November 07, 2016

Second Half, John chapter 6

The second half of this pivotal chapter in John is such a powerful statement of Christ's identity.

We looked last week at the first half of the chapter and the largest miracle (immediately received) Jesus ever performed during His earthly ministry.  He probably fed somewhere between 15,000-20,000 people by manifesting bread from only a few loaves and more fish from a couple.

This week, we heard Jesus clarify that there is a difference between those who follow Him for the bread He can give, and those who follow for the Bread He Is.

There is much to do about the ending of this chapter where Jesus is so offensive that, "...many of His disciples turned away from/no longer followed Him."  Today, many teach that they left Jesus because He taught them to eat His flesh; but, if we pay attention to the text, we see that the crowd is still present after this disturbing idea is presented.  Troubled, but present.  It was something else that offended them and caused them to leave.  It was what He said next - and that is the point we need to hear.

Jesus told the people talking with Him that only those called by the Father were truly saved unto eternal life.  That would be evidenced by their listening to His teaching because He literally was the Word of God/Bread from Heaven.  If they did not listen to Him, they had no hope of eternal life.  Their good works of the flesh and their heritage had no effect on their eternal destiny.  It all hinged on whether they could accept that He was literally the Word of God, the Logos, the Wisdom and Logic of the Father come down and made manifest.  John begins His Gospel by calling Jesus the Eternal Word and in John 1:14 says, "The Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us."  It's no surprise that here, in the turning point of His Gospel,  Jesus is revealing this very identity.

This wasn't yet the offensive part that made them leave though.  What made them leave was when Jesus straight up says to them in verses 64- 66, "you do not believe because the Father has not called you."

That would be the equivalent today of someone saying to you, "I know you think you are a Christian because of your heritage and behavior, but you're not - God has not called you to Christ and saved you."
 Bam!  To someone who thinks their good behavior and heritage is evidence of their salvation, that's pretty insulting.  "I don't think I want to talk to you, listen to you, or even be around you anymore!"

The people who had been following Jesus rightly understood His whole discourse in chapter 6 to be claiming His exclusive authority ("seal of God") as the only one who could speak the true Words of God over and against the different schools of thought existing in Israel's pharisees, saducees, scribes and various teachers.  And His paramount insult was that if they didn't believe Him, then God was not calling them.  And that meant they weren't part of God's chosen to have eternal life.

What do you do when you hear this text?  Are you someone who truly lives out the teachings of Jesus because you believe them to be true and sufficient for handling life's issues?  Or do you think Jesus is good for church stuff, but His teachings aren't relevant for real life today?  Depending on how you respond to His Word says a lot about the bread you are eating, and what you really, truly believe.

You can listen to the sermon here.

With you for His glory,