12th March 2017: Pete Hilder

John 6: 1-40

Pete Hilder - March 2017The miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 is in all four gospels. Here, in John 6, we read of three miracles: Jesus feeds the 5,000, Jesus walks on water and is verse 21 the disciples were teleported to their destination. The disciples had rowed for hours, making little progress, then Jesus teleports their boat, ‘Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.’ (John 6:21). The disciples had experiences three miracles, now the crowd expected one.

As they arose the next day the crowd wondered where Jesus was. Only one boat had left and that just had the disciples in. Where did Jesus go? Knowing the disciples were in Capernaum, the crowd decided to go travel there in boats. They put effort in to find Jesus. ‘When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”’ (John 6:25). This may have had a tinge of annoyance. They wanted Jesus as their king but He had wandered off. ‘Perceiving then that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.’ (John 6:15). Jesus, in His answer, doesn’t seem to be very impressed, ‘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.”’ (John 6:26). They were seeking Him but their motives were wrong; they wanted an experience. They wanted more of what they had. We can be like that – searching for the experience. Jesus uses the bread as a spiritual picture, ‘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.’ (John 6:27).

If you wanted bread today you would need money. The people talk about labouring for God, ‘Then they said to Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”’ (John 6:28). Jesus says no-one can earn this blessing. ‘Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”’ (John 6:29). God requires us to believe, we can’t earn this bread. We must trust in the Son. It is a gift we cannot buy.

Today, there is a best before date’ on a packet of bread. We check the label to see if it’s fresh and will taste good. Jesus says, ‘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 (v.27). Jesus speaks of a different bread, a bread that endures, it goes on for eternity, never needing to be replaced. But the crowd aren’t satisfied, ‘So they said to Him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?”’ (John 6:30).  They want a guarantee. We can’t have a guarantee for a loaf of bread from a baker. The people wanted proof. They want heavenly bread that Moses gave, ‘Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”’ (John 6:31). They had their own idea of how they wanted God to save them. We can be just like this ourselves, wishing we could have seen miracles during Jesus’ time. We want stipulate the way we want God to provide for us.

The manufacturer and the brand name. May be sometimes we go somewhere and have a really nice slice of bread or cake and we want the recipe or want to know what shop it came from. Jesus is saying to the people, ‘you’ve got the wrong manufacturer.’ ‘Jesus 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.”’ (John 6:32). It wasn’t Moses who gave the bread, but God. We need to realise there’s something far more special and wonderful to get right with God. ‘This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds o this bread will live forever.”’ (John 6:58). Ultimately, the bread of Moses did not save the people. We are to take the real heavenly bread – Jesus’ bread – the brand name we’re after. Jesus says, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’ (John 6:35). He is the food we need for our souls.

Most of us have bread every day. If we lives in a less well-off culture we’d probably eat more bread, but we have more choice. Bread is a staple food. It equals life. This is the case spiritually speaking, it doesn’t cost anything, it endures. If we don’t have this bread we will starve. There is no other way of feeding our souls and sustaining a spiritual life. We must receive this bread.

What are the benefits of this bread? If you look at the details on the packet, you see the goodness and energy it provides. The benefits of Jesus’ bread is far more, it has wonderful spiritual benefits.

  • You shall not go hungry if you receive Jesus Christ. Spiritually speaking you won’t require anything else (v.35)
  • You will never thirst. (v. 35)
  • You’ll never be driven away from God, you’ll be welcomed in. (v. 37)
  • You’ll never be lost, you’ll be saved, secure. (v.39)
  • You’ll be raise up on the last day, it leads to the resurrection.

(v. 39)

  • You will have eternal life (v.40).

Isn’t this the quest of humanity? It is freely offered to you, a bread that gives eternal life. It has unique benefits, nothing else comes close.

Perhaps you’ve been let down. Sometimes food looks great but it lets us down, it hasn’t lived up to our expectations. But this bread has the name of the Father and the Son on it. He guarantees it. Jesus Christ, the bread of life, fulfils all of the above. Nobody can snatch us away, God is all powerful to do the things He has promised.


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