John 6:24-35

When we hear the story of Jesus saying that he is the bread of life, the first reaction is to think of freshly baked bread, still warm, but with a crunchy crust and soft and fresh in the middle, the smell is unique but inviting.  Because of that reaction the bread can become the focus for us.  Then when we were looking at choosing songs for the service they all seemed to relate to bread, so I want to start with an image of bread for you too.

Now there’s more to this loaf than meets the eye.  So we are going to look at it a little more closely.  We pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread”, but even if we don’t ask, God still give us the food that we need and everything we need for this life.  Human instinct is to focus on what we need to survive.  The three basic necessities of life according to many sources including humanitarian organisations are, food, clothing and shelter, and food usually comes first.

We heard last week the account of Jesus feeding the 5000.  That large crowd’s immediate need was for food.  We are not that different really are we?  We are hungry and thirsty and we want it now.  We want the quick fix, and marketers play on that.  As you will see in the ‘Prezi’, the marketers in the Oak commercial play on our desire for a quick fix and give us something that will “Kill hungrythirsty dead”. 
The people that had climbed into their boats and followed Jesus to the other side of the lake were remembering him feeding all of those people and now they wanted more from him.  These people were ‘Hungry-thirsty”.  Just like the woman at the well earlier in John’s gospel, they want what Jesus is offering but they don’t quite understand it.  Jesus said to the woman, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The people who followed Jesus across the lake were after the bread to satisfy their hunger, they wanted it now, but also to have Jesus provide for their every need for the rest of their lives.  They really wanted to be set for life.  Jesus had them worked out, he told them, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”
Are we so different from these people, do we look for the quick fix to all of our problems too?  I think we’ve all dreamed of striking it rich with Tattslotto, “oh wouldn’t it be great, if only!”  All of our worries would be solved…or would they?  It’s a proven fact that many of the people who win huge jackpots wind up blowing it all.  Apparently there’s even a TV show that depicts that very thing happening.
The people at the lake had seen Jesus, “Strike it big,” and turn the loaves and the fish into enough food for the 5000 plus people; they wanted a piece of the action again.  But was that what they really needed?  Jesus had something better for them but they simply didn’t understand.
Have any of you ever had children come into the kitchen or pantry cupboard and open the doors and stare inside and say in a whiney voice, “What can I eat?”  Then the usual answer from the conscientious parent might be, why don’t you make yourself a sandwich there’s bread there”.  But they usually say “YUK! Can’t I have some chips or biscuits or lollies?”  They want things that are sweet, give them a quick sugar rush and make them feel full as quickly as possible, they rarely want what is healthy and right for them to eat.
In our lives are we searching for the right thing?  What do we seek?  Success, wealth, comfort, physical desires?  The answer Jesus gave the crowd that followed him was unexpected, the food he has for them is the kind that fills the bellies and satisfies earthly desires, it’s not a perishable food but food that endures, that gives life to the world.
Of course they wanted to know what they had to do to get it, and Jesus answer, just believe!  They didn’t have to DO anything, belief comes from God already, it is a gift given to them.  They wanted Jesus to give them another sign so that they could believe. They described the sign that Moses did when the manna came down from heaven each night, coaxing him to show them something equally miraculous. But he had already done many signs to prove to them that he had the power over all things, and they still wouldn’t believe.
Jesus explained that it wasn’t Moses who gave them the bread from heaven; it was in fact the Father who gives the true bread from heaven.  They wanted that bread, and Jesus explained to them, “I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.  But they still didn’t get the metaphor.
Perhaps we get the metaphor?  Or do we still struggle, are we too looking for the wrong kind of bread, do we have the bread and not recognise it?  I think so sometimes.  The bread of life that we eat is given and shed for us for the forgiveness of our sins, the body and blood of Christ.  Here’s what the bread from heaven looks like for us.  It is the body of Christ hidden in with and under this tiny little wafer.  It’s not filling, it’s not meant to be, because it isn’t the physical bread that nourishes us it is the spiritual bread, the son of God that fills us and sustains us and forgives us.
The cross that is embossed on that wafer reminds us of the cross that Jesus died on, the sacrifice he made for us. In his suffering and death we gained new life, and we were given that new life through our baptism.  Our baptism was a gift given to us as we were made children of God through water and the Word, just like Georgia was this morning, at the font, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is the living bread from heaven, the one that we should seek as he seeks us, calls us by name and invites us to continue to receive all that we need for this life and the next.
Seek not the things of this world but the incredible, indescribable and amazing things of the kingdom of God, given to us by God, for our benefit and blessing.  You no longer need to be :HungryThirsty, he has killed hungrythirsty dead, you are satisfied.
So don’t focus on the earthly things, but seek the spiritual nourishment that only God can give.