Beginning of Year 3
While Jesus lived on earth for thirty-three years, it wasn’t until his final three years that he started his public ministry. Those three years can be broken down into three categories:
So our reading today is at the beginning of his last year on earth, the year of oppression. This is significant for us because Jesus is beginning to set the stage for the cross.
We also need to recognize that at this point in the story Jesus just fed the 5,000 on the eastern side of the sea of Galilee. Because of the location of the Feeding of the 5,000 we know that many of the people he fed, and who were following him, were both hungry and most likely poor.
Chapter 6 Challenge
At first glance in reading Chapter 6 we could think that the people genuinely want to be in the presence of Jesus, but upon further reading Jesus points to the heart of the matter.
Here’s a challenging question for us today: Are we more concerned about things that wont last, or do we spend our energy seeking the eternal life that only Jesus CAN give us?
(v. 28) They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” 29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
Interesting: Jesus’ first requirement for the people is not to do, but to believe and trust!
Listen: You don’t first fall in love with Jesus, you first trust in Jesus, and when you continue to trust you find that you begin to fall in love with Him! What does the scripture say? “I love because he first loved me.” (1 John 4:19) a couple of verses before that reads, 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
Look at the people’s response…
There are two things at work here:
- Prove it mentality
“All you need to do is show us a miraculous sign and we’ll believe in you…” Right, until that sign wasn’t enough and you’ll need more signs, and more signs… it’s a manipulation folks. It’s like a kid who wants a Happy Meal from McDonalds. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before, “But dad, all I want is the happy meal! If you get the happy meal I’ll be content and never ask for another happy meal again!”
Jesus’ response is classic! He doesn’t tell them or give them what they want, but he sure straightens out their theology.
The problem is, they’re still thinking with their stomachs! The conversation we’re reading here between Jesus and the unbelieving crowd is the same conversation Jesus has with the Samaritan woman at the well from John 4.
In both of these cases Jesus used the natural conversation to make a profound and life changing point.
The Life Changing Point
(v. 50) Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”
What’s the action here that Jesus is pointing us to? Anyone WHO EATS THE BREAD from heaven… WILL NEVER DIE!
It doesn’t say anyone who gags on the bread because God is shoving it down your throat will never die. Folks, there’s a choice here!
Think of it this way: Pretend with me that you’re starving…
- Seeing a loaf of bread on a plate won’t satisfy our hunger!
- Knowing the ingredients in the bread will not satisfy our hunger!
- Taking pictures of bread will not satisfy our hunger!
- Selling bread will not satisfy our hunger!
- Playing catch with the bread will not satisfy our hunger!
Nothing will satisfy our hunger except actually eating the bread! And so it is with Jesus!
The crowd wanted more bread…
and Jesus is telling them, “I’m better than bread!”
The crowd wanted to fill their stomachs…
and Jesus was telling them, “I can fill your soul!”
“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.”