2 August 2015
Let Your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend Your Church. Because it cannot continue in safety without Your help, protect and govern it always by Your goodness…
The people seek Jesus. They took a lot of time and travel back then. In that day. It was a long distance. To find Him. To seek Jesus is praise worthy. But is He sought for the right reason?
The crowd wanted Him to give them more physical bread. And why not? After all. He had just fed five thousand. Beside women and children. The seating capacity for Mackey Arena in West Lafayette is 14,846. That’s how many stomachs were filled on that day. With plenty left over. For that crowd. Jesus was their meal ticket. And they were willing and eager for Jesus to work His magic.
Think of our modern Thanksgiving Day celebrations. Where too often, the focus is on a feat. And football. And Friday sales. Where thanking the Lord is a complete afterthought. The crowd did not want Jesus for Himself. As the Lord and giver of life. As their Sustainer and Savior. They wanted Him as only the provider of food. Yet Jesus makes it clear. He wanted no “rice Christians”!
Jesus urged the crowd not to labor for physical food. But for food which satisfied. Indeed. It does take effort and labor to raise food in a garden and on the farm. People work hard. And put in incredible long hours to earn a living.
So how does one labor for spiritual food? Jesus explains, that work, is to believe in Him. Jesus’ point is this – Heavenly bread is a gift. And faith is necessary to accept it as a gift.
1. Heavenly Bread is a Gift.
A. Salvation is a gift of the Bread of Life. “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” V. 27 Physical food is important. Without sustenance, we perish. Malnutrition is a serious threat. Even in the heartland. That’s why we participate in Pak Away Hunger every single year. Because there are people. Going to bed hungry. In our own neighborhood. But an even greater danger is spiritual starvation. But more important is that food that endures to eternal life. Life, which only the Son can give. This life, which Jesus offers, is so important that the Father has set His seal. Seals are important. You receive an invitation in the mail with a waxed seal attached to the letter you know it’s something official and significant. A marriage license comes with the seal of the County Clerk attached to it. Baptism and confirmation certificates are affixed with the congregation’s official seal. The official seal of your heavenly Father is His Son Jesus. And on that, seal are written the words, “it is finished!” For at a cross the Son suffered and died, assuring you of your forgiveness in Christ. On Him, God has set his seal. That seal cannot be broken. It is His oath and promise. In Christ, all sin is forgiven – period!
B. Where does it come from? “For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”V.33 This bread is Jesus - who is...the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man…”
This bread is Jesus. “…he is God, begotten from the substance of the Father before all ages; and He is man, born from the substance of His mother in this age: perfect God and perfect man, composed of a rational soul and human flesh; equal to the Father with respect to His divinity, less than the Father with respect to His humanity…For as the rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ, who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence He will come to judge the living and the dead.”
2. Faith is necessary to receive it as gift.
A. Faith is the receptive agent. “Jesus answered them; This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” V. 29 Faith in Jesus was the purpose of all Jesus’ signs. At the miraculous feeding, the crowd saw only the gifts. Not the Giver. Like the ten lepers. They became fixated on themselves. Only one returned to give thanks. And he was a foreigner.
B. How it is received. “…that you believe in him…” V. 29 Remember Jesus’ first miracle. He turned water into wine. Jesus never performed miracles for His own attention. He always performed miracle on behalf of others.
John reminds us, “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:11) Jesus singled out one necessary work. Faith in Jesus. This is God’s gift to you. And what does faith do? It trusts! Like a toddler. Clinging to her mother. That’s all she knows to do. That’s all she can do. The only thing faith knows is to trust. That’s why you cling to Jesus. That’s all you know to do.
C. Why receive it. “Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” V. 35 Two little words set Jesus apart. “I am.” Jesus clearly identified Himself as the source of real life, which lasts forever. You receive Him in Faith. And in this faith, you live. And move. And have your being. Jesus. He is the center of all that we are. All that we have. All that we do. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Yes, it really is all about Jesus!
Words – 1.065
Passive Sentences –4%
Readability – 81.9%
Reading Level – 3.8