Read through the Bible in Two Years: Psalm 5; Proverbs 1:11-16; John 6:1-71
I have always been one who wanted to achieve, to work hard and succeed. When I got to high school, I quit taking the classes that I enjoyed like choir and art and woodworking, and chose instead to take classes I could get an A in, classes that would look good on my resume like A.P. Biology, A.P. Chemistry, and A.P. Calculus 1 and 2.
So, the words of John 6:28 resonated loud with me.
Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" - John 6:28 ESV
Jesus had just told them not to work for food that perishes, but instead to work for the food that endures to eternal life. So, this is a logical question, right? I can just hear them saying, “Ok, got it, Jesus. So, what should we do?”
And here is His answer:
"Believe in Him whom He has sent."
In fact Jesus said, “This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He has sent,” (John 6:29) which seems to mean that even believing in Jesus is a work of God, not of self-will (look back at John 1:12-13 for more on this) … which Jesus states even more explicitly in verse 44 later in John 6, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
In pondering this idea, I was reminded of Ephesians 2:1-10
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. " - Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV
Dead men can’t make themselves alive, and sinners will never turn to God by their own will. We need God to pour out His grace on us and draw us to believe and cause us to be born again to eternal life.
Which brings me to the next thing that Jesus said, “I am the bread of life…. I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” (John 6:48, 51)
The bread of LIFE. So much better than manna which spoiled day after day. The LIVING bread. Eternal life-giving bread. So much better than that manna which sustained the Israelites for their 40 years in the wilderness, but could never give them eternal life.
Jesus is the eternal one, the Alpha and Omega, who was and is and is to come, the living One – so He is the only one who can give eternity to us as children of God. So, we must come to Him and eat of His flesh and drink of His blood, abiding in Him by faith, that we, too, might have eternal life.
We will talk about this more when we get to Romans and Galatians, but what a gift it is to begin our new year remembering the bread of eternal life, Jesus.
Let’s pray together –
Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to live among sinful dead men, to give up His own life, that we could receive eternal life by faith in Him. Help us to receive Him with humility and to offer this gift to others. Help us to remember that we are just beggers telling others where they, too, can find bread. Make us like the Samaritan woman who was eager to share this good news with others. Make us like Abraham who believed God and came to You by faith. Thank You for giving us our daily bread. Thank you for reminding us and forcing us to come to You day after day, not eating old, stale, molded bread, but new fresh, life-giving daily bread of Your Word which helps strengthen us to do those works which You have prepared in advance for us to do.
In the lifegiving Name of Jesus we pray.