The crowd looked around. Mouths were agape in shock. Brows were frumpled in confusion. Eyes were darting about in disbelief.
Did he just say he was the Bread from Heaven?
Yeah, it was pretty cool when he healed an aunt from her paralysis and a brother from deadly leprosy. And it certainly was awesome to get a belly full of free food from that magic, Mary Poppins-like basket he had. But…Bread from Heaven? Eternal Life? Never going hungry again? Now Jesus just sounded like he was off his rocker.
Looking around, it appeared as if everyone in the crowd was in agreement. Everyone…besides the disciples. There they stood a rag tag, group of fishermen, accountants, and political zealots misguided by this Jesus.
What did they see in Jesus?
Have you ever asked the same question? Have you ever wondered why Christian folk get so involved in church? Have you ever wondered why so many people change their lives, follow the rules of an ancient book, and bank their eternity on some guy who lived and died 2000 years ago?
Have you ever doubted yourself and wondered why you are doing it?
Today we’re taking a look at the next part of our sermon series – It’s called Vision Improving – and we’re gonna let the words of Jesus in John 6 help us to see the truth behind Jesus.
I. See the Real Problem
By the time Jesus finishes his discourse in John 6, the crowd leaves him. Many refuse to believe that he is the Bread of Life. This isn't so different from today. According to Barna research, the fastest growing religious movement in American is the “nones.” No, there hasn’t been an increase in long black headdresses in the Sears catalog. Not NUNS, but NONES – as in “My faith affiliation is none.” My faith in religion is none. My faith in God is none. My faith in Jesus is none.
Maybe you know someone like that. Maybe you are someone like that.
If Jesus is supposed to be the the Savior of the world, why then are there so many Americans that don’t believe?
In America, it probably isn’t for lack of information.
To test out this theory close your eyes the next time you are driving up and down Falls of Neuse. (OK, make sure you are a passenger in the car, not the drive). Close your eyes. Then, wait a bit. Open your eyes and look right. Chances that you see a cross, stained glass windows or some kind of church are pretty high.
If the information is there and Jesus is this great Savior, why don’t more people see him as Savior?
Fair or not, you might blame Jesus. It’s like when you’re searching for a Thai restaurant to go to and you Google restaurants in Raleigh and the first one that pops up has a ½ star rating with over 50 reviews. This probably isn’t the place to take your wife on a date; you probably aren’t going to try it. Because so many people disapprove of the restaurant, it's fair to assume that the restaurant is no good.
My fear is that so many people disapprove of Jesus it has become cyclical, negative, peer pressure. People disapprove of Jesus. Other people disapprove of Jesus because the first group of people disapproved of him. As a result, more people disapprove of Him and more people believe that group only to disapprove of him too.
Is there really a problem with Jesus?
Check out Jn. 6:35. Jesus said, “Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Last week we said that isn’t a reference to physical food, but it’s a reference to spiritual food. The spiritual food Jesus has to offer lasts. It’s always there for you. You never hunger and never thirst.
Verse 36 is similar. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
It almost sounds like a commercial for a really high rate credit lender. “No credit? No worries. We never drive anyone away. No matter how bad you’ve messed up in the past –we’ll loan to you! (At the low, low rate of 39.99%)
Jesus’ promise is similar. Are you a porn addict? Are you an adulteress? Are you a drunkard, a thief, an outspoken atheist? Did you spend time in the slammer? Have you been divorced? Did you live a homosexual lifestyle?
Guess what? It doesn’t matter what you did. All those the Father gives to Jesus will come to Jesus, and whoever comes to Jesus he will never drive away!
The problem, then, isn’t Jesus.
Look at verse 36 and see the real problem. Jesus said, “But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.” He told them He was the bread of Life. Jesus told them He was the Savior. Jesus told them he would lead them to eternal life. Jesus proved his authority to do this by feeding over 5000 of them with a basket full of a few food items.
But still they did not believe.
If you don't believe in Jesus, the problem isn't Jesus. It's you. You don't believe.
This happens to me. Tell me if it happens to you. I go to Whole Foods. I’m feeling especially healthy. I pick up some Asparagus stalks, a bunch of apples, some broccoli, and even a Cole Robby – even though I’m not sure what it is. I’m just excited for all the healthy food. Then, I go home and put it in the veggie drawer in our fridge.
2 and a half weeks later I stumble across them again on accident—rotten. The problem wasn’t he veggies….it was the person who didn’t eat them.
The same thing is true with Jesus. If you don’t eat of the Bread of Life – the problem is not that the Bread of Life didn’t have the nutrients you need, the problem is you. If you don’t believe in Jesus, the problem is you.
Whether you can’t see that you need saving OR you can’t see that you’re sinful OR you can’t see how Jesus could possibly save you OR you can’t see how Jesus could help you defeat your worst sin – the real problem is not Jesus…it’s you!
II. The Father’s Will
Of course, once we’ve established that – you might begin to wonder why Jesus is even bringing it up? Apparently things are just fine between Him and God. Why does he have to bring up how spiritually depraved and far apart from God we are on our own? Is He just gloating? Does he get a kick out of seeing us squirm? Does he want everyone to “believe in Him” because it gives his ego a big ole boost?
8 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. This wasn’t Jesus’ plan. This was his Father’s plan. He wasn’t doing this for some egomaniac thrill. He was doing this because this was exactly what he had been commissioned by his Heavenly Father to do.
Which (and this is pretty neat) gives us the unique opportunity to see something far beyond our meek human 20/20 vision. It enables us to see into the Divine Eternity/Eternity vision of God. Look at verse 39: And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me… 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life…
Notice what God’s will is. It isn’t that you have a million dollars. It isn’t that you get a nice home in North Raleigh. It isn’t that you send your kids to Ravenscroft. It isn’t that you retire in style with an NC State Red Ford Mustang in your garage.
God’s will is that you be with Him.
God is not your boyfriend who uses you for a sex and dumps you.
God is not your boss who uses you for a few good years then dumps you.
God is not your friend who uses you to listen to her problems, but when you need help, dumps you.
God is not your former spouse who uses you until something ‘better’ comes along, then dumps you.
God wants to be with you forever. He doesn’t want to ever dump you! Not even when you dump him.
The only way that this happens is through Jesus. So God the Father, who wants this eternity spent with you to with all of his Divine heart, sent Jesus.
III. See Who this Jesus is
Of course, this leads us back to where we started. Why Jesus? What’s so special about Jesus?
The people didn’t get it. Look at verse 41 “The Jews there began to grumble about him…“Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? Isn’t he the carpenter’s son? Didn’t he go to school with my boy, Avram? Didn’t he play on the soccer team with your nephew? Didn’t he help install the furniture at your Sea of Galilee House? We know who he is. We saw him grow up. How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
To fully grasp their confusion – think for a moment of the last kid that your kid spent time with. What if an angel came to you and said, “That kid is the Savior.” Do you believe it? Not so much?
Listen to Jesus’ response. 43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them." Which means the Father is actively involved in this belief in Jesus process. Stop and think. Why is it that God is so actively invested in this Jesus? Why are they working in such close conjunction? It isn’t just a figment of Jesus’ own imagination either. If it was, how could Jesus walk on water? How could he heal the sick? How could he stop storms and feed 5,000 some people with only a few loaves of bread?
Jesus continues, 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Jesus is claiming that He is the fulfillment of that Old Testament prophecy from Isaiah 54:13. He’s also claiming that his teachings, again, are from God. Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.
How did Jesus know the Father’s teachings? Read verse 46 and be amazed at the implied answer: 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only He has seen the Father.
“He” is Jesus.
Do you see it? Jesus has this special connection to God not because he is crazy. Not because he lived a good life. Not because he’s really good at meditating or because he climbed a tall mountain. Jesus had a special connection to God because He was from God. Because He had seen God. Because He was of God.
Because He was (and is) God’s Son.
This is huge. Because it means that the author of your salvation is God’s divine Son. It means that Jesus is a part of the holiest, most perfect, all powerful, all knowing, all wise, all present, all loving family of heaven.
It means that he did not fail in his mission. He lived perfectly, he died innocently and he rose triumphantly for the forgiveness of all your sins! Your salvation is accomplished. You are saved by Him. No matter who you are and what you’ve gone through, by faith, I want to see yourself in a brand new way – you are God’s child!
There was a woman who stopped by my office a while back. She was very sad. She had been struggling with sexual sin and had also just gotten out of trouble with the police. When she went to her church, the basic message she was told was "You did bad. Do better. Amen."
After sitting down, God improved her spiritual vision. She saw the real problem was her sin. She saw God's will was to be with her forever. She saw that God sent his Son to be her Savior.
She smiled. She believed. She saw herself differently too. She saw herself as God's dear daughter.
If you haven’t before, put your faith in Jesus.
If you haven't before, be baptized into his name.
If you haven’t before, be baptized and wash your sins away.
If you haven’t before, confess your sins and he will forgive you all your sins.
If you haven’t before, dig deeper into God's Word. Immerse yourself in his love. Ingest the Bread of Life.
May God bless you as you do this. Amen.