John 6:22-59…I Am the Bread of Life
Our stated goal in the “I AM” series is John’s goal…John 20:31
John 20:31 (ESV) but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 1…Jesus is the eternal Word of God who made all things and in who is life and light. The Word, Jesus, took on flesh and put God’s glory on display as the promised one who will crush the Serpent.
John 2:11…Jesus “manifested his glory” at the wedding in Cana.
John 2:13-22…Jesus cleanses the temple.
John 2:23-25…Many see the signs, hear the teaching and “believed in his name”. But Jesus does not entrust himself to them because he knows what’s in each person and what is driving their “belief”.
This passage really sets the stage for what is to happen in the rest of the historical narrative of John…Jesus reveals his glory (1:14), most people “believe” in that they see Jesus as a means to an end not as their rescue from the curse of the fall.
John 3…Jesus tells Nicodemus what it is to be a disciple…he must be born again.
John 4…Jesus engages in a direct-action ministry appointment to call a hated Samaritan woman with a questionable sexual ethic to faith and turn her into an evangelist.
John 5…Jesus begins to teach about his identity as the one the Scriptures say will bring eternal life, the one Moses wrote about.
John 5:39 (ESV) You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
John 5:46 (ESV) For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.
John 6:2…Jesus has gained a large following because of his miraculous signs.
John 6:3-14…Jesus feeds the 5,000 men besides women and children from 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish as a compassionate act for these many “sheep without a shepherd” on the cusp of the Passover that was about to be celebrated.
John 6:15…Jesus has to remove himself because they want to come and start a revolution to make Jesus king by force…revealing that they don’t get it. They want the immediate need met not the real need. They don’t see!
John 6:16-21…Jesus’ disciples head back across the lake, encounter a storm and he walks to them on the water, they take him on board and they miraculously get to their destination.
John 6:22-58… Jesus is the bread of life!
22-25 The crowd Jesus taught and fed now mobilizes themselves to go find Jesus.
26 Jesus reveals the problem…The people want bread not Jesus who gave them the bread.
This account draws on the account of Israel after the Exodus (Ex. 16): They cross water to follow God, get hungry, question God…Jesus crosses the lake, the people follow, get hungry, question Jesus…
As Israel’s craving for food was greater than their craving for the Lord, the people in John 6 wanted food more than Jesus.
Jesus has just fed a host of humanity with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. You’d think the people would rather have Jesus.
The people of John 6 just got fed, but rather than have the source, they decided they just wanted the bread and fish.
27 Jesus tells the people it’s better to get eternal food rather than food that fills the stomach.
28 The people ask the correct question…What must they do?
29 Jesus tells the people the best news they could ever hear…Believe!
30 The people’s response proves they are spiritually blind in asking Jesus for more miracles.
31 The people illustrate what they’d like to see Jesus do by bringing up the feeding the “fathers” with manna in the wilderness after the Exodus.
32-33 Jesus makes sure they understand it was God who provided that bread, and that God has sent down “true” bread that gives life.
34 The people want this bread!
These guys are thinking about bread like they just ate a few days ago. They are not thinking about nourishment for a deeper longer of the soul.
35 Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.”
- Now, either Jesus is saying that he is the fuel, the way to get life, which makes Jesus the means to some end other than himself.
- Jesus is saying that he is himself life.
Jesus is life!
What does this mean?
- God through Jesus alone is who fixes the dead state of sinners.
It’s clear the masses need to be “born again”.
6:41-44, 48, 51, 53
They question Jesus’ identity.
- There is more to existence that the mere satisfaction of physical needs.
The curse does this thing where it blinds us to greater needs by the intensifying of lesser needs.
Make no mistake, food, water, clothing are all needs, but lesser ones. Matthew 6:33 tells us this. Seek the kingdom first and then Jesus will take care of the lesser things.
In the curse, we seek the lesser to the neglect of the greater. That’s idolatry.
The essence of idolatry is when we take good things and turn them into God things they become bad things.
- Life goes deeper than food and drink.
They had the creator of all things, who put that on display by creating bread and fish, and yet they just wanted bread and fish.
- Jesus is not a means to another end…Jesus is the means and the goal.
How do we obey?
- Be saved!
- Seek liberation from lesser things by a joyful pursuit of Jesus Christ who is the source of all we actually need.
Piper, John. Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. CO Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2015.
This is Paul’s very aim.
Philippians 3:8-9 (ESV) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him,
Piper is not making up anything new. He’s just unpacking Paul’s language and the implications of Scripture in coming after Jesus as our great delight.
“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” To enjoy God is to glorify God. Anything less is to slander God.
This will be your hardest life pursuit because everything in our leftover sinful self wants to delight in everything but God.
- Pursue joy in God by doing Romans 8:13.
Romans 8:13 (ESV) For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
- How do we do Romans 8:13?
- Believe we are sons and daughters of God (8:14)
- Live as sons and daughters not as slaves (8:15)
- Live in the Spirit…how?
- Practice prayer and fasting as the power of joy in God.
- Have a disciplined bible reading and study plan as the kindling of joy in God.
- Be in consistent covenant fellowship
- Practice solitude and silence.
- Discern the voice of God and be quick to obey…Being completely the Lord’s instrument all the time (see Hudson Taylor’s spiritual secret).
- Cultivate Holy Spirit fruit: love (the labor of joy in God), joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
- Suffer well as the sacrifice of joy in God.
- Cross cultures with the gospel as the battle cry of joy in God.
- Give generously as the currency of joy in God.
- Worship as the feast and consummation of joy in God.
“But the most obvious fact about praise…whether of God or anything…strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless (sometimes even if) shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise…lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game…praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars. I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds, praised most, while the cranks and misfits and malcontents praised least….
“I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: ‘Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?’ The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value.
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.”
 C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (New York: HarperOne, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2017), 93-95.