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Fifty Days of Desperation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus fed 5,000 people in the wilderness with the borrowed lunch of five loaves of bread and two fish. Miraculously it multiplied so extravagantly that in his hands it became twelve baskets more than the crowd could devour. Jesus and his disciples withdrew from there and the people all followed, but not for Jesus - rather for another meal.
Then the Lord rebuked them for failing to see what that miracle was supposed to point out: Jesus is the Messiah. And Jesus informed them that “The work of God,” which they claimed they wanted to do was that they should, “Believe in Him whom [God] has sent. ().
Instead of recognizing the sign he had given them, they asked for another one by claiming () that their fathers had eaten the manna in the wilderness, subtly hinting that if Jesus wanted to be their savior, he better meet their lunchtime needs.
How foolishly temporary minded of them. But we do little better when we seek after the temporary things of this life as if they were the most important.
Jesus will have none of that.
“I am the bread of life” Jesus declares (). And if you want eternal life you need to eat my flesh and drink my blood.
John 6:35 NASB95
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
In that phrase, Jesus explains an otherwise very difficult passage in which he tells them that eternal life depends upon them eating his flesh and drinking his blood. While we who know Jesus understand the innate reference to communion on one level because the passover was approaching (). But we must even more see the bread of life statement to be a command to believe in Jesus: Coming to Him, and believing in him.
It is in this context that Jesus says the following:
John 6:27 NASB95
“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”
John 6:29
John 6:29 NASB95
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
John 6:29
John 6:35 NASB95
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
John 6:37 NASB95
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
John 6:40 NASB95
“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:44 NASB95
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:47 NASB95
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
John 6:54 NASB95
“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
We could almost quote the entire section and continue to find everywhere Jesus claims in one of the most densely evangelistic sections of scripture - that He and only He is the way of salvation, the way of redemption, the source of eternal life, and the very gift of God to redeem all of humanity.
Jesus is practically begging throughout this section for people to believe in Him, because he is after all absolutely the only way to salvation.
That brings us face to face with our text today which comes on the heals of the claims of Jesus that he, and only he, is the only way to salvation. Jesus’ claims to exclusivity are hard to take in today’s pluralistic society. But this difficulty does not make them untrue.
our passage comes today on the heals of the claims of Jesus that he, and only he, is the only way to salvation.
Jesus’ claims to exclusivity are hard to take in today’s pluralistic society. But this difficulty does not make them untrue.
Would you please stand as you are able and read with me from .
John 6:59–71 ESV
Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. 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.

Some who do not follow do not understand the gospel

If you were to back up just as far as verse 52 you find the section that simply doesn’t apply to people who at least attend church. These would represent, in our society, those who have never bothered to try to follow Jesus. They might have read a few Bible verses, or come to a few services. They might be CEO’s (Christmas and Easter Only’s), or they might be religious in some form, but never claimed to be Christian.
These simply do not understand. We cannot blame them. We must not fear them. In fact we must love them and explain to them, again and again if possible.
These are like the so called “Microsoft support Technician” who called me on Thursday. Judging from his Indian Accent and a few of the things he said on the phone, he is a poor man in India who is simply trying to eat. Rather than hang up on Him, the Lord touched my heart and I spent several minutes explaining the gospel. His responses started with, “Sir I cannot understand what you are saying,” To finally saying, “Thank you sir, you have given me something very serious to think about.” The conversation was over. He did not call upon Christ, but he has the tools to do so now. And I have prayed for him.
When people didn’t understand, Jesus would explain it. If we would follow Jesus we must do the same.
It is our responsibility to seek to explain, or find the answers to explain the questions people have about the gospel.

Some who attend do not understand the gospel

If you move forward to verse 60 you get the word from the disciples. These are more than the twelve, they include the larger group of disciples who followed Jesus and listened to his teaching. But now, confronted by the hard truth of the exclusivity of Jesus they begin to complain, “This is a (difficult statement) hard saying, who can listen to it?” (). In other words: “Are you kidding me?”
These represent all the people who come to church, sing the songs, and know the words, but who do not have faith. We might call them cultural Christians. In our day: Cultural Christianity is all but dead, it’s last vestiges hang on in the older generations - but the younger generations have no such obvious duality.
If not cultural, these are the ones who like the idea of following Jesus, and may even understand who he is - but they do not ultimately believe.
John 6:64 NASB95
“But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.
Note that Jesus understands two “groups” if you will. The second is only Judas - he is the one that would betray Jesus, and the Lord was never taken by surprise by that. But the first group is a group - those who were near to Jesus but who still did not believe.
These are the ones who today attend churches all over the place, but who do not have a living relationship with Jesus. They do not believe to salvation. They may draw near for any reason whatsoever - but if that reason isn’t faith, they may themselves drift away when the going gets hard.
Morever, I wonder as I look at that text, why is it they do not ultimately follow Jesus? He was the greatest teacher so he did not fail to teach well. He was God in the flesh, so he did not fail them morally. The Lord made no mistakes, and yet still we read in verse 66 that many of them simply left and were not walking with Him any more. Why?
John 6:63 NASB95
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
John 6:53 NASB95
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
Because ultimately they must be born again. People are called to Jesus by the Father, and they are given faith by the Spirit of God. Our task is to serve as the mouthpiece - speaking the words of the gospel which God will use to draw men to himself.

Those with Faith will remain in Faith.

As the crowds walked away from Jesus, he turned to his chosen twelve. It must have seemed that they were the only ones left. And Jesus must surely have been hurting from what felt like a mass abandonment. So he asked the twelve if they too wanted to leave.
But Peter’s answer is filled with truth: There is no other salvation, where would we go? You are the savior and we believe this. You are the Holy One of God.
But Even Here, Jesus makes it clear for us as we read the gospel that even He wasn’t fooled by Judas. Mr. Iscariot might have stayed and followed. Peter apparently included the betrayer in the group of “We have believed…” (). But Jesus knew the truth.
No matter how close they may seem - those with no faith have no faith.


That brings us to considering this passage for ourselves.
First we must ask ourselves to which group we belong. Are you in the group of faith? We must answer this for ourselves. Have you come to believe that Jesus is in fact the holy one of God, and that life and salvation are found in Him?
Second, we might find here a guide to our expectations when people respond to the hard truths of the gospel. However sincere someone may be in their beliefs - if those beliefs are not in Christ, than they are not saved. There is no salvation found anywhere else. Not in goodness, not in sincerity, not in “faith in faith”. So when you share Christ - you can expect a similar range of responses that your master experienced. Some will reject it and walk away. Some will draw near (for a time) but will not believe. And those whom the Lord calls to Jesus, will come to him because you were faithful to share the message.
It is your task today to either embrace the message or share the message.
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