Archive for May, 2013

Never Hunger Again

For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.  Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.  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.

John 6:33-35

The manna that the Israelites revived in the wilderness was their physical sustenance.  While it was clearly a miracle, it was still just bread designed to satisfy their hunger for a short time.  After eating it, they were again hungry before the day was done.  It didn’t last very long and neither does our food.  We feed ourselves often.  Many people eat three meals a day, and many of us would also admit to “snacking” – maybe more than we should.  But when we eat, no matter how much we eat, we know that we will soon be hungry again.  Even a feast on Thanksgiving isn’t likely to last us more than half a day.  We continually eat because the food that we eat does not perfectly satisfy us.  But there is one Bread that we can eat and never hunger again.

Jesus told these people “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger…”  With Jesus, we can come to Him and never hunger again spiritually.  He is all that we will ever need.  Unlike our physical food, He is perfect and perfectly satisfying.  It’s hard for our human minds to comprehend this kind of thing.

There are so many people in our world who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness.  They try everything they can think of to satisfy that hunger, but nothing ever does.  They need the eternal Bread of Life.  They need to come to Him and never hunger again.  Are we showing them the way?

The Bread of Life

Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.  The Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.  Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

John 6:31-34

As we saw yesterday, the manna that the Israelites ate in the wilderness was simply physical bread, meant to satisfy their physical hunger.  But Jesus was bringing them so much more than just a full belly.  (This exchange took place after He had fed the 5,000 with the 5 loaves and 2 fish)  He had fed them physically, and now He wanted to feed them spiritually.

He told them in verse 33 that the true “bread of God” is “he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.”  The true bread of God from Heaven was in the form of a man.  The true bread of God was not just manna on the ground for them to eat.  It was a perfect Saviour Who would give them life.  That would be the true bread from God out of Heaven.  Jesus was that bread.

He came exactly to give life unto the world.  That was the whole reason for His coming.  John 10:10 tells us “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  He was the true Bread from God out of Heaven.  Many of the people recognized that and accepted Him as such.  They were hungry for that Bread: “Lord, evermore give us this bread.”

They didn’t fully comprehend the nature of this Bread.  But they knew that they wanted it and they knew that they would only be able to get it from Jesus.  It is the same all these years later.  Any person who would accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour needs to want Him first.  He is the Bread of Life, given to all those who will take Him!

Bread From Heaven

Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

John 6:31-33

When the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, they witness and took part of a great miracle: eating manna.  God sent the complaining Israelites “bread from heaven,” so they could have something to eat.  It truly was a miracle that they witnessed every day.  And here, a couple thousand years later, they were still taking about it: “Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

As impressive as that was, Jesus was not impressed.  He had been trying to convince them that He was the Christ, the Son of God.  They wanted to fall back on the miracles that their ancestors had seen in the desert.  They wanted Jesus to show them some kind of sign similar to bringing bread down from Heaven (as if feeding all 5,000 of them with 5 loaves and 2 fishes wasn’t enough of a sign).  Jesus immediately told them something about that manna from Moses’ day.  It wasn’t the true “bread from heaven.”  It was merely physical bread, not that different from the bread He had just used to feed them all.  It was just bread for them to eat to keep them alive physically.  While there was a definite miracle in the way that it was given to them, it was still just bread.  But Jesus was a different kind of “Bread from Heaven.”  He was the true “Bread of Life,” sent from the Father.

These peoples’ ancestors ate “bread from heaven.”  They had the opportunity to eat the “Bread from Heaven.”  We have the same opportunity.  How thankful are we for our “manna from Heaven?”

The Work of God

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

John 6:27-29

Jesus is speaking in this passage about “doing the work of God.”  He told the people that they should be more concerned about labouring for eternal things than labouring simply for “the meat which perisheth.”  Most of the things that we work for in our lives are temporary things.  We work for food, which we consume and it is gone.  We work for houses and cars and clothes, all of which wear down and eventually need replaced.  We work to pay the bills for things we consume and are quickly gone.  There is not necessarily anything wrong with those things, but there is a more important labour for us to engage in.

When asked “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?,” Jesus responded with a simple, yet profound answer: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”  The people to whom He was speaking might have been expecting a more complicated answer.  Maybe they thought He would tell them to “sell all of their goods to feed the poor” or some other noble and difficult thing.  But He simply told them to “believe on him whom he hath sent.”

Do we want to do the “works of God?”  We need to believe on Jesus.  If we have already believed on Him, we need to keep believing on Him.  We need to believe what He says, and obey what He says.  Simply believing on and obeying the Lord Jesus Christ is doing works of the God.  Are we doing those works today?

No Love

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.  I receive not honour from men.  But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.

John 5:39-42

When talking with people about the things of God (and therefore, the things about Himself), Jesus was quick to analyze their hearts.  In this case, He saw that, while they were outwardly religious and while they thought that they had a great knowledge of the Scriptures, they had “not the love of God” in them.  They gave the correct outward display, but there was something wrong with their hearts.

The manifestation of their wrong hearts was in the fact that they had rejected Him.  They had seen the Scriptures that spoke of Him, and yet they had refused to accept Him.  He offered them life, and they turned it down.  It was that rejection of Jesus that prompted Him to say “But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.”

The love of God in our hearts manifests itself in an acceptance of and a love for His Son, Jesus.  That is a good test for us to perform every now and then to see where we are standing in the love of God.  We can look at our attitude toward Jesus.  If we are loving Him and obeying Him, we can know that the love of God is indeed in our hearts.

How much love do we have for Jesus today?  Have we come to Him?  Are we following and obeying Him?  Is the “love of God shed abroad in our hearts?”  (Romans 5:5)  These are questions we need to ask ourselves on a regular basis.

Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned (Hymn)

Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned
Samuel Stennett (1787)

Majestic sweetness sits enthroned
Upon the Savior’s brow;
His head with radiant glories crowned,
His lips with grace o’erflow.
His lips with grace o’erflow.

To Christ, the Lord, let every tongue
Its noblest tribute bring
When He’s the subject of the song,
Who can refuse to sing?
Who can refuse to sing?

Survey the beauties of His face,
And on His glories dwell;
Think of the wonders of His grace,
And all His triumphs tell,
And all His triumphs tell.

No mortal can with Him compare
Among the sons of men;
Fairer is He than all the fair
Who fill the heavenly train,
Who fill the heavenly train.

He saw me plunged in deep distress
And flew to my relief;
For me He bore the shameful cross
And carried all my grief,
And carried all my grief.

His hand a thousand blessings pours
Upon my guilty head:
His presence gilds my darkest hours,
And guards my sleeping bed,
And guards my sleeping bed.

To Him I owe my life and breath
And all the joys I have;
He makes me triumph over death
And saves me from the grave
And saves me from the grave.

To Heaven, the place of His abode,
He brings my weary feet;
Shows me the glories of my God,
And makes my joys complete,
And makes my joys complete.

Since from His bounty I receive
Such proofs of love divine,
Had I a thousand hearts to give,
Lord, they should all be Thine,
Lord, they should all be Thine.

This is one of my favorite hymns.  I like the old hymns that magnify the Lord Jesus, and this one does just that.  It is all about Jesus and all about what He has done for me.  Every verse applies to me and I love singing and humming this tune to remind me of all the Saviour does for me.

They Testify of Me

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

John 5:39-40

When Jesus spoke to the people, He spoke of Himself and of the salvation that they could find in Him.  In these verses, He told them to “search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”  The people were a religious people who read and respected the Bible, and did what they could to obey it.  But they missed one very key part of the Bible: the part about Jesus.

All throughout the Old Testament, there were pictures of Jesus and prophecies that He would come.  These people had read about those pictures and prophecies and likely knew them by heart.  But when they were confronted with the subject of those pictures and prophecies, they rejected Him.  “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”  They decided that they wanted to hold onto the pictures and prophecies instead of accepting Jesus as Who He said He was.

There are many people today who do a similar thing.  They consider themselves to be “spiritual people.”  They claim to read the Bible and try to follow its teachings.  They say they believe the Bible.  But, for whatever reason, they fall short of believing on Jesus Christ.  They “…will not come to me, that (they) might have life.”

We do not want to be among those people.  We want to come to Him.  We want to come to the Life-giver that we might have life.  If we search the Scriptures with an open heart, we will see Jesus on just about every page.  It all points to Him.  Let us come to Him, cling to Him, and follow Him every day!

The Simplicity of the Gospel

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 5:24

Men though the ages have tried to complicate the gospel.  They have tried, like Adam and Eve, to hide their sins and to try to make a covering for themselves.  Men have forever refused to acknowledge the simplicity that is in the gospel.  There are many, many verses in the Bible dealing with this simplicity and I would like to look at each of them as we come to them.

“He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”  Here is the simplicity: 1. Hear my word.  2. Believe on Jesus.  3. Have everlasting life, which means that we will not come into condemnation, but are passed from death unto life.  Hear the Word of God and believe it.  That is what it really boils down to.  Hearing and believing.

We, as humans, like to complicate things.  We want to add to this plan of salvation.  We want to make it some complicated formula including long lists of “dos” and “don’ts.”  We want to add our own righteousness to it.  We want to jump through hoops and climb over obstacles.  We want to do everything except what the Bible tells us to do.  Our human pride tells us that there has to be something else to it.  There has to be something that we can do to earn our own salvation.  But this is the gospel and it is beautiful in its simplicity.  The only question is whether we will accept it or not.

Honoring Father and Son

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.  He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

John 5:22-23

In this passage, the Jews were angry at Jesus because, in verse 17, He had claimed that God was His Father, thus making Himself equal with God.  They were seeking to kill Him because of this supposed blasphemy.  But they never stopped to think about the possibility that it was true.  They never thought that He might actually be the Son of God and that He might actually be equal with God.  They never understood what He was trying to tell them: that honouring the Father meant honouring the Son.

If we want to give honour to God, we need to give honour to His Son.  He loves His Son more than anything and has given Him all things.  “…the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth.”  The Bible is very clear about the equality of God the Father and God the Son, and it is important for us to recognize it as such.  It is also very clear about the Father’s love for the Son and we should love Him just as much.

We can’t pick and choose Who we are going to honour in this situation.  If we would love and honour the Lord God, we need to love and honour His Son, Jesus.  And, if we are honouring Jesus, we are honouring God the Father also.  We should be careful to whom we give honour.  Not everyone is deserving of honour.  But God is worthy, and Jesus is worthy.  Are we honouring them both today?

Who to Listen to?

Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.  And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.  The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.  He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.

John 5:8-11

After Jesus healed the impotent man who had been sitting at the pool for years, He told him to “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”  So, the man wisely did as he was told.  He rose, took up his bed, and walked.  It was a glorious miracle.  But, of course, the Jews who were in authority found a problem with this situation.  They told him that “It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.”  They were very good at observing the outward points of the law, but not very good at helping, or even caring about, people.

This man had just been healed and was obeying the Lord and carrying his bed.  When confronted by these Jews, he gave them a great answer: “He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.”  Jesus healed me.  I am doing what He told me to do.  Period.  When confronted with a decision to follow either Jesus (the One Who helped and healed him instantly) or the Jews (who had never lifted a finger to help him in all his years of needing it), he made a wise decision.  He followed the One who made him whole.

Whenever a controversy arises between what Jesus would have us to do and what men would have us to do, we know who to follow.  We obey Jesus: all the time and every time, just like this man did.