When we are born into this world, we are born with sin natures. We all fall short of attaining God’s divine approval, in our own flesh, because we have all sinned against God (Rom. 3:23). Thus, there is a God void in our lives.
Although Adam and Eve, when first created by God, were in perfect fellowship with him, they sinned against God, and thus that fellowship with God was broken. And, since then, all humankind has broken fellowship with God. And, there is nothing we can do, in our own flesh, to mend that.
Thus, humans will often seek after many things in this life to fill that void, that emptiness they feel inside of them. They will hunger and thirst after many different things or people or relationships to try to fill that void, but will always come up empty, unless they fill that void with God himself.
The Lord Jesus led me to read John 6 (Select vv. ESV).
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” v. 35
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life… If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” vv. 47-51
Jesus says, to those who are looking to fill that emptiness inside of themselves, that they are to come (presently) to him, for He only is the one to fill that void. Yet, I believe he is saying this, not just to the unsaved, but to the saved, some of whom still have a tendency to seek after the things of this life to fill whatever emptiness they feel they have inside themselves, rather than to seek after God to complete them.
Jesus says, if we are looking to him to fill the hole inside of us, that we will never hunger and thirst, because we will be filled. But, we must seek first his kingdom and his righteousness always. We should seek after the interests of Jesus Christ, not our own. And, we should set our minds on things which are from above, not on the things from this earth.
Jesus says, whoever believes (believing) in him has eternal life. This belief is present tense, not past tense only. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future), when Christ returns. Belief in him, too, is divine persuasion as to the will of God for our lives. It is not just intellectual assent to Jesus’ existence or even mere acceptance of his gift of grace to us, but it is taking hold of what he did for us and applying it to our lives, participating with him in his death to sin and resurrection to new life.
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, 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 feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. vv. 52-59
Have you ever tried putting yourself in the place of the people who listened to Jesus’ words which he spoke here? A few years back I watched a movie called “The Gospel of John,” and for the first time in my life, I believe, I could truly feel what the people must have been experiencing as they listened to these very difficult to understand words. And, I can imagine, if any preacher of the Word were to share these words today, that these words might be met with a similar reaction, even within the church.
The truth of the matter is that Jesus’ words must be spiritually discerned. So, when we read this, we must ask the Lord to give us understanding. Also, individual words do really matter, so we must look at what they mean.
For example, to “eat” or to “feed” means to take in (assimilate), to partake (participate), to ingest (absorb) and to swallow (believe, accept, buy into). It means to involve ourselves in something, to take hold of it, and to apply it to our lives, presently and actively.
We must also understand what Jesus’ flesh and blood represent. From scripture we can read that these represent Jesus’ body and blood given for us in his death on a cross so that we can be delivered from both the punishment of sin and bondage (slavery, addiction) to sin. They also represent his life, not just given for us in death, but in his resurrection, so that we, too, may have life in God through faith in Jesus Christ.
So, what Jesus said here, in essence, is that, unless we participate with him in his death and resurrection, via our dying with him to sin and our being resurrected with him to newness of life, in Christ, that we can’t have eternal life with God. But, it isn’t a one-time event. Literally, it is the one “eating” of his body and “drinking” of his blood who has eternal life with God, which goes right along with the one “believing” in him having eternal life.
And, this also fits with Jesus’ words when he said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily, and follow (obey) Jesus. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with him to sin), we will have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25), which is what he is saying here, too (See also: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” vv. 60-65
This death to self is a daily occurrence, or it should be. And, each situation or circumstance we face in this life presents us with a challenge to either deny self or to yield to the flesh.
God allows difficulties in our lives, too, often times to humble us, to grow us in our faith, to prune us, and to mature us in him. So, when these difficulties present themselves, or when temptation raises its ugly head, we need to come to the cross, deny (or die to) self, and follow (obey) our Lord.
When something seems too hard, as well, and we lack understanding as to why these things are happening to us, we must seek God’s face, trust in his love, rest in his promises, and trust in his sovereignty over our lives. Instead of rejecting our Lord, or running away from what we feel is “too hard,” or trying to resolve it in our own flesh, we need to come to him, believe him, and then obey him. Only in Him will we find perfect peace and rest.
Believe Him / An Original Work / July 15, 2013
My heart cries: Lord, won’t You hear me
Seeking You for the answers
To my heartache and questions
I have concerning my life?
Speak, Lord, to me right now.
“Oh, dear one, why don’t you trust Me
With your life’s circumstances?
Give your all on the altar
In submission of your will
To My purpose for you.
“Surrender your life completely
To your Lord and your Savior.
He has all things planned for you
For His glory and honor.
He’ll work all things for good.
“Believe Him. He will fulfill all
Of His promises to you
For your life and your future.
Trust Him. Rest in His love.
He’ll give you peace from above.”
Sunday, December 3, 2017, 5:50 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these words you have spoken to my heart today. Thank you for the encouragement I received from them to keep trusting you in all things. Amen!