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Saturday, February 7, 2015

No More Hunger or Thirst in Christ -- John 6


“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never go thirsty.” John 6:35

Jesus announced three times in Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John that He is the bread of life who was sent from heaven. The manna in the wilderness journey of the Israelites was temporary and fed their physical hunger, and the water from the rock fed their physical thirst.  God supernaturally provided food and water for the Israelites. Jesus, the True Living Bread of Heaven, is Eternal Bread who feeds our spiritual hunger and His Living Water quenches our spiritual thirst. Jesus, His Word and His Holy Spirit feed and nourish our soul and spirit. We are to develop an appetite for His Word because it is eating His Living Word by the Living Water of the Holy Spirit that sustains us and helps us grow and mature until we reflect His image and likeness. God wants us to crave this spiritual food and water – not the food of the world – so He is developed in us and our spirit is fed and made alive.

As the Samaritan woman (Jew/Gentile) at Jacob's well asked Jesus to give her His living water, the Jews here in John 6 ask Jesus to give them His bread. (see John 6:34) Jesus responded by telling them again that He is the Bread of life. Our physical bodies cannot remain alive without bread (food) and water. So too we cannot have spiritual life without the spiritual bread of the Word and the water of the Holy Spirit -- these two work together as One as believers are to work together as one.

The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:3-4 that the Israelites “all ate the same spiritual food, and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” Paul is saying that the water from the rock, the rock and the bread and meat that God supernaturally provided for the Israelites in the wilderness were Jesus Christ. The Manna, Rock and water were foreshadowings of Christ, the spiritual, eternal Rock, eternal Bread and eternal Water, who supplies all who believe in Him with spiritual food and water.

Seeing But Not Believing

Jesus said to those present, But as I told you, “you have seen Me and still you do not believe.” 6:36 This crowd had witnessed Jesus' miracle of multiplying the bread and fish and yet they still did not believe. Jesus was fulfilling their Older Testament scriptures right before their eyes and still they did not see Him and believe. Their “natural” understanding blinded them from the spiritual Truth and His fulfillment. Jesus continually said “He who has ears to hear, let him hear. And He who has eyes to see, let him see.” He wanted them to see and hear spiritually!

In Luke 10:23-24, Jesus says to His disciples, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” We are blessed, brothers and sisters, because we do see and hear the Truth who is Jesus.  The prophets and kings of the Older Testament would have loved to see their Messiah face-to-face as would all of us who love Him.  These disciples had the privilege of seeing, hearing, walking and talking with Jesus face-to-face. 

Jesus quoted what God spoke to His people through the prophet Isaiah in Mark 4:12, “they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven.” Jesus is telling those around Him – both His disciples and others -- that He told parables because His truth is not for those who reject Him, but for those who believe in Him. Believers will understand His parables but outsiders and unbelievers will not. By concealing truth, He could see who was hungering and thirsting for the truth. Jesus gave the secrets of the Kingdom of God to His disciples, not unbelievers. The Kingdom of God is mysterious and only God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit can reveal it.  Mark 4:11:  (Jesus speaking to His twelve disciples)  "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you.  But to those on the outside everything is said in parables...."  His disciples again in Matthew 13:10 asked Jesus why He spoke in parables to the people. Jesus responded by quoting Isaiah 6:9-10 again. “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. But blessed are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” Jesus is addressing this problem. The people heard but didn't understand. They saw but didn't perceive. Their hearts and minds were so calloused that there is no way into them. They were so intent upon holding onto the “old” that they were missing this “new” revelation of Jesus Christ. They saw only what they wanted to see and heard only what they wanted to hear. 
 
By His actions, words and deeds, Jesus was fulfilling Older Testament prophecy in their seeing and hearing, but the majority of the people didn't want to see or hear it. Jesus would quote their own scriptures to show the Jews that He is the One fulfilling them right in front of their eyes!  There is none so blind than he who will not see.  Psalm 78:1-3, “My people, hear My teaching; listen to the words of My mouth. I will open My mouth with a parable; I will teach you lessons from the past.....” In this psalm it was God speaking through the psalmist to the Israelites. Jesus is showing His audience by quoting this psalm that He is God and the fulfillment of this because He is doing exactly what God said He would do – speak in parables. God told His people that they were to hear the teaching and listen to the Words of His mouth.  What deterred these hearers is that they refused to believe that Jesus is God in the flesh.  God knew His plan and progressively revealed it throughout the Older Testament scriptures. 

There is Good News! Jesus tells His disciples that they are blessed because they do see, receive and believe. Jesus will use this remnant of believing Jews to begin building His spiritual kingdom on earth.

“All whom the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will but to do the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day. For My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:37-40   Jesus in His flesh body was completely surrendered to the will of His Heavenly Father. He knew that every person who comes to Him is the gift of His Father in heaven. Jesus knew God intimately as a loving, gracious Father who from His heart of love would bring people to His One and Only Son for salvation, redemption and eternal life. Jesus would love and cherish them as the Father loves and cherishes Jesus. He will never drive them out or lose one of them because they are God's gift to Him. Jesus introduces us to His loving, intimate, personal and gracious Father, not the sometimes strict, stern, demanding God of the Older Testament scriptures.  Jesus is sent by God for "all" no matter what tribe, race, nationality or creed. God will move on the hearts of humanity to instill a desire for His Son. Jesus said that no one can come to Him except the Father draw him. The whole process begins and ends with God. The Father draws, the Son saves and gives eternal life.  Jesus will never drive us away from Him. Instead He will nurture, protect, teach, guide strengthen and love us. Only the defiance of the human heart can bring separation. Eternal life is there for the receiving or the refusing!    Father, give us eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts that can be taught.  In Christ's name, Amen and amen.

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