The Eventual Exposing of False Faith (John pt. 21)
Text: John 6:28-68
Ok, so we’re in the Gospel of John, and we have a big chunk of text this morning, so I’m going to just get right in to it… Let’s take our Bibles, and open them up to John chapter 6 (READ TEXT).
Now basically, what’s happening here, is that this crowd of people, these false disciples, or false followers of Jesus… they’re making demands of Him… and essentially making demands on God.
And when you get right down to it… they don’t want to know God… they want to BE God.
That’s what we see there in verse 28 – they ask, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” So, they think there’s some kind of formula that they can plug in and they’ll be able to do the things that Jesus has been doing… In other words, “Well Jesus, if You’re not going to do another miracle and feed us, tell us how we can miraculously create food for ourselves.” “How do we get the power that You have Jesus?” That’s what they’re asking here.
Do you remember, way back in John chapter 2:23-24 it said that many people believed in His Name WHEN they saw the signs that He was doing… “But Jesus on His part did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all people.”
So what we’ve seen in John is that a lot of people are interested in Jesus, because they’ve seen Him do miracles, and because He can heal the sick, and because He can miraculously create an abundance of food. That’s even what we saw with Nicodemus in chapter 3… remember? He came to Jesus in John chapter 3:2 and said, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that You do, unless God is with him.”
So what do these crowds believe about Jesus?
They believed that He came from God… and that He had divine power. And they believed they could manipulate Him into giving them that power. They’re not asking “What kind of works can we do to please God?” They’re asking, “How can we get that same power? How can we get the power of God, so we can use it for what we want?” That’s what they’re asking.
Now I want you to look at how Jesus answers them… it’s in verse 29 (READ).
So what did Jesus mean by that? Well… He means exactly what He said. He says it again, in a slightly different way in verse 44, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” So they ask Jesus, “What do we need to do, so that we can do the works of God… So that we can do the things that you’re doing Jesus?” And Jesus says, “This is the work of God… Drawing you to Me, and creating faith in faithless hearts. That’s God’s work…” And they got what Jesus was saying, because in verse 30 they say, “Ok then… if we can’t get this power… what sign are YOU going to do SO THAT we may see and believe You? What work do You perform?”
Now I don’t know about you all, but I think the greatest, most miraculous thing that Jesus does in this passage is be patient and merciful to these people. I mean, just think about this for a second. Jesus is God the Son. He is Emmanuel – God with us… God in the flesh… and these people just tried to get Him to give them the power of God… when He wouldn’t do it, they then try to manipulate Him into feeding them again… They’re like, “Ok Jesus if you won’t give us the power of God… what are you going to DO so that we’ll believe… Hey; I’ve got an idea… You know, God gave Moses and the Israelites in the Old Testament, mana… why don’t You feed us again Jesus? Why don’t you miraculously create our breakfast for us?”
Again; they’re not asking Jesus to do something so that they can become believers… they’re trying to manipulate Him into being a divine sugar daddy. If they were looking for a sign to believe, they had already seen it… Remember? Jesus had already fed them the day before… He’s already been doing miracles, and casting out demons, and healing the sick. If the signs and wonders were going to do it… they should’ve already been believers. Of course we know from Scripture, that signs and wonders never lead to saving faith… Faith comes by hearing. It’s the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. Not signs and wonders.
So it’s amazing to me that Jesus doesn’t just turn them into dust… that He doesn’t open up a pit and swallow them up, like God did with the faithless back in Moses day… He could be like, “Oh, you want to see miracles like back when Moses was in the wilderness? Then check this out…”
PIT TO HELL – GONE. “How’s that for ya?” But He is so patient, and merciful, and forgiving. Instead of destroying them… or even rebuking them… He goes into teaching mode. He teaches them. He basically says to them, “You guys are so worldly, you can’t get past your stomach. You’re thinking of literal, physical bread… But I AM THE BREAD FROM HEAVEN!”
“I’m what you need to be hungry for, and I’m what you need to be seeking after. Not some temporary, worldly, satisfaction.”
So the people, they’re trying to manipulate Jesus… they’re saying, “You fed us dinner last night, now feed us breakfast… and why not just feed us perpetually… After all, God fed Moses and the Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness… why not feed us for the next 40 years Jesus?” But even if Jesus had done that, it wouldn’t convince them. Matthew 12:39 tells us why… “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign…”
So Jesus tells them, “I’m the bread that comes down from heaven. I’m the bread of life.” He says that several times in this passage. But they don’t get it.
Look with me at verses 36-39 (READ). Now listen to what the Lord is saying here. He’s saying, “You don’t believe… and the reason you don’t believe is because you haven’t been given to Me by the Father… because all that the Father gives to Me will come to Me… and I’ll never cast them out. They are secure. They are saved. They are sealed. They’re Mine!”
So Jesus teaches them… He tells them that He is what’s most important… and that salvation is entirely a work of God… He tells them the truth, and verse 41 says: They grumbled. And you know what Jesus does? It cracks me up… He tells the same thing over again. Verse 43 & 44… “Jesus answered them, ‘Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.’” And then in verse 48 He tells them again, “I am the bread of life.”
And you know what they do? They grumble some more… they complain some more… They can’t understand the spiritual aspect of what Jesus is saying. Again… all they can do is think and understand purely in the terms of the physical. They think that Jesus is telling them to literally eat His flesh. Look with me really quick at 1st Corinthians 2:14 (READ). That’s what’s going on here. They can’t understand the spiritual meaning of what Jesus is saying to them. I remember, it was about 1981, and I was given a book by Robert E. Howard titled “Conan of Cimmeria”. I was about 8 or 9 years old… just a wee lad… and I opened that book, and you know what I did?
I devoured it. I couldn’t put it down. I read it in about two days. Well in the same sense; that is what Jesus is saying here. Remember WHO He is… John 1… In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh. Jesus is saying, “You need to get to the point where you devour Me… devour what I say, what I teach, what I do. You need to get to the point where you know and understand… that just like food, you can’t live without Me… without consuming My Words… being a part of Me… living and sustaining yourself off of Me… Getting to the point where your day-by-day your life’s dependence is on devouring Me…. You have no life in you.” (That’s verse 53) …
That’s what He’s saying to them. They can’t get it. They don’t get it… They only hear what He says in the physical sense.
The question for us is… Do we hear and understand what Jesus is saying? He meets our needs every day. We never reach a point where we go… “Oh yeah… Jesus used to meet my needs. He used to be my heart’s desire, but I don’t need Him anymore. I’m past that now.”
You know; I think that’s a big problem here in America… people have just fallen out of love with Jesus… In-fact; I know it’s a big problem here in the US… the UK… the world… I mean… the Bible tells us that because the love of many will grow cold, lawlessness will abound. And just look around. Lawlessness abounds.
We said this last week… the purpose of this section of John’s Gospel is to show us that not everyone who says they’re interested in Jesus is really a true Christian… And John is saying to us, that if you are a true follower of Jesus, you never grow tired of Him… you need Him like you need food. You go to Him daily, like your daily meal.
Now catch this… Jesus said this in the synagogue… Verse 59, “Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum.” These folks were in church… they were in a place of worship… they were in a place where the Scriptures were supposed to be taught, and expounded upon, and opened up. Listen… we live in Oklahoma… we live in one of the most “religious” places in the world, but our area… our community, is full of folks just like these people.
They don’t see Jesus as a daily necessity. They see Him as a secondary thing. Or even further down on their priority lists. I mean, let’s be serious. For a lot of folks around here… other things come first. Jobs, finances, sports, entertainment, pleasure…
A lot of folks are interested in Jesus, but they don’t devour Him… they don’t daily commune with Him, and rely on Him, or go to Him in prayer… He’s not number one in their lives. And the Bible describes that kind of person as LUKEWARM.
Jesus is saying to us – “YOU NEED TO BE IN ALL IN”. You need to be all or nothing. You can’t serve two masters. He says we’re to love God with ALL of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. That’s what He says to these people… and verse 66 tells us that many of these false disciples turned away and no longer walked with Him.
And what about us this morning? Can we say with the Apostle Paul that we count all things as loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus? Where else will you go? Jesus has the Words of eternal life.