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I Am The Bread of Life (Dale Offutt)

by

Dale Offutt

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

     Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This particular study is a part of  a series from the New Testament entitled, “The I Ams of Jesus.” Of course, throughout the Bible our Lord makes several claims with the expression, “I am.”  However, these of our series will include only the seven I ams which prove his deity as well as offer guidance for one’s salvation in very plain and simple terms.

The first I am is I am the bread of life. Will you share with us as we read from the gospel of John?  We shall be reading from John six. We shall read verses one through 14.

After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they beheld the signs which he did on them that were sick.  And Jesus went up into the mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 

     Now the passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.  Jesus therefore lifting up his eyes, and seeing that a great multitude cometh unto him, saith unto Philip, “Whence are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.  Philip answered him, “Two hundred shillings’ worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, “There is a lad here, who hath five barley loaves, and two fishes: but what are these among so many?”  Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.”

     Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.  Jesus therefore took the loaves; and having given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down; likewise also of the fishes as much as they would.  And when they were filled, he saith unto his disciples, “Gather up the broken pieces which remain over, that nothing be lost.”

     So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which remained over unto them that had eaten.   When therefore the people saw the sign which he did, they said, This is of a truth the prophet that cometh into the world.

Now the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 was performed with a definite purpose. You see, Jesus wanted to tell people of his day and people who would follow down through the centuries that if we put our trust in him, there will be eternal life. Jesus gives satisfaction and joy for this life and the life to come.  There is a definite need for the bread of life because of the hunger of one’s soul.

Just think for a moment.  Our physical body depends upon food for life or health and strength. Our appetite tells us that our body needs food. When the hunger is satisfied, our appetite leaves us.  The body adapts to the supply and necessity for physical nourishment. This analogy offers us a lesson for this spiritual man. Our spiritual man or our inner being grows weak. This would be our soul expressing a hunger for something to sustain it. Very often one will feel a strong desire or a real craving that simply will not go away.  We soon learn that the highest good or provisions from God are only the provisions which will satisfy. We soon realize that no earthly provision will appease or satisfy our hungry soul. My friends, let us be thankful for a spiritual appetite. This is a sign that our spiritual health is being nourished and maintained by God and his resources, the Bible, prayer, and the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us into all the truth even to the bread of life.

Now we sadly admit that at times our spiritual appetite is deadened by carnal or sinful living. Yet the child of God can have his spiritual appetite refreshed by repenting and turning to the Lord for forgiveness.   A story has been told about a man who wrote a true story about his doctor friend. His doctor friend had been saved for several years. He was in charge of an American hospital in Beirut. A Syrian friend came to him with an unusual complaint. He had been attacked by the enemy.  And to save 26 pieces of gold he swallowed all 26 pieces which was his life’s savings.   Now the money weighted his stomach down so that his whole digestive system was out of order.  He could not eat food of any kind. He was one weak and sick person.  The doctor was a bit skeptical, but an x-ray proved that the story told by the Syrian friend was true. A surgeon performed surgery and removed the 26 gold pieces. The problem was solved for this poor, suffering and hungry man.

Now this little story could well indicate how one’s spiritual condition could be. If one is so concerned about the riches of this world and tries to horde or keep wealth apart from spiritual needs and for the glory of God, one in such a condition is really starving in a spiritual sense. He or she is, indeed, hungry and is in need of the bread of life.  Jesus said in no uncertain terms that a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth, Luke 12 verse 15.

All mankind needs the Lord Jesus as Savior. Then and only then when one is truly surrendered to Christ will he discover that Jesus really does satisfy and he is the bread of life.    We do not have eyes to see inside our hearts.  But the Holy Spirit reveals to us how empty it can be. Our hearts often cry for help because of the famished souls. Oh, we, like David the psalmist, often cry out to God, “Have mercy on me.” Yes, even Christians when they leave the Lord, when they go astray they know the terrible experience of an empty heart and a famished soul.

We all do well to echo the words of a hymn writer who penned these words.   “Break thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me.  I seek thee, Lord, my spirit pants for thee, oh living Word.”  May God help us to appreciate the Word of God more and more as we see the need for the bread of life. For in the Word do we find the nourishment through Jesus Christ himself. The Word of God offers proper spiritual food for a spiritual appetite.  Only as we are diligent in the reading and study of the Word of God do we find satisfaction for a famished soul. My friends, divine provisions, not things of this world, will satisfy.  Only the bread of life, even Jesus himself, will satisfy.

A young man lay on his bed in the hospital. He was visited by a servant of God who after visiting with him for a while discovered that he needed to have the bread of life to meet his needs even more than even physical or medical provisions. He began to share the good news of Jesus with this young man.  Just a few days later this young man accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. He repented of his sinful life and was baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Oh the difference in this young man. When the visiting Christian returned, he said even his countenance had changed. He had a glowing face and a new found joy.  Why the change?  Because he partook of the bread of life.  Oh, yes, he had salvation which brings the spiritual nourishment and always results in peace and the joy of the Lord. The young  man said to his Christian friend, and we quote, “I always knew Jesus was necessary, but I never knew until now that he is enough,” end of quote.  What a wonderful testimony for the bread of life, even Jesus Christ.

Since Jesus offered himself as the bread of life to the world, there have been only two responses made, one being rejection and the other being acceptance.   We saw earlier in our message about the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5000 people. And as we noted his main goal or ultimate purpose was to show the world how he provides salvation and eternal satisfaction for this life and for the life to come. Now in this same chapter of the gospel of John, we must notice the response of some of the Jews who heard Jesus speak with reference to not only the physical needs of their life, but he spoke on the need for eternal and spiritual needs to be med by partaking of the bread of life from heaven.

Share with us as we read from the gospel of John again from chapter six verses 41 through 50.  The Jews therefore murmured concerning him, because he said, I am the bread which came down out of heaven. And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how doth he now say, I am come down out of heaven?” Jesus answered and said unto them, “Murmur not among yourselves.  No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day.  It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me.  Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he that is from God, he hath seen the Father.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth hath eternal life.  I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which cometh down out of heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

     Well, my friends, for the most part, his audience judged things by human values and by external standards. Their reaction to the claim of Jesus to be the bread of life was one of rejection. Of course they knew that he was a carpenter’s son and many of them had seen him grow up in Nazareth. They just could not understand how one who was a carpenter and a tradesman and who came from a poor family could possibly be the bread of life.  so they rejected Jesus.

Yes, they tested him by human assessments and by social values and the world’s standards, but many people respond to Jesus, the bread of life, the same way today. Le us always remember it really does not matter so much what we think, but what God thinks and what he says.

 

The Jews listened, but they did not learn.  My friends, let us learn from the teaching of Jesus. Oh, it is so very important that we listen and learn from him.   The Church of our Lord worldwide has made this discovery and, by the grace of God we realize that the bread of life is needed not only when we respond to the gospel call and obey our Lord for salvation, but day by day we are so dependent upon Jesus Christ the bread of life. He is our Savior and he is our Lord.

Do you know this Jesus of whom we speak as your Savior and Lord this day?  Do you know him as the true bread of life?  If so, you can echo the words of the psalmist who declared even centuries ago about our God the one who opens his hand and satisfieth the desires of every living thing.  Psalm 145 verse 16.

Yes, we can know one who not only provides our needs for this life, both the physical and spiritual, but he guarantees satisfaction for all eternity. Oh, such a guarantee is made by Jesus who speaks to the whole world saying, “I am the bread of life.”

 

                       Dale Offutt is the retired minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, Indiana

 




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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10