Monday 29 May 2023




John 6. V 52/70
Jesus was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum and said, ‘I am the bread of life’, one of his seven ‘I am’ sayings. The bread Jesus is giving relates to his death on the Cross, and those who believe in him are made righteous before God. Jesus meant life to be more than mere existence, he was speaking of a new life in a relationship with God, which is only possible by accepting Jesus into your life as Saviour; without him no one can enter into a relationship with God. He is the bread in the sense that he nourishes us spiritually, and satisfies the longing of our souls. Those who accept him into their lives will not therefore hunger, because their spiritual longing to know God will be known.

This chapter gives us a vision of Jesus, whereby we can relate to him not just as someone we read about, but rather as someone we can turn to, and both he and God become a friend, as the hymn states, ‘what a friend we have in Jesus’. This invitation is extended to all people, but there is a stubborn resistance which refuses the offer, so that what the heart is really searching for is lost. This is where the Jews lost out, they could not believe that someone who came from an ordinary home could possibly be a messenger from God.

There is a memorable story about the famous T. E. Lawrence of Arabia fame, who was serving as ordinary airman in the Royal Air Force, and one day was visiting his friend Thomas Hardy the writer, and was wearing civilian dress. Whilst he was there the local Mayoress visited, and was affronted to meet a common airman without knowing of Lawrence’s fame. She spoke to Mrs Hardy in French saying, in all her life she had never sat in the company of a mere private, when Lawrence said in perfect French, ‘I beg your pardon Madame, can I act as interpreter as Mrs Hardy does not know French’. The woman was judging by external standards, and that is what the Jews did to Jesus as many people are doing now.

I have always been bemused by the general attitude of people within the Church who get overawed at the presence of a bishop, and who consider because of his Office assume he must be a superior Christian to a poor Vicar in knowledge and belief, when in fact it many cases it is the complete opposite case. Men, and now women, often achieve high Office through naked ambition, right contacts, projecting themselves, and serving in non-parochial positions.  The great names in Christianity have been humble men and women, serving often in harsh conditions following the example of the Galilean carpenter who is their inspiration.

When Jesus said he was the bread of life, he was saying he was essential for life, so to refuse to accept his offer means to lose eternal life in heaven. He was the mind and voice of God, who lived a human life among us and offers help to all who seek him. He spoke the words, ‘come to me all who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest’.

Jesus said he was the living bread, in that all who believe in him shall have their spiritual longing filled. He went on to say unless we ate the flesh and drank the blood, there would be no life within them. To eat the flesh means to believe in him, and to drink his blood means to accept his death on the Cross where he shed his blood.  In Jewish thought, blood stood for life, and when a body bleeds life flows out of it, and to a Jew blood belongs to God, which is why Jews will not eat meat unless it is has been completely drained of blood. Jesus wants us to take his life into the very centre of our hearts and life.

Some people were thinking God did not choose them and Jesus would turn them away, but he promises anyone who turns to him will never be turned away. Jesus said no one can come to him unless God sent him/her, which implies that no one has the moral and spiritual ability to come to Christ unless God the Father draws them, that is gives the desire and inclination to do so. All of us who have turned to Jesus and accepted him into our hearts and lives, were inspired to do so when God touched our hearts and gave us the choice of accepting or rejecting Jesus. All who truly believe in Jesus will be saved  and have eternal life, and on the day of judgement will be raised up to the fulness of eternal life.

You may have a precious book, which you never got down to reading it, just having left it in a bookcase. Eventually you do read it, it thrills, entertains and inspires you, and you are left wondering why you turned away from it from the start.

But people are still finding Christianity is a problem and staying away from Church, and what increases their resistance, is the demand he makes on our lives; we are bound to accept him as the ultimate authority and accept moral standards of purity.

 The reason the Church is falling apart is that fewer and fewer within are accepting those demands. God is not going to bless a Church which is acting and preaching contrary to that which he has laid down. We are making accommodation in our teaching and liturgy, for what is unequivocally rejected by God in his Word, (the Bible).

As I mentioned in a previous post, we have a man appointed to control a Cathedral, authorising an immoral function; we have another flying the rainbow flag to celebrate diversity for Gay Liberation, an organisation whose stated aim ‘is the abolition of the family’; no diversity or tolerance there, and in fairness not the aim of the majority it claims to represent. For senior representatives of the Church to act so, reveals the shallow nature of their belief. Christ is rejected because he challenges and condemns.

We need to seriously consider what we understand what it means to be a follower of Jesus, in other words, what being a Christian means and demands. A lady once said to me, ‘Vicar I heard a man say on Songs of Praise, he had attended church for years but had just become a Christian.

We must not accept Jesus as just a character in a book, but someone to whom we can turn to as the final authority in life. The invitation is given to all people, but there remains a stubborn something which refuses the offer. The human heart defies God, but when we accept him the heart finds what it has been searching for.

As we come to the last verses in this chapter we read that ‘many of his followers said this is very hard for us to understand, how can anyone accept it. Such followers were not true and genuine believers, but were following him for what he could do for them, such as healing and multiplying food.

Jesus knew there were some who were unsettled, and knew they would never accept the doctrines he expounded. Paul warned some people in the Church would not either, and would turn to those who were ready to say the things wanted to be heard, and how that is manifest in to-day’s Church.

Millions have been baptised, and such has been the mendacious meaningless procedure, that we have never seen them attending further. We live in an age of free thought and behaviour, in which the sole aim is pursuit of self-pleasure. Those who deceive themselves they are heaven bound, because they consider they are so righteous on spurious grounds, will one day see their judgement overruled by divine judgement. Jesus said human effort accomplishes nothing,

When Jesus saw people walking away, he asked his Apostles were they going to leave him, and Peter who loved the Lord asked, ‘to whom shall we go?’  Peter knew Jesus was the only way to God.

There is much to be learned from this passage.  The eating and drinking is not a reference to Holy Communion.  People place too much emphasis on ceremonial procedure, but Christianity makes the state of the heart the principal matter.

Flesh and blood means the atonement of Jesus, and eating and drinking means faith.  Faith in the atonement of Jesus is of absolute necessity to salvation, and we are united with our Saviour.

We see the hardness of people’s heart.  Even when the preacher was Jesus, who Peter describes as ‘the Holy One of God’,( that is the One set apart for service to God) yet was not accepted by so many. When Jesus spoke kindly and clearly, not all listened.

The true grace of God is an everlasting possession, and true followers do not fall away.  But there is also fake and unreal religion in the Church, which is why some people do leave. Like the ground spoken of in the parable of the Sower, the stone is hard and nothing can take root there. Many words and resolutions are made, but they have not had the grace of God.

If Jesus experienced so much, well might we do so, but do not be discouraged; do not let your faith be threatened, there have always been failures in the Church who fail and want to take others with them;  the remarks of Peter apply to us.

Casual Christianity is not enough to save our souls.  Grace is needed to make a true believer, which will enable us to serve God in the most difficult times.  Never rest until you have that grace properly established in the soul.  The words of our Lord come to us when he states, ‘ask and it shall be given you’.

All Christians should by faithful and loyal to Jesus, and demonstrate this by not being hypocritical in their way of living, rather accepting and practising his commands. 

May the Lord richly bless you, and help you to receive Jesus into your life.

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