Jesus, the Bread from Heaven
Passage: John 6:25–59
Big Picture: If we come to Jesus and eat the bread he gives us, we will have eternal life. And because Jesus himself is the true manna from heaven, Jesus can speak of the “bread” he gives his people as being his own flesh which he gives for the life of the world.
- Jesus is the one who mediates God's life to us because he himself is God's manna (25-33).
- Jesus mediates God's life to us because Jesus does his Father's will – which is ultimately accomplished on the cross (34-48).
- Eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus (49-58).
- “Eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood” means coming to Jesus and believing in him for eternal life (verse 35)
Some humans are (1) chosen by God, (2) born again, and (3) believe in Jesus:
- God the Father chooses to save some humans (John 17:6–9). That choice is election.
- God gives spiritual life to spiritually dead people (3:3–8). That new birth is regeneration, or, being born again.
- Jesus gives eternal life to those who believe in him (10:28; 17:2; 20:31). That trust or dependence is faith.
How election, regeneration, and faith relate to each other in John’s Gospel (John 1:9–13; 3:3–8; 6:36–40, 44, 63–65; 8:45–47; 10:14–16, 26–29; 12:37–40; 13:18; 15:16, 19; 17:2, 6–9, 20, 24; 20:30–31).
- Unconditional election logically and chronologically precedes faith. Faith is not the basis of election.
- Monergistic regeneration logically precedes and enables faith. Faith is not the basis of regeneration. (Monergism teaches that we are born again by only one working (mono is Greek for “one,” erg is from the Greek word for “work”). Synergism teaches that we are born again by human cooperation with the grace of God (the syn prefix means “with” in Greek). The Protestant Reformers strongly opposed all synergistic understandings of the new birth. They believed that given the spiritual deadness and moral inability of man, our regeneration is owing entirely to the sovereign work of God. We do not cooperate and we do not contribute to our being born again.
- God’s absolute sovereignty regarding election and regeneration is compatible with human responsibility regarding faith.
* This sermon owes much to D.A Carson’s “The Gospel of John” commentary, and some 20-year-old notes I took from a cassette tape of him lecturing on this passage.