Someone once said that life is like eating Chinese food. It’s tasty and filling, but 30 minutes later you’re still hungry.
We long for 100% satisfaction guaranteed. We want perfect kids, the perfect computer and entertainment system, the perfect vacation, and a life filled with meaning and significance. Regardless of what we have, it’s never enough. We always want MORE! C. S. Lewis once said, “I cannot find a cup of tea which is big enough or a book that is long enough.”
We long to experience what Jesus promised in John 6:35, “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.”
John 6:35 is the first of seven “I am” statements in the gospel of John where Jesus reveals his nature and purpose. Each statement addresses a particular need we all experience. In the first one, we discover that Jesus is the bread of life who satisfies our deepest longings.
The full account is found in John 6:22-59. In verses 22-34, Jesus’ followers are seeking the next meal. In verses 35-59, Jesus challenges them to be satisfied with the best meal.
The story begins on the day after the feeding of the 5,000 (22). The crowds realize that Jesus slipped away unnoticed. They find him on the other side of the Sea of Galilee teaching in a synagogue in Capernaum (59). Naturally curious, they ask Jesus how he got there (25). Being a master teacher, Jesus doesn’t answer their question directly. Instead, he engages them in a dialogue to help them discover the answer for themselves. He whets their appetite to know more.
Setting the table
|Whetting the appetite|
|When did you get here? (25)||
Check your motives (26-27)
What can we do to earn God’s approval? (28)
|Trust me, you can’t (29)|
|Where is the proof? (30-31)||
Faith based on miracles is not very strong (32-33)
Feed us now! (34)
Now that Jesus has their attention, he reveals that he is the bread of life (35, 48) who satisfies our deepest longings (35, 50-51). Jesus came from heaven (38) and was born in Bethlehem, the house of bread. He satisfies the deepest longings of our hearts—the desire for satisfaction, direction, security, belonging, hope, certainty, and significance. If we come to him, we will never hunger or thirst for anything else (35) and we will live forever (50-51).
To be satisfied by this meal, we must believe (35-40). We must believe that Jesus is who he claimed to be. We must trust that he is sufficient to meet our needs. We must be confident that his promises are true. A disciple is characterized by his/her continuing trust in God.
To be satisfied by this meal, we must receive it (41-58). We must stop resisting and making excuses (41-43). Rather than settle for food for today, we must pursue life for tomorrow (47-50). A full, complete relationship with Jesus is available for those who consume it totally (51-58). Jesus must become a staple of our spiritual diet. Not everyone, however, is ready to make this type of commitment. Even some who followed Jesus found it too difficult and chose to walk away (66).
Rather than settle for substitutes, pursue a relationship with the one who can satisfy the deepest longings of your heart.
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on November 5, 2017. It is the first sermon in a series asking the question, “Who is Jesus?” Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.