Call to worship: Isaiah 54:1-13
Text: John 6:41-71
'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.' Is that our stance also? Well, it is the stance of every true disciple, that every word of Christ is life-giving to our souls, and worthy then of all our devotion. In this section of John 6, that stance is put to the test. Jesus says hard things, yes, to unbelievers, but no less to his 'disciples,' including the sovereign initiative of God in salvation and the outrageous notion that such salvation somehow involves the death of Christ. In it, we learn just how incapable and, therefore, dependent we are on the divine and crucified Christ for eternal life. Many 'disciples' show their true colors by taking on the grumbling response of the world to the things of God and, in truth, we're led to see that the only thing that distinguishes us from any unbeliever, however styled, is the mere and amazing grace of Jesus.
- A hard saying. (6:41-59)
- No one can believe in Christ crucified apart from God's effectual grace. (6:41-51)
- You must believe in Christ crucified to have eternal life. (6:52-59)
- An authenticating resolution. (6:60-71)
- 'Who can listen to it?' (6:60-65)
- 'You have the words of eternal life.' (6:66-71)
- Read John 6:41-71.
- Having read the last section of this chapter, what about what Jesus says is especially hard for you, first, to understand and, then, maybe even accept?
- In 6:41-51, what are they grumbling about? In what way does their grumbling relate them to Israel of old? Can human grumbling solve the mystery of the Gospel? Can our own reasoning save us? With Whom does Jesus establish to prerogative to save? Taking 6:37a into consideration, along with 6:65, what is meant by 'drawing' in 6:44? What is meant by our being taught by God? Is that a grace beyond merely hearing the Word of God? When one is drawn or taught by God, what is the absolute effect (very important)? What does God teach us to do, to believe, about Whom? How did Jesus become 'bread'? How is His flesh 'bread'? To what is Jesus referring by the giving of His 'bread'?
- In 6:52-59, what is the focus of their disputation? How would you answer their question? How does Jesus answer it? Why does He answer it the way He does? What two things does He promise to any who 'feed' on Him? What is meant by 'feeding' on Christ?
- In 6:60-71, the lesson has proven intolerable to many of His disciples. Is Jesus surprised by this? How does He press their intolerance further? Where does Jesus (again) place the entire cause of a person's faith in Him? What do you make of phrases like 'you have no life in you,' 6:53; 'the flesh is of no avail,' 6:63? Why does Jesus reassert 6:44 in 6:65? What does that tell us about the importance of this doctrine in Jesus' mind? How do some of the disciples (not the Twelve) respond to this? What does that teach us about them? Were they ever really disciples of Jesus? What will mark true disciples of Jesus? Do you share Peter's resolution---even when you don't exactly understand (or perhaps like?) what you hear in this text? What's the lesson for us? What has separated any of us from unbelievers as true believers in Christ? Our insight? Or Christ's grace? What does it finally mean for Him to really be . . . ALL-sufficient?