat bread to satisfy physical hunger and to sustain physical life.

1.         We can satisfy spiritual hunger and sustain spiritual life only by a right relationship with Jesus Christ. No wonder he called himself the bread of life.

2.         But bread must be eaten to sustain life, and Christ must be invited into our daily walk to sustain spiritual life.

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