Classic Christianity – Book of John P20 (11-26-18)
After a Thanksgiving message last several days, Bob George continues teaching from the book of John. In John 6, many were following Jesus to watch him heal the sick. Jesus later miraculously fed over 5000 people with five loaves and two fish, many more followed him. But why did they follow him? In previous lessons, Bob explained from scriptures that Jesus did none of these of these things on his own initiative. For Jesus purpose was much greater than the miracles. The message of eternal life is the message he came to bring, and there was work he had to complete for eternal life to be offered to men.
35 John shone brightly for a while, and you benefited and rejoiced, 36 but I have a greater witness than John. I refer to the miracles I do; these have been assigned me by the Father, and they prove that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father himself has also testified about me, though not appearing to you personally, or speaking to you directly. 38 But you are not listening to him, for you refuse to believe me—the one sent to you with God’s message.
So Jesus, the man from heaven, came with a message from heaven. But men, being of this world, did not recognize the message, even though the miracles Jesus performed testify that he is God. They only thought in terms of the natural world. Indeed, after seeing the miracles, they wanted to make him king by force so Jesus walked away to the mountains alone (John 6:15).
Meanwhile Jesus disciples went on ahead and were caught in a violent storm. As we now from other synoptic gospels, Jesus appeared walking on the water, and calmed the storm. But in John, we read about the response of those who were longing to see Jesus on the other side. But Jesus, knowing all men, what was in a man, told them plainly why they came to see him, only because he fed them the other day.
So then Bob elaborated on this point. Do people still follow Jesus today to get healed, to get fed, for Jesus to do something for them? Do you go to church and ask God to bless your efforts? Do you do good and kind things, and by doing so think they you will force God to bless you? Are you really asking God to accept you because of your righteousness and your doings and ask Him to bow down to you and bless your doings? So are you really asking God to follow you, thinking you are doing find, thinking you are okay?
So then, what did Jesus come to do? Jesus often spoke in natural terms because man, being of this world, can only relate in the natural realm. He did so with illustrations to explain spiritual truth. Jesus said numerous times that he was the bread of life, the true bread from heaven, and the true bread is a person. This was after the people who followed him because of the miracles still stubbornly refused to believe. They would even ask Jesus to show more miracles if he wanted them to believe. This is not a circus act. To believe Jesus is an act of the will. The evidence is already there, in front of them, and already miracles have been performed. It is not more miracles one needs. So what does man need? New spiritual birth! Jesus explains the message quite clearly.
35 Jesus replied, “I am the Bread of Life. No one coming to me will ever be hungry again. Those believing in me will never thirst. 36 But the trouble is, as I have told you before, you haven’t believed even though you have seen me. 37 But some will come to me—those the Father has given me—and I will never, never reject them. 38 For I have come here from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to have my own way. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them to eternal life at the Last Day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that everyone who sees his Son and believes on him should have eternal life—that I should raise him at the Last Day.”
Jesus came to bring eternal life to man, and that is by trusting in who He is, who He claimed to be, and what he came to do. Those who follow Jesus on his day on earth are to follow him to where he is going; to the cross, his death, burial, and resurrection. His death was necessary to pay the price of death for sin man could never pay. The cause of sin is death, and is long as man is under law, each time he sins, he earns death. So unless the law of sin and death is taken away, man is doomed to eternal destruction. And, unless the one who pays the price of death for sin lives forever, then who then will be alive to give life to man? Jesus, being God in the flesh, has no sin of his own, having God’s righteousness in Him, not born in Adam, but the seed of God in him, having eternal life in His name. So, if anyone but looks to him, the work he came to do, forsaking any righteousness of their own, for they have none, being spiritually dead, and looking to Jesus death on cross as a propitiation, complete satisfaction for the wrath of God against all sin, and looks to Him who was raised from the dead, to offer His life as a gift to be received by simple trust, then God has granted Him the right to become a child of God. That is the message Jesus came to bring and accomplish for man.
But who believed the message? Many looked into the face of God, perfect love, and if that was not enough, even seeing His miracles, yet would not believe. The Jews murmured that he claimed to be the bread from Heaven. Is he not the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know, they would ask? They were unable or unwilling to receive a message of the Spirit they do not understand. Jesus continues to explain himself as the person from heaven, the bread of life in natural terms. Jesus makes his appeal to men, still darkened understanding.
47 “How earnestly I tell you this—anyone who believes in me already has eternal life! 48-51 Yes, I am the Bread of Life! When your fathers in the wilderness ate bread from the skies, they all died. But the Bread from heaven gives eternal life to everyone who eats it. I am that Living Bread that came down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread shall live forever; this Bread is my flesh given to redeem humanity.”
52 Then the Jews began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked. “Anyone eating this bread shall live forever; this Bread is my flesh given to redeem humanity”
Again, the Jews murmured, thinking only in the natural realm, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
So too today, people cannot discern spiritual things. Receive Jesus is not talking about taking a wafer or not by drinking something but by the spiritual understanding of the need for a spiritual new birth. Jesus was raised from the dead so the life that raised him from the dead will raise you from the dead spiritually. I do not know how he did it but that he did it to me. So that when I shall die physically, absent from the body, I will be eternally present with the Lord.
What is also noteworthy, even Jesus disciples complained about what he was saying, still devoid of understanding. It is a hard teaching for all men in this natural world, being born spiritually dead in Adam.
60 Even his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. Who can tell what he means?”
61 Jesus knew within himself that his disciples were complaining and said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what will you think if you see me, the Messiah,[f] return to heaven again? 63 Only the Holy Spirit gives eternal life.[g] Those born only once, with physical birth,* will never receive this gift. But now I have told you how to get this true spiritual life. 64 But some of you don’t believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who didn’t believe and knew the one who would betray him.)
65 And he remarked, “That is what I meant when I said that no one can come to me unless the Father attracts him to me.”
We always tend to think in the natural realm. But there is a spiritual realm that men no nothing about. Only the man from heaven came from heaven and only he can explain what is in heaven. Until Jesus was raised from the dead and walked among men, and the Holy Spirit was given, did the disciples understand.
What is the meaning of this “The Spirit give life. The flesh counts for nothing”? What do men of the world think so important, their position and authority, as in the Pharisees, their basic earthly needs of food, clothing, and shelter from the storm. But those are only temporary things of this world, always requiring the next miracle, then next the thrill, and all is vanity as spoken by the prophet in Ecclesiastes. As one gets older, how quickly life goes by. This life n light of eternity is a split second. What do people of the world spend so much time focused on, their body, trying to make their 70 year old face look like a 20 year old, or maintaining their athletic ability and fitness. Some day are body weakens and fades, and will not look so good anymore. All such things are temporary but how inordinate amount of time is spent on thinking on such things. Is there any thought at all on the after-life? Is that not what Jesus was trying to get their minds focused on? This short life, where will you be after this life is over? And, while you are yet alive, do you have true life, the Spirit-life? What is the instruction for us today?
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The words Jesus spoke, and the manner he lived in total dependence of the voice of His Father, who told him what to say and how to say it, are the words of life? They are words of reality not gloom. The reason many do not believe is they think too much in the flesh. And the greatest barrier to truth is pride. Pride is not calling sin what God calls sin. Pride seeks its own righteousness and is not open to correction. God gives grace to the humble, those who recognize their condition in sin. The heart of God is that none should perish but all come to repentance. But will all come to repentance? No. Sadly, Judas Iscariot was full of pride, seeking to make Jesus king by force, manipulating circumstances so as for Jesus to exert hi power at the right time to overthrow the hated Romans. He thought only in the natural realm, to control God to bless his actions. Yet he did have in mind the things of God, and indeed he was a thief and chose to operate in the flesh and therefore failed to come to Christ for HE is and what He came to do, God’s purpose and not his own. Yet to fulfill all prophecy, so God’s purpose would prevail, Jesus was betrayed into the hands of sinners with 30 pieces of silver.
So, do we try to manipulate circumstances to get God’s work done, which more often than not is our will not His. Do we try to manipulate others so as to secure a better position or ministry in the eyes of men? That is contrary to the way of the Spirit. Do you call upon God and ask him what he would want you to do? Jesus did and went to the cross, which at the time not even his disciples understood. Are you willing to do what he asks of you. For those in Christ Jesus, eternal life, the Holy Spirit lives in you to lead and direct you and guide you into all truth. So, be led by the Spirit of God. For those still in darkness, do you recognize your need, not simply of food or clothing or shelter, but of an inner need of total emptiness, a longing in your heart of new life? Do you recognize your shortcomings, that you could never make yourself righteous before God? Do you see your total depravity in sin? Everything that does not come from faith is sin. Come to Christ to meet that need of spiritual life? Only He is able to give you that life? That life is in His Son, Jesus Christ, who died, was buried and rose again.
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