John 6:41-51 Those who seek Jesus’s face will receive direct revelations to live the eternal life
John 6:41-51 Those who seek Jesus’s face will receive direct revelations to live the eternal life
41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” 42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
The Jews upon hearing Jesus proclaimed that He is the bread that came down from heaven began to grumble. Because they have never heard of the bread of heaven, but only the manna that came from Moses. The Jews passed up on eternal life because they depended on institutionalised religion and teachings to unlock scripture rather than on Jesus. The church today is repeating the mistake of the Jews of those days. Like the Jews, they are rich in knowledge, but poor in experiences. For many, eternal life has become more of a concept than a real world experience. Eternal life is bearing Christ’s virtues, having divine knowledge and wisdom, while possessing divine authority over the angels. Unless we seek the face of God continually, scripture remains a lifeless collective of precepts and narratives. Today’s devotion teaches us: Those who seek Jesus’s face will receive direct revelations to live the eternal life.
Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven. How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?”
The Jews started to grumble against Jesus when He refused to accede to their request for more bread (6:34). Instead, Jesus directed the people’s focus away from their physical hunger to their spiritual poverty. Jesus proclaimed Himself as the bread that came down out of heaven. And all who feed on this bread will live the eternal life, the God-kind of life.
They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?
The people responded skeptically. First of all, they have not heard of any man in human history or in scriptures that has descended from heaven. Secondly, they did not want to live the eternal life or to subject themselves to God’s directives. For all that the people wanted was bread, and more bread.
Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.”
Jesus directed them to their unbelief which was the cause of their grumbling. Their skepticism was rooted not in the lack of evidences or supporting arguments, but rather in their apathy towards the things of God. Their hearts were not open to God’s enlightenment. For they have placed their confidence in human teachings and mainstream ideologies. Their unbelief as evidenced by their grumbling is the result of the Father closing off their minds to the revelations of heaven. Because their hearts are closed, their minds are prevented from perceiving the secrets to eternal life.
However, those who desire to commune with God will have their eyes opened to see the things of heaven. Therefore, those who seek the Father’s face will instinctively recognise Jesus as coming from God. This instinct or conviction does not come from human ingenuity, but from a right spirit. The conviction of a right spirit cuts across human rationale allowing God to speak directly into our hearts: And they shall all be taught of God.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”
Jesus offers that which the people do not desire, which is eternal life. As “eternal” is an attribute reserved for God, “eternal life” is the kind of life that God lives. Jesus’s mission is not to fulfil man’s need for food, but to offer the bread of eternal life. Jesus makes plain that His flesh is indeed bread and His blood drink. Regrettably, the people rejected Christ as the bread of life for they have never heard such a concept from their mainstream teachings. They heard their teachers spoke of manna, but not eternal life. Hence, they demanded of Jesus to reenact what Moses did, which is to provide manna for the people. Until then, the entire Jewish community have depended on institutionalised doctrines and traditions to show the way to eternal life. The people have been fixated on mainstream teachings apart from God’s direct revelation.
Those who seek Jesus’s face will receive direct revelations to live the eternal life
Why the Jews could not receive the bread of eternal life?
The Jews could not recognise Jesus as the bread of life because their focus is not on God but rather on their institutionalised doctrines and traditions. The Jews, despite possessing the scriptures for thousands of years could not unravel the secrets to eternal life. The reason being that they did not seek the One who holds the key to unlock scripture. The Jews thought they could understand scriptures apart from divine enlightenment. They supposed by their analytical abilities and the legacy of established tenets they can extract eternal life from the scriptures. Jesus said to the Jews,
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. – John 5:39-40
Man cannot by our natural abilities unlock scripture and obtain eternal life. Unless Jesus enlightens us, scripture remains a lifeless collective of precepts and narratives. In Luke 24:25, Jesus, having rose from the dead appeared to two men on the road to Emaus and said to them,
“O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. – Luke 24:25-27
Later on, the two men said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32.
The two men received eternal life because they encountered Christ who explained scripture to them. Unless, believers encounter Christ and be enlightened by Him, we will not understand scripture and obtain eternal life.
The modern church seeks knowledge but not communion with Christ
Regrettably, the modern church is repeating the mistakes of the Jews of those days. They seek to understand scripture through the framework of institutionalised religion. They reject revelations that do not resonate well with their tenets and cast them down in a heart beat. Many perceive the scriptures through denominational beliefs system without giving it full authority to speak. Their minds instinctively rejecting or accepting only that which agrees with their branch of Christianity.
That said, many Christians are satisfied by just following a set of teachings. Their understanding of scripture is divorced from real world experiences. For example, some will say, “We commune with God through the Holy Spirit.” In actual fact, none of them have experienced what it is like to commune with Christ “through the Holy Spirit”. Like the Jews, they are rich in knowledge, but poor in experiences. Eternal life, has become more of a concept than a reality. In essence, eternal life is bearing Christ’s virtues, having divine knowledge and wisdom, while possessing divine authority over the angels. Undoubtedly, one who possesses eternal life overcomes life’s challenges to do God’s will.
Believers should continually seek the face of Christ, who alone enlightens us to understand the scriptures and experience eternal life. In the course of seeking His face and studying the scriptures, the heavens open up to us. Just as God reveals to Jacob in a dream a ladder of ascending and descending angels (see Gen 28:10-19), God is inviting us to work with Him and His angels. Believers must keep seeking God until we encounter Him and His angels through our physical senses: this is what it means by enlightenment. This is possible only when we seek Christ’s face earnestly and continually.
Spend half of your time reading the bible, and half seeking the face of God. We seek the face of God by bringing to Him our real world problems. Here is where we entreat God to fill our mind with His thoughts and assessments concerning our circumstances. After a while, you will realise your convictions and perception of your circumstances shifting. And certain issues and problems are no longer a cause for concern. Divine revelations from heaven are not restricted to doctrinal issues. God can show you ways in which you can communicate with Him. He can also show you the strategy to overcome your current circumstances. As for me, He showed me how I can work with the angels that He has placed under my charge.
Dear Lord, I understand that eternal life comes from you. And you are the source of enlightenment, the key that unlocks all scriptures. As I study the scriptures diligently, enlighten me with your wisdom. As I seek your face, show me your glory and the things of heaven. Cause me to live out the eternal life in increasing measure. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.