Spiritual food…

John 6:41-52

The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.”  And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves.  No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.  It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.  Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.  Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me  has everlasting life. I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”

At what point do we receive the ability to perceive the spiritual world?  At what point do we know the difference between a literal physical application of truth and a truth that goes beyond our natural, physical world into our spiritual world?  We view our world from the present, in natural, physical terms, most times.  We see the earth, sky, trees, homes, friends, family, work; all exist now for us and all seem permanent till death, and take up our whole being, our whole view.  But this circle is a circle within a circle that expands without end and is spiritual in nature.  To see the spiritual and know the Creator is a gift.  Jesus gives us that gift.  He takes us beyond this life to eternity, a much larger circle – without end, without boundaries.

Belief in Christ gives the ability to see a larger, total picture.  God is the force that teaches us and draws us to Christ.  “They will all be taught by God.  Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.” – Jesus.  All that there is to know about the spiritual world is not revealed; but enough is to realize the spiritual existence and our part in it.  We can be part of it in unity with Jesus.

Looking for a sign…food for eternity

John 6:25-40

And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”

Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”
 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.  All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

“You look for me…because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” “…Work…for food that endures to eternal life. …the work of God is…to believe in the one he has sent…”  “…what miraculous sign will you give…?”  The sign was given and they missed it, as we so often do because the focus is on the natural world around us.  Feeding them as he did was a message to them that he was the one sent to them from heaven. He points out that Moses did not send the manna they refer to, God did.  Moses was his agent.  Jesus’ coming was a gift from God as the manna was.  Jesus would provide not just temporary relief from hunger but eternal relief.  This hunger to which he refers is not a physical hunger required for physical life but a spiritual hunger, a need to be met with spiritual food that would provide more than physical life, it would carry and nourish through eternity.  “The bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world”; this bread is Christ and his death and resurrection provided life that lasts.

Take away – we have a hunger other than physical hunger, a hunger that ensures we seek physical food to grow and live now.  We have a hunger that ensures we seek spiritual food that will feed our soul for eternity.  Mankind is on a continual search for food that will satisfy that hunger.  Jesus states he provides that food.  He did so by following the will of God in coming, dying on the cross, rising from the grave, and defeating the curse of sin, death both physical and spiritual.  It is our work to believe.  This requires faith to believe.  God grants this faith to us, Jesus states: “All that the Father gives me will come to me… “; ask to be one of those in that group.

Walk on water…

John 6:16-24

Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them.  Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing.  So when they had rowed about three or four miles,  they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid.  But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”  Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

 On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone—  however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks—  when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

Jesus leaves the place, alone, going into the mountainside.  The disciples leave later by boat, a boat is left behind, but as they row across the lake, Jesus comes to them walking on the water.  Their reaction is fear; his action is to calm the fear.  The escape from the crowd intent upon making Jesus king is accomplished.  Jesus demonstrates a power over the natural, physical laws of nature to his disciples.  And the crowd left behind finds ways to search for him.  Why? They recognize a power they have heard about in the books of Moses and they want that power to release them from Rome’s dominion.  They seek release from a present evil; while Jesus could have provided that given the power he has demonstrated, the release he came to offer was a release from the evil behind the oppressor.  We look at symptoms or the fruits of evil and want release when the release that is provided is a release from the evil that causes the symptoms and its fruit.  We are still in this present world subject to its conditions; that hasn’t changed.  The power displayed by Jesus is a power that enables us to transcend the conditions.  The waters and wind did not subside as he walked.  He walked over it all, oblivious to its effects.

The spiritual change that comes from a relationship with Jesus, gives a power like that demonstrated over the water.  What we receive from him is the ability to rise above the conditions that would attempt to oppress us.  We can call on the same power to live through the storm with no need to be rid of the storm.  Evil exists, its effects exist but we do not need to be subject to it, nor oppressed by it.  Ride out storm; walk on water. Do not accept defeat, do not let your spirit be brought down, do not get into a place of self-pity no matter how tempting it is…look to the power Jesus displayed and call it forth in your spirit.  Ride out the storm; walk on water.

Let nothing be wasted…

John 6:1-14

 After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.  Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.  And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.
 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”
 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him,  “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
 Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.  And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples  to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.  So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”  Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.  Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.

“Gather the pieces that are left over.  Let nothing be wasted.”  Make use of all he gives us, let nothing be wasted…  Here we see a miracle that spoke to a people with a history of being fed by God miraculously.  Their ancestors were fed manna in the wilderness.  They had experience with God meeting the immediate needs of his people.  They did not understand that Jesus had come to meet the spiritual needs of all generations.  As in the time of Saul, they wanted to make him king, reverting to man’s methods of solving a problem of oppression, force.  Christ brings to us more than physical food, he brings spiritual food but his advice can be applied to the spiritual as well as the physical.  Let nothing be wasted…make use of all he gives us.  Use the time given, use the scriptures given, use the faith given…let nothing be wasted.  Use all this for what?  To spread the message of the kingdom of God, to open the opportunity for a relationship with the Creator to all who cross our paths, to live as he intended us to live giving evidence that we have an ongoing relationship with him.

Let nothing be wasted.  Let each word, each action speak for him.

Valid testimony…

John 5:31-47

 “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true.  You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.  Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.  He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.  And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.  You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.  But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
 “I do not receive honor from men.  But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.  I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?  Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust.  For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

Jesus states his works give testimony to who he is, for this is the work of the Father and the Son is completing it.  God gave promise to Abraham and the prophets that he would send his Son to complete the work started on earth, to do what had to be done to redeem back His creation to him.  Jesus states his Father gives testimony to who he is but we have not heard the voice of God, we have not seen Him, and we do not believe the one He sent, Jesus. Jesus states the Scriptures give testimony to who he is and we study the Scriptures believing they will provide eternal life yet do not believe Jesus who does give the eternal life sought in the scriptures.  Jesus comes in the name of the Father, and we do not believe him, yet we will believe one who comes in their own name.  Jesus states we will believe Moses but not what he wrote about Jesus and because we do not believe that we do not believe what Jesus says.

Point by point, Jesus gives the reasons mankind uses to not believe, not accept him, to their loss.  We can take heed of this and keep ourselves from the traps of disbelief.  Belief in Jesus, who he is, what he does, who sent him and why is what provides a salvation from death that is more than physical, it is spiritual and eternal.

Cross over to life…

John 5:16-30

 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him,  because He had done these things on the Sabbath.  But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.  Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.  For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.  For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,  that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.  For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,  and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.  Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice  and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

The believer has crossed over from death to life.  Let that fully sink in and all the petty distractions and nuisances life tries to dish out are just that petty/minor.  This is life and death; do we believe the one who sent Jesus, that this is his Son?  And who do we seek to please, God or ourselves?  Those who have experienced severe pain, be it emotional or physical and are believers can testify that what was important in the pain was their believing God.  It transcends any pain; it rises above any circumstances for it brings life and life triumphs over death of any kind.

Just answer the question…

John 5:1-15

 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda,  having five porches.  In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.  For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.  Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”  And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”
 He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ”
 Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”  But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Do you want to get well?  A yes or no answer/question and yet this one answered with an explanation for why he was still sick.  How often do we do this?  Also, later Jesus mentioned the requirement to stop sinning or something worse may happen.  We tend to just accept the gift of healing, or answered prayer and then continue to live our lives as usual…no change.

Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk.  Healed and obeyed, but this was the Sabbath and instead of rejoicing with him over his healing, he was judged for breaking the rules, carrying his mat on the Sabbath.  How often does tradition and following man-made rules take priority over obedience to the Word of God?

Faith realized…

John 4:43-54

 Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee. For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.  So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast.

 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.   When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.  Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”

The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”

Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.  And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”

 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.”  So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.

This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

He took Jesus at his word.  He received his request.  We too can take Jesus at his word and have our request.   This man exercised faith and went on his way – his faith was realized.

Impact others

John 4: 39-42

And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.  And many more believed because of His own word.

Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

 Are we impacting our world as this woman did hers?  Can we in essence say to those in our world…”Come, see a man who told me everything I did”?  In a relationship, we reveal ourselves to another and they reveal themselves to us.  There is an intimate exchange of knowledge and understanding of one another.  When that relationship brings us joy, we share what we are learning, we share our experiences with others in our life-circle, so that they  too can get to know what we experience.  So it is with our relationship with the Lord.  As this relationship deepens and we gain more and more from it, we cannot help but share with others in our personal circle.  How blessed are we?  Enough to continue to share, in the hope that others can also enjoy what we enjoy?

Finishing the work…

John 4:27-38

 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”

The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men,  “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”

 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”

 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”

 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.  Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!  And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.  For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” 

“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”  Later, on the cross he said, “It is finished.”  He was promised, he came, he told of the way to God for us all, he paid for our sins by giving his life, he rose again to conquer death for us and he sent the Holy Spirit to help us all on our life’s walk here.  God’s gift to mankind went beyond creation to redemption and on to keep us in a relationship with him to eternal life with him, not apart from him. 

And now we share, sow, and continue to reap the harvest.  Of all the ones who could have spread God’s Word to this town, it was a woman of ill-repute who went into town to bring others to Christ.  The amazing part of that is they listened to her and responded.  Another example of one despised bringing salvation to others – God’s ways are not our ways, for sure!!