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 9.6.2015
The Bread of Life

Have you ever been a juror in a trial? If so, you will be familiar with the ways that witnesses are called systematically to give testimony in order to establish and to verify the facts of the case in order that justice would be served. On the basis of the creditable testimony of witnesses, facts are established.

Since the beginning of the early church there has been much taught as to the Person and Work of Jesus the Christ as revealed in the scriptures. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, John wrote his gospel in order to reveal Jesus the Christ through bringing forth witnesses who all spoke of Jesus. Two verses in the prologue (that which will be explained in detail in the rest of the gospel) set the stage for the parade of witnesses that will be presented by the Spirit in order to reveal Christ....

KJV John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld
his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

After the prologue, we begin to see and hear the witnesses (including Jesus) that are designed to show us Christ,. Let us begin.

John baptized Jesus upon Whom he saw the Spirit descend and he gave testimony that Christ was the "The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,"

Jesus performed His first miracle at the wedding in Cana, He cleansed the Temple, He had a visit from Nicodemus, encountered the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well, He performed another miracle/sign by healing the Noblemans's son, healed and healed the lame man by the pool of Bethesda, had discussions with the Jewish synagogue leaders and pointed out that the scriptures testified of Him, that Moses testified of Him, He fed the five thousand; He walked on the sea; and revealed Himself as the Bread of Life.

As He spoke and as He performed these miracles for the purpose of revealing His Person and His Mission, which essentially we could say were signs or evidences of His Divine nature, the crowd grew as they saw the things that He was doing for sick and diseased people. Let us follow along with the crowd, watching and listening.

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.
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.

The annual passover was near, the time when Jerusalem would be crowded with people who came to attend and celebrate the Passover, which marked the exodus out of Egypt across the Red Sea as through dry ground. The people had needs that needed to be filled...a crowd of 5000 men, not counting the women and children that were also present.

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?
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?

Philip showed Jesus 200 denari, (denari, one day's wages) and looking at the crowd concluded that it would not go very far even if everyone took a little. Andrew brought forth the boy who had five loaves of barley and two small fishes, but concluded also that it is not enough. They both looked with their physical eyes and saw the limitations of that which was before them. What were they to do?

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.

Jesus acted by telling them to sit the people down in orderly fashion, took the loaves, (and fishes) gave thanks and distributed them to the disciples who distributed them to the crowd. Everyone was given as much as they wanted and when it was all said and done, there was 12 baskets left over. Wow, what were they to think? They had seen Him heal the lame man at the pool of Bethesda and seen Him heal the Nobleman's son. Were they aware that the Jewish leadership was seeking to kill Jesus because He had healed on the Sabbath Day? (5:16)How were they to take this amazing sign of His compassionate divine ability? Well, some had a response...

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.

These certain men, seeing the sign, remembered scripture from the Old Testament and wanted to make Him a king, but Jesus seeing their motive went away to a mountain to be alone. From other accounts we know that He often went to be with His Father alone to commune with Him in prayer. Why not make Him a King, if He can heal and multiply food? He could even get rid of the Roman governorship over them if He wanted to. Why not have a king like that? Well, that is not the type of king He came to be, that is not the type of kingdom He came to establish..Let us continue by getting back to the disciples who had gone out into a boat...

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, (3 or 4 miles) they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.

It is hard to imagine what the disciples must have been thinking with all that Jesus had been saying and doing. But nevertheless they were left alone to fend for themselves, so they launched their boat out onto the lake. Soon a storm came up and they were struggling to keep going forward, and what do they see? They see Jesus walking, yes, walking on the water towards them, and they were afraid. Who would not be afraid? Who is this man anyway? What can He not do?

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.

He spoke to them two short sentences which gave them peace. "It is I, be not afraid."

Mark's Gospel gives much more detail of this event which I will place here for reflection.

Mark 6: 47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

They were amazed beyond measure, wondering who this man was, but they did not understand the significance of the miracles of the loaves. They were left wondering in amazement, and perhaps wondered where all this was going to lead.....

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?

The crowd who had been fed kept following Jesus and were mystified as to where He had gone to. He was not with His disciples, but eventually they found Him they asked when He had come there? He did not answer that question, but spoke to their motive for following Him. Now He begins to apply the miracle of the loaves.

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.
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.

Many had been following Him because they had seen the signs that He had performed, but now He tells this group that they are following Him because they had been filled with food. He points them to the real food/meat which lasts a lot longer than one meal, for it lasts for eternity. He tells them that He is going to give that food to them.

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.

So they ask a good question of Him, picking up on His mention of them laboring by asking "how shall we do the works of God?" To which Jesus responds: Believe on Him whom He has sent." In other words, believe in Me, and of that which what I am telling you. Listen to Me.

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.

They as if do not hear Him, but respond by asking for some evidence so that they can see and believe. What will you do? For our fathers were fed manna in the wilderness, and they quoted scripture to back up there statement..

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.

Jesus responds by saying that it was really my Father who gave you that bread from heaven, not Moses.. He was only the distributor and now my Father is giving you the bread that gives life not only eternally, but for the life of the world. Yet thinking with their physical mindset, this sounds pretty good, for what they hear of is a bread that will last forever and will be given to the entire world. Boy, do they want this bread...

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

Jesus for the first time makes the connection between the physical bread and the spiritual bread that He is by making the statement: I am the bread of life.

36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

He now ties Himself to the Father, telling them that He and His Father work in concert with one another, all for the purpose of bringing life to the world, emphasizing of how He will raise all who believe in Him at the last day. The Jews listening in, now enter their thoughts for what He was saying. They are already trying to kill Him for healing a man on the Sabbath which is against their law.

41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

They think earthly thoughts, saying how could He come from heaven when we know His father and mother? Jesus responds,

43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Jesus now connects the bread with His body, which He will offer for the life of the world. He again of how He will raise those up at the last day those who believe on Him. He speaks of giving His body for the life of the world. What do the Jews here? Again they think in an earthly manner, and ask amongst themselves an earthly question..

52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

Let us recall the statement that Jesus made earlier in response to the people who asked "what are the works of God that we might do them?" And of how Jesus told them: "Believe on Him whom He has sent."

This part of John's gospel is very difficult to understand, but it is sufficient to say that there is reference to the Lord's Supper here, as well as one could look at this in the sense of the understanding that to "eat' is to believe. Let us continue on...

60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Now the attention is turned back to His disciples and they had a hard time receiving the teaching that He was giving to them. What were they going to think if they saw Jesus returning to where He came from? He told them that in their human understanding they would never receive it, but it would have to be spiritually understood. Without spiritual enlightenment, it would make no sense, in fact, it would be foolishness to them. After hearing all this, many went back and walked no more with Him.

67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

At the remaining twelve, which included Judas, He asked them a question: Will you all go away also?

Peter, stepped up as usual, saying: to whom shall we go? For you have the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that you are that Christ, the Son of the living God.

He then spoke for all to hear: Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

Well, there is a lot to digest here in this chapter. When it is all said and done, Jesus has come to give His life for the world and He will raise up all those who believe in Him at that last day unto eternal life. In the last verses He speaks of the tension between the desire of God for all to come to repentance and faith and the resistance of some to receive eternal life through the Bread of Life.

May we be blessed as we read over and meditate upon the Bread of Life, as we eat and drink of Him through faith, and as we partake of His Body and Blood in the Sacrament so that life may continually be appropriated into our being through the merits of Jesus Christ. May the great grace that He has poured and continually does pour out upon us, yield into our hearts and lives praise and thankfulness to our Great God.

In Him,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 06 Sep 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns