I Am the Bread of Life

by LA UBF   06/25/2011     0 reads


I AM the Bread of Life�

I Am the Bread of Life

John 6:25-71

Key Verse 35

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry,
and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

I. Jesus, the bread of life (22-59)

1. Read verse 25-33.  What effort did the crowd make to find Jesus? (22-25)  Why?  What did Jesus want the crowd to work for? (26-27a)  What did Jesus teach about the work of God? (28-29)  What miraculous sign did the crowd demand Jesus to do? (30-31)  How did Jesus correct their misunderstanding about manna? (32-33)

2. Read verses 34-40.  What did they want Jesus to do for them? (34)  Who did Jesus declare he is? (35a)  What happens to the one who comes to Jesus and believes in him? (35b)  Why wouldn’t they come and believe in him? (36-40)  What is the will of God which Jesus would do?  Read verses 41-46.  Why did they grumble?  What did Jesus say when they grumbled? (43-46)

3. Read verses 47-59.  What is the relationship between Jesus and manna? (47-51)  Why did the Jews argue sharply among themselves? (52)  What does it mean ‘to eat my flesh and drink my blood’? (54-58)

II. Many disciples desert Jesus (60-71)

4. Read verses 60-66.  Why did many of Jesus’ disciples desert him?  What is the difference between the Spirit and the flesh?  How can we believe in Jesus? (63)

5. Read verses 67-71.  What did Jesus ask his disciples? (67)  Why?  How did Peter answer Jesus? (68-69)  What did Jesus know about Judas? (70-71)





John 6:25-71

Key Verse: 6:35

“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’”

   This passage is the last portion of our Bible study for chap. 6. Today we will hear Jesus’ discourse about the food. The crowd came to Jesus with their own agenda and wishes. But there was a discrepancy between what they wanted and what Jesus wanted to give to them. Jesus wanted to give them himself as the bread of life. Jesus helped them to lift up their spiritually blind eyes to look up to Jesus and come to Jesus for eternal life.

This long passage can be divided three parts according to the flow.

Part 1, “Do not work for food that spoils” (25-29).


   In the first part of this chapter, Jesus fed the 5,000. And he suddenly disappeared. Without giving up, the people looked for Jesus all night. They even crossed the lake and went into Capernaum(24) where they finally found Jesus teaching in the synagogue(59). They were so happy to see Jesus again. They asked him, “Rabbi, when did you come here? Look at the clock. Did you eat Brunch? We didn’t have it yet.” They wanted to make him king by force. But Jesus did not want to be a political king. He wanted to teach God’s word instead to expand God’s kingdom.

    Look at v 26: “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.’” In the book of John, these events are not called “miracles” but “miraculous signs.” The sign itself is not important; the more important thing is what it is pointing to. A miraculous sign points to Jesus and directs them to put their faith in him. The miraculous signs reveal Jesus’ love and his divine power.They demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ sent by God to save us and to give us eternal life. 

 Look at v 27. “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” First Jesus said, “Do not work for food that spoils.” The word “for” helps them to think about their motive. Also the words “food that spoils” is ordinary food. In the beginning at the garden of Eden, there was no shortage of food at all. God made all kinds of trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. There were lemon trees, avocado trees, and orange trees. Perhaps there were trees that even grew hamburgers and pizzas. In this way they were fully satisfied. When Adam and Eve held on to the word of God and appreciated on God’s goodness and love, they were completely satisfied. But they listened to the clever words of Satan and doubted God’s love. They ignored all other trees and made a beeline for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So they saw, desired, took, and finally ate the fruit. After they sinned this way, God had to curse the ground. But it’s not a mere punishment. It was God’s way of love to put limits on what sinful man can do. The realities of a food shortage helped us to realize our limitation. It helped us to come back to our own senses and come to God with repentance. It also helps us to realize that this fallen world will never be a home or a paradise. Our true destiny is the eternal kingdom of God.

  Look at v 27 again. “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Again it doesn’t mean that you should not work for physical food. Rather we should not be too much concerned about perishable things in this world. But we better spend or re-direct our energy seeking eternal life. It’s because our living and loving heavenly Father has sent his one and only son Jesus for this very purpose with His seal of approval. So when we come to Jesus, Jesus becomes our true and real security. In and through a personal love relationship with Jesus, we have God’s promise of love that he will surely take care of us.

  One day Simon Peter used to own a small business. But his fishing didn’t go well always. Once he worked hard all night and caught nothing. The next morning, Jesus came and led him to a miraculous catch of fish. Then Jesus called Peter to become a disciple and a fisher of men. Peter left his nets behind and followed Jesus full time. He dedicated his whole life to serving Jesus and God’s kingdom. It turned out to be the best decision that he had ever made. He experienced God’s provision for his life. He experienced the true hope and security of eternal life. Later he wrote in 1 Peter1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you…”  

  Here when Jesus said, “Work for the food that endures to eternal life”, Jesus further explained the meaning of the word “work” in v 29, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” The work of God is to believe and put trust in Jesus simply because sending his one and only son, Jesus was the best work of God. So the very work that God requires from each of us is not to do something great but to establish and maintain love relationship with Jesus.  

Part 2, the bread of life is Jesus himself(30-48).

   The beginning part of Jesus’ teaching was unexpected. So in v 30-31. “So they asked him, ‘What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” These people were straightforward. They asked Jesus to show them another miraculous sign to help them to believe. In fact, they had already seen lots of miraculous signs. But their motive was not to build up their faith, but to have free, wonder bread. They even quoted from the Bible about Moses who gave the Israelites manna in the desert for forty years. They demanded Jesus to feed them at least 40 years instead of just one time. But they deeply misunderstood the meaning and the purpose of that miracle. The purpose of manna was not simply to give them free food, but to train them in obedience in a limited time and to let them know that God is the ultimate provider of all their needs. Deut. 8:3 reads, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

  Look at v 32-33: “Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who 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.’” From this point Jesus gradually directed their attention to a person using the pronoun, “he.” Manna was God’s divine provision for his people. Jesus pointed out that the true bread from heaven is not manna but the person. But the people didn’t believe, because their minds were fixed on bread. They didn’t really hear what Jesus said. So they said, “Sir, from now on give us this bread.”

Look at v 35: “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’” Here Jesus plainly declare the fact that Jesus himself is the very person and the very wonder bread of life. It is the first of seven self–declaration of Jesus in the book of John. Jesus made it clear from this moment so that they may turn their attention to Jesus himself. The words “from heaven” are shown 10 times throughout this passage (31, 32a, 32b, 33, 38, 41, 42, 50, 51, 58). Jesus clearly told these people that he did not marginally improve their lives. Jesus came from heaven to teach us spiritual reality. Jesus came from heaven to give us the gift of eternal life. Jesus came from heaven to become our true bread, to satisfy our hunger, to quench our thirst. Spiritually we live in a very hungry and thirsty world. Children are hungry for parents’ love. Men and women are hungry for a good husband or a good wife. People are hungry for fame, wealth, and achievement. Immigrants still keep coming into America with the hunger for the American dream. Working hard for all these dreams and desires leave people famished and dehydrated. Hunger and thirst represent man’s tiredness in this weary world. It is because they did not come to Jesus, the ultimate source of satisfaction. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus is the giver of true rest. Jesus is the one who truly satisfies the deepest desires of our souls.

   Look at v 38. “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” Jesus came from heaven to do God’s will. God’s will was to give them eternal life in and through Jesus. Look at v 39: “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.” God’s will is to save all perishing people through his Son Jesus Christ without missing a single one. God is like a shepherd who leaves 99 sheep in the open country to search for the one lost sheep. Look at v 40: “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” God wants everyone to look up to His Son attentively and believe in him to have eternal life because he is the only way, the life and the truth.

    Look at v 41-42. “At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came from heaven’?”’ They began to minimize Jesus as nothing but a human being. So Jesus first rebuked them and their grumbling spirit(43). Then he continued in v 44. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jesus deeply acknowledged God’s sovereignty in drawing people to him. Here we learn that the deep and lasting commitment to Jesus required more than Jesus’ teaching; it required the Father’s work to draw people. God draws people through his word. And each person is also liable for their own choice  to God’s word. Look at v 45. “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.” God speaks to each of us personally through his word. Anyone studing the Bible sincerely, with a learning mind, will come to Jesus and accept Jesus as the Messiah.

Part 3, Jesus said, “this bread is my flesh” (49-71).

    In this last part Jesus explains further and practically how he becomes the bread of life. In v 49, Jesus directly compared himself with the manna in the desert and a man may eat him and not die. The word “eat”, or “feed” are shown more than 10 times from v 49 to 59. There is an old saying, “We are what we eat.” Todd Dawson, a plant biologist at the UC-Berkeley, said “If we are what we eat, Americans are corn. He tested a strand of hair to look for the same form found in corn. He found that its 69 percent came from corn. It may seem high but it’s typical for Americans. Foods like ketchup, salad dressing, soda, cookies and chips all contain corn, esp. high fructose corn syrup that causes eventually obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. It’s incorporated into our body with potentially profound impacts on our health. So we must watch what is getting into our mouth and body. The same is true with our spiritual food. Especially Jesus says that he is our spiritual food. How did he become our food? Let’s Look at v 51, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”  Here the key word is “give.” Based on this verse, we know that his message so far was not a mere lip service but his own life giving spirit and message. Jesus said, “I am the LIVING bread.” In order to become such a living bread for man, Jesus became a curse and gave his own body and blood. But in reality it’s not easy for him to give his flesh. In order to give his flesh, he sacrificed himself totally. In order to give his own flesh and blood, he had to come down from the kingdom God to become a flesh like us. He had to suffer and die on the cross, where his mother was crying beneath the cross. In order to give us his own body and blood, he had to be nailed on the cross. When he was being nailed on the cross, his flesh was torn apart and became blood soaked. In this way he died on the cross as the perfect Lamb of God.

   Let’s read v 53 & 54. “Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.’ Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” Here the key words are “no life in you.” Because of Adam’s sin, man lost the way to have access to the tree of life. So the bottom line is without solving our sin problem we have no life in us. Sin separates man from God. Sin cuts man off from the life of God. Sin makes man dead spiritually even though he or she may be very much alive. Sin put us on a road to eternal destruction. But the great news is that Jesus solves our sins. As the bona fide remedy of God for man’s sin is Jesus’ death. When we come to Jesus, we must meditate and accept what Jesus had done for our sins on the cross to satisfy the wrath and justice of God and receive in His body the due penalty for our sins. To eat Jesus’ flesh and drink his blood is practically to confess all our sins and accept his suffering and death for our sins by faith. When we applied it by accepting him, our sins and shames are taken away. Also we restore the very way to have access to eternal life. That’s why Jesus’ flesh is real food and his blood is real drink to rescue us from sin and death. So Jesus has to emphasize the absolute necessity of such spiritual eating his flesh and drinking his blood .

  Look at v 56 & 57. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.”  These verses talk about the importance of personal faith in Jesus. No one can eat for others instead. Even a father can’t force his sons to eat the healthy food. Strictly eating and drinking is an individual or personal matter. Seeing bread on a plate will not satisfy our hunger. Knowing the ingredients will not satisfy our hunger. Nothing will satisfy our hunger except actual digging in the dish and eating the bread. The same is true. Jesus offers himself to us as our heavenly bread for eternal life, but we must have Him within us, and we must partake of Him. The character and image of Jesus becomes a part of our inner being and express through us. It is not an overnight matter though. It takes time. Over time we are what we eat. That’s why God had to train the Israelites for 40 years to help them to eat manna so that they be forgiven their sins of complaints and become a holy nation. Likewise we have hope to be a great man by eating Jesus and His living words in our practical lives like daily bread and our deep personal testimony writing. Blessed are poor in spirit, for there is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.  Jesus is the most healthy heaven made nutrient food we can possibly find and imagine. We are what we eat. This way eventually we become a part of Him and can participate in His eternal kingdom by justification, sanctification, and full glorification through Jesus.

   The people Jesus spoke to here could not understand this truth because their minds were only stuck on the material world. Nevertheless without giving up Jesus wanted to help them somehow accept his words. So he taught them who he really is with a full view. Jesus is God who came from heaven to live humbly among them for a while. After his time was due, he would ascend into heaven once again to sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty(62). Also Jesus had to give them a final warning with the ultimate outcome when they were stubborn to the end.

   Look at v 63, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” Here Jesus contrasts life by the Spirit and life by the flesh. Life by the flesh is eating and drinking, marrying, buying and selling, planting and building, without any relationship with God. From God’s point of view such a life is a waste of time. During Noah’s time those who lived by the flesh all perished in the flood. This is the powerful warning or judgement message that the same destiny awaits everyone any time who lives by the flesh. 

   Despite Jesus’ clear teaching, many disciples turned away and no longer followed him. Then Jesus was broken hearted and asked his Twelve, “You do not want to leave too, do you?" Simon Peter answered him in v 68-69, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." Here notice the order “believe and know.” Peter had first accepted Jesus’ teaching. He honored Jesus’ word in his heart. One day when Jesus challenged him to cast down his net in the deep water, he didn’t fully understand but he trust in Jesus words, saying “Because you say so, I will let down the nets.” In this way he realized who Jesus is. As a result he had the word of eternal life in his heart. To him, Jesus was the only way. He committed his life to Jesus without calculation. We also must first accept the word of Jesus and have a life commitment to Jesus. May God help each of us confess like Peter, “Lord Jesus, you have the words of eternal life.”

  In conclusion, we want to secure our earthly lives. But Jesus knows what we really need, that is sin forgiveness and eternal life. In order to rescue us from our sin and death, God so loved us that he gave his one and only Son, Jesus Christ that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. So today’s key verse reads, “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’” One word: I am the bread of life!