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.” John 6:35 ESV
In this life, we eat physical bread to satisfy physical hunger. The bread Jesus is talking about here is not physical, though, but spiritual. He is our sustenance for life on a spiritual (heart) level. And, he will completely satisfy our every need, maybe not to the level that we might hope or think we need, but according to what he knows we truly need, for he is the one who made us, so he knows us inside and out completely.
He said that whoever comes (literally coming) to him shall not hunger spiritually (starve spiritually due to lack of spiritual food). And, coming to him means continually seeking him out for guidance and direction, inquiring of him in order to know his will, listening to him speaking his truths to our hearts, getting to know him, and following him in his ways and in his truth. And, it is developing a relationship with him through quality and quantitative time spent with him daily in prayer and in his Word and in obedience.
And, whoever believes in him shall never thirst (be in need or in want of having our true needs met). And, believing in him (present tense) is both God-given and God-persuaded, so this ongoing faith in the Lord submits to Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, and surrenders to his will, and follows him in the ways of righteousness, purity, honesty and morality. This faith in Jesus, which is ongoing, daily puts sin to death and daily puts on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us, and daily walks in our Lord’s righteousness by the Spirit of God and his grace.
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. 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.” 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.” John 6:51-58 ESV
Sometimes Jesus, when he was speaking, spoke in parables or he used symbols to illustrate a truth. And, sometimes his words were not to be taken literally but figuratively, not that his meaning was not to be taken literally, though, for it was. So, when he said that we need to eat (feed on) his flesh and drink of his blood, he did not literally mean that we would eat of his physical flesh and drink of his physical blood.
For, the word “eat” and the word “drink” can also mean to partake in, to participate and to share in something; to involve yourself in; to join in with; to play a part. And, Jesus’ body and his blood were representative of his life given for you and for me on that cross so that we could be liberated from our slavery to sin and so that we could be empowered of the Spirit of God to walk in holiness and righteousness, living lives pleasing to God.
So, for us to participate with our Lord and to partake of his flesh and blood, it means for us to be crucified with Christ in death to sin, to be reborn of the Spirit of God, and to live to him and to his righteousness in the power and working of God’s Spirit living within us. It means when coming to Christ and when believing on him, that we are putting off our old lives of living to sin and to self, and we are putting on our new lives in Christ Jesus, our Lord, living daily to his righteousness (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 2 Co. 5:15; 1 Pet. 2:24).
If we do not participate with Christ Jesus in this way, though, then we do not have the life of Christ in us, we do not have eternal life with God, we don’t have the hope of heaven when we die, and we are not abiding in Christ and him in us (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 6:7-8).
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.” John 6:60-65 ESV
Too many people these days, as well, think this message is “too hard,” and so they are going after a gospel message which is easier, which is more comfortable, and which coddles them in their flesh (in their sins). They are following after a gospel which requires no participation with Jesus Christ in his death to sin or in his resurrection to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
The faith or the belief they are espousing is human faith, for it does not submit to Jesus Christ as Lord, and it feels no obligation to die to sin or to live to righteousness or to walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands. In fact, in many cases, it actually discourages such a walk of faith and it calls it legalism or works-based salvation, so that it does not have to submit.
But, Jesus’ words are true, and what he said about the flesh being no help at all is absolutely true, as well. For, if we follow after the flesh, instead of to follow after Jesus Christ, we are going to die in our sins, not live with our Lord for eternity. Also, the flesh is not going to help us in conquering the flesh. It is not going to help us to live holy lives pleasing to God, or to walk in purity, honesty, morality, uprightness and in devotion to our Lord.
And, many people do take offense at Jesus’ words, and many of them are among those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, too. And, so they alter the gospel message to make it more appealing to human flesh and to allow them to continue in their sinful practices unhindered. Thus, they do not truly believe in Jesus Christ because their belief is of the flesh and not of God.
For, not one of us can come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Jesus. And, if it is God the Father who is drawing us to faith in Jesus Christ, then that faith will be divinely inspired, thus it will submit to Christ, it will walk in obedience to his commands, it will die daily to sin and self, it will daily take up the armor of God in order to resist Satan and his lies, and it will walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.
For, we need to understand this. Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. In his death on a cross he bought us back for God with his blood so that we would now be God’s possession and so that we would now glorify God with our lives, and so that we would no longer live to please our sinful natures.
So, the true hope of our salvation is not just that we get to escape hell and that we get to go to heaven when we die, or that our sins are forgiven so that they are no longer charged against us. Our true hope is that via Jesus’ death on a cross we can be delivered out of our lives of slavery to sin and that we can now be empowered of the Spirit of God to walk in holiness, in truth, in purity, in morality and in submission to our Lord and to his will for our lives. This is GOOD NEWS! This is liberating! This is true freedom!
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!