The Bread of Life
John 6: 25-59
Sermon by Pastor Josh Van Leeuwen
Introduction by Phyllis Yearick
One day before, Jesus had fed a crowd of thousands with a boy’s meager lunch. A miracle of multiplication for needy people who could not feed themselves or heal themselves or save themselves. An act of mercy and grace, and a demonstration to the crowd and to his disciples that what we humans are incapable of doing for ourselves, God is able to accomplish on our behalf. If only we believe and trust. Now, hungry again and wanting further demonstration of his power, the crowd has come to Capernaum in search of Jesus. They follow him as he walks to the synagogue, asking him questions.
“Rabbi, when did you get here?” “What must we do to do the works God requires?” “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?” They talked about how Moses had fed the Jews, newly freed from slavery in Egypt, with manna, bread from heaven, as he had led them through the desert on their way to the Promised Land. Jesus corrected them: “It is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” And of course the people want this bread, the bread that endures to eternal life.
Not surprisingly, they don’t understand. What is he talking about? He is the bread that came down from heaven? No, everybody knows he is just Jesus. They know his parents, his father Joseph. He is flesh and blood, just like they are. How can he say he came down from heaven? But Jesus persists: “I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” Jesus is talking about another kind of miracle. A miracle of transformation: his flesh the bread of life; his blood the new covenant.
A miracle of transformation for us, too. An act of mercy and grace for needy people who cannot feed ourselves or heal ourselves or save ourselves. When we know Jesus and believe in him, we are no longer lost but restored to God, who has been pursuing us, calling us to him. No longer dead in our sin but alive for eternity. And when we come before him with our offering of a little time, a little effort, a little generosity, he can multiply our meager gifts to bless a crowd, transforming all who accept him. Multiplying and transforming, again and again. What does God require? Jesus said, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” Do you believe?
You are welcome at Westview Church! Join us this Sunday morning at 9:30 for worship, then stay afterward for Discovery Hour (all ages, little ones through adults).