RECAP LAST WEEK
We ended last by seeing that the people were convinced that his claim to have come from heaven was false because they knew were he was from.
What does such a reaction fail to take into account?
That they might be wrong!! Just because Jesus is from humble stock – and they think they know were he comes from, does not mean they are right.
Can you think of another group which seemed to do well grumbling?
As Paul Fuener has pointed out – John is showing how Jesus trumped Moses – how similar this situation is regarding the people of Israel and Moses. They grumbled in the desert– they grumbled against God and Moses whenever things got hard or things happened which they did not understand.
What does their grumbling show about their relationship with God?
They don’t have one!!
Jesus says that no-one comes to me unless the Father draws them. These guys were not being drawn to Jesus – therefore….. God is not working in them.
What comes to your mind when you hear Jesus say “No-one comes to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” What doctrine comes to mind? How does that make you feel?
V45 – Who will be taught by God?
Those who are drawn by the father will be taught by God, and those who are taught by God will come to him. It’s a wonderful cycle – if drawn by God you will be taught by God and to be taught by God is to be drawn by God – Its all God!!
Isaiah 54 is a chapter about future restoration of the Kingdom of God in the last days.
If Jesus is appropriating an end time verse to himself what then has begun with Jesus?
Eschatological blessings of the last days have begun. We are not just in the end times, we are, as beievers, experiencing some of the end time blessings – the spirit in us – the active work of God amongst us – we have a taste of the magnificent reconciliation of God in our lives, which will be completed when we die or when Jesus returns. And all who hear and are open to God will not be left out – and will be raised in the last day – it’s a promise from God.
I do love v46 – primarily because it is a verse which stumps Mormons, but also because it shows an intense intimacy between the Father and Jesus – no-one has seen the father EXCEPT Jesus.
Jesus has referred to himself as the bread from heaven – bread which if eaten will give eternal life.
Contrast V41 & V52 – whats happened with his audience?
They have progressed from grumbling and complaining to arguing. This was not a friendly Bible Study!!
Lets continue to READ v53-59
The people have no idea how Jesus could do this.
What new concept does v54 add to the whole issue?
V54 all of a sudden, out of the blue, Jesus throws into the discussion the issue of Drinking his blood – that of course would be abhorrent to a jew, as would eating flesh.
What act does this remind you of in the church?
There is some debate amongst commentators regarding the meaning of these verses and whether they relate to the eucharist or not.
Lev 17:11 says For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.
What do you think Jesus meant for those hearers to understand from his words?
5:26 has Jesus saying that he has life in himself – it is not a power given to him – but Jesus himself is the source of life.
Eating and drinking from something which is itself the very essence of life would lead to what?
The eating (and now drinking) of his flesh and blood GIVES eternal life.
The image could be that people must take Christ into their inner most being – this is the point of meeting with and knowing Christ – it is a union – and coming together. One of the themes of John’s gospel is abiding in Christ – being in the Son.
Interestingly the word for “eat” changes in v54. Until know, John uses a word esthio, but now he uses a word trogo – which is a more physical meaning – literally to munch, crunch or naw.
Whitacre argues that this is a strong suggestion of the Eucharist. He says “Here then is some of the deepest NT teaching about the Eucharist” referring to these verses.
I don’t think these verse relate primarily to the Eucharist – but they do in a secondary way. To come to Christ – to trust in him means a beginning of an unsurpassed intimacy – that we do share in Christ, through the HS all of which is possible through the death of Jesus on the cross – when his body is broken and his blood shed for us – we become a part of his body – there is no other relationship as intimate as being reconciled with your creator and Lord – and that is represented in the Eucharist – when we come together and Christ is very present with us as we share in him.
What do the disciples find hard?
Jesus’ claims. Of course they have found much of Jesus’ discourse mysterious – but it’s the parts they think they understand which bothered them.
Jesus’ words “ Does this offend you” gives the sense of “Has this led you into sin.”
What is Jesus challenging his audience with in v62?
Jesus gives them a glimpse of the future – Will not his (the son of mans) ascension into heaven prove that he had come down from heaven? Those disciples who have been led by to Christ by the father – and who are taught by God – will see the ascension.
What is Jesus saying in v63?
Here is my take – Jesus is saying my flesh cannot benefit you – stop thinking that I was asking you literally to eat my body or literally drink my blood. It is my spirit, my person, in the act of giving my body to be broken and my blood to be shed, that bestows and sustains life, even everlasting life.
V64 – when does Jesus know those disciples who would not believe and betray him? What does this imply?
From the BEGINNING! The implication is that this knowledge is not revealed gradually but known by Jesus from the beginning – yet he preaches to them and tells them the truth – giving them the opportunity to believe. But no amount of preaching will help – people can only come to Christ if the father has enabled them.
The example of this is the 12 . Peter responds to Jesus’ question, “Do you wish to leave too?” with evidence that they have indeed been enabled by the father, “To whom shall we go – you have the words of eternal life/”
Did they fully understand what Jesus had said? Probably not – but there was something in their spirit that knew staying with Christ was the right things to do.
And what about Judas? What warning are we given by Jesus choosing Judas to be an inner circle disciple and yet knowing he will betray him?
No group is entirely pure. But also, it warns us that being involved with Church, having high office in the church, or responsibility saves you – only faith saves – Judas had intimate access to Jesus, and saw Jesus’ works up close – and yet he had neither trust nor faith.
This whole section encourages us towards a faith which makes Jesus a very part of our being – eating and drinking him – drawing nearer and nearer to him in more and more intimacy – that our lives live and breath Jesus Christ – feeding from him who is life.