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Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode 91 · 7 months ago

Feast on the Bread of Life - Palm Sunday

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Feast on the Bread of Life - Palm Sunday

John 6:22-71

Dax Bryant - Preaching

So we come now to this time where we open up the word of God and we, as the people of God, are are consecrated by his words, set apart by his word. Will you join me and pray before we open up his word? Loving father, you know and meet our every need, and we ask now that you would meet with us. God. We know that we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from your mouth, and so speak to us now. Have your way with us, sanctify us in the truth. Your word is truth. Amen. Lot to cover this morning, if you didn't notice, so we'll jump right in here. Let me remind you first of all there is a clearly stated purpose that that undergirds every story in the gospel of John. Remember that. It's found in chapter twenty, verse Thirty One, that that all these things in John's Gospel, these are written, these are handpicked actually, so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ and that by believing, you may have life in his name. That is what is behind every single story here. And isn't that what we've seen so far in this book, from from the Dizzying Heights of the opening chapter into the Kna Cycle? That starts and ends in Cana, chapters two through for and and even into this section that we're in now that began in chapter five. That's often referred to as the festival cycle, because all of the action starts taking place around these Jewish festivals, and as we move through we'll see how Jesus is revealed as the the fulfillment of all these festivals and everything they pointed to, and in this section were in now chapters five through ten. This festival cycle. There's been another theme that started to emerge from back in chapter five, which is the the works and the words of Jesus now are continued to be met with increasing hostility and opposition, and so we see the same pattern that began in chapter five. Remembered that there was a miracle, the man was healed there at the pool of Bethesda. Then Jesus gave a speech where he claimed equality with God, and then that was met with rejection and even murderous intent. That same pattern from chapter five repeats itself now in Chapter Six. We saw a couple of weeks ago that that chapter six began with another miracle, right the feeding of the five thousand, and then last week we saw that after that, Jesus sent his disciples away by boat and they got caught out in the storm and he walked across the top of the water to them to join them. And that brings us to verse twenty two, where we will see the rest of that pattern unfold. Now to the end of chapter six, where Jesus makes these claims of divinity to be equal with God, and that is met by rejection and even murderous and ten. So it's an exact repeat of what we saw in chapter five. And as we as we feast on this bread of life discourse this morning, here's the here's the big idea. By divine grace, true disciples are enabled to trust the otherwise intolerable teachings of Christ. Let me give that to you again. By divine grace, true disciples are enabled to trust the otherwise intolerable teachings of Christ. That's what we're going to find to be true in this passage and as we go through this we're going to serve it up in four courses. So in verses twenty two through thirty four, Jesus confronts misguided motives. In verses thirty five through Forty Eight, Jesus clarifies murky misunderstandings. I may have a problem with alliteration. In verses forty nine through fifty eight, Jesus compels the meaning of his metaphor. And finally, in verses fifty nine through seventy one, the teaching of Jesus carves out the disciples destinies. So that's where we're going here. So up first Jesus confronts misguided motives. So let's pick the story up in verse twenty two again. On the next day, the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberius came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the...

...boats and went to copernum seeking Jesus. So all these people, they go to bed with their bellies full after that miracle, but when they wake up the next morning they're confused. Right they knew that Jesus and the disciples had come in one boat and they had watched Jesus send those same disciples away in that same boat and they knew he went higher up the slope. But now Jesus is nowhere to be found. Where is he? Where did he go? They don't know. So they just try to put two and two together. They know that he's been kind of headquartering out of Copernum, and so they get into these other boats that had come near at some point, probably in and around when the miracle, the feeding of the five thousand took place, and they head back to Copernum, across the water to try to find Jesus. Verse Twenty Five. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him rabbi, which is a little ironic that they're going to call him teacher here because they're about to dispute everything that he teaches. But they say, rabbi, teacher, when did you come here? So they're at least curious, if not surprised or a maze to find him here in copernament. How did you manage to get here and and where exactly was he? Did you catch that? As Wade read the passage, jump down to verse fifty nine for just a moment. Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Copernum. So from this point around, Verse Twenty Six, Verse Twenty seven forward, this entire conversation takes place in the synagogue. So just just hang on to that little fact for now. We'll come back to that. So they asked, when did you come here? And I mean you could not draw up a more more perfect set up question. If Jesus wanted to impress them with an account of yet another miracle. Could you? Let's see, when did I come here? It was last night and Oh yeah, I walked right across the the water to do that. But notice, instead he ignores the question right all together. Instead, he questions their motives. In Verse Twenty Six, Jesus answered them. Truly truly, I say to you, you are seeking me not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. So they'd already eaten. They'd had their fill, but Jesus is going to give them some other things to chew on. Here and again we're reminded that that simply witnessing a miracle. That doesn't produce genuine faith. In fact, a preoccupation, an obsession with miracles, can actually be harmful. It can corrode authentic faith. Now, this particular miracle they had all seen and participated in was was obvious because their bellies were full. But they'd missed the point right, they'd failed to grasp what was really behind all of this. So, Jesus, he's rebuking their materialistic and and shortsighted view of God's kingdom. Here, these these misguided motives, he says in Verse Twenty Seven. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the son of Man will give to you. So don't work for the food that will perish. Even the bread that Jesus had miraculously provided the day before it had a shelf life. Right, there was an expiration date on that. The things of this world perish. Don't work for those things instead, poor your energy, poor your effort in the things that will last. Right. That's that's probably a good reminder for those of us who are chasing the American dream. But notice, the food that brings eternal life is a gift. You see that in there. The son of Man will give it to you on what basis, by whose authority can he give this next phrase? For on him God has, God, the father, has set his steel. The reason why Jesus can give eternal life is because God has authorized Jesus as the soul license distributor of the food that gives eternal life. And and notice the crowds. This is a pattern that they they misunderstand, they don't under they don't get what he's saying. Verse Twenty Eight. Then they said to him, what must we do to be doing the works of God? Where I'm from, we call that a swing and a miss. They blow right by Jesuss point that eternal life is a gift that is...

...given by him. And in this kind of stunning combination of pride and ignorance coming together, they really assert their ability to perform whatever God demands. What must we do to be doing the works of God? In other words, tell us what works God requires, whatever those things are, those are the things that we will do. They miss what Jesus has said. So he sets them straight. In Verse Twenty Nine. This is the work of God that you believe in him, whom he has sent, in other words, the the work that God requires is faith. And notice not just a generic kind of abstract faith that that doesn't really have an object, a faith in your version of God. Know, what is required here is a specific faith, as Jesus puts it, in the one whom God has sent. And even then, the work of faith that that we are called to exercise is a result of God's activity within us. We'll see that as we move through this passage. So this is the work of God that you believe in, whom he has since and now the crowds understand that Jesus is claiming to be this one whom God has sent. Right, that's obvious, because of the next two questions they ask, verse thirty. Then what sign do you do that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Seriously, they had just witnessed the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. You'd think that would be sufficient, right, I don't note if they have short term memory loss. What's going on? Wasn't that enough of a sign for them? And it turns out, no, that that sign was really only enough for the crowd to start speculating that that maybe this Jesus guy is the Prophet who Moses said would come, but but if he really is that, then shouldn't he be able to perform even more spectacular signs than what Moses did? After all? Verse Thirty One, they say our father's ate the Manna in the wilderness. As it is written, he gave them bread from heaven to eat. So what are they saying there? I think it's something along these lines. Look feeding US last night. That was great, thanks for that, but Moses, he fed an entire nation for forty years. So if you're greater than Moses, what are you going to do next? Shouldn't you be able to do greater works than Moses did? And it reminds us again it's just never enough, is it? Not for them, not for us. Just like them, we tend to forget what God has already done in our lives and we are always seeking just one more thing right, one more little favor God, one more miracle in my life, one more I just have one more little request. If you would do that for me, then I promised to do this or not do this, and so again Jesus corrects their faulty understanding. Verse Thirty Two. Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my father gives you that's in the present tense. He he continually is giving you the true bread from heaven. In other words, you're making way too much of Moses in all this and you're missing God. And in any case, the true bread is not the Manna from Moses's Day, nor is it even the loaves from the previous day. The true bread is a person. Right, notice verse thirty three, for the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. So it's not just that Jesus provides the true bread from heaven, it's that Jesus himself is the true bread from heaven. And notice there too, that that this bread that Jesus is. It's not just for the Jews. He's come down from heaven and the verse says he gives life to the world. Now that does not mean that all people in the world will be saved without exception, but it does mean that all kinds of people will be saved without distinction. That salvation depends not on ethnicity or family line or religious tradition, but it depends...

...solely on faith in Jesus Christ. Now again the crowd understands little, if any, of this. Verse Thirty Four, Sir, give us this bread. Always that's sound familiar. It reminds me a lot of what the woman at the well said back in Chapter Four. Remember that Jesus spot talking about this living water and she just says, sir, give me this water. It's another swing in a miss. They're still not getting it. They're still focused on the mundane and the material things, which again reveals the misguided motives that Jesus is here correcting. And so Jesus now he's going to turn he's going to restate as simply as possible what he's already said. Verse Thirty Five, I am the bread of life. And then notice in verse forty eight he repeats that same claim. And it's that repetition of those same words that kind of frames this second portion of this discourse, where Jesus now clarifies their murky misunderstandings. Right, he's been speaking kind of in metaphorical terms. Here, though this is still bracketed by a metaphor. In the middle he is going to say things clearly, things that aren't necessarily hard to understand, but things that can be very hard to swallow. I am the bread of life. We touched on that last week. Jesus's use of the divine name revealed to Moses. I am. It's this is really the first of seven major I am statements that John Puts forth that are made by Jesus in this Gospel. I am the bread of life. Jesus says whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. Notice here that Jesus adds the imagery of thirst here in addition to hunger, which of course anticipates what he's going to say very soon. And and also, notice this is very important to see here, look at verse thirty five again. It's the person who comes to Jesus who shall not hunger, not the person who eats him, and it is the person who believes in Jesus that shall never thirst, not the person who drinks him. Now you have to remember that when Jesus, in a little while here, is going to shift back to the metaphorical language of eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Go back here when you read that in get confused, because here is where Jesus is establishing the meaning of that metaphor. It's right here eating and drinking equals coming and believing. Okay, now, these crowds have come for all the wrong motives and they've believed all the wrong things. Jesus says in Verse Thirty Six, but I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. They've seen what they wanted to see, a display of miraculous power and provision that has caused them to conclude that Jesus is the Great Prophet, the Great King that they've been waiting for. And of course they're right and they're also terribly wrong. They're curiosity has been aroused, their their appetites have been aroused, their political ambitions have been aroused, but their faith has not. So the question is here, as we look at this, if, if it's true that some can come and see Jesus and witness his miracles and yet not believe, not come to faith, doesn't that suggest that that Jesus is mission, what he came to do, has failed in some way? Look at the clear explanation Jesus provides here next verse thirty seven. All that the father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. Look at that closely. However, many people do not believe. It's not as though God's saving purposes are frustrated or have failed in some...

...way. Jesus is confidence here in making this statement doesn't lie in the possibility that the potential that some people might respond positively to him. Far From It. His confidence lies in his relationship with his father and their agreement in eternity past to definitively save the people who belong to God. So Watch now here as Jesus speaks in very clear terms. Right the metaphors is been pushed aside for the moment. This is clear. That same verse, all that the father gives me, the people that God saves, but long to the father because they are his to give. They are a gift given by the father to the son. And notice there being given not because they have come to Jesus, but they are being given to the son so that they will come to Jesus. You see that there all that the father gives me will come to me. That that suggests that faith is not a precondition on being given. Rather faith is the result of being given. These people are being given not based on their actions, not based on what they've done, but based solely on God's sovereign prerogative and God's love. The fancy word for this is this is the doctrine of unconditional election. Right here, God giving. And did you notice? All that the father gives me will come to me. That's very different than some that the father gives me might come to me. This confident certainty, all that the father gives me will come. That confident certainty in the totality of all that are given will definitely come. There's a fancy word for that too. This is the doctrine of effectual calling. And whoever comes to me. So who's that? Who is this? Whoever? Well, that's got to go back up the verse. Right. This is that same all that the father gives me, those people, all of them, whoever comes to me, I will never cast out. This seems pretty clear. Everyone that the father gives to Jesus will surely come to Jesus, and Jesus will certainly preserve and keep each one of those to the end. He will never let them go. Not a single one will be snatched away from his hand. The fancy word for this is this is the doctrine of eternal security, or the the preservation of the saints. Having purchased these people at the cost of his own blood, he will not let a single one of them slip through his fingers. Why not? Verse Thirty Eight, for or because I have come down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. So, Jesus, is entire purpose for coming to earth was to do the father's will. And what is the father's will? We don't have to guess. In this case. It's in the next verse, Verse Thirty Nine, and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day again. Every single individual whom God, the father, has given to God, the son, will be kept by him, and the proof of that is every single one of them will be raised up on the last day. And then he restates the father's will again in verse forty, and he makes one important difference here, one little shift in emphasis notice, for this is the will of my father, very clear, that everyone who looks on the sun and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. So see the difference here. This time the ones whom the son will raise up and keep. They're not described in terms of a gift from the father to the son. This time, though. That truth remains. This time they are described in terms of their personal faith. So let me...

...just say a couple of things about all of this. First of all, we shouldn't be embarrassed that the Bible speaks in very clear terms about the sovereignty of God and salvation. John isn't as he presents his information. Jesus wasn't either, and as verse forty shows, the fact that a group of people exists that have been chosen by the father to give to the son, that will inevitably come to the son, that will certainly be preserved by the sun, that does not eliminate the human responsibility to respond in faith right. All of us are called to come and believe in the son and we are held eternally responsible if we do not do that. Scripture clearly teaches both of those truths and we need not shy away from that. Secondly, the fact that salvation depends entirely upon God. That is good news for you. That is good news for you because, unlike you and me, who sometimes makes promises that that we can't keep or sometimes even lie. God cannot do either of those things. He cannot break his promise, he cannot lie. So if God has made a promise in eternity pass to give a group of people to the son, you can rest assured that he will most certainly do that. And unlike you and me, who sometimes lets people down or sometimes fails to obey, Jesus cannot do either of those things. So if it is the father's will that Jesus will lose absolutely none of the people that he has been given, you can trust that Jesus will certainly accomplish that. If he failed to do so, that would mean either he was unable to carry out the father's will or he disobeyed the father's will. Either one of those options is impossible for Jesus. So these are these are very precious truths, that salvation depends on God. But these truths, as perhaps you have even personally experienced, often offend our human sensibilities, don't they? We find this teaching offensive, and I think it's because any last little lingering bit of our pride and our self reliance and our ability to do something gets completely obliterated by these truths. I mean. Do you see how humbling this message is? Apart from the sovereign grace of God, there is absolutely nothing you can do to save yourself, all of your efforts to try to be good and do good and know the right things and say the right things and run in the right circles, all in the hope that God will let you just squeeze into heaven. These truths here show the truth about how salvation works, and that crushes all of that. The fact is, we desperately want to justify ourselves and we can't do it. We can't. That's true now. That was certainly true then as well. Notice Verse Forty One. So the Jews grumbled about him because he said I am the bread that came down from heaven. They said, is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say I have come down from heaven? Who is this guy? And they grumbled, we're told right, just like their father's in the wilderness. Grumbled about the Manna. Remember, both before the manner was provided and then still after the manner was provided. Still Grumbling, by the way. Again it's never enough, is it? Why were these people grumbling because they understood what Jesus was saying, not not just his humbling message about the nature of salvation, but also his claim here to be equal with God. And they're outraged about that because they know this guy, they know his family, they know where he's come from. Who Does he think he is to say these kinds of things? I've come down from Heaven Verse Forty Three. Jesus answered them. Do not grumble among yourselves. What's wrong with grumbling, you might ask? I like to grumble once in a...

...while. Well, who are you grumbling against? Right, that's the question. It's not just off putting, but but to grumble against God. Doesn't that really say at a deeper level that ultimately it's up to you to kind of take what God is saying, take what God is doing, and then you determine if that's true or best or right or not, as if they or we are the judges of what God says and what God does? There's one commentator who I found this observation helpful. He says, quote, so long as a man remains and is content to remain, confident of his own ability, without divine help, to assess experience and the meaning of experience. He cannot come to the Lord. He cannot believe only the father can move him to this step with its incalculable and final results. So Jesus tells them, do not grumble among yourselves. And then he passes up another sweet opportunity here. Doesn't instead of explaining his true heavenly origins to them, he instead chooses to restate negatively what he had previously said positively. Right. So back up. In verse thirty seven, he said all that the father gives me will come to me. Now, in verse forty four, he says no one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. So you can add in the doctrine of total depravity to Jesus is teaching here. This is speaking of a an unableness. See that no one can come. They're unable to come. This speaks of inability. No one can come unless the father who sent me draws him. That's the doctrine of effectual calling. Again, this drawing, and I will raise him up on the last day. That's eternal security. Again, these are these are the doctrines of grace taught by Jesus. Well, four out of five anyway, right. Total depravity, unconditional election, effectual calling, eternal security. And so we might as well address particular redemption or limited atonement, because really these things either fall or stand together. You can't pick and choose. And even though that doctrine is not explicit in this text, the implication is inescapable, because it seems pretty clear by now. I hope that when Jesus died on the cross, he didn't just create the possible ability that some people might be saved, some generic group of people out there. Know, he actually purchased and saved the group of people whom the father had given him, who were unable to come until the father drew them, this same group that he will keep to the end and raised from the dead. You have to understand it's the same group of people all the way through. And in this case, how does the father draw his people to the son Jesus? Continues in Verse Forty Five. It is written in the prophets, and they will all be taught by God. God does the drawing, but people believe, not because they're forced to, not against their will, but because the new heart given to them by God cannot resist the beautiful teaching of God's truth Jesus continues. Everyone who has heard and learn from the father comes to me. Kind of reminds me of when Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ in Matthew Sixteen, as you are the Christ, the son of the Living God, and and Jesus says to him, blessed are you, Simon, Bar Jonah, Simon, son of John, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you. You didn't figure this out on your own, but my father in heaven, he has revealed this to you. Those who receive Christ teaching and respond to it by coming to Christ demonstrate that God's law has been written on their new hearts, just as the prophets foretold, and that they are indeed children of God. Verse Forty six not that anyone has seen the father except he who is from God. He has seen the father. Now, I know we're moving through this quickly because there's so many verses, but I don't want you to miss this here. Don't just skim over this. This is profound, since only Jesus has seen the father.

He, then, is the only one who can make God known to us, and so it's true that that people can only hear Jesus if they are taught by God, but it's also true that people have only been taught by God if they truly hear Jesus. Right, that goes both ways. And then Jesus puts a book end on this part of his speech in Verse Verses Forty Seven and Forty Eight. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. And then again, I am the bread of life. So notice here, even again, with with this undeniable emphasis that we've seen on God's sovereignty and salvation, Jesus still calls people to believe. But in the wider context it's clear that those who believe do so on his terms, by His grace. So He's been very clear to explain exactly what he means when he says I am the bread of life. He said it in terms that I don't think could be clearer or more literal. But now he's going to go back to the metaphor, he returns to the imagery of the Manna and he begins to to compel the meaning of to force, to press the meaning of the metaphor. And again notice how repetition frames this section too, in verses forty nine through fifty eight. So verse forty nine, your father's ate the Manna in the wilderness and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that no one may eat of it and not die. And then in verse Fifty Eight, something very similar. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread. The father's eight and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever. This is our third section here, and if the crowd is is grumbling about his very straightforward explanation, when he unpacks that statement, I am the bread of life, then he's going to press even harder on the metaphor itself. Now there are some hard sayings in this section right. The text even says that itself. Just as you glance over those verses, notice the terms eat and drink and flesh and blood. They kind of dominate this whole portion of the narrative. But again you have to remember Jesus has already defined these terms. He's already explained what these metaphorical terms mean back in verse forty and and we're more familiar with this language and we might think initially right. We we devour good books, we drink in a beautiful view, we chew on an idea, we hope our enemies will eat their words. We're used to this kind of thing and in this case the metaphors already been defined. About this is about coming to and believing in Jesus. So Jesus begins and ends this section by a kind of going back and revisiting this contrast between the Manna in the Old Testament and himself as the true bread from heaven. The big difference, of course, is that the manner of old could not provide eternal life. The proof of that is that all of their fathers, all their ancestors, died, verse forty nine says. Yet, as verse fifty tells us, for everyone who eats of Jesus, who's the true bread of heaven, eternal life is guaranteed. And just in case you're still confused about the nature of this living bread, what Jesus is talking about, he says again in Verse Fifty One. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. Notice that last sentence. He gives his flesh. It's voluntary. He gives it for the world. It's substitutionary. Verse Fifty Two. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying how can this man give us his flesh to eat? Now, though there is some dispute about this, I don't think that they seriously believed he was advocating cannibalism. Here it seems very clear that he's speaking in obvious metaphorical language. The the question is, what does he mean by all of this? That's that's the dispute. And in response, Jesus, Jesus keeps pressing. He presses this metaphor even further. Verse Fifty Three. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Eat his flesh, and I if that wasn't offensive enough to his Jewish...

...audience, drink his blood. It's almost like Jesus is intentionally making this as scandalously scandalously sounding as possible, almost like he's forcing them into a corner, and I think that's exactly what's happening. He keeps pressing. Verse Fifty Four, whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. Verse Fifty Seven, as the living father sent me, and I live because of the father. So whoever feeds on me, he will also live because of me. Now let's just get this out of the way here. He is not speaking about the Lord's supper here. Okay, if he was, what he says, they're in verse fifty three. Unless you eat the flesh and drink his blood, you have no life in you. That would make it seem that that taking the Lord's supper is what gives eternal life. Remember the imagery here in this metaphor. It's already been defined for us. The point is, whoever comes to and believes in Jesus and abides in him, remains in him, has life in the same way that he has life in relationship to his father. That's what he's saying. And then he brings this section to a close by repeating what he opened with right back in Verse Fifty Eight, this is the meaning of this metaphor. And then suddenly, in Verse Fifty Nine, John Informs us that Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Kapurnum, remember that? So, so Jesus has been saying all of these really hard things and John Thinks it's important that you should know that he said these things in the synagogue. Why is that? May I suggest possibility? Might it be so that we can see that it is possible to be gathered in a place of worship, a place where the scriptures are opened up and explained on a regular basis, and still not really understand what Jesus is all about, that that it's possible to join yourself with a church, with that, with a group of people who follow Jesus, that it's possible to be religious in some sense, to come and hear the Gospel preached and still not be converted. I think there's an opportunity here for us to examine ourselves, because look at who else was troubled by what they heard Jesus say verse sixty. When many of his disciples heard it, they said, this is a hard saying. Who can listen to it. What's happening here? The the teachings of Jesus are beginning to carve out, to divide, to separate his disciples. And notice the dividing line here is not race or social status or something like that. The dividing line is simply how people respond to the message of Jesus. Just as there is a true faith and of false faith, there are true disciples and false disciples. And that word disciple, as I'm sure you know, it's it just simply means learner. It doesn't speak to the sincerity of one's faith or not. It just means a learner. So just because someone joins a group that follows Jesus and even maybe thinks of Jesus as a respected, authoritative teacher, that doesn't necessarily mean that person is a Christian. And the disciples mentioned in this verse, for Sixty they they certainly fit that description, because they do not feast on and abide in Jesus and his word. Instead, they prove themselves to be false disciples because they find all of these hard sayings of Jesus to be intolerable. Who can listen to it? So what does Jesus do in response? Does he does he pull back? Does he soften the message a little bit, kind of round off those of edges? I mean, after all, he is at the height...

...of his popularity in this moment and frankly, this kind of preaching is not how you grow a Megachurch, is it? Verse Sixty One, but Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them. Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the son of man ascending to where he was before? So, if they're offended about his talk of coming down from heaven, how will they react when they see him return to heaven? And I think what John has in mind here, just given the focus of his Gospel. What will they think when they see him on the cross, which is the necessary prelude to his assent back to heaven? Eating Flesh, drinking blood? Yeah, those things are offensive, outrageous, but a crucified Messiah, that that is blasphemous for these guys. Verse Sixty Three Jesus says it is the spirit who gives life. The flesh is no help at all. Memory still talking to him about their grumbling. Your flesh is no help at all, it's the spirit who gives life. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit in life. In other words, he's not going to compromise on what he said. Why? Because it is his words that give life. Meaning then, that you should not reject his words. You should accept his words, even if they are hard, and receive eternal life in him. Verse Sixty Four. But there are some of you who do not believe. And then John adds this little parenthetical comment. For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe and who it was who would betray him. So there is a group of false converts, false disciples, that Jesus knows. And of course the last part of that little parentheses is a reference to Judas. Of course, in fact, just jumped down to the verse seventy. There the end of verse seventy. Yet one of you is a devil. And then very clearly points out who he's speaking of. He spoke of Judas, the son of Simon, is scariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him. So this is another mysterious truth that, however great God's promises are and however clearly the Gospel is proclaimed, there will be those who do not believe, not that they don't understand, but that they don't believe. And the point here is that's no surprise to Jesus. He knew from the beginning not only those who would not believe in him, but he even knew the specific identity of the one who would betray him in the ultimate display of unbelief. Back up to verse sixty five and he said, this is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the father. He's still talking about unbelief, and we all begin in unbelief. Our default state is to despise and reject Jesus, which is why we need God to take the initiative and draw us to the son and enable us to believe. Now there's no doubt all people everywhere are commanded to repent and believe, and they will be held accountable for their unbelief. However much that's true, though, genuine faith is never finally a matter of an independent, autonomous decision by a human being. The last few verses show that's true, even of the twelve versus sixty six. After this, many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. It's the same group mentioned up in Verse Sixty, and the language here has a sense of finality, a sense of decisiveness about this. Jesus has done nothing to remove the offense that they've taken. He will not back down in his claims in order to placate them. And so what happens? First one gets up and leaves, and then another one over here gets up and leaves, and and then a little handful towards the front they walk out, and then dozens and dozens at a time him, until hardly anyone is left. And then silence hangs in the air and then a voice. Do you want to go away as well? But don't, don't read this like Jesus got his feelings hurt and now he's just kind of moping about. This question is a challenge, I think you, I think we should read it with an emphasis more like...

...this. Surely you don't want to go away to do you? And I think he asks it, of course, more for their sake than for his. He already knows they need to say it more than he needs to hear it. And, as you might expect, right on q first, up to the plate. Verse Sixty Eight. Simon Peter here to answer, but in this case, very profound Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that you are the holy one of God. Peter gets a lot of stuff wrong, in this case he gets it right. Even though he may not understand everything that was said, he at least knows that Jesus's words are eternal life. We know who you are and we trust in you, he says, speaking on behalf of the others. But even then, Jesus will not allow even a whisper of human pride to seep in. He will give no quarter to the thought that that Peter and his buddies are somehow a cut above the rest, or that they are doing Jesus some kind of favor by sticking around. Verse Seventy. Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil? Jesus reminds them he chose them. And even then what on the surface seems to be the lone catastrophic failure to that Judas, that was not an unforeseen event either. Jesus knows who will believe and he knows who will not, and yet those who do not believe are fully responsible for their unbelief, even though God already knows and ordains all of it. How do we resolve that tension? We don't. That's not our job and, frankly, you already have enough on your plate before you get to those kinds of questions. Because if what Peter said here are sorry, if what Jesus said here is true, then you should be asking the same question that Peter asked. Where else shall I go, whether the sayings are hard or easy? Where else will you go? To? Whom else can you possibly turn? What is your alternative? Because only Jesus has the words of spirit and life, and even though sometimes his words are hard, by divine grace true disciples are enabled to trust the otherwise intolerable teachings of Christ. So I have to ask, what about you then? Have you believed in this one whom God has sent? Have you placed your trust in him and him alone for your salvation? Have you eaten from the bread of heaven that gives eternal life? And if you haven't done that, call out to God right now, ask him to save you, and he will do it. Remember what he said, whoever comes to me, I will never cast out. That means it doesn't matter what you've done, it doesn't matter where you've been, it doesn't matter how vile your sin is. If you truly come to Jesus, he will never cast you out and, by divine grace, he will enable you, as a true disciple, to trust his teachings, to walk in his ways from this point on into eternity. To whom shall you go? Where else will you go? Let's pray. Lord Jesus, even though you are now in your Exalted State, not even all the Hallelujahs of heaven can keep you one moment from knowing and supplying all of the wants of your church here below. If you ask us, do we have any food, Lord, we pray we would answer you are the bread of life, the living bread which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Jesus, be our bread, our life, our hope, our fullness, our joy and our portion forever. Amen.

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