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Selfish Christianity
Jesus, the Bread of Life
22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the far shore saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them. 23 Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten. 24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him. 25 They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man* can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
Since he fed the 5,000 from just a little bread and fish, Jesus is hounded by crowds wherever he goes. They are drawn by the promise of food and the prospect of miracles.
Jesus tries to explain that the bread is merely a sign. The ‘true bread from heaven’ is the eternal life that God gives.
In the old days, God gave the Israelites manna from heaven. It was a daily miracle, but the food didn’t last and the people eventually died. Now Jesus declares, ‘I am the bread of life’ (6:35). Those who believe in him will never be spiritually hungry and will have eternal life.
Jesus shocks his hearers by explaining, ‘This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’ In the other Gospels this teaching comes at the Last Supper, when Jesus breaks bread and pours wine with his disciples ().
The church sees a special significance in Jesus feeding the multitude and breaking bread at his last meal. He is showing his followers, in the bread, how he gives his life for them and how they can have his life within them.
Christians continue to share the life of Jesus, by eating bread and drinking wine at the Eucharist or Holy Communion. Jesus describes the bread and wine as the spiritual food of his own body and blood. John completely identifies the food with its meaning and effect: it is the eternal life of Jesus within those who believe. Jesus is the real bread from heaven which gives life for ever.
Some of those who hear Jesus are disgusted. They think he is describing some kind of cannibalism. Like the Samaritan woman, they take Jesus literally. She thought that if Jesus was ‘living water’ she need never come to the well again. These critics want a ready supply of food for their stomachs—not a costly commitment to the broken and shared life of Christ.
People—vv. 21–24. The people constantly sought Jesus. Some for personal gain, OTHERS WERE HUNGRY FOR HIM.
Pleasure—vv. 25–27. Some were seeking self-enjoyment.
Expository Outlines on the Gospel of John 13. The Bread of Life (John 6:1–36)

People—vv. 21–24. The people constantly sought Jesus. Some for personal gain, OTHERS WERE HUNGRY FOR HIM.

F. Pleasure—vv. 25–27. Some were seeking self-enjoyment.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Which interests you more--who Jesus is or what He can do for you? I’m afraid that too many of us are more concerned about what He can give us than we are about getting to know who He is.
But this is nothing new--Jesus had this problem when He walked on earth. The crowds often sought Him out for what He could do for them. Even though their needs were quite often legitimate, Christ knew their motives.
There is a fine line between selfishly trying to use the Lord to get what we want and humbly coming to Him with our needs and struggles. Some of the issues we bring to Him are so pressing and urgent in our minds that our desire for Him to take action in the way we want becomes greater than our willingness to submit to His will. At times, what we call “faith” is really a demanding spirit.
We must remember that our needs will come to an end, but Jesus Christ will remain forever. If our prayers have dealt only with presenting our requests to the Lord, we’ve missed a great opportunity to get to know the One with whom we’ll spend eternity. Let’s invest time in pursuing intimacy with Christ. Then we can enjoy the benefits of that relationship forever.
How much of your communion with God is devoted to your needs--even legitimate ones? Are you spending any time getting to know the Lord? Although God delights in our prayers and tells us to pray about everything, He also wants us to come to Him just because we enjoy being with Him.
This is a stressful process. The creation is groaning with pain and frustration. We, living in the old creation but part of the new, are groaning with longing for release. The Spirit within us—a Holy Spirit in a sinful nature—is groaning with prayer that God’s will be done.
But God is winning. He is reversing the effects of the fall, and recreating his creation. He is transforming us from sinners into his children. If we doubt his commitment, then look again at the love he has already shown us by sending his only Son to die for us. He will surely finish what he has started.
Yes, we are stressed. We are living for God in a world which has rejected him. We share the suffering of Christ. But there is no power in earth or heaven which can stop God loving us now. Every dimension of creation—life and death, the invisible powers of the supernatural and everything that exists in time and space—is subject to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
The gospel message is that Jesus Christ died for all people. He died to pay for our sin, so that we can be released into a new life with God. When we accept his death for us, our own old life can die. We die to our self-centred life and rise to the free, loving, God-centred life of Christ.
Because Jesus died and rose for all people, Paul sees everyone in a new light. Everyone can have this new life! God has made this possible at the utmost cost to himself. He gave his own Son to make peace with humanity. Jesus accepted God’s anger at human sin, and absorbed all its pain and penalty in his death on the cross.
Paul is not a scruffy pedlar, making money by selling secrets. He is an ambassador of Jesus Christ. He openly declares the terms by which God offers peace to all humankind. On behalf of Christ, he appeals to all people to accept. Jesus took on our sin, so that we can put on his righteousness.
The best time to accept what Christ has done for us is now! This is our moment to receive God’s grace. God is giving us a window of opportunity between the death and resurrection of Jesus and the Judgment Day to come.
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