From what they could see in the back, Jesus had made the bread come out of thin air. He had been feeding them all from what seemed like one never ending basket of food. There’s no way that thing had the thousands of loaves of bread and the thousands of fish necessary to feed the whole crowd stuffed inside of it’s wicker sides.
Jesus had done a miracle.
And, come to think of it, there was probably only an hour or so more before it would be time for late night snack. They could go back into town and use some of their hard earned money to buy few dates to satisfy their late night hunger or…
“…Hey! Do you wanna follow that Jesus!?!”
With Jesus, they’d never be hungry again. They’d never need to walk to the store, beg on the side of the road, work all week long, farm the fields, raise the chickens, or even so much as unpackage the wrapping paper. With Jesus, they could sit back, relax and take it easy. Jesus could provide all that their bodies needed.
Now…if only they could find him...
Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever feel if God would simply ‘show up’ in your life and take care of all your earthly needs – then you’d be set? Do you ever feel like the most important thing you need is a better job, plenty of food, a new home, the right guy, the right children – more money?
The North Carolina powerball is currently at 50 million dollars. Dream with me – what would that be like? Most of your problems would go away, right? You could pay off your mortgage. You wouldn’t have to work. You could catch up on child care payments. You could get a nice car whose driver side window went all the way up. You could pay for all the doctor bills and appointments necessary at Duke and UNC in order to heal yourself of every ailment that bothers you.
I think it’d be an awesome way to ensure that we break ground on a brand new facility for Precious Lambs tomorrow! With state of the art robot assistant teachers in every room. Each kid could have their own iPad!
If only God paid more attention. He needs to provide more physical blessings for us. Afterall, there is nothing more important than physical blessings…right?
Physical blessings were the reason the crowd searched for Jesus through the night. While he was on the lake with the disciples, they were frantically going through the neighboring towns just like the search party in Beauty and the Beast – “Where is he? Have you seen Jesus? Have you seen my ticket to easy street?”
Take a look at your text. Listen to what happens when finally found him the next day They asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” As if they knew, Jesus is going to want us to talk about spiritual stuff. Rather than calling him what we want -- FREE FOOD PROVIDER -- we should call him teacher. It’ll placate his conscience and we’re sure to get some more food.
But Jesus saw right through their plan, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill."
In other words – you guys couldn’t care less that I am the Messiah doing incredible, soul saving miracles. All you care about is your stomach.
Quiz Time. The Israelites thought that feeding their bellies was the most important thing. What body part do you think is the most important to keep healthy?
Take a look at the options below. Then, write down the one that you think is most important to keep healthy.
Stomach --- Brain --- Sex Drive --- Wallet --- Smile --- Soul
Maybe you circled stomach. This probably depends on how your stomach feels. (We could all circle it at one time or another). As long as you aren’t hungry, things are ok. It’s why you get cranky when you haven’t had enough to eat. It’s the reason you work. In your prayer life, this the only thing you ever really ask God for. If you’re a kid, you might have picked this one. There was a young girl not that long ago whom I asked, “What is your favorite part of church?” Answer? The cookies. At least she’s honest.
Maybe you circled brain. If you did, you value education above all else. It’s important to get your kids in the best academic school. That’s the number one thing you look for in a Preschool, an elementary school, a middle school or a high school. It’s why you read the way you do – biography here, science there, dominate all my friends on Trivia Night there – so that I can place my doctorate on the wall there. It’s why you never bring up a bunch of Bible stuff like Creation and the Flood and Jonah inside of a big fish in front of your friends because that would make you look foolish.
Maybe you circled sex drive. Maybe you didn’t cause it’s kind of embarrassing, but a look at your life would certainly make a case that this is most important. You throw out all of your morals for a moment of excitement. You ignore God’s warnings for your soul, because you are too busy listening to the longings of your sexuality. XXX.com is favorite on your computer’s webpage while Biblegateway.com isn’t even highlighted as a “recently visited’ website.
Maybe you circled wallet. (Which isn’t technically a body part so perhaps we should have placed “hip where your wallet or purse goes instead) If you did circle that, then congratulations – you agree with millions of Americans who verbally disavow wealth but secretly think money is the only thing necessary. You love watching your stocks grow. You have an entire shelf of “Get rich quick Books”, but you don’t have any idea where your Bible is. Your least favorite part of the service it the offering because “God better not be asking for my hard earned money."
Maybe…and this is tricky…you circled your smile. “God I just want to be happy.” If you did circle this, you’ve watched plenty of Disney films. Who cares about money. Who cares about food. Who cares about my wallet or my sex drive – just as long as I’m happy. And honestly? Who cares about what God says? My moral compass will consist of “Does it make me happy?” If it does, well, sorry God.
Of course there is only one answer that I haven’t read yet. Maybe you circled it. If so, that's a good answer.
Your soul is the only thing listed that you cannot live without. It is the only thing that lasts forever. It's what makes you -- you. It's what will be judged by God Almighty at the end of your life.
If you wrote down soul, good for you. But don't get too excited. Next I want you to think -- if soul is the most important part of your body to keep healthy -- how healthy have you been keeping it?
If someone looked at your life this past week, would they be able to tell that soul feeding is your number one priority?
If not, repent for the times that you haven’t made it your priority.
It's time to change.
Of course if you are going to start feeding your soul, then you need to know what to feed it. There are plenty of bad options out there. What is the best option for feeding your soul.
Allow Jesus to answer. Let him tell you about the Bread of Life -- the best soul food you'll ever eat.
1) It’s Longevity.
Jesus said, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
Have you ever had stale Doritos before? It's such a sad event. They taste stale and kind of soggy. Yuck. That’s why it’s important to look at the sell by date on the back of the packaging – for any kind of food! Imagine if grocery stores never changed their produce or sent things out after they expired - not good.
That’s the problem with anything physical – it will expire. Food spoils. Knowledge fades. Sexual highs last a moment. Money disappears with the change of the ticket tape. Your smile comes, goes, and appears as a fake pleasantry even when you are feeling lonely and empty inside.
But the food that Jesus is offering, lasts much longer than the end of the month. It’s shelf life will outlast the brick and mortar of any store. It even outlasts the pickles down in the cellar of your grandma’s house.
Jesus offers Food that endures to eternal life. As in…it lasts forever. Just like your soul. Which when you die, will continue to live eternally. Either in the joyous, painfree courts of heaven OR the painful, awful, fiery depths of hell. A forever that could start at any moment.
Sounds important, right?
2) It’s Producer
The people are interested in what Jesus has to say, so they respond, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
The people are very interesting in their next answer. They asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’"
In other words – "Maybe Jesus, we’ll believe you…if you make us some more of that FREE bread out of thin air bread!” (At least they’re persistent).
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, 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.” Moses wasn’t doing magic tricks by providing manna to fall from the sky in the desert – that was God. Consequently, the bread of life that Jesus was speaking of also came directly from God!
Ever been to a family reunion before? The truth is that some of the dishes at the family reunion potluck are better than others. Grandma made that pie? Delicious. Uncle Bob fried that chicken? I’ll have some. Crazy Aunt Gertrude made that Jell-O with some kind of floaties in the middle? I’ll pass.
The bread of life comes from God! It comes from the only holy, perfect, all powerful, all loving, all knowing, all incredible Being in the universe! He will provide a sweetness beyond Little Debbie, a nutrition beyond the Green Giant and a satisfaction beyond Snickers.
3) It’s Source
Jesus continues and we get another reason this bread is so good – similar to the last one. “The bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
How about that for a factory location? Heaven is perfect. Heaven doesn’t have any sanitation points knocked off its operation. Heaven doesn’t have any bad reviews on YELP. Its customer satisfaction is beyond perfect! Any product from there would be incredible.
I love the Pit. Love the chopped pork, the fries, the fried okra. As far as I am concerned, anything from the Pit is great. At least that’s what I thought. Then, I ordered the BBQ Chicken. It was...ok.
Heaven isn’t like that. It doesn’t disappoint. This bread that Jesus speaks of from heaven – will not disappoint!
Hopefully Jesus’ pitch is working in your heart. It certainly excited the people. 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
Their mouths were watering. Their stomachs were growling. I’m sure a few of them even held out their hands.
35 Jesus sighed. “I am the bread of life.
This fits in with what Jesus said earlier. The work of God is to Believe in the one he sent. The food Jesus was talking of wasn’t some kind of food that you at with your mouth and tasted with your lips. It wasn’t an inanimate object.
It was himself. His very being. A being that God had sent for them. A being that would go to the cross to remove their sins. A being that would rise from the dead on a glorious Easter Sunday.
A being that feeds our souls.
When tired? Jesus makes us strong.
When hopeless? Jesus gives us hope.
When sinning? Jesus gives us rebuke.
When guilty? Jesus forgives our sins.
When doubting? Jesus gives assurance.
When facing death? Jesus makes us live forever!
So get up. What are you waiting for? Feast on the bread of Life. It doesn’t come in packages. You can’t buy it at the store. It doesn’t grow in the fields. It comes to you in the Word of God. It comes to you in the Gospel. It comes to you in the message of Jesus your Savior.
Start your day with a balanced breakfast -- a prayer and a bible reading. Listen on your iPhone if you have to. Don't forget the Bread of Life! Amen.