The Bread of Life

TEXTJohn 6:35

INTRODUCTION:

A.      FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

          1.       Makes for clarity( Psa. 23 ).

          2.       Memorable - Parable of the sower, Prodigal Son, Good Samaritan.

          3.       Good literature, a skillful use or language.

B.      FIGURES USED TO DEPICT JESUS:

          1.       Lamb of God - Sacrifice.

          2.       Peace - Reconciliation.

          3.       Physician - Spiritual Healing.

          4.       Shepherd - Leader and Provider.

C.      FIGURES FIT CIRCUMSTANCES:

          1.       Living water - at the well( John 4:14 ).

          2.       Resurrection - raising of Lazarus( John 11:25 ).

          3.       Bread of Life - feeding of the 5,000( John 6 ).

D.      WE WANT TO DISCUSS JESUS AS THE BREAD OF LIFE.

I.      THE FIGURE OF BREAD.

A.      IMPORTANCE OF BREAD.

          1.       Where meat is the center of our meal, bread was the center of theirs, other

                   foods were mere accessories.

                   a.       Gen. 3:19.  From this point bread stands for food in general.

                   b.       Seen in Bible language:  "earning bread," "breaking bread," "bread-

                             winner," ( Matt. 6:11 ) "daily bread,"  ( Matt. 4:4 ) "bread alone."

          2.       Working men often wrapped other food items in their loaves of bread, hence,

                   another connection between bread and food in general.  Sometimes bread was

                   made as a sort of pouch and stuffed with other food for this purpose.

          3.       Perhaps the loves in the feeding of the 5,000 were such.

B.      FORMS OF BREAD AND INGREDIENTS:

          1.       Barley and Wheat.

                   a.       Barley referred to as the sword of Gideon( Judges 7:13-14 ).

                   b.       The grain of the 5 loaves( John 6:9 ).

                   c.       Barley still preeminent in the Middle-east.

                   d.       When also in wide use.  No corn as we know it.

          2.       Three Qualities of Flour.

                   a.       Course "bruised" or "beaten grain"( Lev. 2:14-16 ).

                    b.       Flour of ordinary use.

                   c.       "Fine meal"( Gen. 18:6 ).

          3.       Several Forms of Bread.

                   a.       Raised loaves like we have unknown.

                   b.       Sometimes like a pouch or a wafer.

                   c.       Thin pancake-like, could be rolled.

                   d.       Result of type of oven - Elaborate or open hearth.  Sometimes a flat

                             rock.

                   e.       Flat piece often rolled and used to scoop food out of a common dish

                             like a spoon( Matt. 26:23 ).

C.      SANCTITY AND SYMBOLISM OF BREAD.

          1.       Bread of Great Spiritual Significance.

                   a.       In Egypt the Nile was the source of life.

                   b.       In Palestine al depended on the wheat and barley harvests.

                   c.       Harvest depends on the weather which depends on God, so bread is

                             God's special gift to man and a daily reminder of God's special care.

                   d.       Bread seen lying on the side of the road is fed to the dogs or birds, for

                             being from God, it must not be trodden under foot.

          2.       Bread symbolizes hospitality.

                   a.       Bread, when offered, no matter how poor the quality, must not be

                             turned down, for it is a symbol of the high duty of hospitality.

                   b.       Christ charged his disciples to take no bread with them ( Mark 6:8 ) for

                             they were to accept whatever hospitality was offered.

          3.       Bread was offered as the symbol of the Lord's body.

          4.       As the "Bread of Life" Jesus appeals to all these important associations in

                   the Oriental mind connected with bread and its place.

                   a.       The Center and Sum of all spiritual nourishment.

                   b.       Humble Element - Carpenter's Son, Our Savior.

                   c.       Source of Life.

                   d.       Association and friendship with God and His People.

II.     THE TEXT OF JOHN 6 - THE CONTEXT OF THE FIGURE.

A.      OVERVIEW.

          1.       Feeding of the 5,00 - All 4 gospels give record.

          2.       Story of rejection:

                   a.       John 5.  Jesus rejected in Jerusalem( vs. 18 ).  Sabbath.

                   b.       John 6.  Rejected in Galilee.  Progression( vs. 41, 52, 60, 64, 66 ).

B.      THE FEEDING - AND ITS RESULT( 6:1-24 ).

          1.       To prove Philip( vs. 1-13;  spec. 5-9 ).

          2.       vs. 14-15.  Let's make him king!  Why?  Fleshly provider.

                   They missed the point( vs. 63 ).

          3.       Walked on the water - Amazing! - Let's follow him( vs. 16-25 ).

C.      DISCOURSE ON THE BREAD OF LIFE.

          1.       Addresses their motive and corrects them( vs. 26-27 ).

                   a.       Fleshly nourishment - the "pot-luck."

                   b.       Should seek spiritual nourishment as well..

          2.       They "prove" themselves in asking for a sign( vs. 30 ).

                   a.       Hadn't they seen one?  What did they want?

                   b.       They weren't interested in the Son of God.  They wanted to eat.

          3.       He teaches them concerning the "real bread" vs. the "manna."

                                                            I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE.

D.      REACTION OF THE JEWS - DISGUST AND MURMURING( vs. 41-59 ).

          1.       The Jews question his identity( vs. 41-42 ).

          2.       Jesus explains the figure( vs. 43-59 ).

                   a.       Must eat and drink, Not the Lord's Supper.

                   b.       Key( vs. 47-48 ).  Eating and drinking = Belief.

E.      REACTION OF THE DISCIPLES - CONFUSION( vs. 60-65 ).

          1.       They still sought food with the excuse of wanting a sign( vs. 62 ).

          2.       Jesus explains again the contrast between Physical and Spiritual( vs. 63 ).

          3.       He knows many still don't believe.  Why not?

          4.       Many turn back( vs. 66 ).

F.      THE REACTION OF THE 12.

          1.       They are confused( vs. 67 ).

          2.       But they believe and have an understanding( vs. 68-69 ).

CONCLUSIONLET'S APPLY THE LESSON OF THE FIGURE.

A.      WE NEED NOURISHMENT - NOT PHYSICAL BUT SPIRITUAL.

B.      BREAD ALONE CANNOT SATISFY( Matt. 4:4;  Rom. 14:17 ).

C.      HUMAN IDEAS AND PHILOSOPHIES ARE INADEQUATE( 1 Cor. 3:19-20 ).

D.      JESUS AND BELIEF ON HIM IS ETERNAL LIFE( vs. 40, 47, 63, 68-69 ).