Many who consider themselves “Christians” these days seem to miss the point—they want their ticket to heaven punched so they’ve added Jesus to their already-full lives, like buying an insurance policy. Or they want the best this life here has to offer, expecting Jesus to “reward” them for signing on with the blessings of success and endless material comforts and riches. Even if you are following Jesus for the right reason, you can still fall prey to the trap of self-sufficiency, relying on yourself more than you rely on Him for what you think your needs are. Or maybe you relegate Him to just Sunday mornings, returning to your favorite TV shows when you’re done. Those who followed Jesus 2000 years ago were not that different from us, often focused on their material needs and wanting Him to “fix it”, instead of on the bigger picture. But in the passage we’re studying today, Jesus delivers a message that would be a huge “wake-up call” for them, and for those willing to hear it, a big paradigm shift from how they looked at life itself. Joining us today to explain is teacher and author of the book Broken, Yet Blessed, Kathi McCarty.
Table Talk Notes
John 6:25-59 | When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 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. 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.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus 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. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And 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. For 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.” So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They 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’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It 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— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I 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.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
The crowd followed Jesus because of His miracles. Jesus always wants to feed his followers. Andrew’s faith paves the way for another miracle. 5 loaves & 2 fish proves it’s amazing what God can do with little. He’s “king” because of what He did, NOT who He is. They want more miracles to prove He’s Messiah. They completely miss the point of this miracle as well as the OT miracle of manna.
Sometimes we miss the point
V32,33: They believed it was Moses, not God, responsible for the manna. They follow Jesus; He’s their latest hot-meal program. They want bread for physical hunger. They want a political deliverer to satisfy their needs. They didn’t understand concept of spiritual bread to sustain spiritual life. The “bread” came from heaven via God – and IS GOD HIMSELF.
Ravi Zacharias weighs in
“Jesus words were intended to lift the listeners from their barren, food-dominated existence to the recognition & acknowledgment of the supreme hunger of life that can only be filled with a different bread. Food & power blind the mind to the need for nourishment & strength of soul. Unfortunately, many fail to pause here long enough to really hear what Jesus is teaching & understand the life-transforming power contained in this truth.”
Mankind tends to be nearsighted
“Communism failed because it replaced God with the state, thereby depriving people of the desire or initiative to live healthy, productive and meaningful lives.” (A Russian sociologist attending the Strategies for Global Economic Stability” conference in Norway)
Gov’t, professions, school, even religion can become places of dependency…and will always leave us wanting for more or fearing the loss of what we have.
We tend to make foolish requests
V34: They still don’t capture the revelation. He doesn’t give the bread of life– HE IS IT. He offered them what they most needed, NOT what they thought they most wanted.
Matt 6:33 | “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these (things) will be added to you.”
Matt 6:34 | “Don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough cares of its own.”
False and unrealistic expectations
Jesus’ main job is not to take care of us and make our lives happy/good/worthwhile.
Jesus’ job, by the indwelling of His Spirit, is to transform us to look like Him.
Christian maturity = the end of us, and the beginning of Him; Surrendering to His Lordship. We think we know what we need – He is all we need. Bread now becomes a banquet.
The true revelation
a) He alone is giver & sustainer of life
b) Jesus’ flesh & blood is food/drink: to have fullness of everlasting life we must receive ALL of Jesus – His teaching, redemptive work, commands – into the innermost core of our beings. We become what we take into ourselves. (You are what you eat)
Am I feeding on the wrong things?
Do I believe “I am what I eat?”
Do I desire to feast at the banquet table of the Lord rather than indulge myself on the world’s empty calories?
Ps 34:8 | “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”
Rev. 3:20 | “I stand at the door & knock. If anyone hears my voice & opens the door, I will come in & eat with him, and he with me.”