He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever….
John the Evangelist here records the discourse of Jesus at the synagogue in Capernaum. The discourse is an extensive explanation of the spiritual meaning of the physical miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 with two loaves and five small fish.
Jesus had met people’s physical need; people had become hungry; they had been listening so long to Jesus teaching they had forgotten everything else.
But Jesus is here explaining that such miracles in the physical realm are but secondary and illustrative of the far greater miracle of eternal life for sinful human beings.
And Jesus here explains that greater miracle.
He explains that it all starts with God. It is his initiative and his action. He sends the bread from heaven, that is Jesus. Receiving what Jesus teaches, trusting in it and allowing it to determine your thinking and behaviour is how the life of God is transmitted to the believer.
Jesus is real. His teaching – his word – is powerful, spiritually powerful. It is God ordained and God backed. It comes from God to bring glory to God.
Those prepared to acknowledge their spiritual need and come to Jesus will not be disappointed. They will be fed, spiritually fed on the life that is eternal.
But no-one can come, says Jesus during the course of this discourse, unless God the Father wills it.
God has ordained those he will save, and he has given them to Jesus. They are the ones who will put the entire trust of their lives in his hands – not their own hands, but into God’s hands.
People often ask “What is God’s will ?”
This discourse in John chapter 6 records Jesus speaking of the Father’s will a number of times. And his will is that those whom the Father has given to the Son, Jesus, should not be lost or cast out but have everlasting life. God’s will is that such should obey Jesus and his teaching and that they should be saved and enjoy relationship with God always.
Their lives will be lived trusting in God and obeying him
That is the essence of God’s will.
In trusting and obeying God, his people become like Jesus, living out his life in this mortal life.
Such is the church – the body of believers. They are God’s presence on earth while Jesus himself sits with the Father awaiting the day of Return to take his own to heaven, and to punish the ungodly forever.
And it is the task of the church to continue Jesus ministry: to proclaim this Good News; and to live a life starving selfishness and feeding on Jesus.