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In our previous study, Jesus fed the five thousand and walked on water.
The people had correctly recognized Him as the one Moses had written of in Deut. 18:15;18, but had mistakenly assumed that His mission would be similar to that of Moses.
They thought He would be the earthly king who would miraculously feed them, free them of their enemies, and restore their country.
In this study, Jesus tells the people that He is the True Bread of Life. (Eternal life)
VERSES 22-23: "On the next day the crowd that remained
on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat
there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but
that his disciples had gone away alone. 23"Other boats from Tiberias
came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had
Tiberias was a large, culturally Greek oriented city on the sea of Galilee. It does not appear in New Testament history except in this Scripture, and there is no record of it being visited by Jesus.
Since it was not a Jewish town, the Jews were not likely to enter. The Romans reportedly took advantage of this fact to hand out favors to allies without interference from the Jews.
By now, other boats had been drawn to where Jesus had fed the five thousand.
VERSE 24: "So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus."
And when they didn't find Him there they got in the boats and followed Him to Capernaum where they assumed the disciples had gone.
VERSE 25: "When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"
Even after all the miracles they had personally witnessed the people continued to perceive Him on a human level.
Based on their lack of faith, do you think it would have made a difference if they had seen Him walk on water?
In the next verse, Jesus attempts to draw them into a deeper understanding.
VERSE 26: "Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves."
Jesus knew their motives; they were not looking for Him because they had recognized Him as the True Bread of Life. They were looking for an earthly king, (and perhaps another free meal).
Even today people seem to be more interested in earthly things than the things of God.
The Seal of the Holy Spirit
VERSE 27: "Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal."
In the first part of this verse, Jesus mentions the word labor, or "work. He knew the principles and the necessity of work, but He also realized the desperation of His people."
The Jewish nation in general was very poor, and the people wanted to make sure there was a continual supply of food, but Jesus was telling them that they had their priorities wrong, securing their eternal life should have been their priority, and (the same goes for us).
The second part of the verse mentions the "seal." The "Amplified Bible" says, - "For God the Father has authorized and certified Him and put His seal of endorsement upon Him."
In "Webster's New World Dictionary" "to seal" means to "certify as by oath' 'to authenticate or affirm the genuineness thereof," this also fits with the Amplified Bible version.
God was a witness for Jesus and had placed His seal of approval upon Him. At Jesus' baptismal "God the Father" had testified by a voice from heaven that Jesus was, "God the Son."
"And behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."(Matt 3:17)
The "Spirit," (considered by most to be the Seal), descended upon Jesus in the visible form of a Dove at His baptism.
Matter of interest: "Vines Expository Dictionary" (Keyed to Strong's) lists the word "seal" in this instance as a verb. (and states that this verse 27 "is perhaps a figurative allusion to the impress of a mark upon loaves."
So it's possible that the commercial bread of that time might have had some stamp on it. Either way, Jesus was telling us that He had the seal of God the Father.
There are numerous Scriptures referring to God's Seal (John 6:27; 2 Timothy 2:19; Rev 6:9, 7:2, 9:4) and perhaps others.
However, I believe the seal Jesus is speaking of being upon Him (that descended upon Him in the form of a Dove) is the Seal of the Holy Spirit and that each Born Again Believer also carries the Seal of the Holy Spirit.
VERSE 28: "Then they said to him, What must we do, to be doing the works of God?"
They thought they knew the kind of "works" it took to get to Heaven. They had attempted to keep the law at all cost; yet by asking this question, they seem to be ready to accept even more laws.
I've heard it said that the religions of the world are humankind's attempt to answer the question of, "what kind of works do we need to reach heaven."
According to Jesus, there is only one way to heaven:
"...I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:5-7) NKJV.
Next, Jesus says that we are to trust in the One God has sent. We don't have to know all the answers; we just need to believe in Jesus.
VERSE 29: "Jesus answered them, This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."
Jesus said, "This is the work, that you believe on me, the True Bread of Life." That is the only work necessary to receive Eternal Life.
This should have been a fantastic day for the Jewish people. The "Messiah," and His "New Covenant" had arrived! But they were having a problem understanding that the only work necessary to enter heaven was to believe (have faith) in the One whom God had sent.
As Christians, we are supposed to work to provide for our families, and others in need, and we are to work to bring others into the Kingdom.
But we no longer work to get into heaven. Our works are to reflect our love and faith in Jesus.
VERSE 30: "So they said to him, Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?"
In the previous verses, they had asked Jesus what work they were supposed to do, and He had told them that all that was required was to believe in Him, (it is by faith, not works).
So then they said to Him, Okay then what works, or signs, do you do? They certainly had the "work to enter heaven" concept didn't they?
If they were looking for truth, what better proof could they have hoped for than His miracle of feeding thousands of people. Doesn't it cause you to wonder if there was anything He could have done that would have convinced them?
Nevertheless, they were still looking for a sign, and, (more bread), but not the Bread of Life.
VERSE 31: "Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat."
Jesus is trying to lead them to the "Eternal Bread of Life" concept, but they just keep going back.
In spite of the prophecies, they just couldn't foresee anything beyond what Moses had done. The only faith they seemed to have was faith in the Law.
Some see a hidden insinuation that Jesus may
not have been as great as Moses; because Moses provided food every day
for years, but Jesus had only fed a few thousand for one day.
VERSE 32: "Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven."
In other words, He was telling them that the bread Moses gave them in the desert was not the same as "The Bread of Life." Their bread was heavenly only because it was provided by God and came down from heaven. It was for their natural body, and although they received it regularly, it was not Eternal, it did end.
Jesus said, "my Father gives' (present and perpetual) the "True Bread' from Heaven." Jesus continually gives life to the world
When His Spirit comes in we are transformed (born again), and become Spiritual Beings, "I in them, you in me," (John 17:20-23).
Perhaps the greatest challenge and reward for the Christian is to discover this Holy Spirit that Jesus has placed within each Believer; then to learn how to hear and recognize His voice.
Do you find it strange for Jesus to speak of Himself as being 'food and drink?" We have to think of it Spiritually.
At baptism, the Christian symbolically dies, is buried and resurrected with Christ.
When we partake of the communion we are symbolically taking in His Eternal Life-Giving Spirit, and more.
A Little History:
The Passover Feast came about when God had placed a curse on the Egyptians that took the life of all the firstborn in their country, even of livestock.
God had instructed the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb and to place the blood on the doorposts or mantel to their houses. They obeyed, and all their firstborn were spared. This became the Passover Feast which they celebrated one week out of each year.
They would slay and eat the sacrificial lamb and drank the symbolic blood, (which was wine). Some older manuscripts refer to it as the "Blood of the Grape" (Drinking blood is not allowed in either the Old or New Testament).
Then Jesus came as the "Lamb of God" and gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice to pay for all sin. Never again would there be a need to sacrifice a lamb. Jesus was Deity! He, "God the Son" had given His life to pay for all the sins of the world.
While attempting to convey this to the Jews, Jesus referred, "partaking," or, "of eating of His body and His blood." This was to help them understand that He was now the "Sacrificial Lamb," and that after His death, the New Covenant would take effect.
There would be no more need to sacrifice bulls, or goats, sheep, or anything because the old Law of Works would no longer be in effect.
However, as we will see in our next study, this was rejected.
VERSE 33: "For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
Jesus "the Bread of God," was sent for the world. Regardless of nationality or race, Christians are all Brothers and Sisters in Him. (John 3:16).
VERSE 34 "They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."
Have you noticed the similarity with this Scripture and the Samaritan
woman at the well? (The water springs up into Eternal Life - The Bread of Life gives eternal Life).
They are both symbolic and are different ways Jesus used to reach these people. Both terms are significant in that they each have spiritual meaning and connection.
Jesus had been telling them about the eternal life they could receive through "His Bread of Life." In this verse, they asked Him to give them this bread, "always."
It seems they are close to grasping what Jesus was saying here, and yet, doesn't the word, "always" fall short of expressing the word, "eternal," as
in "eternal life?" Do you think so?
Isn't there a difference in "always," and "eternal?" (Moses always fed them six days a week; but Jesus will feed them eternally.)
VERSE 35: "Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."
So they asked Jesus for this bread of life, and Jesus says, I am that bread, but they didn't seem to understand that Jesus was speaking of the spiritual hunger and thirst.
That same Spiritual hunger and thirst are in people today, instilled in every Believer, by the Holy Spirit.
Helping the unsaved recognize the calling of the Holy Spirit
is a huge step in leading them to Christ. In attempting to fulfill this
hunger, people often fill their lives with things that have nothing to do
VERSE 36: "But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe."
They had asked for another miracle, which is one more indication of their unbelief.
Even though they had seen "Him" do miracles, and had eaten the food He miraculously provided, they wanted still another miracle, (supposedly for proof).
VERSE 37: "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out."
"All the Father gives to me," indicates that the Father is very much involved in guiding the lost to the Savior.
It has been accurately stated that "Believers are God's gift to Jesus, and Jesus is God's gift to the Believers."
"Whoever comes to me I will never cast out:" Jesus never rejects anyone, He will accept anyone who comes to Him.
VERSE 38: "For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me."
Regardless of whether these people accepted Jesus, He was doing what God had sent Him to do.
Jesus obeyed and did as the Father had instructed, wouldn't we say the responsibilities for the results then became the Fathers? And wouldn't that also apply to us?
Sometimes when we witness to others they don't accept our word. Yet, we can have confidence in knowing that when we pray, testify and try to lead someone to the Lord, we are doing God's will.
believe when we have done our part and they still turn away, that the
Holy Spirit will continue to work, to bring them to the Lord.
And now, our last two verses of this study:
VERSES 39-40: "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
Jesus is looking ahead to the end of the age when all is finished. The dead in Him will be raised to eternal life, and His Eternal Kingdom will begin, and we will reign with Him forever.
He is the Bread of Life, the Life of the World, and in eternity, all will praise him as the true Bread of Life.
Every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that "Jesus is Lord!" (Rom 14:11-12)
A story I like:"The Hungry Arab"
"Seeking and hungering after Jesus is as the story of the
Hungry Arab on the desert who Once sought a spring of which he knew, to
quench his thirst. As he rose he saw a bag, dropped by some traveler,
and he joyfully exclaimed, "Here is food!" Eagerly he tore it open, and
then in bitter disappointment, he cried, "Alas, it is only pearls."
Nothing will feed the soul but Christ. To the hungry soul, he is more precious than the gems of Golconda."
This concludes our study of, "The Bread of Life,"
Our Next Study:
"Rejected by His Own" John 6:41-59