Finally, I'm getting my act together. So, to prepare for this part, read John 6:32-71.
If you remember when we last talked (or took a peek at the last post), you'll remember that we have an outline for this chapter.
I. The Setting of Christ's SermonII. The Command of Christ's Sermon
III. The Unbelief of the People
IV. The True Bread
V. The Living Bread
VI. The Broken Bread
VII. The Results
We discussed the setting, the command, and the unbelief last time. Let's look at what Christ had to teach his people now.
IV. Christ as the True Bread
So, if you remember, last time, we discussed the fact that Christ called the people on the fact that they were looking for a miracle after he had just fed 5,000 of them with a few loaves and fishes. And they tried to rationalize away what he did by saying that Moses had given the people of Israel manna while they were in the desert. So, Christ rebukes them again, this time for crediting Moses with the work of God.
Now, he dives into the fact that they do not need earthly bread, but that they need him, the true bread. So, what are the characteristics of the true bread? Well, it is a person (verse 33), it gives life (verses 33 and 49) and it perfectly satisfies. Stop for a minute and think about how this parallels with what bread does for the physical body. Think about it this way: Bread (food) is a necessity for our earthly bodies to live and Christ is a necessity for our spiritual bodies to live. Bread is needed daily for us to function properly physically and Christ is needed daily for us to function properly spiritually. Lastly, bread must go through a process (after the grain grows, it is cut down, ground down, and then baked) in order to be eaten just as Christ had to go through a process (arrested, tortured, killed, and resurrected) to become our living spiritual bread. Isn't it neat the simple parallel and image that he has given us? However, the people at this point still didn't get it and didn't really want what Christ had to offer them (see verse 36).
V. The Living Bread (vs. 41-50)
OK, we're going to make a transition. The word "Jew" used in this passage is now meaning the religious leaders who have come to confront Christ. Verses 44-45 give us an answer as to why these leaders have specifically chosen to reject Christ. These verses show us that those who have not been saved cannot understand Christ's teaching, even one as simple as the image of Christ as living bread. He needs the Spirit to work in his heart (1 Cor. 2:14) and as we know, many of these leaders did not have open hearts to the working of the Spirit. Their rejection of Christ is proof of their sin and hardened hearts. Ultimately, they needed to realize that they were spiritually dead and in desperate need of the bread that Christ was offering and needed to be open to the call of God. So, how does God call someone to himself? If you look at verses 44-45, it shows us that God uses the preaching of His word to lead to an understanding in the mind of the believer. And, if you have an open heart to this message and partake of the Living Bread, verses 47-50 show us that you will live forever.
VI. The Broken Bread (vs. 51-59)
This is where people sometimes get weirded out. Is this passage literally talking about eating Christ? That's what some people thought when they heard this message. However, this is actually referencing the fact that Christ would be broken for all of man on the cross. Just as Christ broke bread to feed the people in the feeding of the 5,000, he will allow his body to be broken on the cross to "feed" all who choose to believe in him.
VII. The Results (vs. 60-71)
Imagine you're hearing this message in ancient Israel. How would you react? Well, many rejected Christ because of his words. If we look at John 12:32-34, it tells us that these people wanted to believe, but they also believed that the Messiah would live forever (physically) and so they didn't exactly want to hear that he was going to be "broken." In their minds, this couldn't be the Messiah.
However, not everyone rejected Christ. We know that the twelve disciples stayed with him (67-71). Christ turns to his disciples after many people are walking away from him and asks if they are also going to reject him. And Peter (you gotta love Peter), takes on his self-assigned role as disciple speaker and say that they would always stand by him. This truly identifies those who are willing to follow Christ, even when everything he says sounds crazy or scary.
VIII. Why Men Follow Christ
So, looking at this John this far, we see many reasons why people follow Christ. Look at this list and think about where you fall in. This also helps us understand many of why people were following him.
A. Because of Miracles (7:2)
B. Because of the Multitudes (7:5)
C. Because of the Meal (6:26)
D. Because of the Money (6:70-71)
E. Because He is the Master (6:68-69)