Who Is Jesus? #1: The Bread of Life!

Sermon Notes (Sunday August 9th, 2015)

Rev. Mouris Yousef, Pastor

 

Who Is Jesus? #1: The Bread of Life!

Exodus 3: 13-14; John 6: 35-40

 

The gospel of John is very different from any of the other three gospels. In John you never really know what’s what. Water is not really water. Wind is more than wind. A door is more than wood and hinges. Bread is not only bread; it is life. Blindness is more than losing one’s sight. Jesus loves to use double-speak in the gospel of John. His words always meant deeper than what they seemed. Today’s reading from John chapter 6 is a great example of what I mean by Jesus’ double-speak.

 

John contains seven great statements of Jesus that begin with the statement “I am the . . .”. Each of these images gives us a different and important understanding of who Jesus is. In these statements Jesus uses various metaphors to describe His person, His character, and His mission. Seven times in the gospel of John, Jesus declares: I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48); I am the Light of the World (8:12, 9:5); I am the Gate for the Sheep (10:7); I am the Good Shepherd (10:11); I am the Resurrection and the Life (11:25); I am the Way, the Truth and the Life (14:6); and I am the True Vine (15:1). These statements will be the focus of our study over the next few Sundays.

 

Why are we spending a few weeks studying the seven “I am” statements of Jesus? I think it is important to do so because in the world today, you will hear a number of ideas about Jesus.  There will be those who teach that Jesus was God in human form (like we do) and there will be others who teach that Jesus was simply a good man who parlayed His popularity into a new religion. Some teach that Jesus never claimed to be God but was elevated to that state by His followers. There are some who have pushed Jesus to the side. They have marginalized Jesus. There are others who live their lives today as if the Son of God never came to our world. Who is Jesus? This is the most important question in life.

 

Since we believe the Bible is the Word of God and is an accurate and trustworthy record of the life and teaching of Jesus, we are going to look into the gospel of John to see what Jesus said about Himself. This morning we are going to look at the first of these claims.  In John 6:35 Jesus refers to Himself as the Bread of Life. Before I underscore a couple challenges based on John chapter 6, let me say something very briefly about the language of these seven statements.

 

I am Who I am

In these seven sayings of John’s gospel, Jesus uses a special form of the words that doesn’t particularly come out in our English translations. They are the Greek words “Ἐγώ εἰμι” (Ego eimi) and they are used particularly in the Greek Old Testament when God is speaking about Himself. For example, when the Lord appears to Abraham in Genesis 17:1, He says “I am God Almighty.” Again, in Exodus 3 when the Lord appears to Moses in the burning bush and Moses asks what His name is, He says “I am who I am” – which is the origin of the name Yahweh or Jehovah. The point I simply want to show is that in these seven statements, Jesus isn’t claiming just to be a wise teacher or good man. He is claiming to be God Himself. Jesus is the bread of life. What was He trying to get us to think?

 

First: Bread Nourishes

I think the first thing that comes to mind when we think about bread is that bread nourishes. This is a simple yet the most profound truth we encounter here in John chapter 6. Bread nourishes. It works. It satisfies. It eases the pangs of hunger. It gives us nourishment that we need day in and day out. Back then, in the days of Jesus, as it is the same today in the Middle East, bread was the stuff of life; it formed the basis of every meal. You can hardly eat a meal without bread.

 

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” There is no substitute for Jesus. If He is in our lives, He is feeding our lives with joy, peace, and love. But if He’s not in our lives, an unceasing hunger pervades. There’s an emptiness that can’t be satisfied. There’s a steady sense of anxiety and unease and confusion. The problem is that we seek to satisfy our hunger in the wrong way. We search for things to satisfy the yearning of our souls. And that is something, only the Bread of Life, Jesus of Nazareth, can do.

 

There is a very inspiring note on our church’s sign that Cindy Strang posted this week; one side is a quote from the Christian theologian and apologist C. S. Lewis from Mere Christianity and it reads, “A man (a person) can eat his/her dinner without understanding exactly how food nourishes him/her.” The other side is the refrain of the old hymn, “Trust and Obey.” It reads, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” C. S. Lewis continues to say, “A man (a person) can accept what Christ has done without knowing how it works: indeed, he/she certainly would not know how it works until he/she has accepted it. That is the formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed.” When I ask people why they come to church Sunday after Sunday, a good number of them say, “I’m here to get nourished to make it through the week.” We believe that Jesus is alive and continues to nourish our souls, like ordinary bread nourishes the body. Jesus is the bread of life that satisfies like nothing else.

 

Second: Food that Spoils versus Food that Endures Forever

In John 6:2 &14, we are told that the feeding of the five thousand was a “sign.” And, as a sign, it pointed beyond itself. Listen to what Jesus says to the crowds that came searching for Him in John 6:27, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Jesus points the crowd in a different direction. Instead of food for hungry stomachs, Jesus points to food for hungry hearts. Instead of food that spoils, Jesus points to food that endures. Instead of food that satisfies for a couple of hours, Jesus points to food that satisfies eternally. There is a lesson here about materialism, about focusing all our efforts and energies on physical things. Jesus reminds us that the things of this earth and this life ultimately cannot satisfy or quench or fill – because this is “food that spoils”, that only fills the stomach, that satisfies for only a time. Jesus is more enduring than the Manna. He is more enduring than anything that gets our attention today. It was the North Africa theologian Augustine of Hippo (354-430) who wrote these words after his conversion, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they can find rest in You.”

 

Friends, Jesus is the “Bread of Life.” He feeds us. He fills us. He satisfies us. But this does not happen automatically. You know the saying: “You can bring a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.” All the water in the world does no good if the horse refuses to guzzle what is in front of it. When it comes to feeding on Christ, what we need is faith. It is faith that joins us to Christ and His suffering and death. Faith is the spoon and fork of the Christian religion. Faith is the mouth of the soul. I would like to encourage you today to come closer and find full nourishment on Christ, the Great I am, the Bread of Life, not for a day or an hour but for eternity. My hope in the next few Sundays is to help us as individuals and as a congregation to discover or rediscover Jesus in a fresh way. He is the Bread to feed upon, the Light to follow, the Door to enter, the Shepherd to guide, the Resurrection upon which to wait, the Way of salvation to trust, and the Vine in which to abide. In 1745 William Williams, the Welsh composer and Calvinist theologian, wrote, “Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven, Feed me till I want no more; Feed me till I want no more.” May this line become your cry and mine today. In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen!

Comments are closed.

Search
Recent Comments
    Categories
    Events at the Church