Meditations on Various Scriptures 8

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” 28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” 30 So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31 “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.'” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

Once again the Jews cannot seem to keep up with Jesus. The Lord had clearly taught them that faith is the work of God. Instead of grasping that and losing hope in their own strength, they simply asked another question that meant that they wanted Jesus to perform a miracle of giving them more food so that they would believe. Jesus had already performed many signs that they had witnessed, but now they tell Jesus that Moses gave their fathers manna to eat in the wilderness and essentially they were trying to goad Him into giving them more free food.

This is so contemporary. People want miracles performed in their presence so that they can believe as if they had the ability and strength in their own nature to believe if only they could see a miracle. Jesus performed many, many miracles and many people believed as a result of these miracles, but in the Gospel of John we see the majority of those who saw miracles and having a belief of some sort as falling away. It is not enough to see miracles and believe something about Jesus, one must have the work of God in his or her soul to give him or her a new and believing heart. It is not just a matter to see a great miracle that cannot be denied, and we know that the magicians in Egypt could perform magic tricks that did not move them to believe, but God must work His work of faith by giving a new and believing hearts to people.

The Jews at that time wanted Jesus to perform a miracle as Moses did (they thought) and give their fathers free food. Jesus corrected them and told them that it was not Moses who gave them food from heaven, but instead it was His Father in heaven who had given the manna to them. Not only that, but Jesus very clearly told them it was His Father who even now who gives the true bread out of heaven. It was the same Father who sent the manna in the Old Testament to feed His people who now sends the true Bread from heaven and His name was and is Jesus. It is the work of God that works faith in the soul instead of the soul coming up with faith on its own, but now the bread of God is that which gives life to the world. Not only does the bread of God give life to Jews, but it gives life to Gentiles.

This is such a profound passage which puts the glory of God on display in Christ. The purpose of the manna in the Old Testament is to show how Christ is the very bread of life sent from the Father. As the Israelites of old had one way and one way only of food to keep them living, so now both Jew and Gentile must see and recognize that there is only one way of obtaining life and that is if God gives it to them by free-grace and He only gives it in Christ who is the bread of life. However, once again the Jews did not really understand what Jesus was saying and they wanted this bread, but of course they thought of it as physical bread. But behold the glory of Christ in that He alone is the bread of life. There is no free-will that can reach into heaven and pull the bread of life out. There is no free-will that can eat this bread by faith which is the only way it can be eaten. People can believe many things about Christ and they can be deceived into believing many things about Him and so think that they are saved by Him, but true faith can only come as the work of God. The will is not free to obtain spiritual bread and drink on its own, but spiritual bread comes by the free-grace of God and in no other way. Spiritual bread comes down from heaven and is not the act of the will of man. It is the act of the will of God.

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