Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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I AM the Bread of Life 3.12.2017
Dear friend,
May the grace of God pour onto and into our hearts today as we come into the presence of our Almighty God, the Great I AM as revealed to us through His Word by His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ. Good day to all who find themselves reading this writing and may we all be blessed through the Word that He is going to share with us today. May His abundant Word seep deeply into our hearts today to the end that we would be filled with Him.

Last week we began a Lenten series in which we are focusing on the I AM‚€™s that Jesus spoke concerning Himself in the Gospel of John. Last week we shared from Exodus and the occasion in which Moses was called to service by the Lord by hearing a voice out of a burning bush, a bush that though it was burning did not burn up. In response to Moses‚€™ question of Whom shall I tell your people has sent me, the Scriptures record the following:

Exodus 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

During this time leading up to Easter, we will be seeking "meet" Jesus in the Gospel of John, encounters which we are planning do through three different approaches: We will focus on the signs and wonders that Jesus did during His ministry, we will highlight a number of "I AM' statements that Jesus made and through which He connects HImself to the Old Testament. (Exodus 3:1-15) and we will be meeting Jesus through the eyes and experiences of a number of eyewitnesses on Wednesday nights.

Today we begin with the occasion of the 4th sign/miracle that Jesus did which He did in order to show that He was not just a prophet, a carpenter, but He was God. Moses was given divine abilities on occasion to authenticate His authority, but Jesus being God Himself demonstrated that He was God by signs. Before I list the signs, may I make a distinction that might be helpful for us in order to better understand the significance of calling them signs instead of miracles.

The Greek word is semeion, which has these meaning: 1) a sign, mark, token 1a) that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and is known 1b) a sign, prodigy, portent, i.e. an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature 1b1) of signs portending remarkable events soon to happen 1b2) of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove
that the cause they are pleading is God's.

The previous three signs were as follows:
1. The turning of water into wine (John 2:1-12)
2. The healing of the royal nobleman‚€™s son (John 4:46-54)
3. The healing of the paralytic at the Bethesda pool (John 5:1-17)

The 4th sign is the occasion during which Jesus fed a multitude of 5000 man plus women and children. We could outline this writing into four separate parts:
1. The Sign: Jesus is God, the I AM (John 6:1-24)
2. The Observers Interpretation and Response to the Sign (John 6:14-25)
3. Jesus‚€™ Meaning and Interpretation of the Sign (John 6:26-35)

We will go through the text and I will place explanatory notes where it seems good to do so.

The Miracle/Sign: Jesus is God (The I AM)
Note: It is important to remember and keep in mind that John‚€™s Gospel was written some time after Matthew, Mark and Luke. Why is that significant? The listener to John‚€™s Gospel would have knowledge of the other Gospel‚€™s accounts which gives more detail to these accounts.

KJV John 6:1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. The were following for the signs, but did the understand that meaning for the signs?
3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?

Jesus asked Philip this question at the beginning of the day, not at the evening. The disciples had a long time to wonder how the people were going to be fed. Mark‚€™s account tells us that at the end of the day, they had their solution to the hunger problem that was present.

Mark 6:35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: 36 Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat
6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him,
9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

They had witnessed the water being turned into wine by Jesus, but here it does not seem that they remembered that sign. They did not seem to have in their mind that Jesus would do something similar that He had done previously.

10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

What can our God not do? From a measly and scanty supply of five loaves of bread and two fishes, a huge multitude was fed to their satisfaction and there was more left than had been at the beginning..

The Observers Interpretation of the Sign
14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
The kingdom that they wanted Him to rule over was not the kingdom that Jesus came to establish. They looked at Him as a wonder worker who would provide for all their physical needs. Then we have another sign‚€¦..

The crisis for the disciples on the water, and Jesus help.

16 And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea,
17 And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.
18 And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.
19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.
20 But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.
21 Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.
22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone;
23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)
24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.
25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

Jesus Explains/Interprets the Sign
26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

Jesus responded to their question about how He had got there and asked them about themselves‚€¦..

27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

The people are thinking in earthly terms, or physical terms, not yet understanding what Jesus is talking about. Jesus tells them that they need to be concerned about eternal things which He, the Son of man, has come to give to them. They were only able to see wonders, but they were missing the sign. They asked about what they might do, and seemed to miss what Jesus was saying about what He and His Father came to give the world.

28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

What Jesus is saying is that God is the One who has given life to the world through His Son, and it is His
work. We are called to receive by faith that which He has done for all. We are not able to give faith, but we are called to tell others to live through telling that what Jesus has done for them. It is God‚€™s work to grant and to bestow faith.

My wife and I made a number of trips to Russia in 2000 and 2001. On one of the trips, a man we made acquaintance with and with whom we became very good friends shared with us one time of how this verse really helped Him understand what Jesus was telling the crowd that day. This man, Misha, said that after he was converted to being a Christian, he felt a real burden for his fellow countrymen in his home town and therefore began to share with them as to what God had done for them through Jesus life, death and resurrection. He became frustrated after awhile because very few if any were listening or hearing the message of the Gospel from Him. One day he was reading verse 29 and the words ‚€œthis is the work of God, that you believe on Him He has sent.‚€Ě He shared that he now understood that he had been looking at this verse as something that involved human effort in the ‚€œdoing‚€Ě of the work of God.

He now understood that he, Misha, had the privilege to tell this people of what God had done for them and he was to leave it to the work of the Holy Spirit to convict the people of their need so that they would reach out for grace and mercy from God. He said that after that it ceased to be a work, and became a privilege and joy to share Christ with his fellow Russians.

30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

The hearers now asked for a sign, so that they could see and believe. What work will you do, Jesus? After all, our forefathers ate manna, and quoted from Exodus that He gave them bread from heaven. You give bread here on earth, but our Moses gave us bread from heaven. In other words, they seemed to be saying that Moses was greater than this Jesus.

32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

Then Jesus corrected them, drawing them nearer to where He was leading them. Moses did not give them bread from heaven, but ‚€œMy Father‚€Ě gives you the true bread from heaven.

Now look at their response‚€¦..

34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

They seemed to understand, somewhat like the woman at the well in chapter four that if he was able to give them true natural bread, they would gladly take a perpetual supply of bread. In chapter four of John, here is how that conversation went.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. She seemed to still be in the physical and earthly realm.

6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Now Jesus connects Himself with God, the I AM, by saying I AM the bread of life. He now applies this scripture to the spiritual food and drink.

Let us think on what has happened in this scripture that is before us. What Jesus has essentially done is to create a need for the people, He allows them to consider how need and how it might be satisfied, and then He provides for the need. This is all in a natural and physical way, for He is using the seen and the external to teach the deeper message of our spiritual needs and how they are met in Him. As He continues in this chapter, He will progressively reveal more and more of what it means that He is the Bread of heaven and that He came down to give life to the world.

May I give some things for us to think about as we meditate on hunger and thirst.

1. Hunger is a sign of need.
2. Hunger is a sign of life.
3. Hunger is a sign of health.

May we consider these thoughts as the Spirit brings this Word close to our hearts today.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 12 Mar 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns