Summary: Jesus is calling those around him from observation to participation. He is issuing that same call to us. If YOU are just observers of Christianity and not participators, YOU HAVE NO LIFE IN YOU.
John 6: 51 – 58 / No Life In You
Intro: There has been a debate for years about when life begins. Some believe life begins at the moment of conception, while others are convinced it starts when the baby takes the first breath. But, I am convinced that life doesn’t really begin until the last kid leaves home permanently. There are many passages of scripture that speak to life and living. We’ve read about the “bread of life” and this passage from John begins with the words, “I am the living bread.”
I. Vs. 51 – I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will life forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
A. It was because of words like these that many Romans or non-Christians in the 1st century CE believed that Christians were cannibals, eating flesh and drinking blood.
B. It was a common practice among worshipers of pagan gods to eat flesh that had been offered to a pagan god. In so doing, they felt they were taking the god into themselves and would be leaving the “worship” filled with the god.
C. In his gospel, John does not include the story of the last supper; but does have a long discourse on the “Bread of Heaven”
II. Vs. 52 – “The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
A. The words that John puts into the mouth of Jesus at this point were interpreted literally by the Jews even though that was not the intent of Jesus. So what is Jesus saying to the skeptical Jews and to us?
B. To receive from Christ Jesus what he has to give, to experience His power, we must feed on him. We must absorb his teaching into our life and into our ways until we can do or be, what without him we could not do or be.
C. It is like having a book on a shelf. Until a person takes it off the shelf and “devours” or reads it, the book remains an inanimate object and does not come alive in anyone. A book only takes on life when it is read and understood by a reader, a person.
III. Vs. 53 – “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”
A. The word “life” in Greek is ZOAINE as it is used here. It is used a great deal by John to designate the result of faith in Christ. In most cases it is stated expressly that the follower of Jesus possesses LIVE, zoaine in this world at the next.
B. As long as Christ Jesus remains a figure in a book, He is nothing to us. We must take him into our being, study His words, follow His example and rely on His strength.
C. Jesus is calling those around him from observation to participation. He is issuing that same call to us. If YOU are just observers of Christianity and not participators, YOU HAVE NO LIFE IN YOU.
Conclu: Some might ask, ‘If God intended man to live on bread, why didn’t he create a bread tree?’ And the answer, in effect, is that God could have created a tree that produced crusty loaves of bread, but he prefers to offer us a grain and invite us to buy a field and plant the seed. He prefers that we till the soil while he sends the rain. He prefers that we harvest the crop while he sends sunshine. He prefers that we grind the crop and knead it and bake it while he gives us air in our lungs and strength in our arms. Why? Because he would rather that we become partners with him in creation. —(Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come: chapter 10: 273 in galleys)