The I Am Saying of Jesus | 1

Text: John 6:25-59

Over the next few days, we will examine seven saying of Jesus. Taken together they have commonly been referred to as the “I am” saying of Jesus. At one point in Jesus’ ministry at Caesarea Philippi (Mark 8:27-29) Jesus asked his disciples – “who do you say I am.” They gave their answer. But in these seven “I am” sayings Jesus speaks for himself and tells us who he is and what he came to do. There are two Greek words which mean “I am.” There is ego from which we get our English word ego which refers to personality or identity. Then there is the word eimi. Jesus could have said, ego the bread of life or he could have said, eimi, the bread of life. But he does not. He uses both. If we read vrs 35 literally it would read, ego eimi (I am I am) the bread of life.” It is emphatic. This is extremely rare in Greek. The most important place where this occurs is in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew bible). In Exodus 3 when God gives Moses his divine name “I am that I am” it is translated ego eimi. When Jesus uses these words (ego eimi) in the seven I am sayings he wants us to draw the conclusion that he is God.

I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE
If we went to China and asked the poorest communities what was their staple diet they would reply “rice.” If we went into rural South Africa and asked people what was their staple food they would say “mealie meal.” What would happen to our food if there was a catastrophic drought or ravaging flood? The prices would go up and people would not be able to afford their staple food which sustains them, and they would starve. Jesus describes himself as the bread of life. Without him you perish.

  1. WHERE IS TRUE LIFE FOUND – The answer is found in vrs 25-35. The day before they had seen Jesus miraculously feed 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. The people had seen the sign but they did not see what it signified. In vrs 32 Jesus says, I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. This piques the people’s interest, Sir they said, from now on give us this bread. Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life, He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. Again he says in vrs 48, 49; I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. Jesus’ logic is irrefutable. The manna that fell in the desert perished quickly as did the people who ate it. Its real purpose was to point to Jesus as the real manna, the real bread from heaven. This bread never perishes and those who eat it last forever.
  2. HOW IS TRUE LIFE PROVIDED – Jesus gives his answer to this question in vrs 48-51; I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. These words are of course not literal but figurative – in the same way when Jesus says, “I am the gate” and “I am the vine.” What then does Jesus mean when he says this bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. We live in an industrialized society and so we find it a little harder to grasp Jesus’ meaning. However, the initial hearers were part of an agrarian society. Farmers know that if we are to eat then something must die. If we are to eat a hamburger a cow must die. If we are to eat bread, then stalks of grain must die. If it does not die, then you die. It is either your life or the foods life. For us to be granted eternal life cost Christ his life. This verse looks forward to Calvary. How can we obey vrs 54? Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day. How can we do that? How can I eat and drink? Put this verse alongside vrs 40. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day. How do you eat Christ’s flesh and drink his blood? Through looking to the Son and believing on him as the bread of God.