Gracefully Truthful

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Read His Words Before Ours!

John 6:22-40
James 3:13-18
John 1:1-5
Exodus 16:1-12

Faith & Fellowship

Not only does the Old Testament provide the solid foundation of the New Testament, it also provides the framework, the stabilizing beams, and even the drywall. The New Testament paints the walls with vibrant color, ignites the fireplace with the fuel from the Old Testament, and makes the House a Home.

As we read the New Testament, it is absolutely essential that we remember the disciples and Jesus were actively living IN Old Testament times while Jesus taught. Temple sacrifices were made, Old Testament law was being taught and adhered to, the Torah, Prophets, and History scrolls were read aloud in the Temple complex, and the priests studied the Old Testament. Every. Day. Just as had begun since the first Passover in Egypt, the eve before the Slaves became Free, and continued to be established as Israel wandered in the Wilderness, so it was practiced every day in Jerusalem and all of Judea.

For Jesus to tie His teachings to the Old Testament was common practice, for Jesus did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17) When He pointed to the Old Testament, Jesus built an unshakeable bridge to span the gap between the familiar “what was” and the fulfilled “what is to come” reality.

In this scene, however, the disciples are coming at Jesus with a pressing agenda. They are set on determining what they need to do in order to have the power to do the works Jesus had been doing, which they clearly understood to be works of God. ““What can we do to perform the works of God?” they asked.”” (verse 28)

Jesus’ answer didn’t satisfy them. Believing in God was not the answer they were after; after all, they already “believed” in God since they were children. They were Jews after all! Believing in God was part and parcel of being Jewish. It made no sense why Jesus would call out “believing” as the foundational work of God. They wanted to have Jesus’ power, which would have been reasonable for any disciple of a Rabbi to assume they would be able to act just as their Teacher. But this particular Rabbi was the Son of God Himself!

Still intent on being able to catching whatever it is they had been missing so they could achieve their goal of possessing Jesus’ power and performing His miracles, the disciples persist upon Jesus, ““What sign, then, are You going to do so that we may see and believe you?” they asked.” (verse 30, emphasis mine)

Jesus had confronted the disciples in verse 26 calling them out for not “seeing” Him with the Greek definition of “seeing with recognition and heeding”, so perhaps with a bit of exasperation, the disciples push the ball back to Jesus. “Okay; Jesus. You say this is on You, so what are you going to do so we can catch what we apparently missed and transition to the right kind of saving belief?”

Their defensive mindset is revealed here when they follow with an example from the familiar territory they’ve grown up with, ““What are You going to perform? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”” (verses 30-31)

They felt confident they had surely pinned Jesus into telling them the secret to success they sought. They had Moses and the miracle of manna in the wilderness on their side, what could Jesus do that was like this?

With baited breath, they waited for Jesus’ reply. Would He finally tell them how He could perform these works so they could do them also? What could He do to prove He was greater than Moses who sustained their ancestors for 40 yeas in the wilderness?

Jesus cuts straight to the heart, calling out where their thinking had gone awry. It wasn’t Moses who provided the manna, it was God. The same God, in fact, who was now providing Jesus as the Bread of Life, ready to eat and sustain all who believe in Him. Manna was merely a foreshadowing of Christ. Again, it wasn’t about the signs, it was about the One who held all power to sustain and supply every need, including the need to believe in Jesus for rescue from sin. “The one who believes in Me will never be thirsty”, Jesus repeated the necessary foundation for access to God. (verse 35)

The disciples’ desire has been made plain by this point, but what was God’s willful, heart desire? Jesus shares it in verse 40, “For this is the will of my Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

See with action. Believe in truth paired with surrender. So that, Jesus could bring that person resurrection and eternal life forever.

This goal far, far exceeds the disciples’ pithy desire to possess Jesus’ power and do His signs, which, incidentally, Jesus would freely give them at Pentecost when the Spirit would descend. But before that is given, the disciples must understand that none of it is possible without full saving belief in Christ Jesus and His redemptive work on the cross.

Jesus wanted the disciples to understand the distinction between a belief that “acknowledges” God and a belief that “entirely trusts” God for rescue from sin.

There is a belief in God that doesn’t save us for eternity. We must be certain this kind of belief is not what we possess! (James 2:19)

Jesus makes it abundantly clear that only a belief that trusts God to be exactly who He says He is, and actively feasts on Christ as the Bread of Life and His Word

Following Jesus as His disciple is first and foremost defined by believing in Him; everything else from everyday life is meant to remain anchored firmly in your relationship with Him.

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