30So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” 32Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34″Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.” 35Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Michael Horton wrote in his essay Christless Christianity, “The Greeks love wisdom, so show them a Jesus who is smarter at solving the conundrums of daily living and the church will throng with supporters. Jews love signs and wonders, so tell people that Jesus can help them having their best life now, or bring in the kingdom of glory, or drive out the Romans and prove their integrity before the pagans, and Jesus will be laureled with praise. But proclaim Christ as the Suffering Servant who laid down his life and took it back up again, and everybody wonders who changed the subject. The Church exists in order to change the subject from us and our deeds to God and his deeds of salvation, from our various ‘missions’ to save the world to Christ’s mission that has already accomplished redemption.”
He also wrote, “If the message that the church proclaims makes sense without conversion; if it does not offend even lifelong believers from time to time, so that they too need to die more to themselves and life more to Christ, then it is not the gospel. When Christ is talked about, a lot of things can happen, none of which necessarily has anything to do with his doing, dying, rising, reigning, and return. When Christ is proclaimed is in His saving office, the church becomes a theater of death and resurrection, leading to genuine lives of witness, love, fellowship, community, and service—yet always requiring forgiveness and therefore always coming back to the good news concerning Christ.” (Issue: “Christless Christianity” May/June Vol. 16 No. 3 2007 Page, 14)
They want signs. Many today want signs too. I have been writing about such folks for a few days now. Church buildings are filled with people who are astounded at the fancy building where they sings songs and go to McD— in the front lobby after the worship. Card sliders collect the offering on Sundays as if people were standing in line at Giant E—. Before you know it, we will be able to have virtual communion where we only imagine eating the loaf and drinking the cup. It’s a funny thing, in an ironic, terrifying sort of way, what the church has become. It’s not that all these modernizations are necessarily evil. It is that they signify a greater change in the church which is the lack of theological depth and appreciation for the things of God. I happen to be familiar with a congregation that is currently in the process of what appears to be a major expansion of their building. I also happen to know that this congregation does not have a baptistery and does not serve communion except in a private out of-the-view-of-everyone-room. I don’t know if there are any crosses inside or not. A new building is not evil; a shortened Gospel is. And in my estimation there is a correlation between the two.
Realistically speaking, we are much like the people in this story. They forgot that it was God who provided bread (manna) for them, not Moses; we have forgotten that is was Jesus who died for us, not some super preacher.
Jesus here says that these people did not recognize one very important aspect of life: It was God who provided for them and not Moses. They placed far too much value on Moses because they did not know the ultimate source of their own sustenance. If they knew where the manna came from, or rather who it came from, they would not be so hung up on Moses. As it was, however, they were hung up on Moses. Notice what else Jesus says: For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. There is a better source of nourishment that gives life not just to a few people scattered around Israel, but to the entire world. I wonder if we have such a grand conception of the Messiah?
Look, people today are no different: “Sir, from now on give us this bread.” Just like the woman at the well, “Sir, from now on give me this water so I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming back here to draw water.” The difference is that she got it and these ones did not. She won’t go thirsty; they won’t go hungry. It’s all the same meaning: Jesus provides what this world cannot which is a satisfaction beyond this earthly life. Believing in Jesus results in hunger pangs abated, thirst slaked, and the death sentence rescinded. And what can stop Jesus’ work? Nothing. He says, all that the Father gives him he will never drive away. He will lose none of those whom God has given him. He will raise them up at the last day. I know that not too many Restoration Church type of people believe in the doctrine of eternal security, but here in John 6 a pretty good case can be made that one you are saved, there is nothing anyone or anything can do to snatch you from Jesus. I like that idea much better than the idea that somehow I can be lost after being saved.
Finally Jesus says that it is the Father’s will that everyone who looks to the sun and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. Sadly, not everyone will look to him, even fewer will believe in him, and I image that what Jesus said about the way being straight and narrow is true: Even fewer will be raised up at the last day. But for all those who hope and believe and put their faith in Jesus, there is this promise: Eternal life. It is a sad, sad reality that some will never look to Jesus. There is security with him, unrest without him. So what I cannot figure out is why more churches are not preaching this Jesus who saves. Why are so many preaching things that are bound not to last, things that cannot save, things that are simply, irredeemably, meaningless for the human condition? Jesus said that the will of God is that everyone look to Jesus for salvation. The work of God (v 29) is to believe in the One God has sent; to recognize who gives life and who does not. Jesus said: Even the mighty Moses is not the giver of something so simply as daily bread. Now if Moses could not do that, how can any other human give bread for eternity?
My hope is that those who read these words will look to Jesus. We who preach the Gospel must stay on task and preach Jesus. The church must stay on task and demand that their preachers preach Jesus Christ Crucified. There is no excuse for not doing so; and there is no substitute for Jesus. God has given one Loaf to all of humanity. His Name is Jesus.
I hope this 2 day of 90 is Blessed for you and yours in Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria!