Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
Jesus The Bread of Life part 2
Those of you who attend our fellowship know that I lost my mother in law this week. She died just one day shy of her 89th birthday. We spent her last evening singing her favorite hymns and reading Scriptures about being transformed and a citizen of heaven and ushered her into the kingdom.
But I have concluded from this experience that death is just wrong. It seems wrong. It doesn?t seem we should die. And in fact, even science agrees that we were not designed to die. Some scientists assert that we die due to chromosomal damage due to things such as free radicals. Others now suggest that inflammation is the cause of aging. Some say that our bodies are not really designed to age and die, they just do.
One doctor told me once that if we live long enough, we?ll all die of cancer. He had a great bedside manner. My mother in law died in part because of a system wide infection in her blood. That is actually very close as to the real reason we die?but not from a bacterial infection but a sin infection.
Paul the Apostle said that ?the string of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.? (1 Corinthians 15:56). When we do things that are against God?s character, His law, we sin?and when we sin then death can sting us. Since birth we have been infected with a terminal disease called ?sin.? We got it from Adam who disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).Romans 5:12-14 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned? 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. ESV
We don?t want to die, and physical death is no picnic. But the truth is that who we are continues on after physical death. Just as there is life after death, so there is death after death. The Bible calls this ?the second death? (Revelation 20-21).
Now aren?t you glad you came to church today? The reason I get into all of this is that we need to realize that there is a way to sustain life after physical death if we just eat right. It?s not a diet low in saturated fat but a diet high in spiritual fiber?Jesus fiber.
Last week we talked about the miracle of loaves and fishes that Jesus performed. The people followed Jesus to Capernaum because they got hungry again and wanted to see a trick. Jesus turns the tables on them and says to not labor after food that perishes but for the food that endures to eternal life. See there is a meal that you eat that will never leave you hungry and always satisfies. Jesus tries then to explain.
30 ? 34
The feeding of course reminded them of manna, that God, not Moses provided for the people coming out of Egypt (Exodus 16). Manna was a physical picture of a spiritual reality, that is, that Jesus is the food from God. They, like the woman at the well in Samaria, wanted a never-ending supply of physical bread. Jesus has something else in mind?a never-ending supply of life.
35 ? 36
This the first of 7 declarations by Jesus that relates Jesus to our needs as humans. (8:12 ?I am the light of the world?, 10:7 ?I am the door of the sheep?, :11 ?I am the good shepherd?, 11:25 ?I am the resurrection and the life?, 14:6 ?I am the way and the truth and the life?, 15:1 ?I am the true vine?). ?I AM? is the personal name for God. In Hebrew is can mean ?the becoming one.? Jesus is God and He becomes what we need: life, light, access, nurturing, truth.
You see, there is a hunger and thirst that is so far beyond the physical. It?s a hunger for life that never ends?it?s a satisfaction that we just can?t seem to quench with the stuff of this life here on earth. But people have a hard time grasping that.
As if Jesus wasn?t clear enough before he just states it outright that he himself is the bread of life. He is trying to tell them that their expectations are wrong. It isn?t about filling their bellies with food but about believing and trusting in the one who fills the soul and spirit with life.
(36) They should have been falling down on their knees in worship. They saw the miracle but didn?t go to the next conclusion: that Jesus was God.
37 ? 40
This is an amazing section. You see, there is a drawing that is going on with the Father?pulling towards the Son. The Father doesn?t arbitrarily just say ?I give you to Jesus but you I don?t?1 Timothy 2:3-6 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, ESV
God calls all, but not all respond. ?Many are called but few are chosen? (Matt 22:14). A superficial relationship isn?t enough. You can?t just call out for Manna and expect to get eternal life. Jesus is looking for belief?which means a commitment to Him as a person.
The Jews can?t get past the idea that Jesus is just that guy from Nazareth.
41 ? 51
The Jews reacted with their senses like the disciples had earlier. They knew Jesus? parents so how could he say he came from heaven?
(45) The Father calls people through the Scriptures. (Remember 5:39??You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness of Me? If you listen to the Scriptures you will obey the Father and come to Jesus.
(49) You can?t rely on physical life to get you by forever. You eat, you live, you get sick, you die. We?ve got to set our sights higher than that. There really is something beyond just physical earthly life and Jesus has it.
52 ? 59
Now we understand what Jesus is saying about his flesh, he allowed his flesh to be pierced and his blood shed as a sacrifice to pay the penalty of our evil nature and to cleanse us, but the Jews immediately thought of cannibalism.
The spiritual food that Jesus speaks about is every bit as real as the physical food we think about.
We participated in Jesus death on the cross. We did eat his flesh and drink his blood.
60 - 65
Jesus explains here that he is not talking about literally eating his flesh and bones, but that it is a spiritual thing. Flesh is just like bread, it is only temporary. But the life that Jesus gives by offering his flesh is everlasting.
Verse 62 is a reference to the ascension. If they can?t understand Jesus? death and resurrection, how are they going to understand his ascension?
This is the first mention of Judas, though he is not named here.
Jesus doesn?t always make it that easy to follow him. He wants us to wrestle a bit, not to be obscure but so that we will understand what he did and what we need to do in a sincere, not surface, way. This wasn?t a new political party Jesus was starting and so he purposefully pushes away those that won?t think and won?t really commit. To the heart that calls out to God He grants to come to the Son. To the heart that is selfish, self-absorbed, and self-sufficient He does not. There are two sides to this relationship?and we both have a part in fostering it or pushing it away.
66 ? 71
Once you find Jesus you realize that there is no other way, no other person, no other source of life. I think Jesus here amazes that despite Judas? closeness to the Messiah that he would betray him.
It always amazes me that people, once they learn of who Jesus really is, would not follow him.
For those of us who call Jesus our Lord, who have feasted on his flesh and drunk his blood, we realize there is no other place to go. You can tempt us with physical things or with other philosophies or religious ideas, but Jesus has the words of eternal life. That?s all that really matters?life that does not end.
If there is any other way you would consider, then perhaps you are not ready for Jesus. (66-68)
Are you feeling a pulling in your heart? It might be the Father drawing you to Him. (37). Learn and hear from Him, then come to Him with all of your heart (45).
If you are in Jesus know you will never be cast away (37) and never lost (39)
Are you dissatisfied with life? Perhaps you are always looking for Jesus to ?perform? another work for you. Try being satisfied with Him only and go from there. (30-31)