14 When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” 15 When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself.
Jesus Walks on Water
16 That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. 17 But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. 18 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. 19 They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, 20 but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” 21 Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!
Let’s remember this interaction, because I want to come back to it later.
Jesus, the Bread of Life
22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the far shore saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them. 23 Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten. 24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him. 25 They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
It’s like when you know the guy you have a crush on is going to be at a party, so you get yourself invited to the party and you run into him there and you’re like, “Oh hey! I didn’t know you were going to be here!”
26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
So I see a few things here: 1 is that people come to Jesus with all sorts of needs – here they want food. And it’s not that he’s unwilling to meet those needs at first. I mean, he fed all of them the day before.
Q: What are some needs or circumstances people run into that get them to check out God at first?
But Jesus is also loving enough to know that continuing to meet those initial needs is not actually going to make people happy – that there is something deeper that needs to happen.
Also notice v27 – we get all caught up in the need of the moment and forget about the bigger picture – that this life is not all there is. And how can we tell? Well, we can look at what we spend our energy on.
Q: Can you guys think of any examples of things people spend their energy on, and the deeper need it might point to?
28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? 31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
OK, so here is the crux of the issue: their expectations as to what Jesus came to do. And to explain, we have to go back to the OT to understand where they are coming from. And this goes back to that ‘Prophet’ that we read about in v14.
Moses: led them out of slavery Jews: oppressed by the Romans
Moses: helped them become a nation Jews: an occupied area
Moses: gave them manna Jesus: gave them bread
Manna: tell the story
Ex 16:1Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt. 2 There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron.
3 “If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day.
And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. 14 When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. 15 The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was.
15b And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat. 16 These are the Lord’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.”
17 So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. 18 But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed.
Num 11: 7 The manna looked like small coriander seeds, and it was pale yellow like gum resin. 8 The people would go out and gather it from the ground. They made flour by grinding it with hand mills or pounding it in mortars. Then they boiled it in a pot and made it into flat cakes. These cakes tasted like pastries baked with olive oil. 9 The manna came down on the camp with the dew during the night.
Moses: Fed an entire nation Jesus: fed 20,000 people
Moses: manna for 40 years Jesus: bread for dinner
Well, Jesus, maybe if you were a little more like Moses…
32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”
For those of you with us from John 4, this sounds like the woman at the well – “Sure! I’ll take that! Whatever.”
35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Those needs you have? It turns out that only Jesus can truly meet them.
36 But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. 37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
41 Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
Q: How could you tell if you are disappointed with Jesus?
43 But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said. 44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. 45 As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)
‘Draws them to me’ – Jer 31:3 – Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
It’s a very gentle picture, and it turns out that’s the purpose of our needs – God WANTS to meet our needs, but he ultimately needs us to see that things besides him will not make us happy.
And this is not just a message for people who don’t know Christ yet. Yes, he wants YOU to hear this. But those of us who have already turned to him are actually no less needy. Let’s think back to that incident at the beginning of this section:
16 That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. 17 But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum.
They were waiting for him and he wasn’t showing up.
Q: What happens when we don’t know what God is doing in our lives?
18 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. 19 They had rowed three or four miles
They were in real danger here
when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, 20 but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!”
He tells them to NOT be afraid, not because the circumstances aren’t bad, but because he is now there with them.
21 Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!
And this picture of manna – again, it wasn’t just for those who didn’t believe in him.
Deut 8:3 – Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
I don’t know about you guys, but I am so forgetful. EVERY DAY you need to be fed, and the food from yesterday does not feed you today.
Q: For those of you who have time with God established, what do you notice when it slips?
Never hungry, never thirsty – not because those needs don’t go away, but because they can be met every single day by Jesus.
47 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. 48 Yes, I am the bread of life! 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. 50 Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die.
This life available in Jesus is stronger than death.
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”
52 Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked.
53 So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. 54 But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.
He’s upping the claim even more and it sounds really freaking weird. This is like cannibal Jesus or something. Now, some people have used this to say you have to take communion, but that doesn’t work because Jesus tied communion to the Passover, not to manna, and they would NEVER have drank the Passover lamb’s blood.
57 I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”
59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Many Disciples Desert Jesus
60 Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?”
61 Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? 63 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) 65 Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.”
66 At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. 67 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”
When people get disappointed with Jesus, they leave. Maybe some of you here tonight are Christians and your life is just not going the way you expected, and maybe you’re thinking about leaving too. Well, Jesus isn’t going to force you to stay.
68 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
See, here’s the thing – where else are you going to go? I’ve thought about leaving – I almost left a few different times for a guy. But what guy has the words of life?
And the bigger picture is – Jesus has never actually let me down. He hasn’t given me everything I want the moment I wanted it, he hasn’t stepped in to keep me from any struggles or pain. Sometimes I have to wait way longer than I wanted to or even thought possible. But when he does show up – it’s always at the exact right time and in the exact right way.
70 Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” 71 He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.