“In planning anything, the best place to begin is at the end. What outcome do you want? How do you want the story to end? How do you want to be remembered when you are gone?”
― Michael Hyatt
“When we are gone, the only essential thing we will leave behind are the memories we create in the lives of those we have touched and those we love.”
― Michael Hyatt
We’re all searching for life. So that’s not really the question.
The question is: Where are you searching for life?
The "I AM" statement this morning cuts to the very heart of these life issues. Jesus is having a conversation with a crowd of people who are looking for life. They are after life. They are seeking life, looking to define their lives, and they believe they have found that life in Jesus.
Jesus looks at a people who are looking for life, and he offers them a definition for life that they do not accept. They're coming to Jesus looking for life, and Jesus responds to that search for life and exposes the emptiness of the life they're after.
He exposes their need.
He exposes their motivation.
And then with his "I am" statement, he exposes their allegiance.
Vs 25-26 – “They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs.”
You know, Jesus doesn't answer their question right. He completely changes the subject. They say, "When did you get here?" He says, "You're only here because you're looking for bread."
They're not coming to him saying, "You provided the bread, which means you are God become man, sent to save us from our sins and save the world." They come to him and say, "Do you have any more bread?"
John 6:26-27 – “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 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.”
This is where the conflict begins. This is where Jesus starts to expose certain things about their expectation, about their heart. First, Jesus attacks them at their need and says, "Your perceived need is not your actual need. You're coming thinking, 'There is more manna on the way. How great would it be if this guy fed us for 40 years? That would be the life.' But that's not your actual need."
GREEK – “Life”
- Bios, and it means physical life, material life, essentially.
- Zoe. It's not talking about a physical life. It's talking about a life that transcends the physical, the quality of life, an eternal life.
Jesus says is, "Don't look for food that perishes, but look for the food of zoe, eternal life."
In other words, you have a hunger that transcends your physical hunger. Hear me. You have a thirst that transcends your physical thirst. You have a zoe need that you're trying to fill with a bios solution, and it will fail you. Jesus exposes their need. He says, "Look, guys, you are concerned with your stomach, and I am concerned with your heart."
What Jesus is saying is that whatever you're looking to for life, that's what you're feasting on. That's what you're looking to for sustenance. If you find your life in things that perish, you will never be filled.
Vs. 28-34 - "They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 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. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day."
They still don't get it. Jesus exposes their need, and to that, they respond by saying, "Tell us what we need to do to get that." Jesus exposes their motivation and says, "You're not here for me. You are here because of the benefits you get from me, not because of the relationship you get with me."
That's why they say, "What work can we do?" When you remove the relationship, all they have left to do is work.
If we are in this for the benefits of Christianity but not the Christ of Christianity, then we’ll come to church, give our money, do religious things, and never be filled. Motivated by guilt, motivated by self-righteousness, motivated by emotionalism, motivated by friends and family, we’ll never taste and see.
Relationships are what bring lasting change in your life, right?
Jesus exposes their motivation. "This is why you're here." Then look at verse 35. This is where everything falls apart.
Vs 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.’”
This is the definition of life that they just cannot accept. Jesus comes and says, "I have not come to bring bread. I have come to be the bread. I have not come to improve your life. I have come to be your life."
God says that what true zoe is that Jesus is the, "I am the bread of life," which means that he is both the means and meaning of life, the means by which we live, and the meaning of what life is all about. But it didn't stop there. He goes on to be even more polarizing than that. He says, "Whoever comes to me in faith will never hunger. Whoever believes in me will never thirst."
As soon as Jesus demands an ounce of allegiance from them, as soon as Jesus says, "The thing you're currently looking to for life, the bread you want won't actually fill you. Turn from that and trust in me," as soon as he draws a line in the sand, the crowds, in wave after wave, walk away. They say, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"
Luke 4:1-4 - "Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry. Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’”
Satan tried to tempt Jesus with the very thing that He is. He told Jesus to create substance, and Jesus reminded him that He is substance.
So many of us are looking to all of these other things to find life. And we believe the lie that this thing that we’re holding on to is enough to sustain us, yet we feel the emptiness inside. We eat, but we’re not satisfied. Sure, maybe we are for a moment, but it doesn’t last.
Jesus is the only bread that will break for you.
Of all the breads that are out there, Jesus is the only one who breaks for you. Of all the breads that are out there, every other bread will break you. Try it. It will perish. It will leave you wanting. It will leave you broken. Jesus comes along, and he says, "I am the bread of life." He finds us starving to death with a stomach full of Savior substitutes, eating to become hungry again, drinking to become thirsty again, looking for life and never finding it.
Vs 66-69 - "At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
To whom would we go, Jesus? What rabbi would teach us like you? We heard you teach in the temple.
Who has authority like you? We saw you walk on water.
Who has power like you? We were there when you calmed the storm.
Who has mercy like you? We heard you with the woman at the well.
Who has courage like you? We saw you before the mobs. We saw you on trial.
Who has faith like you? We heard you weeping in the garden where you said, 'Not my will but yours be done.'
Who has loved like you? We saw you beaten. We saw you mocked. We saw you nailed to the cross.
Who has grace like you? We heard you speak forgiveness over your enemies.
Who has victory like you? We saw you walk over death's dead body on the way out of the grave so death has no sting, and death has no victory.
Who has a rule like you? You ascended to the right hand of the Father, where everything is under your feet.
Jesus, who has an ending like you? You will burst through the clouds, and you will bring final and complete defeat over your enemies, final and complete restoration of all that was lost.