Summary: Jesus said He was the Bread of Life. When we talk about partaking of the Bread of Life, what are we talking about? And that is the focus of this passage. Just how do we come to know Jesus personally?
Tonight’s passage deals with partaking of the Bread of Life. Jesus said He was the Bread of Life. When we talk about partaking of the Bread of Life, what are we talking about? (How one comes to know Jesus personally.) And that is the focus of this passage. Just how do we come to know Jesus personally?
READ 41-43. Jesus had just made the claim that He came down out of heaven. He referred to Himself as the Bread of Life. He called God His Father. The religionists rebelled against Him. In v. 41 it refers to them grumbling against Him There was a general discontent in this crowd. They were upset and confused. They misunderstood Jesus, they rejected Him, and they opposed what He was saying. They radically disagreed with the statement Jesus made about how He came “down from heaven.”
Why did they question this particular statement? Because they knew Jesus personally—not in a spiritual sense but in the physical sense. They grew up around Jesus. They saw Him grow up. They knew His earthly father, Joseph, and His mother, Mary. They saw Him as a mere man just as they were, having been reared by human parents. How could He possibly claim to be “from heaven”?
Their problem was really twofold:
1. They were ignorant of the incarnation.
2. They were so fixed on His origin, on where He had come from, that they lost sight of His mission, which was to feed and nourish men spiritually (to save and give life.)
So in v. 43 Jesus appealed to the crowd to stop grumbling. He loved these people and he wanted them to listen to the truth. As long as they grumbled, they would never be willing to listen to the truth.
The same is true with us. As long as we are grumbling about something, we lose sight of the truth that God needs us to see. The lesson is still clear, “Be still and know that I am God.”
READ 44-46. Here we go again. A person must be drawn by God. This leans on predestination again. The truth of predestination in the Bible is not so much a statement of theology or philosophy as it is a message that speaks to the spiritual experience of the believer.
If the pure logic of philosophy and theology is applied, then predestination says that God chooses some for heaven and others for hell. But this is simply not what God means in the passages dealing with predestination. What God wants believers to do is to take heart, for He has assured their salvation. This is what He means by predestination. But there is a stipulation in this.
The person who comes to Christ is a person who has been drawn by God, a person who has experienced the divine initiative. In other words, a person does NOT act alone, coming to Christ by his own effort and energy, not by his own works, whether mental or physical labor.
According to the Bible, a person is a dead spirit; so they can do nothing spiritually just as a dead body can do noting physically. The natural person prefers self and sin; so if a person with a dead spirit is to come to Christ, they have to be acted upon and drawn by God. Both God and man have a part in salvation. Let’s spend a few minutes looking at both God’s part and man’s part in salvation.
1. God’s part in salvation is to draw man. Why does God have to draw man? Because man naturally resists the gospel. We see man’s resistance in the word “draw.” The word “draw” has the idea of both initiative and rebellion, of constraint and resistance. For example, the pulling in of a net loaded with fish involves both actions of pulling and resistance. A person being dragged to court encounters both actions of pulling and resistance.
Now how God draws a man is clearly stated. In v. 45 is says that God draws a man by teaching. The teaching may come from the voice of a preacher, the observation of nature, the reading of Scripture, or a bunch of other sources. But one thing is always common; the movement of God’s Spirit upon the human heart, teaching the need for God and drawing the heart toward God for salvation. The Spirit of God teaches a man and moves upon the heart of a man.
a. The Holy Spirit makes the gospel alive to a person’s mind so that he sees it as never before. A person sees, understands, and grasps as never before that God sent Jesus to save and to man life. Do you remember the point in your life when suddenly the Scripture started making sense? At what point was that?