Jesus, The Bread of Life - John 6:22-40

Expositions by H. A. Wilson

Taken from Grace and Truth Magazine 1923


Memory Verse — John 6:37

The next day after Jesus had fed the multitude with the loaves and fishes they sought for Him on the other side of the sea. When they had found Him they asked Him when He came there. Jesus did not answer the question of their lips, but He did answer the question of their hearts. In their hearts they were doubtless wondering if they could not persuade Him to feed them again, by working another miracle. And Jesus answered this unspoken question by rebuking their materialism, and by interpreting the miracle. The multitude had seen only the food which went into their mouths. Perhaps they marvelled at the power which Jesus displayed in multiplying the loaves and fishes, but they were chiefly concerned about the material food, and they let that material satisfaction which they, had received blind them to the real purpose for which the miracle was wrought. Jesus rebuked this unbelieving materialism, and showed them that the loaves and fishes merely spoke of the food God had provided for the soul. From the material bread He pointed to the Bread of Life. The meaning of the miracle, and the materialism of the multitude are the outstanding facts of this lesson. The meaning of the miracle is shown in three facts, and the materialism of the multitude is seen in their attitude toward these three facts. Matt. 16:26.


John 6:22-29.

The bread of life is given in grace. Jesus definitely said, "The Son of Man shall give unto you" this bread (vs. 27). God does not use words loosely, and when He says He will give anything. He means exactly what He says. A gift does not cost the one who receives it even the least price. It is given freely. It is conditioned only on acceptance. So it is with God's gift of life. He gives men eternal life without price. It is a manifestation of His grace. It is free. It costs men nothing. As the multitude ate of the loaves ;mu1 fishes without cost to them, and without worthiness being pre-requisite, so God wants men to eat of the Bread of Life. The same Hand which fed the multitude b\- the sea is stretched out to feed the hungry souls of men. Rom. 6:23, Rev. 22:17, Eph. 2:8-9.

Though Jesus seems to say that men must work to receive the Bread of Life, that is not the case. He carefully defines the "labor" which is necessary to receive this Bread. He says, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He both sent" (vs. 29). The only thing God requires is that men shall believe, that they shall receive His provision in faith. He requires the same kind of faith in Jesus as is manifested when one receives the food for the body. One must receive Him by faith. This is the only condition on which men may receive God's provision of life.

The multitude stumbled because of the very graciousness of the offer. They wanted to work, but when Jesus told them that the only work which was acceptable to (rod was simple faith, they could not accept that fact. They asked, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" (vs. 28). This is the cry of mankind the world over. Men are seeking to do some great works, but will not believe. If salvation were to be obtained through mighty works, men would flock to perform those works, for they would receive some measure of glory and praise because of the very greatness of their works, but when the Word of God declares that salvation is not of works "lest any man should boast," men turn away. They are not willing to admit that they are without merit. They are not willing to suffer the humiliation of admitting that they are hell-deserving sinners. They are not willing that God shall have all the glory which comes through their salvation. But God has ordained that the works of men shall have nothing to do with their salvation, and all who will be saved must humble themselves to the place where they will admit their unworthiness, and receive His gift of eternal life through simply trusting Jesus. Eph. 2:8-9, I Cor. 1:27-31.


John 6:30-33.

The Bread of Life is sent down from heaven. It is given by the hand of God. It can come from no other source. How clearly this reveals the natural helplessness and hopelessness of men. A clear illustration of this fact is seen in the manna, to which the Jews refer in these verses. Israel was in the wilderness. On every hand stretched the sandy wastes of the desert. No vegetation, or food fit for human consumption could be found anywhere. Seed planted in the ground would only wither from the burning heat. Truly the Israelites were in the place of need. And in the extremity of those days God's grace was marvelously manifested. He sent food from heaven. When the Jews arose the next morning this food covered the ground. They had seen nothing to compare with it, and one question was on the lips of everyone, "Manna?" This means literally, "What is it?" No answer could be given, so the name of this heavenly food became "Manna." It was bread from heaven. The helplessness of the Children of Israel is a picture of the spiritual helplessness of all men. No human artifice could have availed to provide food for that vast throng. The hand of God alone could do this. But His power was sufficient. His grace was sufficient. He provided for their need and He has provided for our need as well. Eternal life cannot be received through any human effort. It cannot come from any human source. It must come from God. So, because He loved the world with an infinite love, "God gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (Jno. 3:16). Eph. 1:4-7; Ex. 16:11-15; II Tim. 1:9.

The multitude ignored the message of grace and demanded a "sign." Their eyes were still on the loaves and fishes. What greater sign could they ask than that already given? The very basis of their appeal was a miracle no greater than that Jesus had wrought, for they appealed on the basis of God's provision of manna. Jesus had manifested the same power and the same grace in multiplying the loaves and fishes. But the multitude still asked for a "sign." They did not believe when they saw the miracle which He did, and no number of further signs would have convinced them. Like that materialistic and hypocritical multitude men are insisting on "signs" today. The multitudes which ignore or scoff at the faithful proclamation of the Gospel of God's grace will throng about a wonder-worker, or "healer" regardless of how false the message of such an one may be (Rev. 13:3-15, I Cor. 1 :22) . Greater than any signs or wonders in the physical realm are the unsearchable riches of Christ. The truth of this statement may be better realized when we consider,


John 3:33-38

The one who receives the Bread of Life receives eternal life. "He that hath the Son of God hath life" (I Jno. 5:12). Jesus is the bread of life, and He it is Who gives life to the world. The most unworthy man in the multitude might freely partake of the loaves and fishes, and so the most sinful and unworthy man may freely partake of Jesus, if he will. Without receiving Jesus man must be lost, indeed is lost. But the one who simply trusts Him is saved forever. He is born again. He is a child of God. He has God's life imparted to him. He has eternal life. If it be necessary for men to eat food in order that their bodies may live, how much more necessary is it for them to feed on the Bread of Life in order that their souls may live. Heb. 5 :9, Jno. 3 :i8.

The one who receives the Bread of Life receives eternal satisfaction. "He that cometh to me shall never hunger and he that believeth on me shall never thirst," were Jesus' words (vs. 35). No tongue can describe the joy and peace and satisfaction which comes to the soul which is assured of having all sins forgiven, and eternal life bestowed. No pen can describe the joy of fellowship with the One "Who loved us and gave Himself for us." No brush can paint the beauties and excellencies of His person as He appears to His children. These joys are reserved for His children and shall endure through eternity. We can only say with another, "O, taste and see that the Lord is good!" (Ps. 34:8). Rom. 5:1-2, Rom. 15:13, I Pet. 1:3-8.

The one who receives the Bread of Life receives eternal security. The instant a soul trusts Jesus that soul is saved, and has God's blood-sealed guarantee that he shall never perish — that he shall never again become an outcast from God's presence.
The soul that trusts Jesus can never be lost. It is impossible for a believer in Him to "lose his salvation." The salvation of the believer is as complete as the finished work of Jesus on the cross. It is as sure as God's unfailing Word. He hath declared, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out" (vs. 37). John 10:28, John 5:24.