Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Explaining Salvation To the Galileans

John 6:22-40

“The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.  And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?” (John 6:22-25)

The people had seen the disciples depart, and knew that Jesus was not with them.  There were no other boats close by but the town of Tiberias was close and there were boats there.   Since Capernaum was home for several of the disciples and thy had not returned during the night. the people assumed that was where they had gone and hired boats in Tiberias to transport them across the sea.  They were amazed to find Jesus already there and asked how he had gotten there so quickly. 

“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” (John 6:26-27)

Rather than answer the question, Jesus pointed out that their primary concern was not even curiosity about the miracles, but about the free food that he had provided.   Even those who came to be healed were only interested in having their bodies healed.  Sadly, today many come to the church for financial aid, or to get help with marriage problems or addiction with no interest in anything beyond their immediate condition.   In most cases they are only interested in superficial changes.   They need to change their focus from temporal physical things such as food, to the spiritual things that are eternal.  Those things come through Jesus Christ, by the power of God.   

“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:28-29)

The people understood that there was something needed on their part, just as most people who come to the church for help understand they need to take action.  Jesus told them the thing they needed to do was to believe in Christ.   It was exactly the same thing he told Nicodemus, and that we find throughout the scriptures.    Unfortunately many think faith is not enough, and that one must be baptized or join the church or follow some set of rules.  They are in effect calling Jesus a liar. 

They said therefore unto him, What sign showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?  Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” (John 6:30)

The Jews continuously wanted some miracle to prove that a message was from God.   Though Jesus had done many miracles including feeding just the day before, they were demanding another proof.   In Matthew 16:3-4, a little later, Jesus rebuked the people, “He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.  And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?   A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.”

They were willing to accept the signs of the clouds and the color of the sunrise or sunset as indicating what the weather would be but they refused to accept the signs God had given them, even when they were less ambiguous.  They wanted a sign like the manna that came every day because they were not willing to commit.   

“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” (John 6:32-33)

Jesus pointed out the bread did not come from Moses but from God himself.  Even the manna was a temporary expedient to supply earthly needs.  God offers an eternal supply that will provide life to the entire world.  Just as he used the water to witness to the Samaritan woman, He uses the food they were seeking to witness to the Galilean people. 

“Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.  But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. “ (John 6:34-40)

They asked for that bread, just as the Samaritan woman asked for living water.  Jesus then made it clear he was not talking about ordinary food, but spiritual life which is obtained by believing in him   Though they had seen all the evidence, they had chosen not to believe, but anyone who did would be saved.  He will not refuse anyone who comes to him because he came to please God rather than himself and as II Peter 3:9 tells us, God “…is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  Anyone who believes on him will be saved, and it is God’s plan that none of those who are saved be lost, because they “…are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,” according to I Peter 1:5. 

This is the second detailed example of how Jesus witnessed to people.  

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