Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Bread of Life

More sermon notes.

The Bread of Life

Exodus 16, John 6:25-59

Why have you come to church? To worship God, give thanks and learn from Him?

Because you have to?



Jesus said these people came to him not from curiosity about his miracles but because he could give them what they wanted, food. 5 loaves and 2 fishes had sufficed for 5000.

Jesus says it is not wrong to work for food, but you are interested in the wrong kind of food, this food that spoils. There is a better food, a more important food. It lasts for ever, it gives life forever. It comes from the Son of Man, Jesus.

This sounded like a very good deal indeed. No more shopping trips ever. What do you need to do to get this food of eternal life?

All you have to do is believe in the one God has sent. No hard labour day after day. Just trust the person God has sent you. He is your provider of everlasting life food.

Now come on, this is a bit much. How can we believe someone can do this for us? Prove it to us. Show us you have the power to do this. Moses gave our ancestors food in the desert,. What will you do. These folks were aware of their history, nostalgic for the good old days when God fed them 40 years with manna. Beat that Jesus.

Do not look back. Look to the here and now. Now God is giving you real bread from heaven, bread that gives life to the world and this bread is a person who comes from God.

The Jews asked for a sign. Jesus gave them an enigma, a riddle.

They did not want a riddle, They wanted bread. Give us this bread, Jesus.

Note, they still think it is a thing, not a person.

You want the bread. I am the bread. Come to me and you will never hunger, believe in me, trust me, you will never be thirsty.

Note two things. This is a conversation on two different levels. The people are of a vision limited to the physical, the here and now, daily bread. Jesus has has moved to the spiritual, Coming to Jesus, believing on Jesus, trusting Him, you will be satisfied, nourished for ever. Sunday evening attenders not the parallelism here.

God's will is this. v40, look to the Son, to me Jesus, believe in me, trust me, you will receive life eternal, satisfaction now, needs met now, and life forever.

A stupendous claim and one that was too much for his hearers.

Jesus says he is not surprised at their grumbling rejection. They say they know he has not come from heaven they know where he is from, they know his family. How can he be bread from heaven?

Jesus says they do not understand and come to him because something other than human understanding and will is necessary for this, God the Father must draw them to his Son. God must teach them They must listen to what God is saying, learn from God and come to believe in Jesus. Believe in Jesus, you have life for ever.

In the past, your ancestors ate bread from heaven, then they died. All of them except two died in the desert, rather a sore point. Why did they die? They had not believed God's promise that he would defeat their enemies and give them the land. They had bread from God but died. Now the real bread from God is here. Eat this real bread from heaven and you live for ever. Jesus, living bread from heaven. My body is the living bread. I am going to give it, a sacrifice to give the world. With some of the Jewish sacrifices the worshippers ate the meat together and rejoiced before God

Note v 51, eat the bread, Jesus, live for ever and compare with, v29, believe, v33, come and believe, v40, look and believe, v44 come to Jesus, v47, believe in Jesus. Eating the bread from heaven means coming to Jesus and trusting in Him.

v 52. They did not understand this at all. Jesus adds mystery to the puzzle.

To have life you must eat his flesh and drink his blood. He stands before them and says this. How can it be?

Eat him, drink Him, life forever, resurrection from the dead. Real food and drink are his body and blood. Jesus is real nourishment. Eat and you are in him, linked to him. Jesus has come from God the father and lives because of God his father. If you feed on Jesus you will live because of him.

Note all this feeding, eating, drinking is the same as coming to Jesus and believing in him. Trusting means eating and drinking from Jesus. eating and drinking means believing.

Jesus is the bread from heaven Eat and live forever. believe in Jesus and never die.

Practical conclusion.

Death faces us all. two things certain. You want life beyond death, eternal life, it is only in Jesus, through trust in Him. Repent and believe. tat is the first step.

Secondly, believing is receiving the bread of life, Jesus. believing is eating, drinking and being nourished, not physically but spiritually. v55 Real food and drink. Reality is not merely the physical, what we taste and touch. reality is the spiritual too.

Jesus on the night he was betrayed took bread, gave thanks and said, take, eat this is my body broken for you.

Did he mean it was magically made into his body? No. It stayed real bread, but by faith, it became for them a sharing in the body of Jesus, real spiritual nourishment. Here we have a mystery. We believe that at the Lord's table, Jesus is spiritually present feeding us in bread and wine. We do not believe that a priest makes the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. We have no magic words or bells to signify a miraculous change takes place and a sacrifice is being offered on an altar. No. We believe that bread and wine on a table are bread and wine. And just as bread and wine nourish our bodies, so when we eat and drink with faith in Jesus Christ, he is spiritually present in the bread and wine. (Spiritually present not, physically he is bodily in heaven, spiritually, by His Holy Spirit, he is present wit h us, nourishing us by his grace.) Just as bread and wine physically nourish us, so Christ here spiritually nourishes us. Al this is by faith in him. To believe is to come to Christ. It is to eat and drink from him. It is all by trust in him that we are nourished, satisfied by God.

The Lord's table is no magical priestly ritual with the the offering of a magic sacrifice to God. Neither is it a mere memorial with mere symbols. Here, for those who have faith. Christ is present and he feeds us.

Do you believe?

If you do, come welcome to the feast. If you have not come to Jesus as your sovereign Lord, now is the day of salvation. Come now, believe, eat and drink and live forever, satisfied by the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Very God of Very God. he calls you to his feast.
IPC 1.8.98

No comments: