Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm19991006.htm
JOHN: TRIUMPHING IN LIFE'S MOST CRITICAL ISSUE
Part III: Presentation Of The Messenger Of Salvation
C. Christ's Credentials Revealed In Confrontations With Men
6. Christ's Identity Seen In WHO Remained With Him By Faith
Lesson: (1) With the exception of Judas for the sake of prophetic fulfillment (Mk. 14:21), it was the MINORITY who continued to follow Jesus because they had made a GENUINE commitment of faith in Him. The throngs had an artificial commitment to th e Lord. (2) This fact reveals that Jesus was God's Son by way of the STRONG commitment of the disciples. (3) Thus, the reference of Christ on partaking of His body and blood is an effort to reveal the need for a REAL faith in Him for salvation.
- One of the critical Scripture passages used by the Catholic Church to defend its view on the mass is found in John 6:53. It quotes Jesus as saying, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood , ye have no life in you." Catholicism states Jesus here noted that communion makes the elements the actual Body of Christ, and that partaking of them thus helps to give one eternal life.
- To understand this passage, and what Jesus sought to convey, we view the context of John 6:47-71:
- Christ's Identity Seen In WHO Remained With Him By Faith, John 6:47-71.
- The discourse of John 6:26-65 occurred the day following the feeding of the five thousand, John 6:1-13.
- That discourse was Jesus' teaching on Himself as being the Bread of Life in contrast to the multiplied loaves that had physically fed the throngs the day before, cf. John 6:26, 30, 32-35.
- In that discourse, Jesus taught that if anyone believed on Him as the Bread of Life, he would have everlasting life in contrast to the temporary life of actual loaves, John 6:47-48 with 6:26-27.
- Then, in picking up on the figure in Himself being presented as the Bread of Life, Jesus noted that as the Hebrew ancestors had eaten of Moses' wilderness manna but DIED, the present generation's partaking of His "Bread of Life" would end i n their living eternally, John 6:49-50.
- Going further, Jesus identified His physical body as the bread that He would give for the world's life, speaking of His substitutionary death to provide a way of eternal life for those who believed on Him, 6:51.
- At this, the Jews who were forbidden by Lev. 7:26f to consume blood under pain of excommunication objected to Jesus' words about eating His body, Jn. 6:52. They thought He spoke literally versus the Law!
- Jesus responded with the statement that Catholicism uses to favor making the Mass a sacrament imparting eternal life: He claimed that one had to eat His body and drink His blood to acquire eternal life, cf. John 6:53-58. What Jesus meant and what He did not mean is readily seen from the context:
- We know Jesus did not speak literally for three major reasons as follows:
- In John 6:63, Jesus said eating His flesh would profit the "eater" nothing. His words were what gave life, meaning He spoke in a figurative sense when mentioning partaking of His flesh and blood!
- Also, Jesus had formerly established in John 6:47-48 and 6:29, 35 of the same discourse that eternal life came by faith in Him, that his faith was the "work" of God -- not actually eating something, 28f.
- Besides, Jesus was sinless, so He could not have taught literal consumption of blood versus the Law! Thus, Jesus could not have meant literal consumption or He would have sinned & not been a Savior!
- In a figurative sense, the context again reveals what Jesus had to have meant as follows:
- The idea of "eating" Jesus' body and blood comes from His repeated claim in Jn. 6:35 & 6:48 to be the Bread of Life opposite both to Moses' manna (6:32, 49-50) and the former day's loaves, 6:26-27!
- Since Jesus contrasted the physical bread of Moses' manna and the loaves of the former day's miraculous feeding of the five thousand, He spoke figuratively of His body and blood in Jn. 6:53-58.
- Accordingly, Jesus was talking about a real faith versus the artificial faith in Him that was exercised by the infatuated crowds, John 6:26-27! So to get that point across, Jesus belabored the figure of speech to speak of FULL FAITH commitment in John 6:53-58!
- Because of this "hard" saying, the artificial believers forsook Jesus, and left, John 6:59-66.
- Yet, the twelve disciples did not leave for they knew Jesus had the word of eternal life, John 6:67-69.
- An exception to this was Judas, a pretentious believer, who deceptively followed as an unbeliever, 70-71.