I have to thank you for your patience in allowing me to go through the sixth chapter of John the way I’ve been doing it. I know you feel you’re stuck in a revolving door, and somehow you can’t get out the other side, and I want to let you know that my best intentions were to finish today, but that’s not going to happen.
So you’re going to be in the revolving door for another week at least next week as we go through this chapter. Today will be the sixth message on John 6. That’s not too many. In fact, really, in the truest sense, it’s too few, but you have nonetheless been very patient as we have worked our way around this chapter. And as I’ve said a couple times to you, normally you just take a paragraph when you’re doing an exposition of Scripture and you work on that paragraph, the next one and the next one, particularly when you’re dealing in a gospel narrative because the scenes change, the events change.
And that would be true here with the exception that there’s one overriding theme through this entire chapter of 71 verses that has to have our attention if we’re to understand it. So we’re sort of stuck making a true effort at understanding this chapter with having to put our arms around the whole thing every time we meet, even though we advance it just a little. We’re trying to fulfill the intent of the author. Now I want to read the section to you because I want you to have it in mind.
It’s a bit arbitrary exactly where we would start, but let’s just start for this morning with verse 48, and I’m going to read down to the end, so follow along. “‘I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven so that one may eat of it and not die. 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.’ Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’
“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. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him, as the living father sent me, and I live because of the father, so he who eats me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven, and as the fathers ate and died, not as the fathers ate and died, he who eats this bread will live forever.’”
“These things he said in the synagogue as he taught in Capernaum. Therefore, many of his disciples when they heard this said, ‘This is a difficult statement. Who can listen to it?’ But Jesus, conscious that his disciples grumbled at this, said to them, ‘Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the son of man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. There are some of you who do not believe,’ for Jesus knew who they were from the beginning who they were who did not believe and who it was who would betray him.
“And he was saying, ‘For this reason, I have said to you that no one can come to me unless it has been granted him from the father.’ As a result of this, many of his disciples withdrew and were not walking with him anymore. So Jesus said to the 12, ‘You do not want to go away also, do you?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that you are the holy one of God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Did I myself not choose you, the 12, and one of you is a devil?’ Now he meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for he was one of the 12 and was going to betray him.”
Really an amazing portion of scripture. Amazing. The end of this chapter is the culmination of everything that’s been going on in this chapter, and it’s about spiritual defection. It’s about apostasy. It’s about turning your back on Jesus and walking away. This has always been very difficult for me to understand. Even since I was a very small boy, Christ has always been the most compelling, the most wondrous person that I ever knew anything about.
Christ has always been the most attractive, the most wonderful, even from the time I was a small boy. I entertained thoughts of how I might know him more, how I might know him better. Even as a child, I read books on the deeper life to find out what the secret was of really getting to know Christ. Never in my life, even as a young person, did I entertain a single thought of abandoning Christ. Many thoughts about being less than faithful and disobedient to him, but never was there a single interest in anyone else as the hope of my salvation, as the joy of my life, as the Lord of my life.
As far back as I can remember, Christ was always the most wonderful and the most attractive, but as I lived my life, this turned into a concern for me because all around me, I saw people walk away from Jesus. I saw it when I was very young. I saw it as a pastor’s son in church. I saw it with family, cousins. I saw it with classmates in school, claiming to follow Christ and turning their back and walking away as these did in verse 66.
I couldn’t comprehend that. I can’t remember a single compelling temptation that I ever had to battle to walk away from Christ. I was curious about how this can happen. I sought to understand that, even when I was a seminary student. So when it was time for me to write my dissertation to finish my degree in seminary, I chose to write a paper on a character study of Judas Iscariot.
And the reason I chose that was because I still was searching for answers, and the most inexplicable apostate that I’d ever known anything about was Judas. By the way, he is mentioned at the end of the chapter because he’s the model of walking away from Jesus. There’s no question he is the worst of all apostates. There’s no question that he turned away from the greatest privilege that any person would ever have spending three years with Jesus.
It has always been incomprehensible to me that Judas could do that, really incomprehensible to me that anyone could do that. But Judas, who saw everything and heard everything. So I chose to write a paper. I couldn’t find a lot to help me. I checked various libraries, Roman Catholic libraries, liberal protestant libraries, trying to find answers to the defection of Judas.
I never really found any insights outside the Bible, and I ended up making my conclusions based upon what the scripture said. But it’s still to me beyond comprehension that Judas would not believe that he would walk away from Christ, that he would betray him, and in a final act of horrible rejection, commit suicide.
But Judas is not a solitary figure as I’ve been telling you. Many of Jesus’ disciples walked away from him. That’s what Verse 66 says. Many of his disciples withdrew and were not walking with him any more. There’s a finality there. They walked away, right into hell. Why? What were the dynamics that caused that? Now remember, this is one chapter that covers a couple of days in the life and ministry of Jesus as he brings his Galilean ministry to an end.
Just a couple of days. The chapter opens on a day when Jesus feeds say 20 to 25,000 people by creating food on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. It begins with a massive miracle in which these thousands of people actually participated by eating the meal. They were a part of the miracle.
It also contains one of the greatest discourses that Jesus ever gave in all of recorded New Testament literature, his discourse on the bread of life. The greatest miracles in terms of volume, the greatest teaching in terms of profound insight into him and his gospel, and you come to the end of the chapter, and his disciples defect.
From the standpoint of evidence, their defection is inexcusable. Inexcusable. He had been doing miracles constantly. There was no way to explain them other than that they were divine, and his words were so profound that no one had ever heard words like that before.
Still, according to Verse 36, he acknowledges that the very people who are experiencing the miracles and listening to him teach do not believe. “You do not believe,” he says. And down in Verse 64, he says it again. “There are some of you who do not believe,” and he even says he knows who they were. And it is those disciples who did not believe in Verse 66 who withdraw and walk away.
He’s been in Galilee for over a year. It’s a small place. Very small region. He’s criss-crossed the hillsides and the valleys of the Galilee area in every town and every village, and even in open space countryside, the multitudes have come to him. He made his headquarters in Capernaum, the main city at the northern end of the Sea of Galilee. He did miracles all over Galilee over a year, as I said.
The heart and soul of his ministry was the sort of adopted hometown of Capernaum where there were many, many miracles done. Still, there was unbelief, and by the way, according to Verse 59, the very message that he gives in this chapter he gives in the synagogue in Capernaum. So Capernaum becomes the focal point as his Galilean ministry wraps up. He’s in the synagogue in Capernaum where these miracles have been being done for a long, long time.
And as I said, from the evidential standpoint, there is no excuse for their unbelief. In fact, their unbelief is so inexcusable that we read some of the most frightening words in all of the New Testament with regard to them. Listen to Matthew 11:20, and following Jesus pronounces doom on the cities of Galilee. He began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles were done because they didn’t repent.
“Woe to you, Chorazin. Woe to you, Bethsaida, for if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago and sackcloth and ashes.” You remember in the Old Testament history, they didn’t repent and were destroyed. Nevertheless, “I say to you it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the Day of Judgment than for you.” And they were pagan cities.
And then in Verse 23, “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven. Will you? You will descend to Hades. For if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which had occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless, I say to you it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the Day of Judgment than for you. Sodomites who were buried under fire and brimstone will have an easier time in hell than the religious population of Capernaum because they ignored the miracles that were done there.” As bad as the bizarre, corrupt homosexual vice and lust and gross evil of Sodom and Gomorrah was, Capernaum’s people were waiting for a more severe eternal hell for their unbelief.
So unbelief is the end result of the Galilean ministry. The first year of his ministry in Judea was marked by unbelief and hostility, and the hostility grew so great that he had to go north. He was forced to go north and leave Judea for his own safety to complete his ministry.
Went to Galilee, and while the same kind of crowds followed him as had in Judea, they were equally fickle and superficial, and here we find at the end of that Galilean ministry, they’re marked by unbelief and defection. This is such a painful experience for our Lord. This is such an agonizing experience. The pain comes out in Verse 67. Jesus said to the 12, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” He’s fully human. He’s deeply wounded, cut to the heart by the disaffection of those to whom he has given such a massive display of evidence concerning his deity and Messiahship.
In fact, the only way he can find any balance in this, the only way he can find any comfort is to lean hard on the sovereignty of God as he does in Verse 37. “All that the father gives me will come to me.” As he does in Verse 44, “No one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him.” As he does in Verse 65. “For this reason, I have said to you that no one can come to me unless it has been granted him from the father.”
He rests in the fact that divine sovereignty is the final decider of whether sinners come. He rests in the father’s plan. In the face of rejection, the only comfort he can find is that the father will draw whom the father wills to draw. He will call whom he wills to call in the end. Now as we come to the end of the chapter, in particular Verses 60 to 71, the false disciples are exposed. There’s a little sequence here that exposes them. First, they say this is difficult. Then they grumble. Then they stumble. Then they defect.
Also at the last part from Verses 60 to the end, the true disciples are evidenced as well, and that’s in Verses 67 to 69. They will not leave. They will not go. They hear the words of eternal life. They believe and they embrace the holy one of God. So after all that’s gone on in these couple of days and in this long chapter, it finally ends with the false disciples exposed and they leave, the true disciples revealed, and they stay.
In the process of this, I’ve been showing you the pathology of false disciples because you can see the characteristics of these false disciples being manifest all the way through the events in these few days. What have I told you going back to many weeks ago? False disciples are attracted by the crowd. We saw that in the opening two verses.
They’re attracted by the crowd. They’re not drawn for intellectual reasons or even spiritual reasons necessarily. They’re attracted by the crowd. That still works in religion. Secondly, false disciples are fascinated by the prospect of the supernatural.
If you promise people something supernatural, even if you can’t deliver it, you’ll draw a crowd. Then Jesus could deliver on the supernatural. False disciples are fascinated by the prospect of the supernatural. We saw thirdly when they wanted to make Jesus a king after he created food for them, they give evidence of being false disciples who are focused only on earthly benefits.
Only on earthly benefits. They were concerned about the food that parishes, Jesus said. Fifthly, or fourthly, rather, we saw that unlike the disciples who saw Jesus walking on the water and confessed him as son of God and worshipped him, false disciples are not interested in worship. They’re not interested in worship, and as I tried to point out to you, they like music and light shows and entertainment, but they’re not really interested in worship.
We saw fifthly in Verses 22 to 27, false disciples seek personal satisfaction. They seek personal satisfaction. They showed up the next day, and they wanted their needs met the day after he had fed them the night before. Fifthly, false disciples make demands on God. They think of God as some kind of a repository. Some kind of a bank. Some kind of a genie who can deliver to them what they want. We saw that and the demands they made on Jesus in Verses 28 to 34. And then finally last time, and this was such an important point, false disciples are not satisfied with Christ. They’re not satisfied with Christ.
If we looked at that in Verses 35 to 41, they’re not satisfied with him. They want what he gives. They don’t want him. He kept saying, “I’m going to give you the bread. I am the bread. I am the bread. I am the bread. You must receive me,” without any promise of any earthly prosperity whatsoever. So just quickly summarizing, false disciples attracted by the crowd, fascinated by the supernatural, focused on earthly benefits, not interested in true worship, seeking personal satisfaction, making demands on the Lord, not satisfied with a relationship with him, but wanting what he could give are still around when we come to Verse 41.
And this is the eighth characteristic. They do not understand divine revelation. They do not understand divine revelation. We already know that. We already know that. When he started talking to them about bread, about being the bread of life, Verse 32 is where he began that. He said, “I am the bread of life. I am the bread that’s come down from heaven. I am the bread that is the bread of God. God has sent me.” He talks about his preexistence, talks about his purpose for coming, talks about the promise that he brings, which is eternal life.
I was in heaven with God. God has sent me to the be the soul satisfying bread and provide eternal life. That’s the theme starting in Verse 32, and we’ve looked at it, so we won’t go back through all of it. They don’t get it. They don’t understand it. It doesn’t fit into their minds. So Verse 41, the Jews are grumbling, saying, “He said I’m the bread that came down out of heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph whose father and mother we know? How does he now say I’ve come down out of heaven? This is like a joke. This is mockery.”
They can’t grasp truth. Let me tell you something about false disciples. They never understand divine revelation. They’re always on the outside, and because they don’t understand it, there is a general indifference to it. There may be some feigned interest in it. That’s why false teachers don’t have to feed people a true representation of the word of God.
They don’t have to give people the word of God, a true understanding, because people who are false disciples don’t have any capacity to grasp the word of God. They have no real hunger for it. In fact, look over just for a minute at John 8, and I can illustrate that. John 8. Look at Verse 42. Jesus said to them, “If God were your father, you’d love me. If God were your father,” they were saying that God, of course, was their father. These Jewish leaders. “If God were your father, you would love me, for I have proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on my own initiative, but he sent me.”
Then he says this. “Why do you not understand what I’m saying? It is because you cannot hear my word. You can’t understand it. You don’t because you can’t.” This is not just unwillingness. This is inability. “Why can’t you? Because it’s a foreign language. You come from a different strain. You come from a different family.” Verse 44. “You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, doesn’t stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks, it’s a lie. He speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Let me put it simply. False disciples are very comfortable with lies. Very comfortable with lies. You wonder why so many people follow false teachers. The reason is that’s their family. They live in a world of lies. They are the children of Satan. Their father is the devil. False disciples cannot understand divine revelation. They don’t get it. Verse 45. Because I speak the truth, you do not believe me. Verse 47. He who is of God hears the words of God. For this reason, you do not hear them because you’re not of God. It’s that simple.
If you belong to God, you believe in God, you’re part of his family, you hear his word. You want to hear it. You long for it. You embrace it. You understand it. If you’re a false disciple, you don’t understand it. You would just as soon hear something else that tickles your ears. It’s an inability. It’s an incapacity because your nature has placed you in an alien family.
Look at Chapter 10 for a moment. Chapter 10 in John’s gospel where Jesus essentially says the same thing, again talking to the Jewish leaders and the people who would also be gathered around with them. They say to him in Verse 24, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you’re the Christ, tell us plainly,” which of course, he’s done many times.
Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. And the works that I do in my father’s name, those testify of me.” So you have the evidence from my words. You have the evidence from my works. Verse 26. “You do not believe because you are not of my family. You’re alien. My sheep hear my voice. I know them. They follow me. I give eternal life to them. They will never parish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.”
This is the case with false disciples. They can’t understand the truth. Now go back to John 6. So how do they respond? And by the way, we’ve gone through this message. We did it the Sunday before Christmas in more detail. If we pick it up at Verse 41, the Jews are grumbling about him because of what he said in Verses 32 to 40 about the bread of life, the bread of life. “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will not hunger, who believes in me will never thirst. Whoever believes in me will have eternal life. I will raise him up at the last day.”
He’s talking in metaphoric terms about himself being the only provision for the soul, the only one who can provide eternal life, and he provides it to those who believe in him, and he will hold them and raise them all at the last day. And what is their response? Verse 41. These are the elite teachers of Israel. They were grumbling about him. They were grumbling about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.”
They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say I’ve come down out of heaven?” They don’t get it. It doesn’t register. They’re beyond the possibility of being reached and affected. Jesus doesn’t argue with them. He doesn’t argue with them at all. He simply says to them, “Don’t grumble among yourselves. Stop. Stop this.” And then he has to rest again in Verse 44 on the truth that no one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him. Finds his comfort in the doctrine of divine sovereignty.
They don’t understand the truth. On the other hand, pick it up at Verse 45. Anybody who does understand the truth has been taught by God as it is written in the profits, and he quotes Isaiah, “And they shall all be taught of God, everyone who has heard and learned from the father comes to me.” The only way that you can ever come to believe in Jesus Christ is when the father God begins to teach you. When the father takes the word and by the spirit instructs your soul and your mind.
It’s not, Verse 46, that you go to heaven and meet God and have a private tutorial. No, God will instruct you through the one who is from God, the only one who has seen the father, even the Lord Jesus Christ. When you come to Christ and see Christ and meet Christ and hear the message of Christ and believe in Christ and have eternal life, you give evidence that the father has done his work in your mind and heart.
So false disciples do not get it. They do not understand divine truth. Anyone who does understand divine truth understands it because the father has chosen them. The father has drawn them. The father has taught them, and the father has given them to Christ. Still, he reminds them that there is eternal life to any who believe, Verse 47. “Truly, truly I say to you he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.” “I am, Verse 51, “the living bread that came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.”
Even though he understands the sovereignty of God, he also understands the volition of man. So just to reinforce that eighth point in our little outline, false disciples cannot understand divine revelation unless the father instructs them, unless they are transferred from being under the domain of Satan in the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear son by a divine miracle of regeneration.
Otherwise, they can’t hear his word, and as I told you last time, they’re easily led by false teachers. In fact, they’re in a world of false teachers. False disciples are happy to live in a world of false teachers. Where you find false teachers who are successful, they’re successful because they have false disciples following them.
And this is obvious from Verse 61. “Jesus, conscious that his disciples grumbled.” Where did they pick that up? Well, back in Verse 41, it was the Jewish leaders who were grumbling, criticizing, mocking. Now these disciples are grumbling. What does this tell us? This tells us that where you have false disciples who are about to defect anyway, you have very strong influence from false teachers. The false leaders of Israel were grumbling about Jesus, and the false disciples picked up on that.
First they grumbled, and then they stumbled. “Does this cause you to stumble,” he says. “Does this cause you to stumble?” Well, it did. In fact, Paul in 1 Corinthians 1 says the cross and the preaching of the Gospel was a stumbling block to the Jews. So here are false disciples who grumble and stumble over the truth. Grumble and stumble over the truth because they can’t understand the truth.
And so they’re happy to be influenced by false teachers who abound in an arena where false disciples are arrayed. You always find the two together. All right, that takes me to one final point just briefly. False disciples have no interest in embracing the cross. False disciples have no interest in embracing the cross.
Go to the end of Verse 51. He says, “The bread also which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” This is new. This is new. He has said, “I am the bread of life. You have to believe in me. I am the bread of life. You have to believe in me.” Clearly, the bread is a metaphor because its counterpart is believing. I am the bread. You must believe in me. In fact, he even says in Verse 50, “You must eat,” carrying out that metaphor. It says it again in 51. “Anyone who eats will live.” But now he adds another dimension. “The bread, which I will give for the life of the world, not just me, not only do you have to accept me, receive me,” but end of Verse 51, “the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. My flesh. My body.”
This is a reference to his death, his sin offering, his sacrifice on the cross. I will give my flesh for the life of the world. What does it mean of the world? Does it mean the whole world is going to be saved to the death of Christ? No. What it does mean is the world only has one savior. He says, “I will give for the life of the world my flesh.” This is the only offering in the world that can bring salvation. The world has no other provision for eternal life.
There’s no salvation in any other name than Jesus Christ. I will give my flesh for the life of the world, and you must eat my flesh. I stop here and say the terrible, corrupted aberration of the Roman Catholic mass gets inserted here. This is where the Roman Catholic system devised the mass, which is a corrupt notion that somehow the priest can turn the juice into the actual blood of Christ and the bread into the actual body of Christ, re-sacrifice Christ, and people literally eat what is essentially literally his blood and body.
That is a horrible travesty on the one offering that Christ made, never to be made again. It also is a travesty against his ascension because when he ascended, he ascended fully as he was in many other elements. But this is – the twisting of this is where that came from. But let’s understand what it really meant. If you said to somebody, “I have something I need to tell you. It’s really important for your life, and I know it’s not going to be easy, but you’re going to have to swallow this if you want to get to the next level. Do you understand that? You understand that I’m not asking you to eat something literally. Right? If you can’t swallow this, you’re never going to get to the next level.”
That’s simply a metaphoric way of saying, “You have to embrace this. You have to acknowledge this.” And that’s what he’s saying here. That it isn’t just that you have to accept me as the preexistent bread that came down from heaven. Accept me as the provision of the father by his will. Accept me as the only one who can supply eternal life. But you have to eat my flesh. That is to say you have to be able to accept my death.
And this was a horrible thing for the Jews and why the gospel was such a stumbling block because they had no room for a crucified messiah. That’s why on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24, Verses 25 and following, Jesus says to the disciples, “From the Old Testament here, in the Old Testament, let me show you why it was necessary for the messiah to suffer and die.”
It’s a simple metaphor. You have to be able to accept my death. And he piles it on without really advancing the statement. He just repeats it. The Jews begin to argue with one another. How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Again, more mockery. So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the son of man, and I’ll add this, drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves.” They must have shrunk back in horror because obviously, Leviticus 17 forbids drinking of animal blood, let alone human blood. Nobody would do that. Not cannibals.
But they knew. They knew he was speaking metaphorically. Rabbis talk like that all the time. You’ve got to be willing to sacrifice my flesh and shedding of my blood to embrace the cross. This is so shocking to them that he says it again, Verse 54. “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I’ll raise him up on the last day to eternal life.” Obviously. Says it again in Verse 55. “My flesh is true food. My blood is true drink.” Verse 56. “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him, comes into union with me.” In order to come into union with Christ, you have to accept his atoning death. You have to accept that he offered his body as sacrifice for sin and shed his blood as the one who was executed in our place.
Verse 57. “As the living father sent me back to his preexistence and I live because of the father back to the father’s will, he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven, not as the fathers ate and died in the bread that Moses provided in the wilderness. He who eats this bread will live forever.” The bottom line here is false disciples have no real interest in embracing the cross, although they may want to wear a cross on their t-shirt, but a false disciple doesn’t embrace the fullness of the gospel of the atoning work of Jesus Christ, accepting fully the reality of the atonement.
That is the point, and the evidence here is clear. Some of the disciples said, “This is pretty hard stuff to listen to,” Verse 60. Then they grumbled. Then they stumbled, and Verse 66, they left. They left. But why is the false disciple so disinterested in the atonement? Because the false disciple is not hungry for righteousness. The false disciple is not hungry for holiness. The false disciple is not hungry for forgiveness.
The false disciple is not being slaughtered in his or her conscience. The false disciple is not feeling the fury and the weight of divine judgment hanging over his head. The false disciple has all the answers. The false disciple is satisfied with whatever the world can give. The false disciple wants his own will fulfilled. Jesus said, “You didn’t come to call the righteous. Why? They don’t come. They’re not hungry and thirsty for righteousness because they think they have it.”
“But once a person is broken over his sinfulness, shattered when awaken to his lost condition and its eternal consequences, once a person sees the void, the knowing emptiness of his soul, the hunger for holiness begins to rise. The desire to be clean, the longing for peace and joy and love and hope and escape from everlasting punishment in hell. Then that person will come and eat.”
You know, Christ may be presented to people in all his heavenly glory. They may respect his person. They may admire his beauty. They may be touched by his love and kindness. They may be awed by his power. They may even shed a few tears over the way he was mistreated, but it is only when they see him as the only hope for their forgiveness by the sacrifice of himself on the cross that they will come to him. False disciples, they don’t come on those terms. True disciples do. Peter spoke for them. “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life we believe and have come to know. You’re the holy one of God.” Look, many are interested. Drawn by the crowd, fascinated by the supernatural, desirous of earthly things, indifferent toward real worship. They like to be entertained, seeking only personal satisfaction. Want a God who will meet their demands, have no desire for a real relationship with him, no understanding of his truth, his word, and no true hunger for the repentance and the righteousness that comes through the recognition of sin and the glory of the cross.
And the question at the end is what kind of disciple are you. And that’s the right question as we come to the Lord ’s Table. Let’s bow in prayer. Father, we’ve laid it open for our own minds and hearts to understand, and yet, we still are dependent upon you being the teacher. Anyone who comes to you comes because you have taught him, so Lord, God, take this truth and be the teacher.
As we come to this table, may we now take this cup and bread, and for what they really are, just symbols to help us remember that Jesus gave his flesh and his blood to die our death in our place.