“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.””
John 6:47-51 NKJV
We spend our lives in the acquisition of stuff. We measure our success or failure by what we own, how well off we are, or the number of tnings we have been able to accomplish. All too often such concerns have crept into the church. In some circles, it is common to tie worldy success to perceived godliness. In some churches health, wealth and prosperity are preached as virtues and evidence of God’s presence in one’s life.
In my reading in John chapter six, I saw the story of the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus had taken a child’s lunch and fed five thousand men and their families, perhaps as many as 15,000 people, with the addition of women and children.
The provision drew the people, satisfied their appetite, and they wanted to take Jesus by force and make Him king. They wanted all the stuff they felt He could give them. Much like today, people will elevate or vote for anyone who appeals to their flesh.
The next day they sought Jesus, hoping to get more bread. Instead of the earthly bread that spoils, He told them of the heavenly bread, that lasts forever. He told them of the bread which is the flesh of His body, and the drink which was His blood, as He told of His coming sacrifice for their sins. The disciples were offended, as they did not understand the spiritual implications of what He was saying.
“The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.”
John 6:52-55 NKJV
It is difficult for those who are caught up in the tangible, to grasp the spiritual blessings of God. For the disciples, His words were horrific, as they did not have the capacity or the faith to see the greater truth beyond the mere presentation of a meal or allusion to cannibalism. The dwelt on the surface, and could comprehend.
In the Christian sphere today, there has been a shallowing of the body of Christ, as those who fill the churches seek a surface belief, and make little effort to understand the deeper implications of the faith.
It says in the bible, that there will be a great falling away in the last days, as people refuse to tolerate the truth. We must be faithful in that time to preach the word.
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
II Timothy 4:1-5 NKJV
People will gravitate toward teaching that promises bread and drink, wealth and prosperity. Even the teachings meant to be spiritual, will be misinterpreted as signs and wonders to be performed.
Some will simply leave the faith all together as they decide that the world has better outcomes. Others will move toward the political sphere, seeking man-led solutions to supernatural problems. Jesus knew all this as He spoke to His disciples, for seeds of the falling way were planted and taking root even then.
“When Jesus knew in Himself thatiHis disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.”
John 6:61-64 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, we are seeing changes in our world. I heard of a church in Canada that was barricaded by authorities because they chose to meet in person. In that place, worship is not deemed essential. I sense that such things are coming soon to us, as we have already gotten a sample at the beginning of this pandemic.
There may come a day when being a believer could mean loss of job, loss of home, loss of family, loss of all the things needful for survival. If our faith is based on the tangible things, we will be in truly dire circumstances.
Let us focus on the glories of God, and worship in spirit. Around the world there are believers going into the baptism and soon the grave, as they come to Jesus knowing that there is a likelihood that they will be persecuted to death. They have no concern for the seeming tangible blessings of the faith, but have their eyes of the eternal blessings that are beyond this world.
In the coming days, many of us will leave and no longer walk with the Lord. May we be like Peter as He answered the Lord.
“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.””
John 6:66-69 NKJV