The Bread of Life – a sermon on John 6:25-59, read by Br. Andrew le Breton.
It has been said that “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. The truth of that probably depends on how much a man loves his food, and how good a cook his wife is!
The expression illustrates the value we place on food. No doubt most of you had breakfast this morning – unless you slept in and had to miss it to get here on time. When you go home this morning you will have lunch. And after church this afternoon you will have dinner. Food is important to us. We need it. It gives us energy and sustains our lives.
We appreciate food if it tastes good, and we are also glad if we can get good value for money, or even a free lunch! John 6 begins by describing the free lunch that Jesus had provided for a large crowd of people. He kept on dividing five small barley loaves and two small fish, a young boy’s packet lunch, and eventually he fed a crowd of 5000. The next day that crowd came looking for another feed! (vs 26).
Jesus used this as an opportunity to speak to them about how he was the bread of life and how they could have eternal life if they believed in him. This is the theme we will explore today.
Before we do so that let’s notice how John has arranged his gospel. He has structured it so that the miracles of Jesus are connected with conversations or talks Jesus had. Earlier in chapter 6 we read about the feeding of the 5000. Then here we read this statement of Jesus about him being the bread of life.
In this respect this gospel is quite different from the other three. Someone has said that Matthew, Mark and Luke write like kayakers on a fast flowing river. Their stories move quickly and you know where they are going. John’s writing is more like a man paddling a canoe on a quiet lake; he is not in any hurry; he will stop to explore an inlet, or pause to study the rock formations on the shoreline.
John recorded these conversations of Jesus to explore certain subjects, like this one – Jesus as the bread of life. The style is leisurely, thoughtful, meditative. As he recorded the words of Jesus he looked at this subject from various angles, like a jeweler examining a diamond, turning it this way and that. What he says seems simple when you first read it, but the more you study it the more you realise how deep and profound it is.