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(John 6:22–71) Anything Less Won't Last

(John 6:22–71) Anything Less Won't Last

by Stephen Davey
Series: Sermons in John
Ref: John 6:22–71

Some Christians label themselves as Calvanist while others label themselves as Armenian. But what is all the fuss about? The debate is really over a simple question: does man choose God for salvation or does God choose man? The Apostle John gives us the answer.


Anything Less Won't Last

John 6:22-71

Jesus Christ had arrived in the city of Tiberius, and there along the shore of Galilee's sea, he had performed a miracle.  With only five barley loaves and two pickled fish he had fed a crowd of as many as 20,000 hungry people.

They were so amazed that the people desired to make him a King at once.

But Jesus slipped away and eventually docked at Capernaum the next day with his disciples. 

It wasn't long before the news spread and the masses of people once again flocked to Him.

Let's pick study up there at John 6:25.  And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You get here?"

Jesus ignored the question...26.  Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not becuase you saw signs, but becuase you ate of the loaves and were filled."

You see, food was especially important to these people becuase their lives centered on agriculture.  Imagine a leader who could provide the essential for physical life -food.

Now it's hard for us to understand. . .to us a good meal is not so big a deal - beucase to us it is readily available!  Bread is common place! 

This afternoon I know that many of you will go out to eat at Ryan's or the Golden Corral, you know those feeding troughs where food is eaten beyond the point of respectability.  You know what I like - their sour dough bread.  They make their own bread.  And when a fresh batch gets out of the oven they ring that little bell.  We're like Pavlov's dog - the bell rings...everyone begins to salivate.



Or slip over to Captain Stanleys' for a basket of hush puppies - my wife and I have said we could make a meal out of them - I know, our arteries would stick together with all that bread and butter, but what a way to suffer.

What I'm trying to get at is how common place a meal is - especially bread.

But not so in Jesus' day - bread meant toil and sweat. . .it was anything but easy!

The free food Jesus could provide was a ticket to instant retirement.

And so these people are following Jesus becuase verse 26b.  "you ate the loaves, and were filled."

In order to understand the equivalent emotion...imagine Jesus Christ appearing before us and telling us that He is the Messiah -hey, we know he lives in east Cary, we know where he went to school, we've seen him with splinters in his hands, sweating over a bench or a table in his carpenter shop...but imagine this morning being given a dollar bill and seeing him multiply that dollar so that each one of us left with 10,000 dollares in our wallets.

Hey, anybody would follow Jesus!  But for the wrong reason - and that's the point of this passage.

Look at verse 27.  Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal."

Jesus says, "Don't work for physical food, but work for eternal food."  28.  They said therefore to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"  What a classic question!  What works can we do to recieve eternal life?  Here's the answer!  29. Jesus answered and said to them,


"This is the work of God, that you "get baptized and join a church"  excuse me..."this is the work of God, that you do your best and try not to commit any serious crimes"  NO!  "This is the work of God, that finds eternal life - "that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

Now the Jews knew that Jesus was relating this belief to himself!  So they ask, 30.  What then do You do for a sign, 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 out of heaven to eat."

Now the background for this question is the Rabbis' own teaching.  They were teaching the people, "As was the first redeemer (Moses), so is the final redeemer.  As the first redeemer caused the manna to fall from heaven, even so shall the second redeemer cause the manna to fall."

What amazes me is that the leaders didn't catch the concrete connection between the feeding of the five thousand with the manna in the wilderness.  WHY?  Becuase I believe they were looking for literal manna!

You see there was another belief circulating - a superstitious, extra biblical belief that clouded the picture.  It was the belief that a pot of manna had been stored in the first temple, in the ark, and that when the temple was destroyed, Jeremiah the prophet had hidden it away.  They believed that when the Messiah appeared he would locate and produce that pot of manna as a sign of his authenticity.

So in effect, they're asking Jesus to produce the manna...give us the sign!

32.  Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly (listen up!), I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.  33. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."


Jesus here makes a distinction - the manna from heaven was temporary provision (they ate and died), the bread of God is eternal provision (you eat of this and you never die).

34.  They said therefore to Him, "Lord, evermore give us this bread."

Sound familiar?  Jesus told the woman at the well, I can give you living water. . .she said, "Lord, let me have some so I won't have to draw water from this well anymore."

These people said to Jesus, "You can give us bread that will last forever and that gives eternal life...we want it!"

35.  Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life, he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

Jesus says, "I'm it. . .I'm the bread of eternal life."

By the way, this is the first of seven statements recorded in the gospel of John that begin with "ego eimi".  That is the divine name of God first recorded in the Old Testament, "I am, that I am."

Jesus will say I am - the bread of life.

                                    I am - the good shepherd

                                    I am - the door

                                    I am - the way the truth and the life

                                    I am - the resurrection and the life

                                    I am - the vine

                                    I am - the light of the world

Jesus Christ selects several metaphors to describe Himself and the plan of salvation he is revealing.

Now read on - v. 36.  But I said to you, that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.

37.  All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who



comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

Now this is an interesting verse that teaches two truths in one verse.

            Divine election and human free will

Now from our human and limited perspective, we cannot see how divine sovereignty and human responsibility can work together.  Evidently, God doesn't seem to have the same problem figuring it out - with Him there is no conflict.

And both truths are clearly taught in scripture!  A church member once asked Charles Spurgeon, the great London pastor, how he reconciled the two truths.  He responded by saying, I never try to reconcile friends. . .it's never needed.

The danger comes when you try to emphasize one truth over the other.

I like to think of salvation, divine election and free will from the perspective of a doorway.  Pretend that I am standing in a doorway. Here is the frame around me. . .you represent the world looking at the door of salvation.  Over the door you would read "whosoever will may come".  You say, I will come and you walk through the doorway of salvation - you look back up over the door, now that you are saved and you discover the other truth - "elect before the foundation of the world."  Oh, I'm one of God's elect.  Well, the last thing in the world you would do is run back out here with an eraser and change the phrase, "Whoesoever will may come" to "Only the elect may come?!!!"

NO - therein likes the Biblical wonder:

            The message to the believer - "you've been chosen by his grace, before the creation of the world"  Eph. 1



            To the world - the message is "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  John 3

            The message to the world is - "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved."

You see, God never gave us the responsibility to determine who the elect are; but He did give us the responsibility to deliver the message to the world.


I read recently in an article that said there are more than 11,000 unreached peoples groups remaining in our world.  If we put together missionary teams of ten people who would target each peoples' group, we would then need 110,000 missionaries.  That's a lot of peope right?  Yes, but from the number of active evangelicals in this country, 110,000 missionaries is only one half of one percent.

The challenge to every believer here is never to rest in your election, but work in evangelism.

Let's look on to verse 40.  For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.

41.  The Jews therefore were grumbling about Him, becuase He said, "I am the bread that came down out of heaven.

Now you need to know that there were three things about all that Christ said that troubled the Jews who were in the audience that day.

First of all,

They are dissapointed by Jesus' family background

42.  And they were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose



father and mother we know?  how does He now say, "I have come down out of heaven."

Can't be. . .He doesn't look like the Messiah to us!

Now imagine for a moment some rich relative dying and leaving you in his will; delivered to your door Monday morning is a plain white envelope, you open it up and peek inside - it's a cashiers check for 100,000.  You look around the door for Ed McMan, Dick Clark  -  there's no clearinghouse van in the driveway.  No, you didn't fill that out this year did you - even though you were one of the certified finalists with signed affidavits and you'd decided to get the monthly check instead of the yearly check.  And your new jaguar would be dark green...not that I've ever filled one out.

No, this is just a check for 100,000  -  but wait - it's in an ordinary, envelope - look, one corner's bent and the flap is slightyly torn.  Hey, if you're going to give me a hundred thousand, I'll only accept it if it's in a 100% linen envelope with engraved lettering.  No thanks - keep your money.

Crazy huh?!

That's what there doing with eternal life!

In other words, what He's saying sound Messianic, but he doesn't have the background that we think a Messiah should have.  He doesn't look like what we thought a Messiah would look like.

He has eternal life too offer - na. He's just an ordinary carpenter.

They were troubled that the Messiah could be - ordinary envelope

The second thing that bothered the audience was this:

They are confused by Jesus' metaphor.  Look at verse 47.  Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.  48.  I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they

died.  50.  This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.

Look over to verse 52.  The Jews therefore began to argue with one another, saying, "how can this man give us His flesh to eat?"

The Jews problem was that they couldn't see past the metaphor.

Eat Christ?  Drink his blood?  Sounds weird!  Not unless you understand that Jesus Christ is drawing an analogy between ingesting physical bread and ingesting spiritual bread.

Now some have intrepreted this to be a literal eating of Christ - something that takes place mysteriously at communion.  This is the Roman dogma called transubstantiation.  That the fruit of the vine and the bread at communion literally turn into the very body and blood of Christ.

Well, is Jesus talking about taking communion, or salvation?  NO!  How do I know? 

Well, let me give you a greek lesson in verb forms. 

Now I might say to you in English:

            "I just ate my lunch."  Alright class, what is the verb in that sentence. . .Mr. Cooper?  No, lunch is not the verb!  Ate is.  Now if you told me that I might think you just had an early lunch.

But in the Greek, the verb form will tell you a tremendous amount information just by it's form.

I could say in Greek, "I just ate my lunch"  and the verb form means "I just ate my lunch, and I'm still eating it." 

Or, "I just ate my lunch, and I'm still feeling the effects of it."

Or, "I just ate my lunch for the last time, for the rest of my life."

Get the picture?  I know this lesson is a thrilling moment for you!

The aorist verb form is used in these verses.

50.  This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one

may eat of it (one time for all time) and not die.

51.  I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, (one time) shall live forever.

skip to 53.  Jesus therefore siad to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh (one time) of the Son of Man and drink His blood (one time), you have no life in yourselves.

How many times do you take communion - as often as it is offered!  How many times are you saved?  Once, for all time!

This principle of ingestion is consistent throughout the N.T.   Just  as I ingest bread so that I may live physically, so I have invited Christ in, I have ingested Him so that He now lives within me. 

The apostle Paul wrote, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me..."  So also, I have been ingested into the body of Christ.  So that Christ lives inside of me and I live inside of Christ.

Now you are called a North Carolinian.  Why?  Becuase you live within the borders of the state of North Carolina.  I used to be called a Texan; my wife and I used to live in Dallas, Texas.  Originally I was a Virginian, becuase I was raised and lived inside the borders of Virginia. 

So you are now a Christian...becuase you live inside of Christ; and Christ lives inside of you!

So this is a metaphor - Jesus draws an analogy between eating Himself and eating bread.

            Let's compare eating with salvation: how are they similar?

            !both are performed to live - they are both necessary for life

To derive any nutritional benefit from that homade sour dough bread, we have to eat it.  I can go up to that Golden corrall counter and look at it, squeeze it, smell the aroma, I can admire it - but I'll remain hungry until I eat it. 


The same is true of Christ - you may admire him from a distance, talk about Him, carry the recipe around under your arm in genuine cowhide leather - but until you believe in Him, until you recieve Him - you remain eternally hungry.

another principle of similarity:

!both, eating food and recieving Christ are performed to answer a need.

Isn't it wonderful to eat when your hungry, yet when your full - the same thing earlier that made your taste buds water, now hurts to even look at it!

So also, those who are full of the things of the world have no appetite for Christ. . .but those who finally discover the emptiness of the world, come to Christ and partake and find in Him satisfaction!

One final analogy:

!both are performed only by personal involvment

No one can eat for you can they.  The other day, I was feeding Charity, our three month old (who by theway is the fourth and final child to come down with the chicken pox.  I'd put a little cereal mush in and she'd spit it out.  I'd put it in, she'd spit it out!  Strong willed thing - just like her. . .just like her father.

I discovered that if I stick the spoon in and rub the food off behind her gums where her top teeth will eventually grow - she had a tougher time spitting it out.

You know she'll have to learn to eat if she's going to survive.  I can't eat for her. . .

Likewise - no one can eat the bread of life for you - no one can partake of Christ for you - you must partake of him for yourself!

Well, the audience was dissapointed by Jesus' family background,  they are confused by Jesus' metaphor; finally

They are disturbed by Jesus' challenge. verse 60.  Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this said, "This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?

The word for difficult is skleros which does not mean, "hard to understand" but hard to accept.

At this point the disciples knew quiet well that Jesus is claiming to be God's bread from heaven and that no one can live eternally without submitting to Him.

To This Day!  Many a person refuses Jesus Christ not becuase Christ puzzles his intellect, but becuase Christ challenges his life!

In the latter portion of this chapter, we have three responses to Christ's message

            Three results:

            1) some backed away - 66.  As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore.

Now please understand that the term disciple, "mathetes" means pupil, learner.  Of the 264 times it is found in the New Testament, it is used of the 12 disciples, of all true believers and those who followed Him temporarily for selfish reasons.

            2) one would betray - 64.  But there are some of you who do not believe.  For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.  We'll study this man at a later time

            3) some believed - 67.  Jesus said therefore to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?"  68.  Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have words of eternal life."  69.  And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One Of God."

What a statement - where else can we go - who else can satisfy us now that we've been with you and have tasted this bread of life.

Anyone else would never be able to satisy our deepest longings.

When he began his unbelievable career, he was a 17 year old refugee with $100 to his name and an unquenchable hunger for success.  His family had lost a large fortune when they were forced to flee their homeland, and now this teenager had arrived in South America to start over.  By the time he was 25 years old, he had not only earned his first million, but he had developed a reputation as a ruthless, hungry and determined man.  In his middle aged years he was surrounded by luxury and pleasure...he made worldwide headlines by marrying the widow of the assisinated president, John F. Kennedy.  The philosophy of Aristotle Onassis was captured in one succint statment - "All that really counts is money.  It's the people with money who are the royalty now."  And money he had. . .at the pinnacle of his career, in 1973 his estimated worth was more than one billion dollars. . .he was surrounded by a priceless art collection, immense real estate holdings, the worlds' most luxurious yacht. But then, in 1973, his son, the heir to his fortunes was killed.  Suddenly, his possessions and wealth had little meaning and brought him no relief or satisfaction.  Time magaizine quoted one associate, "He aged overnight.  He suddenly became an old man.  In business negotiations, he was uncharacteristically absent-minded, irrational, and petulant."  Several bad decisions, as well as a poor economy, caused him to lose some 800 million dollars in only one years time.  Not long after, Aristotle Onassis himself died - an unfulfilled, man who never did find satisfaction.  One writer, reviewing Aristotle's life wrote these penetrating words, "He continually followed one tenet of his own religion at all costs -to fulfill his own well-being, and yet he only truly wanted what he could not purchase - the mercy of (God)."

Have you recieved the mercy of God - what are you feasting on today.  If you haven't eaten the bread of life, you'll always be hungry. . .listen to David as he writes

Give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness...for He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.

If you're hungry the meal is free - the bread of life is yours for the asking!  Anything else won't satisfy...anything less, won't last!

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