John 6:35, 41-51

Common folk enjoyed being with Jesus. The Almighty
didn’t act high and mighty. The One who owns it all never strutted
his stuff. People were irresistibly drawn to him. People liked him.
People followed him. Their desire to follow him was aroused from more
than his demeanor, his look, and his external features. People were
attracted to him, because of something deeper, something practical,
something spiritual. And why shouldn’t they? He performed amazing
miracles like walking on the water, fed them when they were hungry,
and made bold declarations.

“Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life’” (v.
35). If Jesus were (and, I think he was) the bread of life, that
meant he was the answer to our every spiritual need.

1. Jesus gives and sustains life.

Bread gives life. Bread contains the basic
nutrients of life. We need it to live. Jesus was saying that
spiritually we need him for abundant life and eternal life. In
addition, bread sustains life. A balanced diet that contains adequate
servings of bread is essential for health. Just look on any food
pyramid. Jesus was saying that in him one finds all the essential
ingredients for spiritual health and vitality.

In fact, Jesus took the bread of life metaphor to
its ultimate extreme. Jesus (the bread of life) was placed in a tomb
(an oven) for three days, then he arose (bread rising) on Easter
morning (fully alive) triumphant over life to meet the spiritual
needs of all humanity (ready to serve).

2. We must eat and enjoy.

The wonder of Jesus’ story is as wonderful as
bread itself. Bread can be baked and served, but until the bread is
eaten it does one no good, just as Jesus does one no good until he is
trusted and received. We, therefore, must come to Jesus. “He who
comes to me will never go hungry” (v. 35). And, we come to Jesus
because the Father has drawn us to Jesus (v. 44). God has placed a
hunger in our souls like the hunger pangs of our stomachs. The
philosopher described our hunger as a God-shaped vacuum that could
only be filled by God himself. Then, once we come to Jesus, in order
for our spiritual needs to be met, we must believe in him. “He who
believes in me will never be thirsty” (v. 35). Spiritually, Jesus
explained that “he who believes has eternal life” (v. 47). Spiritually,
he is everything that we could ever want or need.

3. Jesus is the wonder bread.

Jesus is it. As if his hearers did not understand
that he was the bread of life, he states it again, “I am the living
bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he
will live forever” (v. 51). Spiritually, Jesus is all that we need.

“People followed him because they saw the
miraculous signs he had performed on the sick” (John 6:2, NIV).
People followed because he fed five thousand men with a small boy’s
lunch of five small barley loaves and two small fish with plenty left
over (John 6:5-13). People followed because Jesus performed miracles
that defied belief like walking on the sea (John 6:16-24). Jesus was
a miracle man – a charismatic figure that enticed people to be pulled
along in his wake. His miracles were not simply a show of power. His
miracles and his declarations touched a human need. And, no where was
that more true than when Jesus made the claim: “I am the bread of
life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in
me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35 NIV).

Sermon brief provided
by: Rick Ezell, a pastor and writer in Naperville, IL.

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