In John 6:28-29 the Bible says, "Then they said 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 you believe on Him whom He hath sent." There is a big contrast between the question that was asked and the answer that was given. Those who asked the question made a big mistake, and they made the same mistake that is still made today by many people. They thought that they had to do something in order to please God and in order to be accepted by God. They mistakenly thought that how good they were was the deciding factor. But they were wrong. There is one great work for you to do if you are to be accepted by God, but this one great work is not something that you perform by your actions: instead, itís something that you believe.
Jesus said, "This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He hath sent." What Jesus is talking about is justification by faith. A man is not justified by the deeds of the law, but by faith. Most people identify the book of Romans written by the Apostle Paul as the great book of the New Testament that teaches the doctrine of justification by faith. But the doctrine of justification by faith, like the other principle doctrines of the New Testament, can be traced directly to the teachings of Jesus Himself. Jesus taught very clearly that salvation was by faith, and by faith alone. Of course, we know from the book of Romans that the teaching of justification by faith was entirely consistent with what was taught in the Old Testament also. It says of Abraham in the book of Genesis that he believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness; and King David wrote in the Psalms, "Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord does not impute iniquity."
The reason that justification does not come by works is because we are sinners. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Any good deeds that you do, cannot take away the sins that you have already done. But because of Godís great mercy and love towards us, He provided for us justification by faith and He provided for us the work of God which is to believe on Him whom He hath sent. If there ever was a law that could have given righteousness, itís the law of the Old Testament; but the weakness of the law is the inability of humans to keep it.
Even though the Old Testament mentioned the doctrine of justification by faith, it often emphasized the demands of the law and the penalties for breaking the law. But Jesus emphasized a better way. Something that works is always better than something that does not work. "The law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Jesus emphasized and revealed and taught about grace and truth in a way that had never been done before. He taught that the work of God is to believe on Him whom He hath sent.
"To believe" means to trust and to depend upon and to commit oneself to. When you believe on Jesus for salvation, you trust in Him to save you. You donít trust in yourself or in your own good works, and you donít go about to justify yourself. Instead, you believe on Him and by so doing, you have done the work of God. And then in the Christian life that follows, the same principle is still true. As you go through the day, what must you do to work the works of God? The answer hasnít changed. Believe on Him, thatís the work you need to do. Instead of believing your circumstance, instead of believing your fears, instead of believing your accusers: believe on Him. Thatís why you donít have to be in a certain place to serve God or in a certain organization to serve God: just believe Him. Believe in His promises and believe in His presence, and you will be doing the work of God.
In John 6:30-31 the Bible says, "They said therefore unto Him, what sign are you showing then, that we may see, and believe you? what are your works? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat." These people did not give up easily. They were determined to get more bread from Jesus. They tried to get more bread by challenging Him to show them a sign. And they also tried to get Jesus to create them more bread by referring to the incident with Moses and the children of Israel when God gave manna from heaven to feed the people. What we see in these people who challenged Jesus is a strong will to get exactly what they wanted. But when humans are strong willed or when humans are selfish or when humans are too determined to obtain something for themselves, they will not understand the message from God, because they donít really want the will of God: they want their own will.
John 6:32-33 says, "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven, and gives life unto the world." There is bread, and then there is spiritual bread. There is food, and there is spiritual food. Every time you eat food, you are eating that which gives life to your body. Thatís the provision of God so that your body can live and function in this world. But God has also provided something that is much more important than food for your body: He has provided spiritual food for your soul. Thatís the lesson that Jesus is trying to teach these people, and He repeats it over and over again in every way imaginable for the rest of this chapter.
John 6:34-36 says, "Then said they unto Him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, that you also have seen me, and believe not." The way that we take in food to nourish our physical body is by eating it. But the way that we take in spiritual food to give us spiritual life is different: there is no food that must be eaten. Jesus made it very clear here in verse 35. Jesus said, "I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger, and he that believes on me shall never thirst." The way to receive spiritual life and spiritual nourishment is to come to Jesus and believe on Him. Jesus said that He is the bread of life. He multiplied the bread in the feeding of the 5,000 in order to be symbolic of the fact that He is capable of also giving spiritual life.
Bread has always been an important staple of the diet of the human race. Marie Antoinette did not understand the importance of bread to the society in which she lived; and one of the most callous and foolish statements in human history was said by her when she was told that the people did not have bread to eat and she said, "Let them eat cake." Jesus did understand the importance of bread, and therefore He used the symbolism of it. One of the things about bread is that we must have a new supply every day, and so bread is baked every day in order to supply that need. One of the great fragrances of the world is the smell of freshly baked bread early in the morning. Jesus said that He was the bread of life, and in contrast to the other bread, anyone who partakes of Him shall never hunger and never thirst. In the worldís mad rush for fulfillment, they will all ultimately find that the things that they strive so greatly to attain will not satisfy them and will not fulfill them. They will not be satisfied, because they will not have spiritual life unless they partake of the bread of life.
John 6:36-37 says, "But I said unto you, That you also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I shall in no wise cast out." In verse 36 Jesus tells us an important detail about those who do come to God and those who do believe. He tells us the sequence of events when someone comes to God. What really happens is that God comes to them first. There is no human who initiates contact with God. Itís really the other way around. Itís God who comes to us and invites us. No one is touched unless God touches them. No one can believe until God makes it possible for them to believe by a spiritual work in their life and in their heart. Belief is the work of God in the life of a person; and until they are prepared by God and visited by God and touched by God, nothing will take place. One of the gifts needed for effective evangelism is to be able to recognize when God is working in the life of a person, and then to enter in to the work of God by the things that you say and the prayers that you pray. Thatís part of the meaning to the statement of Jesus to not cast your pearls before swine: in other words, donít waste your time trying to convince someone to believe if they are hardened against God, and if they are not currently open to the idea of God and His salvation.
No matter how many sermons are preached, how many prayers are prayed, how many songs are song, how many invitations are given, God is God, and no one comes to God unless God first draws them. Thatís one of the reasons for spiritual problems in many churches. Sometimes you have church members who are not spiritual people and who do not have spiritual life within them. What if you invite someone to join the church whom God has not yet touched to join Him? They may have done all that is required in order to join the church, but unless God has touched their heart, everything that has been done is in vain; because the only way to have spiritual life is to partake of the bread of life, who is Jesus.
When Jesus said in verse 37, "and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out," He was giving a great assurance. Those who come to Jesus are the sinners of the world. Jesus said that He came into the world to save sinners, and therefore some of the best saints once were some of the worst sinners. When we get to heaven, we will not identify the people that we see there with the sinful things that they did while they were on the earth; because everyone will be restored to a state of innocence and purity; but if we did, we would find people in heaven who committed every imaginable sin: murderers, adulterers, rapists, liars, seducers, thieves: but who came to their senses before it was too late, and who came to Jesus. Unlike humans, Jesus will keep every promise that He ever made, and one of His great promises is: "he that comes to me I will in no wise cast out." When He said, "I will in no wise cast out," He meant that never, under any circumstance, for any reason will He ever cast out someone who comes to Him. He wonít cast you out because of something in the past, and He wonít cast you out because of something that might happen in the future. Once He has given you life, He has given you life that will never end. This is good news for sinners, because if the demons of the past ever come to haunt you, or if doubts of any kind would cast you down, remember that Jesus said, "him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out."
In John 6:38-40 Jesus said, "For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me. And this is the Fatherís will which has sent me, that of all which He has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." Jesus is talking about our eternal destiny: how secure it is. In case we did not get the message when He told us that He would in no wise cast us out, He says the same thing again in several different ways in verses 38-40. He said that He would lose none of us, He said twice that He would raise us up at the last day, and He said that we would have everlasting life. And by emphasizing the fact that He was sent by the Father to do these things for us, the message is that not only is Jesus promising to do these things but so is God the Father.
There are those who have appeared to have accomplished much in this life, but to what purpose is it, if they do not go on beyond the grave to live in heaven? How horrible is the destiny of those who do not have the promises of Jesus to rest in. How vain are the lives of those who do not believe, and therefore face death as the end of all things. As Jesus said, "What shall it profit a man should he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?" Itís much better to go through life resting in these great promises. Jesus told us these things so that we would be comforted, so that we would be secure, and so that we would look forward to being with God forever, with no doubts or fears to take away that hope. If you have tasted the bread of life, who is Jesus, then you have life that will never end. And if you keep your eyes on Him and His promises, then your hope will stay strong even as you grow older and get closer to that day. But if you trust in yourself and your own efforts and are not mindful of these promises, then you will be an easy target for fears and doubts about your eternal destiny.
In John 6:41-44 the Bible says, "The Jews then murmured at Him, because He said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he says, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." The first chapter of the book of John told us about the divine origin of Jesus. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." The only way to be able to understand Jesus and to understand the things that He said is to realize that Jesus was more than just a historical personage. Some people try to study the life of Christ only from a historical perspective. When they do, they make the same mistake that these people here in John Chapter 6 were making. Most people begin their lives when they are born into the world, but Jesus lived before He was born. He came from heaven and came into the world. He is the manna that came from heaven. You must believe that, in order to come to Him and in order to be given life, because Jesus is the bread of life. Whenever you sit down to a meal, remember that Jesus is the bread of life.
Copyright; 2000 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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