Lesson 37

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

6:60 Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying! Who can hear it?"

6:61 But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, said to them, "Does this cause you to stumble? 6:62 What if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 6:63 It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life. 6:64 But there are some of you who don't believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who didn't believe, and who it was who would betray him. 6:65 He said, "For this cause have I said to you that no one can come to me, except it be given to him by my Father." 6:66 At this, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

 Today's Lesson

In previous scriptures we have seen how Jesus responded to men who confronted Him in Capernaum. These were men who were looking for signs and wonders and had followed Jesus into the hills of Galilee. There, Jesus had fed them and His disciples by multiplying the loaves of barley and fish during the event that is usually described as the Feeding of the Five Thousand. His discussion with these men becomes more and more strained. Toward the end of that discussion He says, "For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I in him."


In today's scripture we see that even those who could be called Jesus' disciples had trouble with His teaching in this area. Tomorrow He specifically addresses "the twelve." So, these disciples are not the twelve apostles. They are other people who had been following Jesus and would have been thought of as believers.


Jesus knew that some of them were struggling over this teaching. Again, another teacher, eager to flatter them and keep converts, might have softened the blow and told them something easier and more pleasing. Jesus issues a challenge instead. He tells them that the words that He speaks are spirit, and life. There are some among them that are too fleshly to understand His words. Jesus knows who believes and who does not, who is being taught by the Father and who is not. He tells them that some of them have been given to Him by the Father and some have not. And, this ended up driving even more people away from Him.


What are we to learn from Jesus' response to their question? First, Jesus did not compromise the truth to gain converts. He could have softened the blow. He could have done something else and had them follow along with Him for a little while longer in the false hope that some would be saved. But, He knew what was in their hearts. He knew that the Father had not given them over to Him. The truth does not alienate the children of God. Only children of darkness cannot tolerate the light. We must never lose sight of the truth of God in order to increase numbers or in order to please men. It is more important to do the will of the Father than to have numerical success in some endeavor.


Moreover, even with children of God, there is a tendency to water down the strength of the word of God. We qualify revelation. We make excuses for our own ignorance. Now, it must always be understood that any man today does not speak with the authority of the Son of God. Jesus knew what was in a man. Most of the time, we do not. However, we must never fear to speak the truth that God has revealed to us. If God does not desire a word to be spoken, He will arrange that we not be at a place and time so that it will not be said. If, on the other hand, God has revealed Himself to you and placed you in a certain situation, do not fear to express that revelation to others. Who we are, what we know, and where we are at any moment are in the hands of our Father. Speak His truth boldly. Just be sure to speak His truth, and not your own.


"For this cause have I said to you that no one can come to me, except it be given to him by my Father." Has the Father given you over to the Son? Only the Spirit of God living inside you can confirm to your heart whether this is true or not. If there is the slightest doubt in your heart, pray that God would make it so. Tell the Father that you believe in the One that He sent, that you place your complete faith and trust in the life and death of Jesus Christ. Then, through thick and thin, through hard sayings and hard times, hold fast to the Son of God.


Following the Son of God is not for wimps. It is for people who realize that there is no other option. There is no other alternative. We live with Him, or we are already dead. We cling to the Lamb of God as to a lifeboat in a gale. Never let go! There is nothing in the sea but death.


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