Drinking Deeply

Sunday, January 08, 2006 at 5:56 PM

John 6:35-71

John 6:35-71
35Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
Look at v. 37: “37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” - What happens first? God gives us to Christ first. What happens next? We come to Christ. What is the promise? Christ will not lose anyone that comes to Him (v. 39)
41So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." 42They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" 43Jesus answered them, "Do not grumble among yourselves. 44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
v. 44 is another good one: “44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” – What precedes us coming? God’s drawing (this is translated “drag” elsewhere in Acts I believe). It is God’s drawing that causes us to come to God, not our coming to God that causes God to draw us.

Now, the argument goes that God has drawn all people, and it’s up to them to make the choice. I will address that below.
45It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me-- 46not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
v. 45-46) Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me-- 46not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.
Notice the unconditioned “Everyone” in v. 45. Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me (Jesus). But then Jesus qualifies it by saying that in fact it’s an “if and only if,” namely that everyone who is from God has seen God.

So now how can we possibly say that Jesus is talking about the universal call? Clearly Jesus is talking only of those that actually have come to Him. They have heard and learned from the Father, from Jesus Christ. He’s not pleading with these people “oh, please, come!” but rather he is making a matter of fact statement, “You can only come if God lets you.” But Jesus makes it more explicit later on.
52The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 53So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not as the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever." 59Jesus[c] said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
I must digress a little bit, because this passage has been a source of controversy between Catholics and Christians. Catholics claim that this passage institutes the physical presence of the body and blood in the Lord’s Supper. A few things to note:

Jesus does not mention the Lord’s Supper in the passage, He talks about election and coming to Christ. This is clear from reading the passage.

Examine v. 54 in contrast with v. 40 :
v. 40) everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
v. 54) Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
The parallels are obvious. Jesus is talking about a spiritual action of looking and believing, rather than some physical action of eating and drinking.

One final thing is that in order for Catholics to use this passage as they claim, they need to establish 1) Jesus is talking about the Lord’s Supper. 2) Jesus is talking about physically eating rather than spiritually and 3) Jesus meant the words for the future rather than for now.

To date I don't believe a single Catholic is able to do all three.

Now, what does the passage really say? Well, from the context it is clear that Jesus talking about who will end up coming to God, and He is drawing parallels, calling himself the bread of life and contrasting the eternal life that he gives from those who eat him (believe), with the temporary life that the manna from heaven that Moses provided. We must also understand it in the context of election, namely that those that God drags will eventually come to faith in Jesus Christ. They will come to Him and eat and never be hungry, drink and never be thirsty.
60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" 61But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, "Do you take offense at this? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
Notice how many of his disciples responded. They rejected Jesus and walked away! Jesus is not ashamed of the Gospel. Jesus is not ashamed of offending people. In fact, it would seem that He incited this! He gave them the hard lecture and caused them to turn away. Would we as Christians not be ashamed of offending people due to the content of our words, but rather seek to emulate Jesus in preaching the whole Gospel, sure that God will call whom He will call. We are dead, on our own we would reject God, but it is the Spirit who gives life. It is only by God’s grace that our words have any impact. Why do we think if we arranged things properly we’d get better results? No, God’s will stands forever.
64But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."
Here is the complete rejection of the idea that God draws everyone. If that was true, then the reasoning given in v.64-65 would be completely faulty. Jesus said that God must draw us in order for us to come to him because there were people who weren’t coming to Him! He knows. If it were true that God drew everyone, then Jesus would need another reason to explain why people don’t believe.
66After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" 68Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." 70Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil." 71He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.
So what was the end result of all of this? Some disciples walked away. So many churches and people today (including my own and me) are afraid of alienating people. Why is that? Are we seeking to please man or to please God?

Is hypocrisy a constant problem? Do you know why? It’s because we have many people who are false converts. People who do not realize that they are sinners. They say one thing with their mouth, and then turn around and deny them. Imagine what would happen if we preached the whole counsel of God, even the difficult ones like sin, hell, and predestination. People would leave in droves! But that neatly solves the huge issue of hypocrisy. Instead of having a lot of false converts pretending to be Christians and being poor witnesses, we’re left with the Remnant, the core, the ones that are convinced that Jesus is the only way, the ones that say “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Now, this doesn’t completely solve it, because Judas is still with Jesus, and Peter will later deny the Lord, but it certainly makes it much easier to deal with!

So repent and believe in Christ. That we are sinners in desperate need of a savior. All our works are but filthy rags in God's eyes. That Christ died for sin, so that all who believe have their sins washed clean. That Christ was raised again, so that we who have died with Christ may now live with Him. That this gift is given by God alone so that we have no work we can do, nothing we can "earn." But the promises are clear, all who come will be saved and raised up at the last day, that is, if the Father has given us and drawn us.

Man is not free, and God is sovereign. Glory to God.

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Anonymous Puritan Belief said...

...People would leave in droves! But that neatly solves the huge issue of hypocrisy

After reading this post it reminded me of this story on preaching to the flesh  

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Blogger Ed Salaz said...

When the followers deserted Jesus, and our Lord came to save sinners, why would he allow them to go without explaining that he was talking about believing his word and not physically eating his flesh?  

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