The True Bread out of Heaven
Evangelist Jabez Park’s sermon from Shiloh's Lord’s Day Service on March 31, 2019
The context of what true bread is
Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35). However, the context of the true bread is the feeding of the 5000 people. In the ancient world when keeping track of people, you only counted the adult men. Therefore 5000 grown-up men were counted. Various scholars estimate the total amount of people actually fed ranges between ten to twenty thousand people when you include women and children. So the fact that five-thousand men, women, and children were all able to eat their fill with food left over is a true miracle (John 6:14).
We must not see the physical
After feeding the people, Jesus withdrew Himself to the mountain fearing that the people wanted to make Him King by force (John 6:15). The lesson that we get from Jesus withdrawing is that we must not see the physical. The people were seeing with their eyes this great sign that Jesus performed. However, Jesus rebuked them and said, “You seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26). In other words, Jesus rebuked them because He was hoping that through the miracle of feeding thousands of people, Israel would recognize who He was. However, the people only focused on the physical food and the fact that they ate until they were full. The people were not looking for Jesus, the true bread of life; they only sought after Him because they were made full. They were not spiritually hungry but physically hungry. Jesus said, “Don’t work for the food which perishes, instead work for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you” (John 6:27). Here, Jesus is giving hints to the people as to who He is; the Son of Man whom the Father has set His seal who gives the food that endures to eternal life.
What is the true food?
The true food is Jesus Christ Himself, the bread of life (John 6:35). His food is to do God’s will and His work (John 4:34). Therefore, doing God’s will and accomplishing His work—that is the “true food.” The “true food” is to do God’s work, and the work of God is to believe. Therefore, in order to have “true food,” we conclude that we have to work, which is to believe, which is “faith” in Him, the Word, which is Jesus Christ (John 6:29).
The subject of the true bread
Jesus fed thousands of people, and they witnessed and saw this sign (John 6:14). But later on, these same people asked Jesus for a sign so that they may believe (John 6:30). Jesus had just done a sign with the five loaves and two fish, but again they are saying, “Show us a sign so that we may believe." The people even brought up Moses and said, “In the days of Moses, our fathers ate manna in the wilderness” (John 6:31). But Jesus responded and said, “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” (John 6:32). Moses is pointing to Jesus Christ (John 5:39). Therefore, we need to look to where Jesus is pointing. God’s thoughts and ways are not like that of fallen mankind, but higher (Isa 55:8-9). Thus, when we think about Jesus and receive the Word, we cannot perceive them from a worldly perspective, but we must do so from a heavenly perspective. Jesus was telling them what the heavenly perspective is—that Moses is not the focus, but instead focus on God and then you will believe.
How can we come to believe?
Faith comes by hearing the Word (Rom 10:17), for the Word is God and the Word became flesh (John 1:1, 14). Jesus is saying you need to listen to my Words and then you will believe, for this Word is the true bread of life. It is not the loaves that you ate or the physical manna that your fathers ate, but it is the Word that has come to you and it is this Word that gives you eternal life (John 6:47-50). “The bread came out of heaven is my flesh” (John 6:51). Jesus is ultimately saying, “Don’t focus on my body, it’s not about my actual flesh, you have to eat the Word.” Therefore, Jesus’ flesh is actually the Word.
The Word goes up
The true bread came out of heaven, but it needs to go back up to heaven (John 6:50). If we have the Word and that Word goes back up, we go up as well. The rain and snow come down from heaven and makes the earth bear fruit and then it returns. Likewise, the Word of God, when it goes forth from God’s mouth, it will return after accomplishing what God had desired (Isa 55:10-11). Therefore, the Word that comes down from heaven works to give us faith (Rom 10:17). But then, that Word returns and we go up with it. Because of the Word of life, we do not fear death, for even if we die we will be resurrected. If we live and believe, we transfigure. In either situation, we are going back up to heaven (1 Thess 4:16-18).
Conclusion: The true bread that has come out of heaven is Jesus Christ Himself, the Word. But not just in the context of feeding the five thousand, but in that which has come down has to go back up. And how blessed are we to go up with Him, the Word. God is above all, but He came down so that we can be with Him again. So, when we hear the Word of God, may we believe and have faith; and throughout the rest of our lives, let us do the work of believing so that we will always be spiritually filled.