JUNE 19, 2016

MAIN TEXT:  JOHN 6:25-40

 

When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

 


We are all hungry for something more than food. We are all in search of something more than the next meal. We all long to be satisfied and filled in a way the best five-star restaurant still fails to fill us.

The story that we examine today shows a crowd of people that have come to Jesus after having their stomachs thoroughly filled the day before with a meal that was miraculously provided. They were looking for a powerful king to liberate them from the Romans and Jesus seemed to fit the bill. The crowd now gathers around Jesus looking for more food and further signs to legitimate his role as their future king. What Jesus tells them offends their sensibilities to the point that at the end of this story, many that were following Jesus turned away and left Jesus.

This story isn’t glamorous. This isn’t the story that the disciples were itching to tell their friends and family about when they returned. This story looks seems more like a defeat than a part of God’s unfolding plan, but through this story we get a glimpse of Jesus’ identity.

God has one perfect and unchanging plan

You are not able to make a plan that is perfect and unchanging. This is probably proven every time you walk into the grocery story with a very well-intentioned list of what you are going to buy. There are factors beyond your control–varying prices, quantities, etc.–that may thwart your plans. You also may discover that the produce that you had planned on buying didn’t look as good as the picture in the advertisement and so you choose raspberries instead of blueberries. Your plans change. This happens probably more than you are aware. So much, in fact, that you are used to this reality of life.

As Jesus begins to interact with this crowd, their motives are both to gain another meal and to find a king. Jesus tells them that he is the food that fully satisfies and that he is no mere human king, but is God. In fact, he declares that he is the plan of God.

When we speak of God’s plan, we are talking about the intention of God before the foundation of earth was established. This plan existed before anyone walked on the earth and involves every aspect of what God has created. This perfect plan ultimately points to, culminates in and flows from one person, Jesus.

This is what Jesus was declaring. Through Moses, God provided for his people by giving them bread from heaven to fill their stomachs. Through Jesus, God came to man to fill his longing to worship truly and love eternally.

There is a certainty in what God has decided, ordained and set forth that nothing can thwart (Job 42:2). God’s perfect and unchanging plan is unfolding in this portion of history and is unfolding today in the 21st Century.

Jesus is God’s perfect/unchanging plan.

The Word is dangerous 

You won’t find many of the words from this passage of Scripture posted on inspirational plaques or lining the walls of someone’s house. That is because the words here are controversial. They are not safe and they may make you a bit uncomfortable.

The crowds that were looking for a sign experienced something far beyond what they bargained for. In these moments, Jesus shocks and offends this crowd with statements about who he is and what he would do. This crowd was looking for safety and an easy fix to their immediate problems. What Jesus gave them was a solution to their ultimate problems and pointed their attention to their unbelieving hearts.

We are very similar today. We want immediate relief for our personal needs, but we don’t want to really deal with our sin and focus on our heart. We live ‘credit card’ lives, where we get the goods without paying the full price.

The Word of God is described as a double-edged sword (Hebrews 5:12). Many times, we either build armor to protect ourselves from its sharp blows (we learn how to justify our sin) or we dull the blade to fashion a prop sword that looks good but has no power (we change Scripture to mean things that are more in line with our thinking).

Jesus is the Word of God made flesh.

We Are Saved By Works

This may seem a little strange to you. After all, Paul says that we are saved by grace, and this grace is a gift. So, how can we say that we are saved by works?

This crowd pressed in around Jesus and asked him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” They wanted to know what so many of us want to know, “Just tell me what to do, so I can do it.” What Jesus says to them points more to what he would do for them than what they could do for themselves.

This is perhaps the greatest obstacle to the Gospel–believing that God has been gracious toward you in the person of Jesus and has saved you fully. This is trusting that there is nothing that can separate you from the love of God in Jesus (Romans 8:38-39). Truly believing this is a result of God’s work in your heart as you set your attention and affection on the work that Jesus did for you through his life, death and resurrection–and the work he continues through his intercession on your behalf.

“I Am the bread of life” - Jesus

 


In Community

This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing to discuss the implications of the message.


BLESS RHYTHMS

This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.

Bless
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.

Listen
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.

Eat
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.

Speak
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.

Sabbath
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.

DISCUSS THE MESSAGE

Read: John 6:25-40

Describe a time when your plans changed. What thoughts/feelings did you experience during this time?

What does it mean to you that God has one perfect and unchanging plan?

In God’s plan, the Word became flesh (Jesus came to humanity) and lived among us. What does this communicate to you?

What parts/passages of the Bible make you uncomfortable or uneasy? Try to discern why these sections affect you in this way.

What does it look like to work for your salvation instead of believing in the works of Jesus for your salvation? How do you do this in your life?