John, The Love of God
There is a very old gospel hymn we used to sing when I was a child. Some of you might remember it, “Where Could I Go But to the Lord”. It is more a statement of faith than a question asked. The chorus still rings in my head…
Where could I go oh where could I go
Seeking the refuge for my soul
Needing a friend to save me in the end
Won’t you tell me
Where could I go but to the Lord
As I read our next passage in the gospel of John, Jesus is confronted by arguing Jews over His statement, “I Am the Bread of Life”. Jesus is talking about believing and trusting. But like first graders who take what you say very literally, the Jews spout, “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?” They don’t get it. Jesus is teaching everyone a new language…Spirit language. Some are beginning to understand and some don’t even want to try, much less follow him.
I remember a dear friend whose husband was not a believer. She and her son prayed for him for many years with patience, never giving up on him. Finally, he came to an altar of prayer after a program his son was in at church and repented. “I give up, I’m coming to Christ!” After a few months, my friend called me and said, “Susan, it is wonderful. We now speak the same language!”
You see, believers learn to speak a Spirit language as shown to us by Jesus. I’m not talking about speaking in tongues, but a language prompted by a relentless knowing that Jesus IS who He says He is, fully accepting his gift of complete forgiveness for our sin, and tenaciously believing in God the Father as The One and Only God Who sent His Son to die for our sin. His Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts in ways that comfort, encourage, convict, direct and guide and keep us focused on Him. As we read His Word and grow in His love, grace and mercy, we think and talk less like the world and more like Him.
John 6, The Message
47-51 “I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”
52 At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves: “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?”
53-58 But Jesus didn’t give an inch. “Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me. This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always.”
59 He said these things while teaching in the meeting place in Capernaum.
Too Tough to Swallow
60 Many among his disciples heard this and said, “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.”
61-65 Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, “Does this throw you completely? What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from? The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.” (Jesus knew from the start that some weren’t going to risk themselves with him. He knew also who would betray him.) He went on to say, “This is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to me on his own. You get to me only as a gift from the Father.”
66-67 After this a lot of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him. Then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance: “Do you also want to leave?”
68-69 Peter replied, “Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.”
70-71 Jesus responded, “Haven’t I handpicked you, the Twelve? Still, one of you is a devil!” He was referring to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. This man—one from the Twelve!—was even then getting ready to betray him.
What do we learn and need to “chew on”?
–Jesus gives the followers an out…”Do you also want to leave?”
–Peter, in his normal fashion spoke up for The Twelve, “Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life.” Peter speaks the Spirit language when he says, “We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.”
–Even though this new language (teaching) was tough to swallow for the disciples, The Twelve tried to understand. Jesus knew that when His real flesh would be torn and His blood would flow to pay for our sins forever some would flee the scene. He also knew which one would betray Him. But He kept teaching ALL of them.
–“Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making.” –Jesus
*Do you want to leave Jesus? He does not force us to stay with Him.
*If we stay, are we committed and confident, like Peter?
*Where would we go but to the Lord? For Life.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are God and we are not. Where would I go but to You? There is no one like You. Blessed be Your Name! Thank you for being patient with us as you continually work in us and through us to be and to do all you intended for us.
In Jesus Name, Amen