Did anyone else notice that Jesus had said that? Bartholomew looked around. He saw the people uneasily shifting their weight. If the whole idea of Jesus as Bread wasn’t strange enough, now Jesus was claiming that he could give people eternal life. He was making the statement that he could raise dead bodies back to life. No one could do that!
Sure. He’d seen Jesus do all kind of amazing things. He made the sick well. He made the blind see. He made the lame walk. He had just gotten done feeding over 5,000 people with just a few loaves of bread and two fish.
But death? Nobody could cure death. That was impossible.
But as Bartholomew scanned the crowd that had gathered in the synagogue, he saw a strange sight. In and amidst the sea of disgust and mistrust, he saw hope.
The grandma in the corner whose body was betrayed by arthritis and crumpled from degeneration.
The woman whose family had a history of heart disease.
The boy whose father had been diagnosed with the incurable and fatal disease of leprosy.
Was Jesus sure of what he was doing? Did he really want to give people the hope of eternal life?
Jesus spoke again. “Truly, Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in me, has eternal life. I am the Bread of Life” (v.47)
Bartholomew gulped. Jesus didn’t stutter.
What do you think about that? Today we’re going to take a look at perhaps the most outrageous claim that Jesus makes in this section of John 6. We’re going to hear that the Bread of life not only enriches your trust, nourishes your soul, and improves your vision – but it also Extends Life…to eternity. And we need to be asking the question: How? How can Jesus make such a promise where all of the minds at UNC and Duke combined have failed? How can Jesus defeat such a thing as death?
Let’s get into the Scriptures and listen to Jesus’ answer.
I. Bread that Gives Life…Gives Life
Here’s that phrase that we just talked about in context. It comes from John. 6:47 “Truly, Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in me, has eternal life. I am the Bread of Life.”
Ever been to the cereal aisle in the store? If you walk up and down it, you’re going to see all kinds of large print, flashy description – Vitamin enriched! Fiber Packed! Excellent source of Riboflavin! It makes it way into other things too. I saw an Orange Juice – probably for the lactose intolerant – it’s says “Vitamin C Injected” on the outside.
So it makes sense. When you eat Cereal of Fiber, you get fiber. When you drink milk of Vitamin C, you get Vitamin C.
Jesus’ claim is similar – and really simple. When you eat the Bread of Life, you receive – wait for it – LIFE!
This isn’t what normal bread can offer you. Go to the store. Eat some Wonder Bread. Grab some little Debbie Snacks. Try on the Kroger version of multigrain bread – they might be healthy. They might help you extend your life a bit. But no other bread can make the eternal life extension claim that the Bread of Life can.
Jesus says as much. In verse 49 he says, Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died.” Interesting too. Because the bread in the wilderness, literally came down from heaven. It came down in a mysterious and miraculous way! Every morning the people got up in the desert, they’d look around. They’d see white stuff. Not snow. But a piece of a bread-like substance. This was a miracle.
But even that miracle bread did not stop them from dying. All of those Israelites saw their bodies turn to dust. That bread went into their bodies. Turned into calories. It was burned. It was gone. It didn’t prevent anyone from dying. It didn’t save anyone from eternal death. It didn’t have any ability to raise a dead body back to life.
But… the Bread of Life does. 50 Here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. That’s quite the promise. So how do you suppose Jesus can make that promise? How can Jesus promise our bodies a resurrection and our souls to pass on to eternal life? What makes the Bread of Life so special? It gives life.
II. Jesus’ Flesh is Resurrection Packed
51 "I am the living bread that comes 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.”
Notice the reminder in verse 51. He is the bread that “comes down from heaven.” In other words, He is God’s Son. He has divine flesh. His flesh has divine power. That means three very important things:
A) Jesus’ Blood is Universal
What type of blood do you have? Blood types are tricky. If you have A blood, you can’t receive B blood. If you have B blood, you can’t receive A blood. If you have O blood, then you can only receive O only blood!
But Jesus’ blood? It covers the sins of all people. It cover sins of lust. It covers sins of greed. It covers sins of pride, gossip, angry, unforgiveness, hatred, disgust, apathy, idol worship – you name it. Christ is a universal donor.
On the cross, Jesus didn’t have a needle stuck in his arm, but he had nails driven into his hands. He was killed in order that your sins might be covered.
Why is that a big deal? Because the Wages of sin is death. With sin covered and removed, there is no death!
B) Jesus’ blood is Infinite
But it’s more than just universal – and able to cover any sin. Jesus’ blood is also infinite.
Think of POWs. If you have a prisoner of war, you trade. One prisoner for one prisoner. One life for another. Blood for blood. One human for one human.
But what about God’s blood? Can you imagine how many people his blood could trade for? Infinite. If God’s blood pays for an infinite number of people, that blood pays for you. It pays for your sins.
C) Jesus’ blood is victorious
Although it doesn’t appear like that way. Even look at Jesus’ words. He says, “This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” In other words – I will give up. I will give to the cross. I will give to nails, and thorns, and a spear to the heart. I will give up to God’s wrath against sin. I will give my life to death.
But that’s not how the story ends. Jesus returns. He is victorious over the nails, over the thorns, and the spear to the heart. He is victorious over sin. He is victorious over death. He is alive!
Do you understand why Jesus promises life? His blood is universal, infinite, and his blood always beats death!
III. It’s About Faith
Ok. So. How do you make this yours? How do you make eternal life yours?
52 … the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
This is a really good question. Because Jesus isn’t talking about cannibalism; he’s probably not talking about Lord’s Supper – something he hasn’t even established yet.
What’s interesting is Jesus’ answer. Take a look at it. It isn’t so much an explanation but a call to faith. 53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.”
I’ve gotta be honest. I don’t know how fluoride works. But I use it. (Good news, right?) It works. How about you? Can you explain Ibuprofen? Does it work? Could you draw or me a diagram to show how Nasonex works? Do you still use it?
There are plenty of things we don’t understand how they work. But we use them anyway. In trust.
Jesus flesh doesn’t require you to understand the scientific, divine process behind the removal of sin and the promise of eternal life. It’s not a matter of reason – it’s a matter of faith. Because faith connects you to Jesus. Faith connects you to the Bread of Life. Let Jesus continue, “56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.”
Has this ever happen to you? You’ve gotta get up real early in the morning. You set yoru alarm. Your phone is getting close to dead though, so you plug in the phone to the battery charger and then place it on the window ledge. You set the alarm for 5:30am. You wake up around 7am. Why? Turns out, your black lab thought it would be nice to walk right past the dangling cord of the phone and pull the charger out from the phone.
When the phone isn’t connected to the charger, it’s dead. When we aren’t connected to our Savior, we’re dead! How can you expect to live forever if you aren’t connected to he one who gives you the power to lives forever?
You can’t. So stay plugged in to Jesus. Get connected to Him with devotions. Get connected to coming to Bible classes. Get connected to Him by getting involved in church.
Because being connected to Him means life.
Let me tell you about Lisa. Lisa was a mother of three with a preschooler at the congregation I vicared at. She was a blessing to the congregation. She played music. She taught kids.
Lisa also taught us strength. She had cancer. When I was there, I got to see her battle cancer. I got to see her go to chemo. I heard her encourage others. She focused on her Lord. She found him as her strength. She trusted in him.
Then, the cancer got real bad. She had weeks to live.
I want to read to you her Facebook note. This was about a week before she died: “I know this brings much sadness. Death always will. But I hope once the shock wears off you will be able to rejoice that I am almost home. I will be waiting with open arms to greet all my friends who are saints through what Christ has done for us. To God Be the Glory!”
How can she make such a statement? She was connected to Jesus.
She...is...connected to Jesus in a way unlike any other.
You too. Stay connected to Jesus.