THE BREAD OF HEAVEN WILL ONLY BE RECEIVED BY HEARTS PREPARED BY GOD THE FATHER
cf. Parable of the Soils from Luke 8; looking for that good soil
I. (:41-51) STUBBORN HEARTS STUMBLE OVER THE UNIQUE CLAIM OF CHRIST TO BE THE LIVING BREAD = THE ONLY SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL LIFE
A. (:41-43) Stubborn Hearts Breed Grumbling Mouths
1. (:41) Self Righteousness Breeds Spiritual Blindness
“The Jews Therefore were grumbling about Him, because He said, ‘I am the bread that came down out of heaven.’”
Cannot See Beyond the Physical — No Comprehension of Bread from Heaven
This is not the type of soil conducive to receiving the seed of the gospel message. Murmuring and grumbling and arguing are never the channel to receiving God’s truth.
2. (:42) Familiarity Breeds Contempt – No Comprehension of Spiritual Relationships
“And they were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, I have come down out of heaven?’”
3. (:43) Grumbling Breeds Rebuke
“Do not grumble among yourselves”
You are not accomplishing anything; you are not going to arrive at spiritual truth apart from divine revelation and illumination.
B. (:44-47) Prepared Hearts Breed Saving Faith
1. (:44) Effectual Calling / Drawing
“No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Pink: The condition of the natural man is altogether beyond human repair. To talk about exerting the will is to ignore the state of the man behind the will. Man’s will has not escaped the general wreckage of his nature. When man fell, every part of his being was affected. Just as truly as the sinner’s heart is estranged from God and his understanding darkened, so is his will enslaved by sin. To predicate the freedom of the will is to deny that man is totally depraved. To say that man has the power within himself to either reject or accept Christ, is to repudiate the fact that he is the captive of the Devil. It is to say there is at least one good thing in the flesh. It is to flatly contradict this word of the Son of God—”No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” . . .
As said above, the unregenerate sinner is so depraved that with an unchanged heart and mind he will never come to Christ. And the change which is absolutely essential is one which God alone can produce. It is, therefore, by Divine “drawing” that any one comes to Christ. What is this “drawing”? We answer, It is the power of the Holy Spirit overcoming the self-righteousness of the sinner, and convicting him of his lost condition. It is the Holy Spirit awakening within him a sense of need. It is the power of the Holy Spirit overcoming the pride of the natural man, so that he is ready to come to Christ as an empty-handed beggar. It is the Holy Spirit creating within him an hunger for the bread of life.
2. (:45) Effectual Teaching
“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.”
3. (:46) Unique Messenger / Revealer / Mediator
“Not that any man has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.”
Jesus alone can claim intrinsic intimacy with the Father.
4. (:47) Effectual Saving Faith
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”
C. (:48-51) Heavenly Bread Breeds Spiritual Life
1. (:48) Identification of the Bread of Life
“I am the bread of life”
2. (:49-50) Superiority of the Bread of Life
“Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.”
3. (:51) Connection Between Resurrection and Atonement
a. Identification Repeated
“I am the living bread”
b. Heavenly Source Reiterated
“that came down out of heaven”
c. Universal Offer – Faith Guarantees Resurrection
“if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever”
d. Necessity of Atonement
“and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
II. (:52-59) BELIEVING HEARTS SIMPLY FEED ON THIS LIVING BREAD AND RECEIVE THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE
A. (:52) Spiritual Symbolism Frustrates Human Reason
“The Jews therefore began to argue with one another, saying, ‘How can this man give us His flesh to eat?’”
B. (:53-58) Partaking of Christ Essential for Spiritual Life
1. (:53) Theme Stated: Partaking of Christ Essential for Spiritual Life
“unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves”
2. (:54) Partaking of Christ Guarantees Eternal Life and Ultimate Resurrection
“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
3. (:55) Essence of True Spiritual Food = Connection with His Atonement
“For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.”
Stedman: This (drinking blood) was most offensive to Jews because they had been taught all through the centuries that God did not want flesh in which there remained any blood. The word “kosher” means to cleanse; and it particularly refers to the preparation of meat. The Jews cannot eat any meat that has not had all the blood drained from it. In Israel last year I visited a factory where chickens were killed and canned for food for the Israelis. Every one of those chickens, thousands every day, had to be killed and its blood drained by a rabbi, otherwise it could not be sold on the Israeli market. Thus the thought of drinking blood was most offensive to these Jews.
– Nothing else can satisfy
– Nothing else can give life
4. (:56) Partaking of Christ Constitutes Abiding Relationship
“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”
Stedman: The most intimate physical act is sex, which is a way of sharing life together. Sex has been accurately described as “the urge to merge.” That is what happens physically, but it also happens psychologically. Friendship is a form of sexuality, or intimacy. When you are with a friend, what do you do? You tell your friend what you have been doing, and ask what he or she has been doing; you share your secrets. That is the urge to merge at the psychological level.
When we think about the greatness, the glory, and the wonder of God, what do we want? True worship is the desire to merge with God, for him to possess us and we to possess him. That is what Jesus says happens when we eat and drink his life. When we come and believe in him, and keep coming and keep believing in him, we grow into an intimate relationship with God.
5. (:57) Theme Repeated: Partaking of Christ Essential for Spiritual Life
“As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.”
6. (:58) Contrast between OT Manna and True Bread of Heaven
“This is the bread which the fathers ate, and died, he who eats this bread shall live forever.”
C. (:59) Synagogue Setting
“These things He said in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum”