Eat the Bread

Posted: March 15, 2015 in John

John 6:41-59, “Eat the Bread”

Introduction:
Some parents struggle with children who are picky eaters.  Thankfully, we blessed with a daughter who is fairly open to foods, but we’ve known other parents not so fortunate.  Of course, that’s a child that is well-provided for, who lacks for nothing.  But what if a person were lost in the desert, and starving?  At that point, it wouldn’t matter if you were looking at Brussel sprouts bathed in pickle juice & sardines…you’d eat it, just being thankful for food!

What makes the difference?  The need.  One is lacking for nothing; the other is desperate for anything.  The problem might become when a person is desperate and doesn’t realize his/her desperation.

To some extent, that might describe the Jews of Galilee to whom Jesus was speaking.  He had just fed them with a miraculous meal on one side of the Sea of Galilee.  Now they had followed Him to Capernaum looking for more to eat.  But once Jesus started teaching them about the food they were truly in need of, they started to become picky eaters.  They stumbled at His claims, not truly understanding how desperate they were.  If they wanted to live, they needed to partake of far more than bread and fish; they needed to partake of Christ Himself – the living bread.

To be sure, Jesus was making some enormous claims.  While in Jerusalem, He equated Himself with God the Father.  Now in Galilee, He demonstrated He had the power of God.  In addition, He doubled down on His claims of divine authority and origin.  The crowds had seen the miracles that backed up Jesus’ claims, but would they believe?  They asked for more signs, although Jesus had already given signs in abundance.  They wanted miracles better than Moses, although Jesus had just gotten done preforming one.  They were missing the point that they needed to seek the Messiah more than manna.  There was something better than physical bread: living bread.  They needed something more than daily sustenance: eternal life.  And Jesus would give it.  As the Son of God, Jesus IS the Living Bread, and He is our provision and source of eternal life.  Would they (and we) believe?

Of course they had their skepticism and questions, and Jesus could address them – but ultimately it came down to faith.  Jesus is made available to the entire world, but not all the world is saved.  Not everyone listens to the voice and call of God who draws us to Jesus.  If we do not come, we cannot live.  Our provision is in Christ, and we must partake of Him.

John 6:41–59
41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

  1. Complaining/grumbling about Jesus.  Just as the ancient Hebrews grumbled in the wilderness against God, so did the Jews of Jesus’ day.  (People don’t change!)  Specifically, they are complaining about His origin and identity.  How could He claim heavenly origin if they knew His Galilean background?  Jesus was making Himself equal to God, as God’s Son – but how could He do that if His father and mother were Joseph and Mary? Remember Jesus was in Galilee at the time (Capernaum).  That was Jesus’ home as an adult, but He also grew up in Nazareth, another Galilean town.  The people heard Jesus’ words, but they had a tough time believing what they heard.
  2. In essence, they were rejecting Jesus’ claim to deity because they (thought they) knew His humanity.  Because they knew Jesus to be human (one who grew up into adulthood among them), they believed there was no way He could be God.  No doubt, that would be true regarding any of us, but not for Jesus.  Jesus is both 100% human AND 100% God.  One aspect of His person does not exclude the other.  This is the miracle of the incarnation.  GOD came among us and walked as a true Man.  That Man went to the cross, suffered and died for us, and then rose again – proving that He is more than a Man, but God.  Only God is sufficient to save the world, but only a Man could die as a substitute for other men.  The dilemma is perfectly resolved in Jesus, who is both God AND Man.
    1. People still stumble over either aspect of Jesus’ identity.  Some claim Jesus couldn’t be God (Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Muslims). Others claim that He couldn’t be man (ancient Gnostics & Docetists).  Mystery though it is, this is Biblical truth, and it is essential truth.
  3. BTW, notice the mention of Joseph.  The Jews thought they knew Jesus’ background, but they knew less than they thought they did.  Jesus had truly come from heaven, and that was something both Joseph and Mary would have been able to affirm, if the Jews had but asked them.

43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves.

  1. Jesus knew their grumbling/murmuring .  Whether they did it privately, and Jesus’ knowledge of it demonstrated His omniscience – or whether Jesus was simply perceptive to their more open questioning is left unsaid.  What is known is that Jesus knew their skepticism, and He says that it is unnecessary.  If they had questions, all they needed to do was to ask; not murmur among themselves.
  2. This still applies to skeptics today.  It would be truly rare for a skeptic to raise a question or objection to Jesus that hasn’t been asked and answered over the last 2000 years of Christian history.  For all of the new militant atheists who believe that they’ve found the one objection that stumps and overthrows Christianity, there are multitudes of answers.  They just need to take the time to look them up.  (So do we!  We need to have answers for our faith!)

44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

  1. We’ll look at the nuances in a moment, but let’s look at the main point: God is intricately involved in our salvation.  Beyond His extension of grace through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ – beyond simply making His grace and mercy available to be received – if someone is going to be saved, it is because God the Father drew that person to salvation.  Men and women do not seek God and His grace on our own…and even if we did, we would not be able to find Him.  God has to draw us, or we do not come at all.  In fact, Jesus makes it clear that we are not even able to come to Him, unless God draws us. (Greek is specific on this point: Οὐδεὶς δύναται ἐλθεῖν…)
  2. This is the center of a lot of debate in Christianity, specifically among Calvinists & the rest of us.  Calvinists point to 6:44 as a proof text regarding God’s sovereignty in the act of salvation…and to a large extent they are correct.  God IS sovereign in our salvation.  BUT the Bible has more to say about salvation than only God’s sovereignty.  The Bible has more to say about how we are saved by God, and who is saved by God, than only the idea of God’s sovereign election.  Salvation is too momentous and mysterious to be pigeon-holed in man-made categories of logic.  All Christians can affirm that God draws us to salvation, precisely because this is what Jesus teaches.  It’s just that this is not all of what Jesus teaches about it.  The same gospel writer who gave us Chapter 6 also gave us Chapter 3: John 3:16–17, "(16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (17) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." . For as much as Jesus seems to limit the election of God in 6:44, He opens it to all the world in 3:16-17.  What would seem to contradict in our mind is perfectly resolved in the mind of God.  We simply need to receive the mystery for what it is, and praise God for our salvation.
  3. The question really comes down to this: what is involved in God’s drawing?  This is the crux of the mystery.  The Bible makes it clear that God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4) – so does that mean that God draws ALL men to some extent?  Actually, yes – Jesus will make this point in regards to drawing even the Gentile nations to salvation (12:32).  But before we start drawing too many lines in the sand here, we would need to ask does it mean God draws some more than others, or that God is unsuccessful with some that He draws?  This is where the mystery becomes apparent.  We need to be truly careful not to put words in God’s mouth or to attribute motives to Him, of which the Bible is silent.  On some theological points, we just need to receive them for what the Bible says, and leave the mystery to God.
  4. What we do know is that God draws people to salvation.  If you have put your faith in Christ, then you have God to thank.  He is not only the ultimate end of our faith; He is the beginning as well.  We give God praise for saving us…every single aspect.  God saved us, so God gets 100% of the glory. (And that’s something we do not need to be Calvinists to do!)
  5. Of course, election isn’t the only thing that Jesus teaches here.  He affirms two other things that He has taught multiple times in Ch 5-6. (1) Jesus was sent by God the Father, and (2) Jesus will raise the dead to life in the last day.
    1. Jesus does have a heavenly origin.  He comes with a heavenly mission being sent by God, and being invested with all the authority of God.
    2. That authority will be seen in the last day, when Jesus raises the dead.  The context here is the resurrection of the saints unto life, but Jesus also taught of a resurrection of condemnation (5:29).  One day, every eye will see Jesus, and they will know that He is the God who raises the dead.

45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

  1. Jesus quotes Isaiah, though the concept is found elsewhere in the prophets as well.  Isaiah 54:11–13, "(11) “O you afflicted one, Tossed with tempest, and not comforted, Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, And lay your foundations with sapphires. (12) I will make your pinnacles of rubies, Your gates of crystal, And all your walls of precious stones. (13) All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children." . The original context refers to the relationship that God has with His people in the millennial kingdom.  Although the ancient Jews were about to be swept away into Babylonian captivity (and eventually the Great Tribulation), they could look forward to a day of restoration in which God would give them the glories of Solomon, beautify the kingdom, and bless them with His personal presence.  This was not fulfilled during the initial return from Babylon, and looks forward to the literal kingdom to come after Jesus’ glorious return.
  2. For now, Jesus quotes this promise and applies it to the ones who have already been drawn by God to faith.  Those who are drawn have “heard and learned from the Father.”  That is exactly how they came to faith and believed.
    1. Have you heard?  Respond?  Perhaps you’re hearing the voice of God right now – perhaps you’re feeling the tug of the Holy Spirit in your heart to respond to Jesus, asking Him to forgive you of our sins and to be your Lord and Savior.  Respond!  If you’ve heard, then you can know God is calling you to be saved.  Do not harden your heart against Him!

46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.

  1. Who has heard from the Father?  Anyone who comes to faith in the Son.  Who has seen the Father?  No one except the Son.  The Father is spirit (4:24), and no one has seen Him at any time (1:18). Only the Son has seen the Father, because the Son came from the Father.  (Yet another statement affirming Jesus’ deity.  The teaching that Jesus is indeed God is impossible to ignore in the Scripture!)  The Jews may not have understood it (demonstrated by the fact that Jesus had to repeat it so many times), but it was still true.  They were skeptical, but Jesus knew the truth.
  2. What does this say about our relationship to God the Father?  If you want to know the Father, you must go through the Son.  Jesus is the only One who has seen God the Father, knowing Him from before the foundation of the world.  No other person or prophecy can claim this, nor prove it (as Jesus did through His resurrection).  If Jesus alone knows the Father, than He is the only One who can introduce us to God the Father.  We must go through Him.  John 14:6, "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." .

47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

  1. Anytime we read in the gospel of John “most assuredly,” it is literally “Amen, amen.”  This is a statement from Jesus introducing absolute truth, and it is an indicator that He is speaking with all the authority as God.  It’s an indicator that He wants us to listen up, because He is about to say something of extreme importance.
  2. What is it?  The one “who believes” has “life.”  For all the talk of God’s drawing, we still need to believe.  For all of the skepticism of the Galilean Jews, they still needed to come to the point of faith.  Belief is absolutely essential.  People can hear the gospel and not have eternal life.  People can do the things that look religious and seem to be the epitome of compassion, and still not have life.  Eternal life comes only through faith, and specifically faith in Jesus as the Son of God who died for our sins and rose from the grave.  We need to believe.  Grammatically, we need to be believing (present active participle).  This is not a one-time act – the raising of a hand during an invitation call or the signing of a card or the ritual of baptism – this is ongoing continual faith.  Believing in Christ is our assurance of eternal life.
  3. If we are believing, then we have life.  Eternal, everlasting life!  This isn’t something that we guess at, suppose, or wonder about.  We can know we have life when we believe upon Jesus.  That’s one of the reasons John wrote both his gospel and his epistles: 1 John 5:13, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.".  God wants us to have the assurance that we are saved, and that we have received everlasting life.  One of the questions that comes up when speaking of the sovereign work of God in our salvation is: “How can I know if God has truly drawn me to salvation?  What if when I die, I stand before God in judgment only to find out that I wasn’t one of the elect?” No question, we ought not to take our salvation for granted, and we ought to examine ourselves to ensure we are in the faith.  BUT, God does not want us to live in constant doubt of our salvation.  He gives us the assurances that we need in order that we can know we belong to Him and have been given life.  If we are currently believing in Jesus as the Son of God – when we are evidencing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives – if our actions are continually being changed by the ongoing work of God – then we can know that we are saved.  These things happen when we believe upon Jesus – when all of our hope and life is cast upon Him, trusting in His Person, His work, and His grace.
    1. Are you believing?  Don’t answer based on a past decision.  What do you believe today?  What is your faith right now?  Today, believe!

48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

  1. Jesus had taught this earlier (6:35), and it started the grumbling of the people.  Jesus repeats it here, perhaps so that His initial point isn’t lost in the middle of their skepticism.  Yes, Jesus is from heaven – and as amazing as that is, the point is that they need to look to Him for life.  Jesus is the bread of life.  Jesus is God Himself, and God is their provision.
  2. This was the very thing the ancient manna pointed to in the first place.  When God gave the Hebrews manna through Moses, it was done so that they would look to God for their provision – so that they would understand that all of their hope and sustenance was in God.  It wasn’t just to fill their bellies…God was teaching them the entire time.  Ultimately the manna was just a shadow of what was eventually going to come through Jesus.  The Jews of Galilee had objected to Jesus appealing back to Moses’ miracle, but Moses would have rejoiced to see the REAL bread of heaven, and that is exactly Who/What was standing in from of the Jews right there.  They were too deaf to hear the voice of God plainly testifying of Him.
  3. The living bread is far better than manna!  Manna would rot and mold.  Manna had to be consumed every single day.  It was miraculous, but it wouldn’t fill one’s belly for long.  Even if someone did eat the manna every day, they would still eventually die.  This was evidenced by an entire generation of Israelites perishing in the wilderness.  They all “ate the manna…and are dead.”  The Living Bread is far better than that.  The Living Bread offers so much more!  See vs. 50…

50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

  1. How much better is the living bread?  The living bread gives life!  There are two aspects of this, closely related to one another: (1) The one who eats the living bread will not die, (2) The one who eats the living bread will live forever.  These are basically two sides of the same coin:
  2. First, he will “not die.” The person who believes in Jesus will never experience death. “Objection!  Just tour any graveyard – it’s filled with Christians.”  True, but the death that Jesus speaks of here is eternal, spiritual death.  How can we know for certain?  Because the constant contrast Jesus has been teaching is everlasting life.  Just as the life given by the physical manna was temporary, so was the death in the wilderness only physical.  To eat of the true living bread is to avoid true spiritual eternal death.  Jesus would later tell Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though He may die, He will live.  And whoever believes in Me will never die.” (Jn 11:25-26)  Remember that Jesus spoke those words while standing in front of the grave of His good friend Lazarus.  Obviously someone died who believed in Jesus.  Jesus does not deny the reality of physical death; He points out that it isn’t the only death, nor the ultimate death.  The ultimate death is the eternal, spiritual death that occurs when someone is condemned to hell for all time (Rev 21:8).  That is exactly what the believer is promised never to face.  We who believe in Jesus as the Son of God crucified for sins will not die.  Amen!
  3. Second, “he will live forever.”  It’s one thing not to die; it’s another to move away from death to something else.  We are not left in spiritual limbo – we are not relegated to an eternal unconsciousness – we are given life!  We will live forever.  In heaven, we will be just as conscious and alert as we are today – and most likely, more so!  We will see, hear, taste, fell, think, sing, worship, laugh, etc., all in real, true life.  Everything that is enjoyable about the gift of life today will only be intensified as we live with our Lord Jesus in eternity.  We will have all of the good and none of the bad, because all of the bad will be eradicated with the removal of sin.  We look forward to LIFE!
    1. BTW – is this how you see heaven?  It won’t be floating on clouds playing harps.  It won’t be boring nothingness.  It will be REAL LIFE.  And the greatest aspect is: we don’t have to wait until death to get a taste of it.  This is the abundant life that is available to every single Christian as we are continually filled with the Holy Spirit.
  4. How do we experience this true life?  How does someone partake of the living bread?  The same way we eat other bread: we need to “eat” it.  We need to eat the “flesh” of Jesus that He has given to the world.  This confused the Jesus probably as much or more than it does us, which is exactly the reason for their next objection in vs. 52.
  5. Before we get there, please note that Jesus gave His flesh “for the life of the world.”  For all of the theological debates that arise out of 6:44, and the act of God drawing people to salvation, it has to be taken in consideration with 6:51.  Jesus does not limit the availability of His flesh to only a certain few; He gave it for all.
    1. Again, some things remain mysteries.  The election of God and universal invitation to the world is one of them.  Far better to just let the Scripture speak plainly than attempt to impose theological constraints upon the Scripture.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of reading the Bible through the lens of our theology, rather than letting the Bible inform our theology.

52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”

  1. The Jews had complained/murmured/grumbled in vs. 41.  They go to battle in vs. 52.  They “quarreled among themselves.”  Again, the exact context is left unsaid.  They were all in the synagogue (per vs. 59), so it’s possible that they were openly shouting out different forms of interpretation against one another, or they were all quarreling against Jesus – or a mix of everything all at once.  The whole idea is one of chaos and confusion.  They plainly did not understand nor believe Jesus, and they couldn’t see how it all worked out.  Like Nicodemus wondering how a man might enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time, so the Jews wondered how anyone could eat the flesh of Jesus.
  2. For all of their grumbling and argument, it’s a legitimate question!  After all, God’s people are not cannibals – that would be an abhorrent thought.  To eat the flesh of Jesus?!  That would seem to be a gross abomination.
    1. Historically, this was one of the false accusations leveled against Christians in the Roman empire.  They heard of Christians eating the “body and blood” of Jesus during their love feasts, and they accused Christians of engaging in cannibalistic orgies.  It plainly wasn’t true, but it’s no wonder the Jews stumbled at the same teaching.

53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

  1. If the Jews stumbled before, they would surely stumble now.  Not only does Jesus say they need to eat His flesh, but He says they need to drink His blood.  If Jesus is speaking literally, then He is going directly against the clear commands of Scripture.  The Israelites were specifically and repeatedly commanded never to eat blood, because in the blood was life, and that was something that belonged only to God.  Seven times in Leviticus, and three times in Deuteronomy, the command is repeated never to eat blood.  In addition, this was not something forbidden for the Hebrews alone, but this was a command given to all humanity, when God spoke to Noah after the waters receded from the global flood (Gen 9:6).  No people anywhere were to eat blood…something that continues on even in the New Testament, as seen in the directions of the Jerusalem council to the new Gentile Christians (Acts 15:20,29).  God could not be more clear on this point if He tried!
  2. Obviously Jesus would never contradict the Scripture, so that tells us something: Jesus wasn’t speaking literally.  He was using symbolic language, speaking figuratively (which He explicitly clarifies in vs. 63).  That raises a question: if Jesus is speaking figuratively, then how does His teaching here apply to the Lord’s Supper?  Answer: it doesn’t…at least not directly.  There are some churches and denominations that take Jesus’ words from John 6 and make them a commentary on communion.  This is their justification for teaching that the bread and wine of communion are the real, literal, physical body and blood of Jesus Christ.  In the Roman Catholic Church, when the priest prays over the bread and wine it (according to their doctrine) literally transforms into Jesus’ flesh and blood in an event they call transubstantiation.  Other denominations teach something similar, though without the specific blessing of their priests.  The problem is that Jesus wasn’t talking about communion (the Lord’s Supper – the Eucharist) at all.  The Last Supper that preceded the cross (which communion is based upon) was still a year away, and not a single person at the time would have understood Jesus to have been handing out His literal flesh and blood.  Neither the Galilean Jews listening to Jesus understood Him in that way (as evidenced by their questioning and quarreling), nor the disciples at the Last Supper would have thought this (because even then, Jesus was still literally sitting at the table with them, instead of being bloodily divided up among them).  There would have been no doubt in the minds of the 12 disciples that Jesus was using figurative language during the Last Supper.  But again, that was still a year away, and thus a vastly different event.  Jesus uses the same illustration of both occasions, but that’s all.  The context, audience, and purposes are totally different between the two.
  3. Don’t miss Jesus’ main point here.  We need life.  We want to be raised to life on the last day.  Jesus says that it is possible, and He says how: we must eat and drink of Him.  See vs. 55…

55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

  1. Question: If Jesus is using figurative language, why does He call His flesh and blood true food and drink/  Because of the whole idea He teaches here about abiding/remaining.  When we partake of food, it becomes a part of us.  This was one of the cultural points of the Last Supper later on.  The disciples were eating with Jesus, sharing a meal with Jesus.  It was one of the ways they participated with one another and joined with one another.  If that is true when sharing a table and dipping into some sop together, how much more when actually ingesting a meal?  The whole point Jesus is making is that we are to be so dependent upon Him that He is a part of us.  We are to be IN Christ, and He will be IN us. (This is the same point Paul makes in his letters, when giving the analogy of the body of Christ…)
  2. So why the concentration on flesh and blood?  Because the way we partake of Christ is by partaking of His sacrifice.  His flesh was literally torn and bruised for us.  His blood was literally spilled and shed for us.  We “eat and drink” of Him when we believe upon His sacrifice by faith.  If there are any doubts Jesus is speaking symbolically about His body, and truly speaking of abiding faith in Him, just look back over the rest of the chapter: vs. 29, “that you may believe,” – vs. 35, “he who believes,” – vs. 36, “you do not believe,” vs. 40, “believes in Him,” vs. 47, “he who believes.”  The issue is belief; the illustration is food.

57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.

  1. Jesus has taught how we receive everlasting life: by hearing the voice of God the Father and coming to Jesus in believing faith.  This is eating of Jesus’ flesh and blood – partaking of His sacrifice and abiding in Christ.  Now Jesus teaches of the source of that life: God.  Follow it through: we eat of the living bread (Jesus), so we live because of Him.  Jesus lives because of the Living Father, who sent Him.  Our source of life is Jesus; His is God.  This is one more area of mystery in that Jesus IS God.  He has always existed as God, being equal with God.  That said, Jesus is still somehow eternally begotten of God (not created, but begotten).  Somehow Jesus’ life proceeds from God the Father in the mysterious workings of the Trinity.
  2. All of that is mind-blowing, no doubt – but don’t miss the grace.  The very life which Jesus has always had from the Father, He makes available to us.  WE live because Jesus shares His life with us.  WE live because Jesus brings us into the everlasting relationship shared between Him and God the Father.  We are made the children of God – we share in the inheritance of Christ – we are brought into a family relationship that we could never have before imagined: the inner workings of the Trinity.
    1. Talk about grace!  Just to look upon the Son of God is enough – but for Him to bring us into the life of His own Father?  That is truly amazing!

58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” 59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

  1. Jesus wraps it up by basically repeating vss. 48-49.  The true bread is not the manna, but the Messiah.  Those who come to believing faith in Jesus will life forever.  That invitation held true for the Jews in Capernaum, and it still holds true for the rest of us today.

Conclusion:
The Jews of Galilee stumbled over the claims of Jesus.  They couldn’t believe His heavenly origin, nor could they understand the need to partake of His flesh.  It’s not that Jesus hadn’t provided proof of His claims, or answers to their skepticism; it’s that they were unwilling to believe.  It all comes down to belief – to faith.  When God calls us and draws us, we need to make the decision to believe.  As Jesus makes Himself available to us, we need to partake of Him and believe.  We need to continually remain in Him, abide in Him, so much so that it is as if we eat His flesh and drink His blood.  Jesus needs to be a part of us, if we are to be a part of Him.

The good news is that those who do this receive life!  We can know that we are saved.  We can have assurance that we have been drawn and taught of God, because we have responded to the gospel of Jesus Christ in faith.  We don’t have to look to the past for a past remembrance and possible assurance; we can look to our lives right now and know that we have been given life because our current hope and faith is in Christ.  We have feasted on the bread of life, and have assurance that we will never die.

Some Christians struggle with this kind of assurance.  They’ve heard the theological debates about predestination, and they wonder how they fit in with God’s election and their own free-will.  They wonder how they could ever truly know that they are saved.  Jesus did not teach these things to implant doubt, but to give us grand assurance.  Look again over Jesus’ words, and take note of His main point: He wants His listeners to believe on Him and know they have life.  Vs. 33, Jesus “gives life to the world,” – vs. 35, “shall never hunger…shall never thirst,” – vs. 37, “I will be no means cast out,” – vs. 39, “I should lose nothing,” – vs. 40, “may have everlasting life,” – vs. 44, “I will raise him up,” – vs. 47, “has everlasting life,” – vs. 50, “may not die,” – vs. 51, “will live forever,” – vs. 54, “has eternal life,” – vs. 56, “abides in Me and I in him,” – vs. 57, “will live because of Me,” – vs. 58, “will live forever.”  Amen!  Does this sound like a God who wants us to doubt?  This is a Savior who wants us to know that we have been saved!  Trust in the work of God.  Trust in the mercy and grace of your Savior.  Walk in the assurance He gives you, and tell the world so that your friends and neighbors can know the same thing.

For some of you, this is the day that you need to partake of Jesus for the first time.  This is the day you make the decision to believe – to do away with your skepticism, and trust Jesus for who He is.  Are there mysteries regarding God?  No doubt – but why would there be?  He is, after all, infinite.  There are some things about His ways that we can never understand, nor should we expect to.  The good news is that God never demands that we come to a perfect understanding of all theology in order to be saved; we just need to turn to Jesus in believing faith.  We need to partake of His sacrifice for us: eating of His flesh and blood, the true living bread broken for us.  Turn from your sins and place your trust in Jesus to save you, and you can know the same assurance that He offers to all the world.  Answer the call of God who is drawing you right now, and you can know that you will receive everlasting life.

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