While studying this scripture you may wonder how it all works together with the title of “The Bread of Life.” Upon reaching the last verses, Jesus ties this all up in a nice, neat bundle for you. He reminds them that the manna received by their ancestors while wandering in the desert was directly from God. They had nothing to do other than pick it up every morning. Jesus himself is the bread of life for us. Without accepting him and receiving the guidance of the Holy Spirit we are left alone to wander in this world by ourselves. Even worse, should we decide against accepting him as savior, we will have nothing at the end of our earthly wandering.
Where Is Jesus? (John 6:22-25)
This is a question that they asked upon noticing that he was no longer with them. Upon entertaining that thought, they decided that he did not leave on the boat with the disciples. The train of thought in verse 23 shows that they know that no other boats came throughout the night. Because of this they are completely wondering how Jesus could have departed from them. These are the people who had witnessed the feeding of five thousand men plus women and children with a child’s lunch (five loaves and two fish). In spite of being witness to this miracle, they still consider Jesus only a man bound by the limitations of this world. In verse 24 we see that the people went across to Capernaum searching for him. Now that they have found him the human mind questions how he was transported there.
If your church had a fellowship meal after the service and there were only two bowls of food to feed the entire congregation would you have made sure that you were first in line? Would you have been amazed as the long line neared the end and everyone had a plate full with plenty still left? Of course, we know that this does not happen today since Jesus is no longer here with us, but many amazing miracles still happen. How about a hurricane that sends a spear-like limb through the roof and through the ceiling but it stops short of wounding the child sleeping beneath it? How about rising flood waters that take out homes and businesses but all lives are spared? Do you have your own modern day miracle to add to these?
The title of this section is “Where is Jesus?” We who have been taught in Sunday school for many years know the answer. Is he still here on earth? Well, since he has command over the elements on earth it is possible for Him to live over two thousand years. We know, though, that the religious leaders of his time made sure that didn’t happen. Is he in the tomb where he was laid over two thousand years ago? We know that his father God did not allow that to happen because his son would rise to be with him after three days in the tomb.
Where is Jesus in your life? Will he be left here when you leave the building today? We are to accept Jesus as savior for our sins and show that to everyone we encounter in life through our actions, demeanor, and beliefs. We are to carry the Holy Spirit everywhere we go and enhance his presence by also leaving him with everyone we meet. Leaving the “things of God” behind the church doors will not help you or anyone else through life.
Spiritual Importance (John 6:26-29)
Notice in verse 26 that Jesus knows why they are searching for him. They are not searching for spiritual growth or out of concern for others. They are more concerned with matters of the stomach. In verse 27 Jesus admonishes their reasoning. They should be working for “that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.”
These people walked with Jesus yet they longed only for their earthly needs to be fulfilled by him. We do not have Jesus with us but we have many great preachers of God’s word in pulpits across our country and in the missionary field. They offer to us the water of life even though we often miss out on that message. We can enter God’s house with the intention of worshiping and serving him or we can stop by just to get an attendance check on the role. We can listen intently to his word sent directly to us or we can solidify our lunch plans mentally and/or in writing. Just like the people in these verses of scripture, we have a choice to take away whatever we desire from his teaching – spiritual or earthly matters.
In verse 28 they seem to be getting a better understanding now. They ask what to do in order to “work the works of God.” Jesus tells them to believe in him. Is it really that simple – all you have to do is believe in Jesus? Yes, actually, it is. We can look at the thief on the cross who died along with Jesus. He confessed his sins and Jesus told him “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” He did not get a chance to hop off the cross and do any good works. He did not witness to those at the foot of the cross. The thief did the only act required for salvation.
Now for an expansion on that statement. Let’s say that you accept Christ at age 15 and live for another 60 years. During that 60 years you will want to study God’s word and follow his commandment to spread that word to the ends of the earth. You will want to fellowship with other believers and enhance your knowledge of God’s will in your life. God’s flock functions as a team – individual members of a body working together for a single goal. Try playing baseball, football, or arm wrestling by yourself. Just like those sports, fellowship is a team effort – even when the team consists of only two or three, God will be there.
Spiritual Proof (John 26:29-35)
In these verses we see another quite interesting human trait – a short memory. These are the people who had just witnessed the miraculous feeding of more than 5,000, yet they ask for a sign so that they may believe. The Israelites suffered from this same problem, and many of us do today. We see miracles around us every day. We see large and obvious miracles happen often. In spite of these we keep wondering how we can know that God exists.
In verse 32 Jesus reminds them that their fathers received the manna from heaven, not Moses. God was the provider of that bread that kept the Israelites from starvation. It was that life giving manna from God that enabled them to live for 40 years in the desert. God has now sent true bread, water of life, his son Jesus Christ to all people in scriptural times through today and into the future years.
If verse 33 did not clarify for them who He was talking about, verse 35 is straightforward and direct enough that even they could understand the statement. “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger.” Based on verse 36 they still did not believe. Of course, there is always good news to be drawn from the scriptures. You are not responsible for the things that someone else chooses to believe. You are, however, responsible for your own beliefs and choices. These people saw and interacted directly with Jesus but they did not believe in him. We have many today who have not seen or personally walked with Jesus although they believe in him completely. These people have committed their lives to spreading his word to the entire world so that as many people as possible will accept Jesus and the free gift of salvation that he offers.
Read verse 36 again and commit it to memory. “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” The three Hebrew children (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego) believed this and chose a fiery furnace over idolatry (Daniel 3). God delivered them alive and untouched by the flames. David believed in his God when he took a sling and a stone to slay Goliath (I Samuel 17). You, too, can believe God and the fact the he sent his son to this earth to live a sinless life and die on a roman cross as the final sacrifice for your sins, my sins, the sins of all mankind.
Something To Think About
Have you known people involved in the church for reasons other than spiritual?
Have you asked God for other signs of his power in addition to the miracles already experienced?
Have you personally received the bread of life?