John – “But Who Do You Say That I Am?” – John 6:30-40

When I was a kid, my mom would make sandwiches for me for school lunches and regular lunches. We used Wonder Bread. I think it was the only bread around at the time. There could have been other brands but my mom always bought Wonder. Anyway, I can remember how good and tasty the sandwiches were and the bread made all the difference.  It even made the sandwiches that I didn’t like taste better. I had forgotten about how good sandwiches tasted until I bought a loaf of Wonder Bread about a week or so ago and found out that the bread is just as good now as it was back then!

This brings to mind a question. How would you like a bread that is good for you, never goes bad, and is satisfying? This bread that I am talking about is not a physical bread. There’s no such thing. The “bread” that I am speaking of is Jesus Christ. Once you “eat” this “bread”, you will never want or look for anything else again! The “bread” that is Jesus Christ will make all the difference in your life!

There are seven statements that Jesus makes in the Gospel of John that begins with the words “I am”. There’s “I am the light of the world”; “I am the door”; “I am The Good Shepherd”; “I am the resurrection and the life”; “I am the way, the truth, and the life”; “I am the vine” and the first one that appears in this chapter that we will be looking at…”I am the bread of life”. These seven statements that Jesus makes appear in none of the other Gospels except for John’s. The reason is because of the viewpoint that John is trying to convey to his readers and he makes no mistake about who Jesus Christ is. He is none other than God in human flesh!

This sermon that Jesus gives the crowd is quite long so we will be looking at it in 3 parts. The reason being is that it is just too long to cover in one post so I will be doing it in 3 shorter posts. Let’s get started and as always, the link for text for the entire chapter as well as the audio is included so you can follow along. Before we get started though, let’s pray…

Lord,

We give thanks to You for You are good and Your mercy endures forever. Thank You for Your Word and the time we have to spend in it. Show us Your ways and teach us Your paths for You are the God of our salvation. Lord, our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say through Your Word. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! We ask this in Jesus’s name…Amen!

John 6

Let’s look at the passage we’ll be examining in this post and for context purposes, we’ll start a couple of verses up from verse 30. …

(28) Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (29) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (30) Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? (31) Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD FROM HEAVEN TO EAT.'” (32) Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. (33) For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (34) Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” (35) And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (36) But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. (37) All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. (38) For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (39) This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. (40) And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” … John 6:28-40 NKJV

Now let’s look at the passage more closely. …

vv 28-30 – (28) Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (29) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (30) Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do?

Jesus continues His discourse with the people whom He had just performed a miracle…the feeding of the 5000 or rather, about 15,000 actually. The following day, they went seeking Jesus. There was nothing wrong with the crowd doing this. There was a high anticipation that the Messiah was coming and they might have been remembering the words of Moses in Deuteronomy when he said…

(15) “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, … Deuteronomy 18:15 NKJV

Their reasons for seeking out Jesus were hypocritical though and Jesus calls them out because of it. The question that the crowd asks in verse 30 is very hypocritical. They had just witnessed a sign the day before when Jesus fed them all and yet, they were asking for another. This is also typical of unbelievers and Christian skeptics. They want to see a sign first before they will believe in Christ. Having true faith though is believing before seeing.

When Jesus did a miracle or sign, it was a setup for a lengthy discourse of the message behind the miracle or sign and that is portrayed throughout John’s Gospel. So there’s a sign, or signs, then a sermon. For instance all the signs that Jesus does in Chapter 2, the water being turned into wine, the overturning of the tables in the temple, and the healings that are described by John are all a setup for the discourse that Jesus gives to Nicodemus in Chapter 3 of what it means to be born again. In Chapter 4 when Jesus reveals the details of the Samaritan’s woman’s life at the well, it is a setup for a discourse with the woman about drinking living water. Then in Chapter 5 when the man is healed at the pool of Bethesda, another sign or miracle, it was a setup for Jesus to give the crowd a fourfold discourse on just who He was. Now here in Chapter 6 after the miraculous feeding of this enormous crowd, He is about to give them a discourse on the bread of life…accepting Jesus into their life. There are others as well but we will cover them as we get to them.

vv 31-33 – (31) Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD FROM HEAVEN TO EAT.'” (32) Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. (33) For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

When the people tell Jesus our fathers ate the manna in the desert, what they are referring to is the food that God provided the Hebrews when they left Egypt and is talked about in Exodus. Nobody really knows what manna really was. Even the word manna literally translates as “what is it?” in Hebrew. The closest description of what it was we find in Exodus 16…

(31) And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. … Exodus 16:31 NKJV

So it was basically “donuts” from heaven! LOL! It fell from the sky and people gathered it up every morning except on the Sabbath. They were told to gather a certain amount except on the day before the Sabbath when they were told to gather up twice the amount because there would be none the following day because of the Sabbath. The only catch is that they had to eat it before the evening because if they didn’t, it would go bad. God provided this for forty years not Moses which the people claimed and Jesus points out to the people in verse 32. He also points out to the people that the manna that God provided the people in the desert only sustained life physically. It did nothing for the well being of the people’s spiritual life. Notice the word life in verse 33. It is the Greek word zōē. There are three forms of life. The first is bio. It means physical life. We get the word biology from it. The second is psuche. This is our consciousness, our thought life, and our personality. We get the words psychology, psychoanalysis, and psychotic. The third, and what Jesus generally meant when He used the word, is the word zōē. It means eternal life or your spiritual life. 

vv 34-35 – (34) Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” (35) And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

Here we have two different trains of thought being portrayed here. The statement that the crowd makes, Lord, give us this bread always, is not a statement of faith in Jesus. They have absolutely none. They are asking for physical bread to feed them whereas Jesus wants to “feed” them with something way better…bread for eternal life. This is similar to Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in Chapter 4. When Jesus offered the woman living water, she was thinking about real water not the spiritual water that Jesus was offering her. Jesus is pointing out to the crowd that they shouldn’t be seeking out food that perishes but seeking the “food” that will give them eternal life. Much like the Samaritan woman though, the crowd misses the point too.

Notice the words that Jesus uses in verse 35, I am. This term is Christ’s claim to deity. When Moses went to check out the burning bush on Mt. Horeb in Exodus, Moses has an encounter with God. Turn over to Exodus and Chapter 3 and down to verse 13. …

(13) Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” (14) And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” … Exodus 3:13-14 NKJV

Now when Jesus makes the statement, I am the bread of life, the crowd realizes exactly what Jesus is doing. He is claiming equality with God! It won’t be the last time that He uses the words I am and the more He uses them, the more the people, especially the Pharisees, will turn against Jesus especially when Jesus tells them in Chapter 8, “Before Abraham was I AM”. What the people don’t understand though is that it would be absolutely ludicrous and sinful to make these statements unless there was some evidence and truth behind them. In fact in Deuteronomy, Moses warns the people against such things. …

(1) “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, (2) and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—’and let us serve them,’ (3) you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (4) You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. … Deuteronomy 13:1-4 NKJV

The penalty for such blasphemy was to be stoned by the people, something that they try to do to Jesus later on by the way. However, the people totally misunderstood what was happening with the miracle that Jesus had did the day prior. He wasn’t enticing them to go after another god or gods. He was telling them to love God and giving them evidence that He was in fact, God. In verse 35, Jesus emphasizes to the crowd the same point that He made to the Samaritan woman at the well…that He is their answer for their spiritual hunger.

v 36 – (36) But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.

Jesus is clarifying the purpose of His ministry. Spectacular miracles and free food are not the point of His mission on earth. Today’s Christians, especially in America, have this misconception of what Jesus’s ministry is. There is an immense belief that if you have faith in Christ that you will see miracles and you will have nothing but good fortune in your life and if you don’t, it means that your faith isn’t strong enough or that you don’t have any at all. The fact is that nowhere in The Bible does it say that if you accept Christ that life will be nothing but a bed of roses. In fact if you truly have faith, the exact opposite generally happens. There is a saying, and you probably have heard it, that Satan never rocks the cradles of sleeping saints. The more faith you have and the stronger it becomes, the more obstacles get thrown in your way to shake you from that faith.

Our focus should never be on miracles and “free food”, the worldly things in life, but the eternal things. In Matthew, Jesus points out…

(19) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; (20) but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. … Matthew 6:19-20 NKJV

How many Christians actually live by this statement and believe it though?

In verse 36, Jesus points out that the crowd has seen more than enough—in the form of miracles—to realize the truth He is explaining. And yet, the people stubbornly refuse to believe. Instead, they ask for even more miracles, as if that would finally convince them.

v 37 – (37) All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

This is a very important verse in The Bible because it displays two doctrines…election and responsibility. The first, election, is that God “chooses” those who will be saved. Who are the chosen? Anyone who comes to Jesus and truly believes in Him. The second is responsibility. It is your choice to come to Jesus. He will never force you to come to Him. It is strictly your decision. No one can make it for you and, like it or not, despite what people are taught to believe these days, we humans are sinful and wicked from birth. Despite that fact though, God loves us and does not want to see anyone of us suffer eternal damnation. Here’s a fact that you may or not know but hell was never meant for man. In Matthew, Jesus says…

(41) “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: … Matthew 25:41 NKJV

You hear this question all the time…”How can a loving God send anyone to hell?”. The fact is though that God doesn’t do that. You do that based on your decision not to come to Him. In 2 Peter, it says…

(9) The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. … 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV

It is also because He is a kind, loving God that He must allow this. Just as He rewards obedience to Him so He must render justice for disobedience. Once we come to Jesus though, we are guaranteed salvation. Nothing can take that away from us. We have His guarantee and assurance…and the one who comes to me I will by no means cast out. Let’s move on and finish out the passage. …

vv 38-40 – (38) For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (39) This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. (40) And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Once again, Jesus has committed blasphemy in the minds of His critics by saying that He has come down from heaven. This is the second time that Jesus has said this to the crowd. The first time was back in verse 33. It would be absolutely ludicrous for a normal person to make this claim but again, Jesus is not a normal person. He is in fact God incarnate and John makes this point throughout the Gospel. Jesus could act independently but His own will always lined up perfectly with the Father’s. He could never go against the Father’s will. The will of the Father was that everyone who came to Jesus would be saved. The words nothing and it used in verse 39, refers to believers. The last day in Christian terms is when those who believe in Jesus will rise and meet Him in the air and be taken to heaven to be with Him forever otherwise known as the rapture. Although the word rapture does not appear in The Bible, the concept of it does. Paul refers to it in 1 Thessalonians where he gives us a brief description of it…

(16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. … 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV

The phrase that Paul uses, caught up, is the Greek word harpazō which means to snatch away or to seize. Jesus also makes reference to it as well in Matthew 24…

(31) And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. … Matthew 24:31 NKJV

The word elect in this passage from Matthew 24 are the believers that Jesus talks about in verses 39 and 40 in John 6. We have Jesus’s reassurance from His own mouth that all who believe in Him will be with Him for all eternity. Paul backs up what Jesus tells the crowd in verse 40 of John 6 again in 1 Thessalonians. Going back up to verse 14 in 1 Thessalonians, Paul says…

(14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. … 1 Thessalonians 4:14 NKJV

That completes the first look of this long discourse that Jesus has with this crowd. Here’s the takeaways from this post. First, the “bread” of Jesus will save you but coming to Jesus has to be your choice. No one can make it for you. There is no “two for one special”. Just because you come from a family of believers, it doesn’t give you a free pass into heaven and your parents can’t decide for you just because they have you baptized at birth. On the flip side of the coin, the decision can’t be made by forcing someone to go to church against their will either. Parents are most guilty of this with their children. They think that if they make their children attend church that it will save their kids or score “points” with them with God. Newsflash…it doesn’t work that way! You can educate your child(ren) the importance of coming to the Lord and studying The Bible but it all comes down to their decision. Same thing goes with your friends and family members. The entrance is not really a gate. It’s more like a turnstile where everybody goes through one at a time. God will never force that decision upon you. However He will throw you a “life preserver” every now and then in the form of some type of hardship to maybe make you realize that you need Him and my advice to you is the next time that happens to take it! So the “bread” of Jesus saves. The second point is that that this bread will satisfy you! When you come to Jesus, He will satisfy and fill that hunger and longing that we all have. You can have money, power, friends, whatever, and still feel empty and lonely inside. Solomon was the king of Israel and had it all but he was empty inside and he wrote a book about it, Ecclesiastes, where he writes over and over again…”vanity, vanity, all is vanity!”. Nothing on earth satisfies like Jesus! Third point, and I’ll close out this post with this, is that this bread will secure you. Jesus says three times in this text that we have been looking at in John that I will raise Him up on that last day. Why does He do that? To give the crowd, and us, an ironclad guarantee that if we take that step and sincerely and honestly come to Him in true repentance, that is turn from our sin, that we have a guarantee to be with Him forever! The bread of Jesus Christ…saves, satisfies, secures! Let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

I have a very special prayer today for my Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I pray you bless them financially with stable jobs; I pray you protect and improve their health; I pray you protect their families from all harm. Build a wall about them and protect them. Help them to feel Your presence, love and forgiveness daily in their lives so they can serve You! Father thank you for bringing the Lord Jesus Christ, the true bread from heaven, into our lives and lastly Lord, if there is anyone who is not saved or needs to re-examine their life and put the focus more back on You, we pray that they come to You today! In the holy, precious and saving name of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray…Amen!