A Voice in the
"Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near... Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat? ...So when they were filled, He said, Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost... My Father gives you the true bread out of Heaven... I am the Bread of Life... All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out... Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes into Me has eternal life. This is the Bread which comes down out of Heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the Living Bread which came down out of Heaven... not as your fathers ate the manna and died." These are the "..Words of eternal life."
Israel coming out of Egypt, following Moses "..all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank out of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ" (1Cor10:3-4)
It is rather fascinating that this particular chapter of John should follow in sequence, as these monthly articles are progressing, in their order, at 'this' particular time. That the other regular weekly studies related to Israel, Jesus and the Church should have been happening 'just' as we now come to John ch6. Again, a testament to God's sovereignty and His timing, to put things together as He does, coordinating and "scheduling" all these things to follow as they do, in their sequence. This is not something that -I- have scheduled. There have been many different 'schedules' I have mapped out on paper to keep tabs of which things should be mailed on what days. But over the past several weeks, the eraser has been used a lot, and things re-penciled in. And as I sit down to write this article now, about a week before it's time to post and mail it, I am in awe as to how it follows the recent commentaries and Q/A's regarding Jesus Christ and Israel.
No matter how many different ways we present God's Truth, there are many who -just- "don't get it". They -refuse- to understand. And even in this chapter, by the time Jesus is finished telling the people what we've been saying the past couple of weeks, that Jesus Christ is the "root", He is the "vine", NOT Israel or Moses, "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more." (vs66) [Ed: And for you who trust in 'numerology', God's sovereignty has even catered to your unbelief with how the numbers of that verse came to be assigned... 6:66! "..and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world." (1Jn4:3)]
Notice Jesus' response to their unbelief, "Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?" (vs61-62) One of the unbelievers who has complained about recent mailings made a point of emphasizing, "..Jesus (a Jew).." Thus, the Church is grafted in to Israel, because it is grafted into Jesus (a Jew). But notice that Jesus is making a point of His credentials. In coming chapters He will be confronting them even more directly as to His Deity. Yes, He was born as "flesh and blood" (Heb2:14) "under the Law" as a Jew. (Gal4:4) But "He was before" from Heaven. He -is- God. The Word "in the beginning...was God". (Jn1:1)
We repeatedly note Paul's words about Eternal Life being a matter of the "heart", not -physical- 'circumcision'. One who is a Believing Jew is thus "of the heart". (Rom2:28-29) This is what Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, "God is Spirit" and those who worship must do so "in spirit and truth" (Jn4:24) Here He says, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh does not profit; not a thing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." (vs63)
And just as I know that many of you reading this are "not getting it" because you are unbelievers, Jesus said, "But there are some of you who do not believe.." (vs64)
So now, if what has been said thus far has angered you, and you are now going to stop reading, and/or, you are dashing off your "unsubscribe" notices, you can go off and "die in your sin" (Jn8:21) if you so-choose. But let's now get down to the precious Truths of this chapter for you who are sticking around, and for you who are Believers:
This chapter is long, and most everybody is already familiar with, and everybody else preaches/teaches how Jesus multiplied the bread to feed the thousands, and about Jesus walking on water; so let's look at some other highlights.
One of the -prime- characteristics that differentiates God, the Most High, from other gods, is His "..declaring the end from the beginning.." (Is46:10) If you read through Isaiah, you will see quite a lengthy courtroom-like argument regarding His infinite knowledge of things past, present and future... -challenging- other so-called deities to this same ability. Nostradamus and the likes of Tornonto Vineyard and charismania can, AT BEST, only boast 70%. God is 100%.
It says, Jesus "Himself -knew- what He was about to do." (vs6) He was not predicting something, -hoping- it would happen. He "knew". I sometimes see bits and pieces of this TV program called, "Crossing Over". The fellow behaves like charismania's false prophets, telling people things about dead loved ones, "I'm seeing a B, a Bob? a Bill? a Robert? a Benjamin?" He finally narrows it down; and then impresses people with other things. One day he was carrying on about (I forget now.. for the sake of this discussion, let's say the name was "Albert") an "Al? Albert? Alberto?" And the longer he carried on, the more the people were -not- recognizing the name. But the more he carried on, the more "sure" he was that he was right. As the program was closing, and they showed later up-dates as the people went to investigate what he had been telling them, they made a point of 'discovering' that there had been a room-full of "red balloons" on a particular occasion, as the psychic had told them. But 'mysteriously' made no further mention of "Albert". I kept yelling at the TV, "What about AaaaLBERT???" He was "so sure"...but was -wrong-! That's because he is not of The Most High.
Jesus "Himself knew.." First of all, Jesus -Himself- knowing, affirms our understanding of Jesus' "Deity". That which the Jewish O.T. prophet had discussed, that God "-knows-"... Jesus was 'exibiting' the same 'ability'. He "knew" and he -did- it. He fed all those people from a limited number of loaves and fish. There was no question as to the fact that those people were going to get fed HEARTILY that day! All the people "were filled". (vs12a) If you will, "stuffed".
And then, notice what Jesus says. Not only 'what' He says, but 'how' He says it. "Gather up the fragments...so that nothing is lost." (vs12b)
Through this "sign" miracle, Jesus is making a proclamation. He is about to teach a primary major Truth about Himself. Just as in the previous chapter He heals a man, giving him the -ability- to "break the Sabbath", in order to prove His own Lordship over the very Sabbath He, Himself, had instituted, thus having the authority to "break" it; here He gives a demonstration of Mosaic proportions, to illustrate His point.
Two points: 1) Jesus is the Bread of Life and gives Eternal Life. And 2) When He gives Life, "nothing is lost".
How does He approach #1? "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" (vs28) This is it... "that you believe into Him whom He sent." (vs29)
Incredibly, the people -immediately- demonstrate their unbelief. Jesus has -just- fed them, and they ask, "What sign do You show then, that we may see and believe You? What do You work?" (vs30) And, unbelievably, WHAT illustration do they give? The "manna" of the wilderness. (vs31) They are not "getting it"! Jesus has just shown them a "sign"! He has fed them on a scale as had happened in the wilderness with the Manna.
Just as those today who look at Jesus' "Jewishness" and -physical- "Israel", but miss Jesus' "Deity", and the fact that Believers are "in Christ" (2Cor5:17), not "the [c]hurch" or "Israel"; they also were not understanding that "life" is the "bread of God who comes down from Heaven". (vs33)
Still having "manna" and "filled" stomachs on their minds, "Lord, give us this bread always." (vs34) Just like the woman of Samaria was hoping for Jesus' "water" so that she wouldn't have to continually go to that well (Jn4:15), these people are hearing Jesus' words about His Deity, but only seeing physical "bread".
"I am the Bread of Life" (vs35) What "works" must we do to be saved? "Believe" in the One God sent. That's -Me- (Jesus). "I am" that One. I'm telling you who I am. But instead of being like the abhorrent "dog" from Samaria (ch4), a woman not even historically grafted into the vine, who put her trust in Jesus; of these, the "natural branches" (Rom11), Jesus says, "..you also have seen Me and do not believe." (vs36)
Just like many today, they were looking at the "Root", the "Vine" (ch15), and refused to believe. They were too filled with "our place" (Jn11:48). Their -own- Jewishness, and the fact that they were not "dogs" of Gentiles. They were trusting in "Israel" instead of "Jesus Christ". And they condemned Jesus because He was not 'plugged in' -to- Israel and the way it had become perverted. Why, He didn't even keep -their- (concept of) "sabbath". (Jn9:16) Just like today's unbelievers, they had it all backwards!
But notice what Jesus says of those who do believe into Him. "All that the Father gives to Me.." (vs37) He also says, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.." (vs44) Jesus came "to seek and to save that which was lost". (Lk19:10) But, just as He came to do the -Father's- "will" (vs38), His disciples, also, were/are "given" to Him by the Father. (17:9,11)
Jesus gives Eternal Life. (vs40) But that is not all. And this is important... notice how He repeats three times, "..I will raise him up at the last day.." (vs40,44,54) The Resurrection. If all a person gets, is, "Saved"...and then he dies... of what good is that? Then, Paul's argument is correct, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!" (1Cor15:32) ..which is today's attitudes in the wake of 9-11, and their realization of their own mortality... "live it up, do those things you've always wanted to do, because you never know when you might die." And without Christ, that is about -all- they have! But that is the passage where Paul gives the 'hope' of the Gospel: Jesus died and -rose- again. (1Cor15:1-4) Jesus promises to "raise" the Believer. And as the people stopped following Him, after all these WONDERFUL words and promises, later the rulers would also be "greatly disturbed" with the apostles for preaching "..in Jesus the resurrection from the dead." (Ac4:2)
And so, first of all, Jesus' grace proclaims, "..the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (vs37b) Hear this carefully, folks. If you, in That Day, find yourself being condemned to the Lake of Fire, do not 'blame' God or Jesus. It was never God's "purpose that any should perish". (2Pt3:9) God does not, "..delight with pleasure in the death of the wicked.." (Eze18:23) If a person is of a "heart" to come to Jesus, He says "BY NO MEANS" will such a person be denied.
And such as those who come to Christ in repentance and faith, notice Jesus even sees to the detail "so that nothing is lost". (vs12b) Jesus did nothing at "random" or by "chance". His words and deeds were all with specific purposes. As He prays to the Father, He proclaims, "Those whom You gave Me I have guarded; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition.." (Jn17:12)
Yes, indeed; a person believing in Jesus Christ is "eternally secure". "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? "..For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom8:38-39) This is Jesus' work, it is His promise; and His resurrection guarantees it!
Sadly, the people of Jesus' day, when He came the first time, were no different from people today, as we approach the time when He comes again. Be sure of this... that when He comes, performing the marvelous sign of the Resurrection and Rapture of Church-age saints, people will not believe. Mark this well!
See what happened. Jesus made all this bread. He fed the people so they were stuffed. They had had an 'experience'. And without using their "minds" and 'understanding' (1Cor14:15), and being of "sound minds" (2Tm1:7, Tit1:8), they all jumped on a bandwagon to "..take Him by force to make Him king.." (vs15)
But when He explained to them Who He really was, the Bread of Life, come down from Heaven from God, they "..went back and walked with Him no more." (vs66) Incredible!! They proved that they did not -really- 'want' God.
Hear this well! People who go to the Lake of Fire "WANT TO" go there. It is not for lack of "faith" that people will perish. Many proclaim "sola fide" (faith only). But satan and his minions "believe and shudder" (Jac2:19) These Jews who ate the bread, and then walked away, later yelled out, "Crucify Him!" and also, "His blood be on us and on our children!" (Mt27:25) These same people who wanted to make Him king, a bit later would welcome Him into Jerusalem with words like, "Hozanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord", and four short days later, "Crucify Him!" ... "We have no king but Caesar!"
You see... the 'trouble' with Jesus was, that He did not coddle their lusts. As long as He filled their stomachs and healed their sick, they liked Him. But when He proved His Deity, they wanted none-of-it!
Today's "Israel" (since all these people want to be grafted in -to- Israel!) is the same. As those were when Jesus walked the earth, so these are today. They want "experiences" and to "feel good" and do nothing but mantracize "worship". But "repentance from dead works"? (Heb6:1), or living lives "befitting repentance"? (Ac26:20) Oh, no! We can't have any of that! You say my -heart- should be what my mouth proclaims? "..confess with your mouth...and believe in your heart.." (Rom10:9) Well, you know... Romans was written by Paul. And Paul is really not all that 'reliable'. Give us Acts, with "tongues" and "power". Something with pizzazz. Something where we can 'rock' like Brittany Spears, and indulge the flesh. We can convince ourselves that we are OK "just as we are". After all, everybody else in "the [c]hurch" is preaching this, too.
Well...out of all those thousands, only "the twelve" remained. The rest all "went back" and rejected Him. Jesus says to the "few" (Mt7:14), "Do you also want to go away?" You see, Jesus did the opposite of what today's salesmanship does. Oh please come back! I didn't mean to offend you all! I know I was pretty harsh! I'll try to soften My words a bit more. Mmmm?
So, you "few"... What's keeping you here? Are you sure you're not missing the boat, by not following the crowds? After all, how can they "all" be wrong? You mean, just -you- are 'right'...and all-those-others are wrong?
"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the Words of eternal life. And we have believed and understood that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (vs68-69)