Featuring the middle part of Jesus’ sermon on his being the bread from heaven.
The crowd of 5000, or at least some of them, that had been fed the day before had caught up with Jesus. He had to redirect their misguided focus on how he beat them across the lake, and focus on why he was there. Jesus introduces the topics of life-giving bread and the will of God. The crowd is stuck in the physical realm, and demand a sign, like Moses, and the manna. Once again, Jesus has to remind them that his kind of bread doesn’t come from something to do, but the living bread comes through belief.
He puts it plainly in verse 35, “I am the bread of life.”
Today we examine the middle part of Jesus’ sermon, found in .
Spine of a Bible ca. 2001, “Used with permission from Microsoft.”
Jesus recognizes the unbelief in the hearts of those listening to him. They have had ample time to see him up close and personal.
Jesus knows that he has true believers, the elect. All of those are given to him by the father, and they will surely come to Jesus with not any of them being lost. There is an element of free will here as well, but it isn’t in the choice to seek God. It’s in choosing to respond to his call.
Jesus is emphatic about whose will is driving his mission. It’s not him, but the dispatcher, the one sending him. In addition to his previous claim that he is the bread of life, he now claims to have descended out of the heavens.
Time to give some good news. The will of this dispatcher, the father, is that the elect will not perish. Not only that, but they will be raised, or made to stand upright on the last day. Jesus further defines this group of people, and their eternal assurance as he continues to the next verse.
It is also the father’s will that those who both see and believe will have eternal life, and be raised to stand upright with him on the last day.
Wait. Will this elect group of believers be the only ones to be raised? Where does that leave all the folks who come later, and never had the chance to physically see him? Let’s consider the possible people groups.
There were those who were present, closely saw Jesus, yet did not believe.
Some saw him and believed. Apostles and other early followers.
Some are born too late to have seen him but believe based on the testimony of others, including the writings of the New Testament authors.
How did his Jewish followers take this good news?
The Jews grumbled. Not that the father had a mission to save believers to eternal life. Not over the idea of being raised, stood upright, on the last day. They missed the point. They grumbled that Jesus claimed to have descended as the bread of heaven. Why is that?
At least some in the audience were local folks. Clearly, they knew Jesus’ parents and his origins very well. Or they thought they did. They had trouble wrapping their minds around being sent from god. Did they totally miss the good news Jesus taught for those who believed?
Jesus settles down the grumbling. He repeats the good news of his mission.
Refocusing the crowd on what’s important, and as good as the news is, Jesus repeats that it isn’t an automatic given.
Nobody can come to him (to believe) not unless the father draws him. For the elect, who are drawn (literally means to be dragged along as if tied up), the good news is that the believer will be raised, or stood upright on the last day,
Now, after the grumbling over descending from heaven, Jesus bombs them by being clear that the dispatcher is the father. In the next verse, Jesus goes on to explain a scripture of prophecy.
For now, we leave with this thought, if you hear these words today, you’re hearing the calling from God’s word. Don’t keep turning a deaf ear. Choose to respond. If you feel the draw of the Holy Spirit, don’t continue to fight to slip out of his grasp. Be part of the elect who will be raised to stand wit…