When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”26Jesus 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.27Do not labor 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.”28Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”29Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”30So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?31Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”32Jesus 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.33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”34They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.36But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.39And 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.40For 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.”
41So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”42They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”43Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.45It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—46not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.47Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.48I am the bread of life.49Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
There is a difference between life and death. Life means that there is the circulation of blood. Health in the marrow, production of cells made mostly of Iron and Oxygen. Red corpuscles moving throughout the body delivering to the tissue the health and life that it needs. The universal sign that there is life is the cry of the baby. The stronger the baby’s cry the more confident those responsible for the birth are that there is life. Crying symbolizes that there is life and that the life is responding to its environment. Living and breathing is what defines human life. That which was defined as zygote (egg) is fertilized and at conception life begins. One stem cell moves and takes form and this movement determines that all of the parts necessary will be present at birth. The baby or the fetus because of its human imperfection allows some to disregard its value, it is the slow start and the static nine months of growth that frightens some and never the less the sound determined by the opening and closing of the valves, the heart beat that allows one to dream of the child that is to follow.
Life has its limitations; there is a beginning and an end. There is a place to start and a place to end.
The writer of Ecclesiastes describes it as For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
We speak of time and eternity but what is this we speak of at this particular juncture of life, let me answer this rhetorical question myself. It is the time to live. The church is looking for meaning and in every circumstance, every hurt soul, every tear that is shed, every dime that is lost, every life that is murdered, every beginning and every ending, we look for an answer and in the answer our prayer is Lord, give us life. We have to ask at times “What is This?” what is it Lord that is happening now in this space and time of life?
As we look around we become sometimes disillusioned, disenchanted, disheartened, cynical, disappointed, dissatisfied, thwarted and frustrated. Life becomes hard and that which we put our trust in the church becomes harder. Jesus simplifies the whole 6th chapter of John by using the term non-belief. Verse 63 and 64 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.64But there are some of you who do not believe.”
The discussion was about that which would symbolize the oneness and unity of the body of Christ until his coming. Institution of the Lord's Supper14And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him.15And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.16For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”17And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.18For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” This is vital to understanding the work of the divine one. Jesus is the anointed Christ, Emmanuel; God with us, his position as servant and king. They would drink from the cup and eat bread with the king and sacrificial lamb.
They did not recognize the kingdom was now come to earth and the symbolic becomes the definitive, the demonstrative becomes the actual and that the body and blood and the sharing in this moment would speed the process of the kingdom coming on earth. This was necessary; the Passover and then the crucifixion because God had decided that without the shedding of blood there would be no remission or forgiveness of sins. It is the spirit that gives life. We move into the spiritual realm of sharing in the body and blood to receive the life giving power of the actual body and blood.
Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed what they heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
3He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Romans 10:13For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of God.
This gives us the first answer to the question What is this? In order to recognize;
1. Hear The Word!
Hearing and believing now become one in the same. Hearing allows us to begin the process of developing faith. The disciples who left Jesus in the 6th chapter heard what they wanted to hear. What they heard was a terrible thing, they heard the practice of cannibalism whereby human eat and digest other human beings. When things began to become uncomfortable and Jesus had already exposed some folk who had come for the feedings and not the miracles, he now challenges the faith of the disciples and says that your fathers ate manna in the wilderness and they died. This is the bread coming down from heaven, eat it and live. The road was getting tougher and the hills were becoming harder to climb. People were beginning to express their hatred and disdain for the Christ, they knew Mary and Joseph’s boy, but they did not know the anointed one. When children of God are required to come out of their comfort zone, we begin to hear things differently. To hear the Word as the Word, it requires something. A new level of commitment is required, perhaps I can put it this way a new walk...a new talk...new hands and new feet, new places to go and things to do, but certainly you won’t be the same. I believe they call it walking in the newness of life. It was no longer about social constructs and safety nets for the people, but it was about who was going to be there when the stuff hit the fan. Who would be there when the hosanna’s changed to hatred? Who’s there when the praise turned to purification? Who’d be there when the laughter stops, cause the parties over now and you feel like you’re under the curse? It’s getting a little tougher now QSBC and its time to hear the word. In Luke's account, Luke writes in the same context: "Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him." (Luke 8:18 NIV) Folk will fall and loose their position, loose their mental toughness, tenacity, resolve, drive and determination to hear what God is saying.
2. Call on Him, when was the last time you called on the Lord.
Matthew 9:27-30 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes, Lord," they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; and their sight was restored. (NIV) For them it was not enough just to hear but in calling their hearing now matches their faith and God hears the cry of those who call upon Him. We must see how it is to work through the life of Christ. Romans 10:8-11 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." (NIV) The disciples were close but just could not hang in there. Somebody today is ready to run, but the word is nigh you. Somebody wants to give up, but the word is nigh you. Somebody wants to quit, throw in the towel, but the word in nigh you. Do like Peter and the boy, stick around to see what the end is going to be.
3. Check people’s feet see which direction their pointed in.
In football you’re trained to watch the waist and not the head. Folks, say anything, feigning like their going to stay for the long haul, but don’t be fooled hang in there. These one hundred and some-odd disciples walked away that day. Jesus looks at Peter and say’s will you also go? Peter says no, you have the words of eternal life. We know who you are. What is it?
Jesus is the bread of heaven, he is the kinsman redeemer, he is the Alpha and Omega, Author and Perfecter of our Faith, Bread of Life, Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20), Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4), Faithful and True (Rev. 19:11), Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14), King of kings (1 Tim 6:15; Rev. 19:16), Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16), Lamb of God (John 1:29), Morning Star (Rev. 22:16), Mary’s baby (Matthew 1:21). He is water in a dry land. But today he is the bread of life, which has come down from heaven. What is it? He’s whatever and whenever...The bread was bread that came from heaven in a time when there was no provision.
However the people of Israel forgot that it was God that spoke to Moses, And Moses said unto God, Behold, [when] I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What [is] his name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. The people and Pharaoh might have had a problem but it still was God.
JEHOVAH-JIREH: "The Lord will provide." Gen. 22:14. From "jireh" ("to see" or "to provide," God always provides, adequate when the times come.
JEHOVAH-ROPHE: "The Lord Who Heals" Ex. 15:22-26. From "rophe" ("to heal"); implies spiritual, emotional as well as physical healing.
JEHOVAH-NISSI: "The Lord Our Banner." Ex. 17:15. God on the battlefield, from word which means "to glisten," "to lift up,"
JEHOVAH-M'KADDESH: "The Lord Who Sanctifies" Lev. 20:8. "To make whole, set apart for holiness."
JEHOVAH-SHALOM: "The Lord Our Peace" Judges 6:24. "Shalom" translated "peace" means "whole," "finished," "fulfilled," "perfected." Related to "well," welfare." Shalom means that kind of peace that results from being a whole person in right relationship to God and to one's fellow man.
But beyond that the old song writers from under the brush harbor would say he is bread when I’m hungry. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
Today, Jesus invites those who had turned away from God to accept God’s invitation to his glorious salvation. We live in the age of spiritual hunger. Spiritual hunger makes people to become tired and burdened and restless. Today’s passage consists of God’s invitation, God’s command, and God’s promise. I pray that we may accept God’s invitation to the hungry, obey his command, seek the Lord while he may be found, and claim his promise of fruitfulness, joy and peace. This time God invites all of us to the heavenly banquet filled with delicious spiritual food prepared by Jesus. May God bless you to eat the bread of our good shepherd Jesus provides and to eat the bread of life of his life-giving word.