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Unpredictable

The Gospel of John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus is the unpredictable Savior

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John 6:60–71 ESV
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.
-71Pray

Unpredictable

Pray
Most of us came today expecting a feast. And if we were really honest, some of us consider this service as the price to pay for the food to come! You are very much like the people that Jesus has been speaking to here in John chapter 6. As we wrap up this chapter today, Jesus is speaking to people who have heard Him say that filling their stomachs with food is not why Jesus is here. He has even said that they need to feast on His flesh and His blood! Now, in context, it is obvious that Jesus is talking in a metaphor when He says that. What He means is that we must desire Him above all else, even our physical needs.
Listen to what Jesus says in
Matthew 6:25–34 ESV
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:25-34He is encouraging His listeners to trust that God will supply those physical needs when He is their full focus. Seek Him first, and all these things will be added. So, what does it mean to seek God first? It requires a lifetime of commitment. It is not just something you can do on a whim. It is not something that is accomplished by coming to church. I can tell you that and a little more about seeking Him first, but I hesitate because I don’t want to give a list of do-s and don’ts that will make anyone alright with God. That, friends, is simply not the case. I can go a step further and tell you that if anyone claims following God is a list of do-s and don’ts, they don’t comprehend the full teaching of the Bible, God’s Word.
He is encouraging His listeners to trust that God will supply those physical needs when He is their full focus. Seek Him first, and all these things will be added. So, what does it mean to seek God first? It requires a lifetime of commitment. It is not just something you can do on a whim. It is not something that is accomplished by coming to church. I can tell you that and a little more about seeking Him first, but I hesitate because I don’t want to give a list of do-s and don’ts that will make anyone alright with God. That, friends, is simply not the case. I can go a step further and tell you that if anyone claims following God is a list of do-s and don’ts, they don’t comprehend the full teaching of the Bible, God’s Word.
In my life and experience, God has shown Himself to be beyond my thinking. Here is what I mean by that. Every time I think I have God figured out. Every time I think, “Ok, if I do x, God will do y.” Every time God chooses to do something else. Something so far beyond my thinking that I cannot claim my actions had anything at all to do with it. It’s almost like God says to me, “You think you have me figured out, but you ain’t seen nothing yet.” A band called Bachman, Turner, Overdrive made that phrase famous many years ago, but I really think it applies to how God works. If you think you have Him all figured out, you ain’t seen nothing yet. And, it seems to me, that Jesus is saying that to those who are struggling with the idea of consuming Jesus. And maybe He is saying it to you today. If you came for the food, will you pause for a moment and consider Jesus? Look with me and see how Jesus refuses to be predictable.
Let’s just do a quick refresh on the context of this book. John was an apostle who Jesus called to be one of His closest followers. He writes this Gospel, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for a purpose. He tells us this purpose in
John 20:31 ESV
but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
:31The whole reason this book of our Bible exists is to convince the reader that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and by believing that you might have life in His name. As we have worked through this Gospel, we have seen story after story that forces the reader to ask themselves. Do I believe? But be careful about who you believe in. Jesus refuses to fit in any box. He is not predictable. He never intended to be. Let’s lookJn6:60-63Unpredictable
The whole reason this book of our Bible exists is to convince the reader that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and by believing that you might have life in His name. As we have worked through this Gospel, we have seen story after story that forces the reader to ask themselves. Do I believe? But be careful about who you believe in. Jesus refuses to fit in any box. He is not predictable. He never intended to be. Let’s look
John 6:60–63 ESV
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
Jn6:60-63Unpredictable

Unpredictable

1. “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!”
1.1. The disciples are muttering under their breath. You can almost see them nudging each other with their elbows. The whispers are about how hard it is to believe that they need to eat this man’s flesh and drink His blood. Can you believe He said that? How can we believe ANYTHING He says when He says stuff like that?
1.2. Jesus hears their grumbling and confronts them. Tony’s paraphrase: You are offended by that?!? You think that is hard to accept? Then what are you going to do if you see the Son of Man (me) rising up into the sky to return to heaven? You think a metaphor is tough, but I’m going to physically, not metaphorically rise into the sky. What will you do then? What will you believe then?
1.3. And then Jesus makes a stunning statement. It is only the Spirit who gives life. What life is He talking about? The eternal life He has been teaching on since verse 26. The flesh, the desire for food, the thinking that is not informed by the Spirit. Basically, everything that you can humanly put your mind around is of no help at all. Whenever you try to think that your logic will accurately predict God, watch out! Your natural, human-based way of thinking is no help at all. Whenever you think Jesus is just so bizarre you can’t get what He is trying to say, Jesus said that is exactly the condition of those who don’t have the Spirit. Because The words that I have spoken are spirt and life. Do you see? Jesus’ words are beyond simple human logic. They are beyond explanation in the natural realm. Jesus will not be kept in a human-sized box. So, if you think you have Jesus all figured out, remember this passage where He basically says, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
John 6:64–66 ESV
But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
-66Unpredictable

Unpredictable

2. True belief
2.1. The word “disciple” in this section is pretty broad. It is not just a reference to the 12. Jesus is talking to all of those who at this moment are following Him. And He says, “There are some of you who do not believe.” And then John gives us the information that Jesus has always known the true believers since the beginning. And He has also known those who would not believe. And even those who would betray Him. On that last point, John is giving us a hint about Judas. And down in verse 71, John will make it even more clear. The point here is that Jesus knows some of those who are following Him don’t really believe.
2.2. Then Jesus tells them that the only ones who truly believe are those who have been granted that belief by the Father. Here is the thing. Belief is not just intellectual agreement. I have often used the illustration that all of you right now are living in a state of belief. No, not all of you are living in a state of belief in Jesus. You are living in a state of belief in structural engineering. Specifically, the ability of structural engineering to overcome the power of gravity. Should I make it a little easier? You believe that the pew you are sitting on right now will hold up to keep you from falling to the floor. How do I know you believe that? When you stood for the reading of Scripture and prayer, I told you to be seated and you sat down. Did you really doubt even for a second that the pew would hold you? You believed that it would hold you. You put the full faith of your body weight in the idea that the pew would hold you.
2.3. Similarly, true belief in Jesus requires a moment of faith. A moment when every fiber of your being just knows that Jesus is the Son of God. That He alone can save you from your sins. But, as Jesus says here, only those whom the Father grants can have such true belief. Now, I am of the firm belief that if you ask God to grant you belief, He will. Not that He must. I just believe He will. He desires that all men should come to repentance and faith. He wants you to believe, but He will never force it. He will grant you the belief that you seek earnestly, with all of your heart. True belief that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of God. And when you have that true belief, you will be saved.
2.4. And verse 66 tells us a frightening thing. When Jesus said this, instead of asking for belief, many of them simply walked away. Rather than seek to believe and follow this Jesus, they simply turned back to their old way, to their old lives and no longer walked with Jesus. I think this is one of the saddest verses in the Bible. People who had experienced the miracle when Jesus took 5 barley loaves and 2 fish and fed them with 20,000 or so of their closest friends. They were all in when it benefited them. But true belief requires more. So they left.
1 John 2:19 ESV
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
:19They were never true believers, so they left. Does that describe you today? Jesus now turns to those who are still there.:67Unpredictable

Unpredictable

They were never true believers, so they left. Does that describe you today? Jesus now turns to those who are still there.
John 6:67–69 ESV
So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
:67Unpredictable

Unpredictable

3. What about you?
3.1. Jesus looks at His inner circle, the 12 who were closest to Him. And He asks them if they want to follow those who have now abandoned Him. And I think the question rings down through all of history. When it comes to believing all that the Bible teaches about Jesus. To leaving our preconceptions behind. To really learning about Jesus. There are many who will fall away as the lessons get harder. But for those who remain, the question stands, Do you want to go away as well? Do you?
3.2. Peter’s answer is at once historic and profound. Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God. There is no one else who has the words of life. There is no other teacher we would rather sit under. You are the Holy One of God. Peter speaks for the whole group and says they believe that Jesus is who He says He is. And we see that the purpose of John’s Gospel is fulfilled. Here are people who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Here are people who have life in His name because they believe. How refreshing! But remember, Jesus is anything but predictable. Peter speaks for the whole bunch, but Jesus has a stunning answer.
John 6:70–71 ESV
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.
-71Unpredictable

Unpredictable

4. So you think you have me all figured out
4.1. Didn’t I choose you all? But one of you is a devil. That word devil is the almost always translated as Satan, the prince of liars. I think it would better to translate this as one of you is the devil, not a devil. One of you is the accuser, the liar, the devil. And then John explains that Jesus knew that Judas Iscariot was going to betray Him.
4.2. This is one of the hardest passages in the Bible for me. If you knew that a certain person was going to ultimately betray you and turn you over to be tortured and executed, why would you bring them in to your inner circle? Why would you choose them to be among your closest friends? But that is exactly what Jesus did. Why? One reason, and the reason that I believe comes from this context, was to refute the idea that following Jesus is an easy thing. That following Jesus is simple. You see, you can follow Him for a while, but, just like Judas, at some point it will no longer be about following but about what you believe. And Judas never believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And because Judas never believed, he did not have eternal life. It is that simple. And that concludes chapter 6.

Unpredictable Savior

So I want to bring this right to where we live right here and right now. I started off by saying some of you are probably thinking this is the price you have to pay for a free meal. In the passage we read today, we see that Jesus had something to say to those who were only interested in a free meal. In order to really be saved for eternity, they needed to believe in Jesus. And not just anything about Jesus, but in the unpredictable Son of God. They didn’t need to go to church, they didn’t need to do all the right things or not do all the wrong things. They needed to believe in Jesus. So, if you are here today and you don’t believe with every fiber of your being that Jesus is all that the Bible says He is, this moment is for you. I want to give you a few more Scripture verses, and then I’ll ask you some questions.
- for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Believing in Jesus includes believing that He died for your sin and that God raised Him from the dead. Jesus must be living or He simply cannot be Lord. So, let me ask you. If you are unsure what you believe this morning, would you pray right now that God would grant you belief?
I’ll leave you with one final quote about this unpredictable Savior.
I know the food smells so good. And you are ready to eat. But this is about more than your grumbling tummy right now. This is a moment that may ring out through all eternity. The moment when God grants that unbelief is changed to belief. When people dead in their trespasses and sins are made alive in Christ Jesus. This could be the most miraculous moment of your entire life. I can’t predict all that Jesus will ask of you. But I know that this unpredictable Savior is worthy of all my life. Won’t you give Him yours today?
Let’s PRAY…
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