Lesson 35


The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

6:41 The Jews therefore murmured concerning him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down out of heaven." 6:42 They said, "Isn't this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then does he say, 'I have come down out of heaven?'"

6:43 Therefore Jesus answered them, "Don't murmur among yourselves. 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. 6:45 It is written in the prophets, 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who hears from the Father, and has learned, comes to me. 6:46 Not that any man has seen the Father, except he who is from God. He has seen the Father. 6:47 Most assuredly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal life. 6:48 I am the bread of life. 6:49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 6:50 This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, that a man may eat of it, and not die. 6:51 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world."


 Today's Lesson

As Jesus continues to speak with these men that were part of the five thousand that He had fed on the mountainside, the gap between what He is telling them and what they are willing to believe becomes greater and greater. He has told them that he is the true bread come down from heaven. All who eat of this bread will never be hungry again. He tells them that the Father has sent Him into the world and that the Father testifies through the work of the Son.

 

Their question is a legitimate one. Isn't this man the son of Joseph whom we know? How can this Jesus say that he has come down from heaven? For those who except the earthly explanation of things, this is a legitimate question. And, Jesus' answer to them seems to acknowledge this, to a degree. Jesus says that the Father will draw all that come to Him. God will teach all that believe. Without God acting first, there is no reason to believe that Jesus is who He says that He is. But, God has acted first. From the foundation of the world He had prepared the Jewish nation for the arrival of Jesus Christ. All the history of God's dealings with His people had pointed to the coming of the Son.

 

Yes, this was to be the high-point of God's dealing with mankind. When God had led the people out of Egypt and into the wilderness, He had fed them with manna during their forty years of wandering. But, these people had eaten manna and they died in the desert. The bread that God sends down from heaven is far superior to manna. God has sent the living bread.

 

These people did not understanding what Jesus was talking about. Often, when we are speaking to unbelievers, we will see a time when they just can't understand the things that we can tell them about our experiences with God. Usually when this happens we will either try to explain what has happened to us more simply or give up entirely. Jesus takes a completely different course. When He had reached the point where they did not understand, He says something even more difficult. "The bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world."

 

To Christians raised on the symbolism of the sacrament of communion, this may seem reasonable, understandable. But, consider the impact of these words when they were first uttered. "I will give my flesh as bread, for the life of the world." We must admit that if there was any in His audience that might have reason to doubt His sanity, this statement may have decided the issue. Without the teaching of the Spirit of God, this makes no sense, in Jesus' culture or our own. The mystery of the Spirit of God and the indwelling life of Christ in believers is not a matter that can be rationally deduced or explained. That Christ, who once died, now lives in the world through His body the church is a matter of faith, not of reason.

 

But, all those who are taught by the Father, who are drawn by God, come to accept these things as a natural part of their lives, indeed the better part of their lives. "Everyone who hears from the Father, and has learned, comes to me."

 

Have you heard from the Father lately? Are you listening?

 

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