Introduction: John 10:31 alludes to the prominent theme of conflict between Jesus and His foes, especially targeting His claim to be the co-equal, fully divine Son of God. This is an ongoing theme in John’s Gospel, much earlier than John 10. For example, in this week’s notes, we see Jesus labor mightily to bear witness, in the face of great hostility, to His divine claims. As we take a birds-eye view of John 6-8, keep in mind that all the blessings given to God’s people in these chapters, flow to us only through the unique, eternally-begotten Son of God. We must never forget this. The exalted nature of our Savior as very God of very God is what sets Christian faith apart from all other religions. We must always treasure this doctrine.
Mon/Tues/Weds: read John 6:32-66: Time and again, during His trip to Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles, (John 7:2 & 7:14), Jesus offers up testimony that He is no one less than the LORD Himself, come to do the works of His Father which were foreshadowed in the Old Testament, during the wilderness wanderings in the time of Moses.
Sadly, the Jews loved to claim the Kingdom for themselves, and wanted mere human leaders whom they could manipulate to bring in the kind of carnal kingdom which they desired. When Jesus refused to be co-opted for this in John 6:15, their rejection of and hostility towards Him increased. This is why so many disciples left Him in John 6:66 and why they continually demanded more signs to justify their unbelief in John 6:30.
It was in this context of rejection that Jesus so bravely continued to hold out the offer of eternal life to the remnant who would believe in Him in John 6-8. Though even His own flesh and blood did not believe in Him, (John 7:5), He persisted in proclaiming the Good News of salvation which He would accomplish on the Cross!
Meditate and Pray: Oh, may the Lord give us the same grace of persevering in His service that we see in the Son of God. May we serve cheerfully wherever He has placed us. Moreover, may we recognize that, if the Lord had not been on our side, we would have perished in the heat of the battle between the forces of Christ and the spiritual forces of evil which stand against us. Always the church militant is composed of a remnant. God’s purposes of sparing this remnant of true believers in the midst of spiritual warfare is the theme of the Bible! How did Joseph put it, using a word for the people of God which means, ‘Those rescued from slaughter’? He put it this way, explaining why God sent him ahead to Egypt:
“God sent me ahead of you to preserve a, “posterity/residue/survivors” on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:7)!
Isn’t that exactly what the Lord Jesus has done in your life, preserving you until this day? Though surrounded as your Lord was, with those who hate your God and your faith, we can still sing about our freedom in Christ, using hymn # 614, taken from Psalm 124:
Now Israel may say, and that in truth,
If that the Lord had not our right maintained,
If that the Lord had not with us remained,
When cruel men against us rose to strive,
We surely had been swallowed up alive.
Yea, when their wrath against us fiercely rose, The swelling tide had o’er us spread its wave, The raging stream had then become our grave,
The surging flood, in proudly swelling roll,
Most surely then had overwhelmed our soul.
Blest be the Lord, who made us not their prey;
As from the snare a bird escapeth free,
Their net is rent and so escaped are we;
Our only help is in Jehovah’s name,
Who made the earth and all the heavenly frame.
Thurs/Fri: read John 6:32-38 & 7:37-39. What a generous Savior we have! He comes to His own recalcitrant people, who time and again oppose Him – (whether at the synagogue in Capernaum in John 6:60-66, or at the Temple in Jerusalem in John 7-8) – and generously offers them the ‘Bread of Life’ as the source of eternal life. Why, Moses could only deliver a temporary provision of manna in the wilderness, but Jesus is able to promise that His Father will continuously give the Bread of Life to those who need it. See John 6:32’s past tense reference to one-time giving of manna, versus the continual supply of the Bread of Life which the Father will give those who come to Him through Jesus Christ!
Meditate and Pray: Give thanks today that the Lord is a continuous Supplier of the basic provisions of salvation! How we should treasure the inspired grammar of the Bible, where God the Father and Son are described as continuously busy providing for our salvation and preservation. Truly, as the Psalmist says, our God, “neither slumbers nor sleeps”! May the Lord Jesus Himself give us strength to tirelessly follow in His footsteps as His willing servants and soldiers, as this is expressed in hymn # 578:
The Son of God goes forth to war,
A kingly crown to gain;
His blood red banner streams afar!
Who follows in His train?
Who best can drink His cup of woe,
Triumphant over pain,
Who patient bears his cross below,
He follows in His train!
That martyr first, whose eagle eye
Could pierce beyond the grave;
Who saw his Master in the sky,
And called on Him to save.
Like Him, with pardon on His tongue,
In midst of mortal pain,
He prayed for them that did the wrong:
Who follows in his train?
A glorious band, the chosen few
On whom the Spirit came;
Twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew,
And mocked the cross and flame.
They met the tyrant’s brandished steel,
The lion’s gory mane;
They bowed their heads the death to feel:
Who follows in their train?
A noble army—men and boys,
The matron and the maid,
Around the Savior’s throne rejoice,
In robes of light arrayed.
They climbed the steep ascent of Heav’n,
Through peril, toil and pain!
O God! to us may grace be giv’n,
To follow in their train!
Sat/Sun: read John 6:35; 7:37-39 and 8:12. There are three basic staples of the Kingdom of God, which come to symbolize salvation, and which our Lord Jesus takes up as uniquely His prerogative to give. They are the Bread of eternal life; the Water of eternal life and the Light of eternal life. Let us reflect for the remainder of this week on these spiritual gifts of our salvation.
First, the Bread of Life symbolizes the sacrificial work of Christ on the Cross, which we appropriate savingly only by ‘eating’ of this sacrifice by faith in our hearts.
Second, we turn to one of the most striking of pictures of our Savior ever given – His standing up on the last, great day of the Feast of Tabernacles to urge those who hear Him to come and have their spiritual thirst slaked by His living water in John 7:37. It is a striking picture because this Jesus was a ‘Rabbi’ or ‘Teacher’, recognized as such by many. But Rabbis sat when they taught, (even as Jesus did on other occasions – see Matthew 5), whereas Jesus stands on this occasion. This is how urgent matters have now come to a head. The multitudes at the great Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem are now divided. Some think Jesus to be a nobody, come from lowly Galilee, and therefore unfit to be called any kind of Messiah (John 7:27, 41-43). Others accuse Him of being demon-possessed (John 7:20), and wonder if He is going to kill Himself eventually (John 8:21-22). Others thought Him to be merely one prophet in a long line of prophets throughout the Israel’s existence. A few truly believe Him to be the Christ. Thus the multitudes are divided (John 7:43)! Against such opposition, and in the midst of such confusion, Christ emphatically stands to declare Himself to be God – who alone can give life; who alone can give living water and who alone can give the Spirit!
Third, Jesus makes the same kind of claim to divinity when He announces Himself to be the, ‘Light of the World’ in John 8:12. Light was an important part of the Feast of Tabernacles, which celebrated God’s provision for His people in their desert wanderings. Just as God provided a pillar of fire to lead Israel through the darkest nights, so Christ comes to lead God’s people into the promised land, and goes before them as the ‘Light’ which they must follow! God alone made light at the beginning of the world – even before there were stars, sun or moon! Christ comes with the same glorious, self-sustaining light to give His own the light of salvation!
Meditate and Pray: Ask the Lord to enable you and your loved ones in Christ to seek after the light of salvation while it shines during these days of opportunity. Time and again, the hostile crowds surrounding and accusing Jesus are warned by Him that they will seek Him too late, and therefore die in their sins (John 8:21; 8:24). But it is not too late for you! Make sure you are one of the number in John 8:30 who put their faith in Jesus before it is too late! What urgent days these are in which we live! Sing about this day of coming judgment, but also Gospel opportunity, using hymn # 381:
Brethren, we have met to worship
And adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power,
While we meet to preach His Word?
All is vain unless the Spirit
Of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around.
Brethren, see poor sinners round you
Slumbering on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving;
Can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers,
And our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray and holy manna
Will be showered all around.
Let us love our God supremely;
Let us love each other, too;
Let us love and pray for sinners,
Till our God makes all things new.
Then He’ll call us home to Heaven;
At His table we’ll sit down;
Christ will gird Himself and serve us,
With sweet manna all around.