Books of the Book: John

The Bread of Life

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Deyvy Rodriguez & Jon Paulien


Series Code: JBOTB

Program Code: JBOTB00012B

00:01 And welcome back.
00:02 We are studying glimpses of God
00:04 in chapter 6 of the Gospel of John.
00:06 We are with Dr. Jon Paulien.
00:08 And, Dr. Paulien, after Jesus now feeds the 5,000
00:14 He then gives a discourse
00:15 or a sermon of the bread of life.
00:19 Tell us about that. Right.
00:20 Have you been to Galilee? Yeah.
00:22 I have actually. You have.
00:24 So you have seen the Sea of Galilee?
00:25 I've seen it. Yeah.
00:26 Well, if you picture in your mind and maybe our viewers
00:29 who haven't been there, they can picture a lake
00:31 that sort of tear drop shaped and the wider part on the north,
00:35 on the north-east side is where the feeding took place.
00:40 He fed the 5,000.
00:41 Even today, there's not a lot of people who live there.
00:43 It's sort of open land.
00:45 And then they took the boat across the lake
00:47 and its maybe 20 kilometers at the most.
00:50 They took the boat across the lake and landed in Capernaum
00:53 which is on the north-west side of the lake.
00:55 And you've been to the synagogue there, I suspect?
00:58 I think so. I have.
00:59 You know, which is pretty cool to stand in the synagogue.
01:01 And there I love to read some of the stories
01:03 here that happened in that very place.
01:08 So he gives a sermon now in which he illustrates
01:13 the parable of feeding the 5,000.
01:16 You see, it's a story all the gospel writers have it,
01:21 but in John it becomes an acted parable of Jesus
01:26 as the bread of life.
01:28 The bread that they were feeding on was to remind them of Jesus
01:33 and who He really was and what He could do for them.
01:36 This is a rich, rich chapter.
01:38 I wish we could just read through it
01:40 but let me give a little bit of a foundation,
01:43 so that people can get a handle on it.
01:46 It all goes back to Exodus 3:14
01:49 because Jesus uses this phrase I Am
01:54 and in the Greek it's very emphatic, Ego eimi.
01:59 It's really pointing back to Exodus 3:14, could you read it?
02:04 "And God said to Moses, I am who I am.
02:06 And he said, thus you shall say to the children of Israel,
02:10 I Am has sent me to you."
02:12 This is really the name of God.
02:15 As close as you come to a name of God, it's I Am who I Am.
02:19 I Am has sent you.
02:21 And in the Greek this is emphasized,
02:23 I Am could simply be "Eimi" but here it's "Ego Eimi" I Am.
02:29 And so the Greek phrase here evokes more than just,
02:34 well, I am coming over to see you today.
02:37 You know, that's I am but it's very basic.
02:40 In the Gospel of John, Jesus uses I Am in several ways.
02:44 Some of it is just self identification.
02:47 You know, disciples were in the stormy boat and they say,
02:49 "Who's that coming on the water?"
02:51 And He says, "Don't worry, it's Me."
02:53 You know, He says Ego eimi. It's Me, don't worry.
02:56 You know, I am not scary. I am just a guy you know.
03:00 So that's a human level.
03:02 But then he can also use it at a divine level.
03:06 I Am the bread of life.
03:08 I Am the resurrection and the life
03:10 and that points back to the Old Testament.
03:12 I wish we had time to look at some of the texts
03:14 but in the Old Testament God speaks in those terms.
03:19 I Am, you know, water. I Am life to you.
03:24 So that language of I Am is used in relation to other things.
03:28 And in the Gospel of John, Jesus says,
03:30 "I Am the bread, I Am the light,
03:33 I Am the door, I Am the good shepherd,
03:37 I Am the resurrection and the life,
03:39 I Am the way, the truth and the life, I Am the wine."
03:42 You see, all these different ways
03:44 and the idea when you hear that
03:47 it references back to the Old Testament prophets
03:50 where Yahweh, God uses I Am with predicates, you see.
03:57 These kinds of things, these are expressions
04:00 of what God was offering Israel.
04:02 Now Jesus uses these same expressions
04:05 and it's not just a cliche,
04:07 but it's to remind them of the God of the Old Testament.
04:10 Jesus is really claiming He can do for them
04:13 what God of the Old Testament was designed to do.
04:17 But beyond that Jesus even uses--uses without predicate
04:22 which is really stunning and the most remarkable
04:25 of these is John 8:58.
04:30 It's one of those Johanna and misunderstandings,
04:34 where Jesus says something and people don't get it.
04:38 Let's go to verse 56.
04:42 John 8:56, "Your father Abraham rejoiced
04:45 at the thought of seeing my day."
04:47 That's a translator.
04:49 The Greek says, "He rejoiced to see my day.
04:52 He saw it and was glad." What do they think?
04:56 Oh, Jesus is claiming to be what?
04:58 Three thousand years old.
04:59 "Because you are not yet 50 years old,
05:01 the Jews said to Him, and you have seen Abraham?"
05:06 Jesus says, "I tell you the truth,
05:08 before Abraham was, I Am."
05:13 I mean, there He is just nailing Exodus 3:14
05:17 and they of course understood Him.
05:19 They took up stones to stone Him
05:21 and on that occasion He vanishes.
05:23 So He's clearly using this language
05:26 to refer to His divinity.
05:28 And so the I Am statements
05:34 in the Gospel of John point to who Jesus is.
05:38 Now when reading these I Am statements
05:39 or expressions that Jesus, you know, makes for example,
05:43 I am the bread, I am the light of the world,
05:46 I am the door and so on, the way, truth, life and wine.
05:51 It almost is difficult for the reader to say,
05:54 well, what does that mean, you know?
05:57 Okay, so Jesus is the bread but what does it mean to me?
06:00 Jesus is the light, for example in this room
06:03 we have so much light, right now that,
06:06 you know, if Jesus says, "I am the light."
06:08 It would be difficult for me
06:11 or for even anyone to just grasp that meaning,
06:15 that Jesus is the light.
06:17 So help me understand maybe today,
06:21 how can I grasp that spiritual meaning
06:25 and say this is what it means to me?
06:27 Well, using the analogy you just brought up,
06:30 I would say God can get our attention in two ways.
06:33 He can turn up the light
06:36 or He can turn up the darkness, you see.
06:39 Now we are surrounded by bright lights.
06:41 At home, we are surrounded by internet, television,
06:44 all kinds of stuff, distractions,
06:47 you know, life is busy, the office,
06:49 everything is going on at the office.
06:52 The only way God can get through us at such a time
06:55 would be to turn up the light
06:57 and make His presence really dramatic
07:00 or He can turn up the darkness.
07:03 And the way I think of it here, I am the bread of life.
07:06 To understand what that really means
07:09 it might be helpful for somebody not to eat for three days.
07:13 Let's say for whatever reason you couldn't eat for three days
07:17 and you come to a friend's house and there's bread in the oven
07:21 and the bread is just finishing as you walk in the door.
07:24 They are opening the door
07:25 and they are pulling out this fresh bread
07:28 and the aroma at that point, they cut a slice off,
07:31 they put a little butter on it, hot right into your hand.
07:34 You haven't eaten in three days you take a bite of that bread,
07:38 that's what Jesus is all about.
07:41 That's what I mean by turning up the darkness.
07:44 In other words, if you did not experience food for three days,
07:50 you know, they say hunger is the best sauce, you see.
07:54 So when we come to realize how deficient our daily life is.
08:00 When God helps us to focus on that,
08:02 when circumstances cause us to say,
08:04 "Life is really tough."
08:06 It's at moments like that when Jesus becomes precious to us
08:10 or at other times like I said He turns up the light
08:13 and turns up, you know,
08:15 the bread comes in such a form that we can't miss it.
08:18 So those hardship moments,
08:20 those moments of darkness in our lives where we sense,
08:24 we realize our need of that light,
08:29 that hunger that we have.
08:32 We realize because without-- let's say we are filled
08:36 or we have everything then we really don't sense
08:39 or understand what it is to have the light.
08:42 We trust in ourselves.
08:44 We feel like we've got to fix our problems.
08:47 And sometimes our ideas have to shipwreck
08:51 before we are willing to actually take a good look
08:53 of what God has to offer, in Jesus Christ.
08:56 And so the spiritual gospel is telling us,
09:00 you got to take your eyes
09:01 away from the distractions of this world,
09:03 this desire to solve your own problems,
09:06 to fix your own issues and look a little deeper.
09:10 And so when God turns up
09:11 that darkness as you say it is for our advantage.
09:14 That's right. It is for our good.
09:16 And God doesn't even have to turn it up,
09:17 life will do that for us but God can use that darkness
09:21 when it comes to really get our attention
09:24 for who Jesus really is the bread of life,
09:28 the door, the good shepherd, the water, the wine, etcetera.
09:34 We need to learn to see Jesus
09:36 in the ordinary things of everyday
09:38 and that's what John is calling us to do.
09:41 So in the synagogue of Capernaum Jesus is giving this sermon,
09:45 I am the bread of life to show that the light,
09:49 you know, in those days of course bread
09:51 was the primary thing to eat,
09:52 so it meant everything that food meant to them
09:56 but here's the interesting thing,
09:58 when Jesus is done with the sermon,
10:00 look at verse 60, I think it is.
10:05 And we are back in chapter 6.
10:07 Chapter 6. Yeah. John Chapter 6:60.
10:11 "Therefore many of his disciples when they heard it,
10:13 they said, 'This is a hard saying who can understand it?'"
10:17 And that's what I am saying,
10:18 you know, earlier today, how can I understand such,
10:20 you know, I Am the bread and the light and so on.
10:23 They were looking for a messiah
10:25 that would help them politically,
10:27 would help them economically, would help them militarily.
10:31 They were looking for a messiah rooted in this world.
10:36 John is saying, the true life, the abundant life.
10:41 The ultimate life is not grounded in this world.
10:45 It is grounded beyond.
10:47 And that's where the spiritual gospel comes in.
10:51 The interesting thing is at the end of the sermon
10:55 everybody leaves Him.
10:57 We think people are spiritual
11:00 because they have lots of followers,
11:02 because their ministry is big and powerful.
11:07 We think spiritual work must be good
11:08 if it has big numbers, big donations.
11:12 When Jesus really got down to it, everybody left.
11:19 And at the end of this chapter,
11:21 you know, He comes to the disciples
11:23 and says, "Will you leave too?"
11:26 And they said, "Well, we were thinking about it
11:28 but where would we go?
11:30 We don't know where else we would go."
11:32 So it's almost like the disciples stayed
11:33 because they couldn't come up with another option, you see.
11:36 Which in a sense is where we are to,
11:39 when we realize that there is no other option
11:42 then we will turn to Jesus with all our hearts,
11:44 but we love to hang on to our stuff.
11:48 We love to hang on to our options, you see.
11:51 And because of that we don't connect with Jesus
11:56 in a powerful way that John would encourage us to do.
12:00 It's almost like saying we are having you
12:01 Jesus is better than having no one at all.
12:04 Well, having Jesus makes you realize
12:07 that every other option was no one at all, you see.
12:11 And that's why we talked about weddings
12:13 and bringing Jesus into the wedding
12:16 because if we put our spouse ahead of Jesus
12:20 they could be gone tomorrow for a variety of reasons.
12:23 But when Jesus is in that marriage
12:26 it raises it to another level.
12:28 And, Dr. Paulien, I believe that Jesus is searching today
12:32 for people who are in darkness
12:35 and He wants to shed that light into their heart,
12:38 so that they can eventually give their lives to Christ
12:42 and see that indeed they always needed
12:45 that light and that bread.
12:46 Friends, till next time God bless.


Revised 2014-12-17