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The Bread of Life: Part I
This text demonstrates the claim, “I am the Bread of Life.”
Scripture – John 6:35
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never
hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
A. The Background of the Sixth Chapter of John
This chapter begins in a most wonderful and beautiful way and it ends with the
real words of sadness. It starts off with teaming thousands – five thousand men, besides
women and children, in the presence of the Lord, acclaiming Him, ready to make Him
King. It ends up with all of them gone and only twelve left and one of them serves the
devil. Not everything that starts out great ends up that same way. It all depends on how
people react to the Word of God and to the Holy Spirit and to Jesus Christ himself. The
chapter ends with a great miracle of healing.
1. The "I Am" Sayings of Christ
This text that I read to you is the very heart of this chapter, because the entire
chapter has something to do with the bread of life. My text is the first of seven great "I
am's " that Jesus uses in the Gospel of John where He adds something on to it – where He
adds a predicate nominative. He said, "I am bread, I am the bread of life."
Seven times He uses that expression, and then there are other times when He uses
that expression in the absolute sense. These words on the lips of any other man in the
world would have been shear blasphemy. Jesus can use it and heaven honors it and it's all
right. Like the Father, Jesus is the "I am."
So this is the first of seven times He uses the expression "I am." "I am the bread
of life," or "I am the door to the sheepfold, or "I am the good shepherd," or "I am the
resurrection and the life," or "I am the light of the world," and on and on.
2. The Feast of Passover
In this chapter also there is standing in the background the Feast of the Passover
(verse 4). The Jewish Passover comes behind the scenes and helps John in the writing of
this portion of his Gospel. From chapter five through ten there is one of the great Jewish
festivals and holy days and religious ceremonies behind each one of those chapters.
This one is the Feast of the Passover. All that the Passover means to the Jews will
emerge into the conversation and in the teachings and in the debates and in the struggles
that happen in this chapter. Here, beginning the chapter with a great miracle of feeding, is
an acted parable – a tremendous illustration of Jesus' power and ability to give life and to
give bread and to be life to all who receive Him.
3. The Doctrine of the Three Breads
In this chapter there is the doctrine of three breads that will be mentioned. First of
all, there is the Passover bread--that unleavened bread that was made that night of
deliverance when Israel was brought out of Egypt. There's reference to it in this chapter.
There is also the wilderness manna – the bread that came down from heaven and
fed Israel for so long a time. It's also mentioned in this chapter, and this is another one of
the great doctrines of the people.
Then there is also the idea of the future bread that would be eaten at the great
Messianic banquet at the end of the age. We look toward it as the Marriage Supper of the
So here in chapter six, even though John doesn't say much about the Lord's
Supper, he forms the entire theological basis for the Lord's Supper-the breaking of bread
and drinking of the fruit of the vine.
4. The Purpose of the Gospel of John
This chapter gives us some more of the purpose of John in writing the whole
Gospel, because he is going to let us know everything that happens around the Passover.
All Jewish holidays are somewhat fulfilled in Jesus and set aside, so that in Jesus Christ,
now everything that the Jews hoped for they can find it through Him.
In Him is life and hope and He becomes the center of all worship – not only for
the Jews, but for the whole wide world. Even though John writes at a time Jews world
when the temple has already been destroyed and when the religion of the is on shaky
ground, yet the message from John to Jews and to all the d is: "You don't have to be
afraid because the temple is destroyed."
It is as though John is saying, "You don't have to worry because your ritual and
ceremony has ceased. You don't have to worry because your whole system is in danger,
because Jesus Christ has stepped onto the center of the stage of all time and in Him is the
focal point of what God does in this world now and in the world to come. Man has lost
nothing at the losing of the Temple because we can still worship Jesus Christ who is the
bread of life that has come down from heaven." Hallelujah!
What a comfort it must have been to Jews who read this Gospel and also to
Gentiles and others throughout the world who read its thrilling message for the very first
time. While the temple has been destroyed in Jerusalem and the priests of Levi have been
scattered throughout the whole world, nevertheless, wherever there are two or three
gathered together in His name Christ is in the midst and there is worship in Spirit and in
B. The Feeding of the Multitude
The miracle of feeding is a striking illustration. It is an acted parable showing and
demonstrating the fact that Jesus gives life and He is the bread of life and He is able to
give life through that spiritual bread that comes down from on high. Let's look at that
miracle for just a moment.
1. The Attitude of the Disciples
The day was wearing away and it was a desert place. That talks about urgency.
The attitude of the disciples is seen in saying, "Send the multitudes away because we
can't do anything for them." That's a sad state when the church, in a state of urgency,
sends anybody away empty handed and empty hearted and says, "we can't do anything
2. The Testing of Philip
Then we see here the testing of Philip. Jesus knew what He was going to do, but
He said, "Where are we going to buy bread to feed all these people?" And Philip figured
it up real quick. He had 200 pennies evidently. He said, "This 200 pennies worth of bread
wouldn't even begin to feed this crowd." Philip figured it all out from human reasoning
and sort of got out his mental calculator for just a minute.
You know that's the way a lot of people are about the Gospel and about the
church and about the Holy Ghost. If they could figure it out, maybe they would believe
they think. If somehow they just understood, well perhaps that would be more grounds to
believe. But listen I want to tell you, God can do a lot of things for you and you never
You don't have to understand all about salvation to be saved. All you have to do is
believe on the Lord Jesus and be saved. You don't have to understand all about the Holy
Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit to receive Him. You can receive the Baptism of the Holy
Ghost and not understand it at all and be used of the gifts of the Spirit and not understand
it at all. It doesn't take a lot of human reasoning and ability to understand what God does,
so don't worry about figuring out everything.
A lot of people would be in Pentecost if the y could figure it out first. But that is
not the way it works. You just have to plunge in and enjoy the blessing and get the gift
and worship the giver. Hallelujah! Let God have His way in your heart and let the
figuring go to somebody else.
And Philip in all his figuring out couldn't come with the right conclusion. He
reasoned himself out of one of the greatest and grandest opportunities of his whole
lifetime. He made excuses, excuses, excuses.
3. Andrew's Lack of Faith
Andrew was there and he brought a little lad with a lunch. He was reluctant. He
had a little spark of faith or hope or something. He had seen Jesus do some marvelous
things, but he had just a little bit of faith and he brought this lad and said, "There is a lad
here and he's got a lunch but what are they among so many?"
That kind of philosophy just kills a lot of people. great things in this world if we
didn't bury ourselves in and withdraw and say, "What am I in the face of this great this
church in the face of the challenge that's around it?" We would do some negative thinking
task?' or "What is I want to tell you when God touches us, we can rise to any challenge
He gives us. Any responsibility He wants us to perform, we can do it by the grace of
Now, Jesus instructed the disciples. They had been instructing Him and making
excuses when He said give them to eat. Here they were, making excuses instructing Him
to send them away. But Jesus changed it when He started giving instructions. They
obeyed and the miracle took place.
4. Jesus and the Bread and Fish
Then He took the bread and fish and He did three things. First of all, He blessed
it. He had it in His hands. He took it. He got it in His hands. He blessed it. And oh I tell
you, a lot of people could do some great things for God if they could ever get themselves
in the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ and let Him bless them.
As long as we keep ourselves at a distance from Him and from His divine will and
we're not in His hand completely, He can't bless us and we can't do much. But when we
give ourselves completely to Him and let Him bless us, oh, what a blessing! What's
wrong with most people in churches now is they just simply need God to bless them. A
lot of people are afraid to be blessed because they're afraid of the next step.
After He blessed it, He broke it. A lot of people could be of great value and worth
to the kingdom of God if they could be blessed and then be broken.
Then He gave this bread and fish and just fed a great multitude. Everybody was
satisfied. Everybody was filled full. They had an abundance left over which lets me know
that Jesus can give life. To use the words of John in this Gospel, "Jesus can give life, and
life more abundantly."
Every miracle He performs, He has got a lot more power in reserve that He
doesn't even have to use. Every time He saves a soul, He's got a lot more grace that He
can use to save a million more. Every time He heals, He only uses a little bit of His virtue
and healing power. He's got a whole powerhouse left yet that He has not exhausted to
bring healing and blessing. Oh, this speaks of abundance of God's grace and provisions.
God has an abundance of blessings of joy unspeakable and full of glory. When we
experience His blessings we feel like the Queen of Sheba who said, "The half has never
5. The Active Faith of a Little Lad
I imagine when that little boy went home with baskets overflowing, because there
were twelve there, I think that this little boy probably got his share. I imagine that as
Philip watched him walk off with the biggest smile on his face, Philip probably was
beating himself and saying, "Just think! a few moments ago, the Master offered me that
same deal and I turned it down."
How many of us who could have been great have stood almost with envy and
bitterness as we watch little lads or somebody else with lad like faith obeying the Lord
and God touching them and using them and we said, "I could have done that. I could have
been there. The Lord called me. He offered me that job."
Anyway, I want to tell you that when the Lord offers you a deal and it may sound
impossible, don't you back up on Him. But oh, hallelujah, just say, "All right Lord, all I
am and all I have I give it to you in your hands. You just bless me and you just break me
and you just give me and you jus t use me Lord anyway you want to. I'm giving you
So this illustrates you see an acted parable illustrating the Almighty power of
Jesus Christ to give an abundance of the living bread – abundance of the bread of life
This text demonstrates the claim, "I am the Bread of Life."
Thompson's Chain Reference: 1308 (Christ - Bread of Life)
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