Sunday Morning Bible Study
November 19, 1995
Jesus had just done an incredible thing, feeding a huge multitude, at least five thousand men, not to mention the women and children.
And He did it all with five small loaves, and two small fish.
Then He told them:
»John 6:35-AV And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
The Jews didn't like the idea that Jesus was claiming to be the "bread from heaven", they murmured against Him.
Then, to make things worse, Jesus began to apply the teaching of His being the Bread of Heaven, and He said:
»John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
What He was talking about was what it means to believe on Him to receive eternal life.
If we are to believe on Him in a way that leads to salvation, then we need to understand how Jesus gave His flesh and His blood as a sacrifice for us.
We need to receive the benefit of His flesh and blood into our lives by accepting Jesus' death in our place.
But this was a very difficult thing for the people to receive.
:64-66 Some Turn Away
:64-65 for Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not
Jesus could tell, He just knew.
Remember, the Father had "given" people to Jesus to believe in Him.
»John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Jesus knew who was on the list, and who wasn't.
Look how Jesus treated Judas, despite knowing all about him.
John 13 -
the seating arrangement
Reclining, laying on your right side.
John on his left, leaning against Jesus' breast.
That places Judas on Jesus' right.
Judas was in the place of honor.
Kind of like having chips with queso at Spoon's. Dipping bread in a common bowl, either of fruit or meat sauce.
A traditional way of expressing inimacy and friendship, by sharing a piece of bread, giving your piece of bread to another.
Right up to the end, Jesus was loving Judas, and I think He as giving him a chance to turn from his sin.
If I were in Jesus' spot, and I knew who was going to betray me, I'd set him as far away from me as possible, and I'd give him something yucky to eat.
Love your enemies
»Matthew 5:43-48 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
My dear friend Ara Tchividjian lived as an Armenian boy in Turkey during the Armenian genocide. The Turks said they would protect the Tchividjian family if they would deny their faith. They refused. Then the Turks said that if they would not talk about their faith they would be protected. They accepted their protection which was short- lived. The Turkish soldiers surrounded the Tchividjian home. But the sounds of their compatriots dying was too much too bear, and Mrs. Tchividjian escaped her protectors, and her son Ara eventually ended up in Switzerland.
Ara Tchvidjian's oldest son is Stephan, and when Stephan was old enough to understand, his father gave him a gun and said, "Son, if you ever meet those who killed your grandfather, you will kill them. If you do not kill them, you are no longer my son."
Some years later Ara Tchividjian became a Christian. On the day he encountered the love of Christ, he went to Stephan and asked for the gun. He told his son, "If I ever meet those who killed your grandfather, I will throw my arms around them and tell them that I love them."
-- Stephen Brown, Heirs With the Prince, p. 108.
In events following the tragic bombing in Oklahoma City, anger often was met with love, even among Christians grappling with both. Callers swamped Oklahoma City radio talk shows. Those callers who insisted that the perpetrators be shot on sight were followed by others who pleaded for prayers for the bombers' salvation. The desire to forgive rather than seek revenge, which was expressed by many people in the Bible-Belt city, impressed reporters. An atheist told a local pastor he had never experienced such love.
-- National and International Religion Report, Vol. 9:10, May 1, 1995,
What is it for you?
Are there people at work that you have every reason to be angry with?
Are there neighbors that you walk cross the street first to avoid?
Are there people that your family has hated for years?
Someone once said
Those who deserve love the least need it the most.
:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him
Jesus had said some very difficult, very hard to understand things.
He had talked about being the bread from heaven.
He had been talking about believing in Him for eternal life.
He had been talking about eating His flesh and drinking His blood to gain eternal life.
And some people, rather than trusting anyways, decide that it's time to split.
What will it take to make you walk away?
There are several reasons why people walk away from Jesus:
1. Some find the truth hard to take.
There are some who feel revolted by the concepts of blood and sacrifice.
It's okay to be revolted by the ideas, but you still need to accept them.
There are some who find it difficult to admit to the truth that they are a sinner.
Some have a hard time admitting that some of their favorite pasttimes are sinful.
And so they walk away.
2. Some turn away when they start to go through hard times:
»Matthew 13:20-21 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
For some, as long as life is pleasant and happy, then they'll follow Jesus.
But at the first sign of trouble, they're out of there!
3. Others turn away because they allow their lives to get tangled up in the things of the world:
»Matthew 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
If we're not careful, we can get our hearts all tangled up with things that eventually lead us away from the Lord.
»1Timothy 6:9-10 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
We need to trust despite everything else.
Polycarp (69-155), one of the early church fathers, was put on trial because of his faith in Christ. When the Roman proconsul told him to deny his faith, Polycarp answered, "For 86 years I have served Him, and He has never wronged me. How can I blaspheme my King, who has saved me?"
We must not forget that He's our Father, and we can trust Him.
H.A. Ironside told the story of how he would play "bear" with his little boy. Often he would get down on all fours and chase the toddler into a corner, all the time growling like a bear. Once when the lad was hopelessly cornered, he said boldly, "I'm not a bit afraid -- you're not a bear at all, you're my daddy." Dr. Ironside thought to himself how true this was, for in his own life he was once "running away from God, treating him as though he were an enemy, but now I thank you for running me down."
We must TRUST!
D.L. Moody had a favorite verse. It was "I will trust and not be afraid."
He used to say, "You can travel to Heaven first-class or second-class. First-class is, 'I will trust and not be afraid.' Second-class is, 'when I am afraid, I will trust in thee.'"
I have to admit, that though I'm not one to make too big of a deal about numbers, and though I believe the words are inspired, I do not believe the chapter and verse numbers are inspired (they were added much later), I find it intriguing that in John 6:66, many disciples turn away from Jesus.
:67-71 Will the Twelve leave too?
:67 Will ye also go away?
»NAS: "You do not want to go away also, do you?"
I think there might be times when Jesus would be saying this to us as well.
Are you going to walk away from the Lord as others have done?
:68 Lord, to whom shall we go?
I love these words of Peter's.
The bottom line is that even if we don't understand, there's just no other alternative.
There's no other place to go.
We must follow the Lord.
There is no other Saviour, but Christ, to look to;
no other Mediator between God and man, to make use of;
no other physician of value, for diseased and sin sick souls to apply unto;
no other fountain but his blood, for polluted souls to wash in, and be cleansed;
no other city of refuge, or strong hold, for souls sensible of danger, to flee unto and be safe;
no other to come to as the bread of life, where hungry souls may be fed;
no other place of rest, for those that are weary and heavy laden;
nor is there any other, where there is plenty of all grace, and security from every enemy, as in him:
and therefore, to whom can they have recourse, but unto him?
Let Jesus be your sole refuge.
Can we honestly agree with what Peter says?
Is this the testimony of our lives?
Who do you turn to for help?
Is it a bottle? A pill?
Is it another person?
Is it a chocolate fudge sundae?
Is it the mall?
»Ps 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
A person is not really ready to live until he is ready to die. It was a dark night in Marshfield, October 24, 1852. Daniel Webster was dying. He was ready. His physician, a very sensitive man named Dr. Jeffries had ministered as much medicine as he could and as was practically possible. He realized that death was near and he chose to be a friend rather than a physician at that moment and he picked up an old rather well worn hymn book that Webster had often sung from and he chose to read the words of one of his favorite hymns:
There is a fountain filled with blood
drawn from Immanuel's veins
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.
He read every stanza, when he got to the last, Webster's lips were moving, though no sound came:
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
lies silent in the grave,
then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I'll sing thy power to save.
I'll sing thy power to save,
I'll sing thy power to save.
And he looked at Webster, their eyes met, and Webster uttered 3 final words: Amen, Amen, Amen!
To whom else would we go?
:68 thou hast the words of eternal life
rhmata zwhV aiwniou eceiV
words- not "logos", as the living Word Himself, or the whole embodiment of Scripture. But "rhema", the actual sayings, the specific words spoken by Jesus.
It's not just the idea that He talks about eternal life.
It's the idea that Jesus has the specific words that result in or issue forth with eternal life.
This is not just heresay or legend.
There were old legends that whoever drank from the cup of Christ would have eternal life.
Those were the legends of the "holy grail" with King Arthur and his court., Perceval is replaced by Sir Gawain,
There were the legends about Jerusalem.
To the Christians of medieval Europe, Jerusalem in the Holy Land was a sacred city. The tomb of Christ, the Mount of Olives, Golgotha, and all places associated with the life and death of Christ were believed to have divine powers of healing and of absolving penitents of sin.
And so the Crusaders led their armies to free Jerusalem from the Turks so they could be close to these places.
But this isn't myth or legend.
It's the real thing.
The key to eternal life is coming into a personal relationship with God.
But there's a problem with doing that, our sin.
So somebody has to do something about our sin.
And that's why Jesus came.
He came to die on a cross, and take our sins upon Himself, and give His life in exchange for ours, paying for our sins.
And all you must do to receive eternal life, is to accept Jesus' payment for your sins.
You must believe on Him.
And that's what His words were all about.
:69 that Christ, the Son of the living God
NIV & NASB: "the Holy One of God"
(The difference is in the Greek texts.)
:70 Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
or, "one of you is by nature a devil"
We know that He's talking about Judas Iscariot (vs.71).
Later on, we'll see a very intimate relationship between Judas and Satan himself.
»John 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
»John 13:27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
It's interesting that Jesus says this.
The disciples at times asked Him who it was.
They all were afraid that it might be them.
But they never found out clearly from His lips.
They didn't find out who the betrayer was until it happened.
Even when Jesus gave the sop to Judas, He did it in such a way that the disciples didn't know what was going on.
Love bears all things
We read that phrase in 1Corinthians 13:7.
The word "bear" (stego) means to "to protect or keep by covering, to preserve; to cover over with silence"
»1Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
This doesn't mean that we shouldn't speak the truth in love to the people we care about.
But it means that we don't need to tell everyone else about their sin either.
Marriage - it's common for people to go to their friends or family and complain about their spouse and the problems they're having.
But you end up poisoning your spouse's relationship with everyone else when you do it.
And you may be the Bozo in the first place, not your spouse.
Love is willing to give the other person a chance to repent, and not blab it in front of everyone.