Call to worship: Psalm 78:11-32
Text: John 6:22-40
It's the day after Jesus has fed the crowds and saved His disciples at sea. The crowds search for and find Him, but is He what they really want? Jesus reproves the motive in their search and aims to redirect them to the things of eternal salvation. It is a gift of God by Christ, but unbelievers have no ear to hear of grace. Their instinct is faith in self, and in their ability to earn God's gift. Jesus calls them to believe in Him. Only by faith in Him will sinners know eternal life. In their spiritual obstinacy, they discount the sign He's just performed by asking for another. We vastly underestimate the extent of our problem, unbelief. Jesus corrects their misunderstanding of Scripture, introducing typology. The manna was but a type of what Jesus truly is. His teaching goes over their hearts again, so He speaks plainly. He's the Bread of Life. Whoever believes in Him will have their souls forever satisfied. That they do not believe in Him does not impugn His mission. God has a people He's given to the Son. They will believe in Him---and He will never cast them out. As it's His Father's will, Christ will keep them to the end. Death itself will not loosen His grip on them, for He will raise them at the last Day. So the life He gives is truly eternal.
- Jesus pointedly reproving unbelievers. (6:22-27)
- Jesus patiently correcting unbelievers. (6:28-34)
- Jesus plainly instructing unbelievers. (6:35-40)
- Read John 6:22-40. Spend time also in Psalm 78.
- In 6:22-27, what do you discern of the motive of the crowd in their search for Jesus? What does Jesus discern? Does He answer their question? How does He respond to them? To what is He seeking to point them? Are we more or less focused on material things or eternal things? Where do you expend your best energies? What are you mainly looking for from Jesus?
- In 6:28-34, Jesus has just (in 6:27) told them that the food that endures to eternal life is a gift of God through Him. How do they respond? How is their response typical of unbelieving people? How does their response foreshadow their misunderstanding of Scripture's testimony, made explicit in 6:31-33? Consider Deuteronomy 9:4-5. Have you wrestled recently with the truly terrible extent of Man's slavery to sin and the darkness that is unbelief? How is it seen in 6:28? In 6:29-30? In 6:31-33? In 6:34?
- In 6:35-40, Jesus speaks as plainly as He can. Who does He claim to be? What does that mean for the world? In what ways is He an improvement on the former bread from Heaven? What charge does He levy against them? Is believing a matter of seeing? Why is their unbelief not a threat to Jesus' mission?
- Continuing in 6:35-40, Who will come to Christ? What charm does Jesus put before all who believe in Him? What reason does He give for His enduring preservation of all who come to Him? He will not cast any believer out, but is anything able to separate us from Him? How does our preservation intersect with His purpose, to raise us up at the last Day? Is eternal life just a future reality, or is it a present reality for the believer? How does life in Christ now assure us of resurrection in the future? Why is eternal life . . . eternal?