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John 6:60-71

December 29, 2013 The key word from last week is union. To eat His flesh and drink His blood isnt literal and earthly but rather spiritual (see verse 63). The idea is that we partake of Him and are united to Him as a man is united to his wife or a body is united to its head and therefore we share in His life. He died to sin and death and so, therefore, have we. He is raised and will live forever and our lives are hidden with Him in God (Col. 3:3). But most of the people following Him had no understanding of what He meant: Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? Jesus had a lot of disciples at this point but it was about to be pared down. His teaching wasnt palatable enough for them. In fact, they called it a hard saying. The word for hard doesnt mean that its just too difficult to understand. Its also used to describe a hard and uncomfortable chair. It means something thats harsh , stiff, and unyielding.1 Who can hear it? Or, more accurately, who is able to hear it? ( ). Who has the ability or power to hear what Hes saying without getting upset about it? This is a common problem even now. So many people already know what they believe and wont listen to what Jesus teaches. Instead they get offended and refuse to even think it through. In reality they reject Christ when they do this. We must be careful to always be ready to change our doctrines when they dont line up with Scripture.
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When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? The word for offend means to be a scandal or to cause someone to stumble. Christ crucified is a stumbling block to the Jews, after all (I Cor. 1:23). All this talk about coming from heaven and having life within Himself and consuming His flesh and blood has upset their sensibilities. They cant and they wont believe it.
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What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=sklhros&la=greek#lexicon

They were offended when He told them He came down (incarnation). They were also offended when He said Hed give His flesh for sin (at the cross). If those things offend them, will they be even more offended if they see Him go back up? No amount of evidence is enough for the hardened heart; the heart of stone. Even if a man rises from the dead they make excuses for it and suppress the truth.
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It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:

They think Hes talking about literally eating His skin. But there would have been no benefit in that any more than there was for their fathers to go on eating miracle bread. The flesh profits nothing. The word means to be of service or to give an advantage.2 The flesh can help you in no way. Eating His body is of no use, and reaching God through the flesh is just as useless. Those who eat bread still die (Jn. 6:49). Arguing about which mountain was the best for worship is futile (Jn. 4:2024). If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? (Jn. 3:12). The temple, priests, sacrifices, and all the celebrations, feasts, and rituals were merely earthly and fleshly. They profit nothing except to point to the spiritual which quickeneth or gives life. the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. These people were a lot like Nicodemus had been. They thought their good standing before God had something to do with Abraham and they all thought Jesus was crazy. Nicodemus asked, How can a man enter a second time into his mothers womb? These people ask, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? But in both cases Jesus reveals Himself so that those who believe will have life. The words that I speak to you, they are spirit . The real meaning of religion is behind these words. The real source of life was speaking them. This is the real gospel: God manifest in the flesh, died, buried, raised, ascended. Believe and live!
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But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. There are some that dont believe. So this is a mixed crowd. Some of them hear and accept what they hear as truth. It appears from the rest of the chapter, however, that the majority wasnt convinced at this point. But the reason He says this is because He knew from the beginning who they were that believed not. He didnt just know Judas would betray Him; He knew what was in every man. He knew the names of His lost sheep. He wasnt failing because so many of the Jews didnt believe. He knew from the beginning!
2

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=wfelei&la=greek#lexicon

65

And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. He said this in verse forty-four. Of course, they were murmuring there too. He had said He came down from heaven but they knew Joseph and had seen Jesus as a boy. They didnt believe He had come down. But He didnt try to persuade them; He simply said that no man can come to Him unless the Father draws him. Well, here it is again. They dont believe He has life within Himself; they dont believe He can give life to them. But this is why Jesus had said that about drawing earlier and this is why He brings it up now. Theres no hope in the flesh. It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (Rom. 9:16). We are children born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (Jn. 1:13). And this isnt just some theological hobby horse. It has practical meaning. The gospel and all our hope and assurance are based on it. My standing before God is not that Ive resolved or decided anything. Its not that Ive somehow found a way to be holy enough; no, while I was a sinner Christ died for the ungodly. Christ saves the chief sinners. My hope for life is based in Him. My life is hidden in Him at the prompting and will of God. But a bunch of these people dont want life on those terms:
66

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Well, He knew beforehand and it turns out Hes right. They left off. They didnt want anything to do with Him if He wasnt going to fill their bellies anymore and if He was going to preach such uncomfortable doctrine. This tells us a lot about Christ and the truth and the way the church ought to operate today. Jesus didnt seem to mind too much that they were leaving. He knew beforehand that they wouldnt like it but He said it anyway. He had to say it though, didnt He? If His words were spirit and life He couldnt say anything less. We dont ever want to be a church thats more worried about people staying than we are speaking truth. Of course theres a right and wrong way to do it, but we also know its going to be offensive. Some people will think wer e crazy. But so what? Id say that puts us in good company if what were saying is true. It also tells us a lot about the gospel and how it works. Theres a verse in Revelation where Christ tells a church that He stands at the door and knocks.

Somehow this has been misused enough that people think its a verse about salvation. They say Jesus is standing at the door of your heart, knocking, and hoping to come in. But thats not at all what that verse says, and its not at all what we find in this passage in John. Jesus speaks the truth. Take it or leave it. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not (Jn. 8:43-45). When we preach its to be the same message to everyone. If the Father will give him ears to hear, then so be it. If not, thats out of our control for its the Spirit which gives life. We dont need a bunch of gimmicks and hooks to draw people in so they can hear. We only need to be faithful in our handling of the truth (I Tim. 3:15).
67

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

He knows about their faith and what Judas will eventually do, but He puts the question to them for their own benefit. What about you? Is it too much for you? Do you want to leave?
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Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Peter answers for the group with this confession: No man exists who speaks truth like you. The spiritual words you spoke to the crowd really are words of eternal life. We believe and were not going anywhere.
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Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 71He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. Peter was mostly right when he said we believe but not entirely. There is one who is a devil. The Greek is (diabolos) which means enemy. Isnt it interesting that Christ knew (He would even wash his feet later) and yet He allowed Judas to tag along? If we ask why, I think theres at least one obvious answer: it was so he could betray Him. He allowed a false convert, a hypocrite to be very close. Every disciple trusted him enough to let him keep the money (Jn. 13:29)! And then the plan worked out.

Its good to be aware of this kind of stuff for a couple reasons. First, it reminds us not to think too much of men. Even the most godly-looking can be deceivers. Second, it reminds us that we too must be careful. Paul tells the Corinthians to examine themselves (II Cor. 13:5). Jeremiah says the heart is wicked and deceitful (17:9). Christ is our only assurance. We have eaten His flesh and drank His blood. We hope in His return and rejoice in it: Come quickly, Lord Jesus! newgracebaptistchurch.wordpress.com