Last time we looked at the following remarks of the people that pierced the heart of Jesus:
John 6:42 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’?”
Jesus continue talking with them
John 6:43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves.
John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:45 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.
None will ever come to Christ, save those who respond to the drawing of the Father’s love. But God is drawing all hearts unto Him, and only those who resist His drawing will refuse to come to Christ.
In the words, “They shall be all taught of God,” Jesus referred to the prophecy of Isaiah:
“All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” Isaiah 54:13.
This scripture the Jews appropriated to themselves. It was their boast that God was their teacher. But Jesus showed how vain is this claim; for He said,
John 6:45 Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
Only through Christ could they receive a knowledge of the Father. Humanity could not endure the vision of His glory. Those who had learned of God had been listening to the voice of His Son, and in Jesus of Nazareth they would recognize Him who through nature and revelation has declared the Father.
John 6:46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.
John 6:47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal.
The people had referred Christ to the manna which their fathers ate in the wilderness, as if the furnishing of that food were a greater miracle than Jesus had performed; but He shows how meagre was that gift when compared with the blessings He had come to bestow.
The manna could sustain only this earthly existence; it did not prevent the approach of death, nor insure immortality; but the bread of heaven would nourish the soul unto everlasting life.
John 6:48 I am the bread of life.
John 6:49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
John 6:50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.
To this figure Christ now adds another. Only through dying could He impart life to men, and in the words that follow He points to His death as the means of salvation. He says,
John 6:51 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.”
Because He took upon Himself humanity, the Son of God was able to give His “flesh”, that is, to die and thus to make His perfect humanity available to those who partake of Him by faith.
The Jews were about to celebrate the Passover at Jerusalem, in commemoration of the night of Israel’s deliverance, when the destroying angel smote the homes of Egypt.
In the paschal lamb God desired them to behold the Lamb of God, and through the symbol receive Him who gave Himself for the life of the world. But the Jews had come to make the symbol all-important, while its significance was unnoticed.
They discerned not the Lord’s body. The same truth that was symbolized in the paschal service was taught in the words of Christ. But it was still undiscerned.
Now the rabbis exclaimed angrily,
John 6:52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
When Jesus had claimed to be the bread from heaven, the Jews had begun to murmur; now, when He invited them to eat of His flesh, their emotions rose still higher. All were confused by placing too literal a construction on His words.
They affected to understand His words in the same literal sense as did Nicodemus when he asked, “How can a man be born when he is old?” John 3:4. To some extent they comprehended the meaning of Jesus, but they were not willing to acknowledge it. By misconstruing His words, they hoped to prejudice the people against Him.
Christ did not soften down His symbolical representation. He reiterated the truth in yet stronger language:
John 6:53 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.
It is only because Christ gave HIs human life for us that we may partake of His divine, eternal life.
John 6:54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Whoever eats. Gr. ho trōgōn, a present participle, implying continual eating, a constant feeding. It is not enough once to have partaken of Christ; His followers must continually nourish their spiritual beings by feeding on Him who is the bread of life.
John 6:55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
John 6:56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ is to receive Him as a personal Saviour, believing that He forgives our sins, and that we are complete in Him.
It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature. What food is to the body, Christ must be to the soul. Food cannot benefit us unless we eat it, unless it becomes a part of our being.
So Christ is of no value to us if we do not know Him as a personal Saviour. A theoretical knowledge will do us no good. We must feed upon Him, receive Him into the heart, so that His life becomes our life. His love, His grace, must be assimilated.
But even these figures fail to present the privilege of the believer’s relation to Christ. Jesus said,
John 6:57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
John 6:58 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.”
John 6:59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
As the Son of God lived by faith in the Father, so are we to live by faith in Christ. So fully was Jesus surrendered to the will of God that the Father alone appeared in His life. Although tempted in all points like as we are, He stood before the world untainted by the evil that surrounded Him. Thus, we also are to overcome as Christ overcame.
My dear friend. Are you a follower of Christ? Then all that is written concerning the spiritual life is written for you and may be attained through uniting yourself to Jesus. Is your zeal languishing? Has your first love grown cold?
Accept again of the love of Christ. Eat of His flesh, drink of His blood, and you will become one with the Father and with the Son.
The unbelieving Jews refused to see any except the most literal meaning in the Saviour’s words. By the ritual law they were forbidden to taste blood, and they now construed Christ’s language into a sacrilegious speech, and disputed over it among themselves. Many even of the disciples said,
John 6:60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”
Jesus was heart broken when many of His disciples uttered these words. What about the twelve? In our next lecture we will conclude one of the saddest experiences in the life of Christ.