Wednesday 31 January 2024

John 6. V 25/40

The story begins when Jesus was preaching to crowds of people on one side of the Sea of Galilee and after feeding the crowds left to go  with the disciples to the other side of the Sea to sail to Capernaum.  When the crowds arrived at the first place and found Jesus had left, they followed Him,  They asked Jesus why He had come to Capernaum, He told them they were not so interested in His preaching, but had come and sought Him to get fed with bread.

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 then spiritually satisfied.

Bread is an essential of life without which we cannot go on living. 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’. When Jesus spoke of eating his flesh, he was meaning to let yourself be strengthened by his body.
Jesus said He was the living bread,  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, and He would accept all who came. Every one called by God, and given to Jesus will be granted salvation, and shall have eternal life. No true believer will ever lose salvation
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 it a problem and staying away, 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).


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