I meet with some men on Sunday mornings. There we have been reading short portions of the book of John and talk about what we just read, as we attempt to integrate it into our lives. For several months it has been a time of building relationships with the guys as I am the relatively new one. I had really been enjoying myself, interjecting occasionally. But for several weeks we have had a full blown bible scholar coming. He corrects us, throws in his opinion, and goes on incessantly for 30+ minutes stretches. Our leader asked us all to read the portion I made notes on and then come back and talk about it as it has affected him deeply.
Keep in mind that John wrote to show us that Jesus was God, and the Jews understood perfectly what he was saying.
Keep in mind that John wrote to show us that Jesus was God, and the Jews understood perfectly what he was saying.
John 6:28 NASB Therefore they said to Him,
"What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?"
Seems like a reasonable question.
Jesus responded with,
John 6:29 KJV “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
They wanted to do stuff, put on a good show, and there was probably an underlying idea about monetary profit. It wasn't about the show. The work, as you call it, is to believe on me, the one God sent.
Him in verse 29 is referring to Jesus; he is referring to God to who sent his son.
Defensive, perhaps caught in their deceptive ways, they respond, “What sign do you show then, so that we may see and believe you?” “What do you work?” John 6:30 MKJV
They have not stopped talking. Usually when you fling out a question at someone you wait for an answer, unless you're attempting to divert attention off yourself.
Our fathers ate the manna in the desert, as it is written, "He gave them bread from Heaven to eat."
John 6:31 MKJV
They are justifying their actions and responses. If we are whining at God to give us a sign, well, manna in the desert was certainly a sign, but that was then and this is now.
Flinging scripture at the Messiah is not going to sway him, but then they are refusing to acknowledge that he is the messiah.
When they said he gave us manna in the desert to eat, sounds good. It also sounds like they are referring to God as the he, but they are talking to the one that knows the secrets of the heart. Now watch his response.
Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Moses did not give you that bread from Heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from Heaven.
(John 6:32 MKJV)
Truly, truly – the words are Amen, amen. It is an absolute. I am to understand that to repeat it like this is to drive the point home. There are no exceptions.
Again their response sounded reasonable to my English-speaking ears. As I said, the Word knows the thoughts and intents of the heart and discerns what is the mind of the spirit. Jesus read their intent and went straight for the heart. Moses did not give them the bread (manna). People will say that Jesus claimed to be God and yet right is one of those statements in which he states his son-ship. “My Father gives you the true bread from Heaven.”
"For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."
(John 6:33 NASB)
the bread of God is:
- that which comes down out of heaven,Jesus came down from Heaven. This would not have been a new revelation to them. Based upon their understanding of scripture they new not only when, where, and how Jesus would perform, in their midst. He was standing right there. They knew he opened blind eyes, they knew he healed.The manna also came down from heaven, and it gave life, but the life was temporary.
- “and gives life to the world.”The manna was only for the Jews. It did not give life to the world, and I do not believe that the world was affected by Israel struggles in the desert.
Then they said to Him, "Lord, always give us this bread."
(John 6:34 NASB)
They did not want life, their attempts at trapping him were incessant, but again it sounds reasonable.
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
(John 6:35 NASB)
The context of the conversation seems to be wrapped around feeding oneself and Jesus is telling them that he is bread. They understood the law and everything about this statement would have appalled them.
“he who comes to Me will not hunger, ..”
Clearly he is not talking about food for one of the most notable Christians in the NT was Paul, and he went hungry. Phillipians 4:12
I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. (2 Corinthians 11:27 NASB)
Why would we not hunger? We balk at the concept of eternal salvation, but we ignore that scripture in multiple places reminds us that he will never leave us now forsake us. He has engraved us on the palm of his hands.
I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless]; I will come [back] to you. (John 14:18 AMP)
If I was hungry for something what would that be?
Without Christ I suppose it would be peace, but there are many Christians who do not have peace. Is it a fallacy to think that you have no peace.
I have known the Lord since I was a child. I have never been without him, so I do not think I can speak to what the void feels like. But after many years of a life in him I can tell you that I have been in despair, hurt, filled with anguish, experienced the darkness of depression and felt lost. What I have come to realize is that He is always with me, and always has been. That does not mean I have always been close to him. On the contrary, my failures have many times made me feel as though I could not see or feel him.
When I chose to stop feeling sorry for myself and call upon him, he was always there.
Stepping back from the tumult of the problem I was able to see the truth of a statement like this, “he that comes to me shall never hunger, ..” It was my spirit, my heart, my life that was kept alive when it could have died.
The idea of coming to Jesus implies to accompany by leaving where you are and coming to him.
"But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.
(John 6:36 NASB)
He has talked about signs proving power, authority. Clearly manna in desert registered in their minds as a sign.
Manna and bread seemed to mean the same thing, hence Jesus refers to himself as the bread from heaven.
How many things had God sent to earth. If there were more than 1 none was more important than the gift of the Son.
In verse 36 he now says, you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.
The Me is God.
I always struggle a little with the concept of the Son being the same as the Father. Children do not carry the same weight and yet harm the son, especially in a feudal society, and the wrath of Father will come upon you.
The son typically gains the inheritance upon death and therefore takes over the kingdom, authority and power.
We are all painfully aware that many children do not appropriately demonstrate the character of the Father, and yet Jesus fully did. P.S. Many children emulate their fathers, by practicing their lives of violence and crime, and they do it to the letter.
Jesus only did what the Father told him to do, and he was obedient unto death.
All whom My Father gives (entrusts) to Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, no never, reject one of them who comes to Me].
(John 6:37 AMP)
I, will not, in NO way cast him out.
You want to know the nature and character of God? Look at the Son.
What did he say? I (representing all that the Father is) will not cast you out.
Out of what?
- The family
- the rapture
Some family members are broken, even screwed up and we consider them unsuitable, and unacceptable. Just the fact that you made that kind of judgment on them demonstrates how unsuitable and unacceptable you are, and yet you are included in his grace and mercy.
Broken and messed up? Not a problem, God is in the business of healing, mending and restoring the broken and unacceptable. He seems to be especially fond of loving on them. Beside his demonstrated heart toward you there will be a point at which we who are in Christ will be raised up.
We tend to think of someone who is raised up as being dead, like Lazarus, but it also applies if I were to say elevated in rank and stature. At the rapture both will take place; the dead in Christ will rise first. This is a puzzlement to me for the concept is that our spirits never die, therefore we either live together with Him or without, but none-the-less we live on.
Since the dead in Christ have apparently already gone on to be with Jesus why is this concept of a body rising so important? I honestly do not know, but when Jesus rose from the dead his body went with him.
He ate fish with them.
When they got out on land (the beach), they saw a fire of coals there and fish lying on it [cooking], and bread. Jesus said to them, Bring some of the fish which you have just caught. So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, 153 of them; and [though] there were so many of them, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, Come [and] have breakfast. But none of the disciples ventured or dared to ask Him, Who are You? because they [well] knew that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so also [with] the fish. (John 21:9-13 AMP)
He had them touch his body.
Then He said to Thomas, Reach out your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand and place [it] in My side. Do not be faithless and incredulous, but [stop your unbelief and] believe! (John 20:27 AMP)
He walked through walls.
Eight days later His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, though they were behind closed doors, and stood among them and said, Peace to you! (John 20:26 AMP)
And he showed up where he pleased.
And while they were conversing and discussing together, Jesus Himself caught up with them and was already accompanying them. (Luke 24:15 AMP)
Jesus was a spirit with a body; the image of God. Man was made in the image of God, and we should know that God is a spirit.
God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality). (John 4:24 AMP)
And yet God opted to put a body on him. What need does a spirit have for a body? Unless God was intentional in giving us a method enjoying physical and mental pleasure. (Do not go there! What happened in that garden was all good until evil got into the mix.)
Why did Jesus sit and eat with the disciples that day?
- Hunger? I doubt it.
- Enjoyable flavor? Maybe, we don't know.
- Fellowship and further directions for the boys? Most likely.
But then why sit us all down to the marriage supper of the Lamb if we are all spirits and have no need for food, unless food can be tasted, appeal visually to the eyes, and fellowship enjoyed.
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
(John 6:38 NASB)
If he has not lit them up yet he did it now. The Jews allegedly look for the Messiah, the one from God and soon they will looking for ways to kill him over these statements. The world, and religious folk, will still try to tell you that Jesus never said he was God. They heard it.
Heaven – The Jews had solid image in their heads that heaven was God's throne.
I came from there – The implications can one be three:
- You are either God, and they were not buying that
- He was God's son, making himself equal with God and they understood that language. Of course to them, anyone making a claim like that was worthy of death.
- Or, there is something seriously wrong with his head. The Jews never took that point of view and decided that calling him a blasphemer was the right thing to do.
There is a strange irony in this blasphemy issue. When the Jews stated that the work that Jesus was doing (healing blind eyes, casting out demons, raising the dead) was through the power of Satan, then he got into the middle of them; telling them that they had blasphemed. Now they are into some serious trouble.
"This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
(John 6:39 NASB)
This is the Father's will, God's will.
Want to know what God's will is? That Jesus lose nothing and raise them up on the last day.
“of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”
How do you know you have been given to him? Maybe it is because your heart yearns for him.
This entire discourse seemed to start with, “believe that I am the one that He sent.” I do that.
There are no qualifiers to the statement and no exclusions.
"For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."
(John 6:40 NASB)
The will of the Father is that we have eternal life, AND that Jesus will raise them up on the last day.
When you consider that our spirits never die. They will live on with God in eternity, or they will live in eternal separation from the creator. You can scoff at that if you wish but you won't change it. Those that will live separate from God have done so by choice.
If our spirits live on eternally then there must be something else that is meant by this. Life can only be lived in Him. The mind that balks at that idea is the mind that lives in selfishness, unwilling to allow anyone to tell them what to do. I think that it is clear that God desires for us to live with him in glory.
“..and that Jesus will raise them up on the last day.”
We have two frames of reference for this.
- One would be the catching away.The Greeks used the word harpazo, or snatching away. It implies a quick and sudden removal. The implication is, off this earth and into the heavenly realm. Scripture tells us that the dead in Christ rise first and then we which are alive and remain will be caught up to meet him in the air. This happens at the beginning of the time of judgment, also known as the tribulation years (7 of them.) I also happen to think that we are in the mere minutes phase until he arrives.
- The second point of view on this would have to do with a time period at the end of the thousand-year reign. Now why would I say that? Because it is the only other time that we see people being raised up. These are not the dead in Christ and they are brought forward for judgment. Even here we find a merciful God and he separates the un-dead based on whether they lived a life of selfishness or showed mercy (a trait of God). Those that showed some mercy are then given mercy. You might decided that this entire last process is in itself against the traits and mercy of God, but you forget that Adam's act was to intake the knowledge of both good and evil, therefore no man has an excuse. To do evil is an act of the will. Adam exhibited that act when he took of the fruit. Cain did it when he slew Able.
Wisdom alone tells me the last day, when Jesus shall raise them up would have to be the rapture. Of all the days that are spoken of concerning the end they are all filled with gloom and punishment. Jesus raising us up is the total opposite of that.
“..and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
The Jews standing there did not miss a thing (except that God stood before them, the Messiah that they longed for.) They knew that he was telling them that he was God's Son and carried all the attributes, authority, and nature of the Father. He just told them that in the future he (Jesus) would be the one raising the Church up, and they knew that only the Father could do that. Only the Father had the right to forgive and make judgment. They knew exactly what Jesus told them.
Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, "I am the bread that came down out of heaven." They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, 'I have come down out of heaven'?"
(John 6:41-42 NASB)
"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
(John 6:44 NASB)
This screams a line from the Chronicles of Narnia. “You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion.
In our arrogance we think we are in control. We are really not. Does it mean nothing to hear that before the worlds were formed I knew you. I know the plans that I have for you …
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love (Ephesians 1:4 NASB)
'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 NASB)
We struggle and worry over the lost. Many think that they are selfishly sinning because they are not doing something. Even if you did do something, they would not come unless God had called them. So the day they do come, whether you talked with them or not, would be because God had called them.
It is written in the prophets, 'AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. (John 6:45 NASB)
I wish everyone could be taught of God, then perhaps this recent baseball fight in which the pitcher got his collar-bone broken might not have happened. I know, that is trivial and irrelevant, but then is it? Jesus explained himself. It is those who hear and learn. We can hear but certainly not learn, that requires a shade more effort and desire. But then you would not have the desire if God did not give it to you.
"Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. (John 6:46 NASB)
Jesus was the one that said, “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” I suppose that really means in character and actions. No one had seen the Father. We seem to think that Moses did, but even God told him he would die; not from punishment but his human body probably could not handle it. I think I can understand that.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. (John 6:47 NASB)
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I heard one of the radio pastors indicating that this means to put an unshakable emphasis on what he saying, and was a common method of expressing themselves.
He wants us to understand, he who believes has eternal life. I wonder when we will start teaching and believing that.
"I am the bread of life. (John 6:48 NASB)
"Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. (John 6:49 NASB)
"This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. (John 6:50 NASB)
I believe he made his point here. I am secured in him. Do I test the waters of grace? I suppose I do but I always return to grace and mercy. Maybe that is my way of saying I eat the bread. His word is my bread.
Father, forgive me for I have made you to small in my life. Allow me to comprehend all that you are telling me this day. I believe in you, that you are the Son of the living God, and that you will come again for me and all those who believe in you. Thank you for never letting go of us, and taking us into your kingdom. In Jesus name.