The Gospel of John
1. We are presently in John 6. The chapter begins with the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 (probably many more – cf. Matt. 14:21) with the five barley loaves and two small fishes.
2. Then there is another miracle. Our Lord walked on the water (6:19). John does not mention it but Matthew tells us that Peter also walked on the water (Matt. 14:29).
3. Now we come to the Bread of Life discourse. This discourse is found only in the Gospel of John.
4. The multitudes were evidently greatly puzzled about our Lord’s disappearance and went seeking for Him (6:22-24). But by the end of His discourse “many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him” (6:66). What a vivid picture of unbelief!
5. It bothers me and grieves me when people drift away from our church. Usually they do not even bother to say goodbye. But whenever this happens (and it happens all too often), I am reminded that our Lord’s disciples abandoned Him.
6. Matthew 26:56 says, “Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled.”
7. You will recall that in the apostle Paul’s second epistle to Timothy, he wrote, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (II Tim. 4:10). And then a few verses later Paul writes, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me” (4:16).
8. The people were seeking after Jesus for the wrong reason. Their motives were carnal (6:26). The Jews wanted to make Him king, but their motives were carnal (6:15). (The cross before the crown.)
9. Many people attend church for carnal reasons. In fact, for the most part (there are a few exceptions), the carnal churches are the ones that are growing these days.
10. People want food; they want to be entertained; they want to be amused – but they do not want to get right with God. Some of these worldly church folk get very indignant if the preacher starts to bear down on certain sins or preaches repentance, etc.
11. The people wanted more food but our Lord told them not to labor for the meat (food) which perishes, but for that meat (food) which endureth unto everlasting life (6:27).
12. This is the longest chapter in the Gospel of John. Tonight is Part 1.
I. THE THEME IS EVERLASTING LIFE (6:27, 40, 47, 51, 54, 68).
2. Everlasting life can only be received by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ (6:27-29).
3. The word “believe” is found 99 times in the Gospel of John (6:36, 40, 47, 64, 69).
4. In John 6:27, our Lord is saying that our priority ought to be on eternal things and not on earthly things (“meat which perisheth”).
5. Cf. Matthew 6:34, 35.
6. Queen Elizabeth asked a wealthy merchant to go on a mission for the crown. The merchant told the queen that such a long absence would hurt his business. Queen Elizabeth said, “You take care of my business, and I will take care of your business.”
7. When the merchant returned to England he discovered that his business, through the patronage and care of the queen, had increased in volume and that he was richer than when he left.
8. Our Lord said that the Son of man gives eternal life (6:27). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
9. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9).
10.Men prefer to earn their salvation (John 6:28, 29).
II. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MANNA (6:31-35).
1. I purposely use the word “significance,” because John 6:30 says the people asked our Lord for a “sign.” Our Lord said in Matt. 12:39, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.”
2. Ironically (because their “fathers” despised the manna from heaven), they had one particular sign in mind – the manna in the wilderness, and they even quoted some Scripture (John 6:31; cf. Neh. 9:15; Ps. 78:24).
3. The story of the manna from heaven is found in Exodus 16. The Bible says the Lord rained down manna from heaven for 40 years (every day except the Sabbath day), as the Israelites wandered through the wilderness.
4. The manna in the wilderness was a picture and type of the Lord Jesus Christ (6:31-35, 47-51).
5. That is why our Lord made a distinction between the manna and “the true bread from heaven” (6:32b).
6. Our Lord was trying to teach them that He was that “true bread” but they could not grasp what He was saying (6:32-36).
7. Our Lord did more than feed empty stomachs (6:11-13). Our Lord came down from heaven to give life to the world (6:33).
8. But like the woman at the well, our Lord’s audience was thinking on a carnal and physical level (6:34; cf. 4:13-15).
9. Then in John 6:35 we have the first of the seven great “I AM” statements in the Gospel of John. These statements identify the Lord Jesus Christ with Jehovah God who spoke to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3.
10.Jesus declared that He is the bread of life (6:35, 48), “the light of the world” (8:12), “the door” (10:7, 9), “the good shepherd” (10:11, 14), “the resurrection and the life” (11:25), “the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6), and “the true vine” (15:1, 5).
11.No mere man could ever make such claims. The Gospel of John emphasizes the deity of Christ.
III. WE MUST DEPEND ON CHRIST AS WE DEPEND ON BREAD.
1. Just as bread is necessary for our physical well-being, Christ (“the true bread from heaven” – 6:32; “the bread of life” – 6:48) is necessary for our spiritual well-being. We cannot grow spiritually unless we are abiding in Christ (6:53-58).
2. First, there is the initial act whereby we partake of Christ as the bread of life and we receive everlasting life, i.e., salvation (6:35, 47).
3. Then there is also the daily partaking of Him through the written Word for our spiritual food. Our Lord said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
4. This is why it is so vitally important to meditate on the Word of God (cf. John 6:63). The Holy Spirit gives life, and He uses the Word of God. The Word of God is quick (alive) and powerful.
5. Carnal Christianity results from not feeding on the Word of God. Many churches are dead because the Word of God is not being preached.
6. We must feed on the Word of God. This is what our Lord means by “dwelling” (or “abiding”) in Christ (6:56; cf. 15:4-7).
7. The way we abide in Christ is by believing (cf. 6:56). To understand this better we must understand that in this discourse our Lord equates eating and drinking with believing (cf. 6:35, 47, 54).
1. We do not have the time to develop this tonight, but this passage is used by the RCC to defend their doctrine of transubstantiation (cf. 6:53-58).
2. Unregenerate men like to turn Christianity into a matter of rituals, pomp and ceremony, colorful robes and costumes, incense, candles, and most importantly, sacraments.
3. There is no sacramentalism here in this discourse. There is no Lord’s Supper in this discourse. And our Lord is certainly not advocating cannibalism.
4. Furthermore, our Lord is not introducing the Lord’s Supper to a group of stubborn unbelievers (cf. 6:36, 41-43, 52, etc.).
5. Our Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper only to His apostles. It was right before His betrayal, trial, and crucifixion. It is recorded in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22. It is not mentioned in the Gospel of John. The apostle Paul gives instructions regarding the Lord’s Supper in I Corinthians 11.
6. Do you have “the bread of life”? (John 6:47, 48).