March 10, Tuesday
The next day the crowd went down to the lake looking for Jesus. They knew the disciples had taken their boat and there hadn’t been another boat available, so they couldn’t figure out where Jesus had gone. They finally took boats themselves to Capernaum and found Jesus and His disciples there. Their first question was, “Teacher, how did You get here?”
Interestingly, Jesus didn’t answer their question. Instead, He challenged the motives of their hearts, saying, “I see you’re very diligent in looking for Me but only because I fed you. It would be far better that you spend your efforts looking for Truth that will produce God’s kind of life. God has given Me the authority to pass that life on to you.”
“So what exactly should we be doing?” the people asked.
Jesus answered them by saying, “The most important thing God wants you to do is to trust in Him and believe that He sent Me to you.”
“Okay,” they replied, “but aren’t You supposed to give us some miraculous sign that You are sent by God? You know, kinda like back in Moses’ day. He gave them bread from heaven to eat. They were still trying to get another free lunch.
Jesus tried to help them see the difference between bread made of wheat and bread made of Truth. “You know, don’t you, that it wasn’t Moses who sent that manna from heaven? My Father did that, and He is doing it again by sending Me down from heaven. This real bread will give life to the whole world.”
“Well,” they replied, “by all means give us some of that bread!”
“I am that ‘bread of life.’ Whoever comes to Me believingly will find his deepest hunger and thirst more than satisfied. Here you are hearing every word I say but not taking hold of it. So be it. Everyone My Father gives Me will come to Me, and I will hold on to them right to the end. I’m not here to do what I want to do but only what pleases the Father. It is His delight to give Our kind of life to anyone who entrusts themselves to Me. On that Final Day there they will be, still with Me forever.”
Some of the Jews got really upset after He said that. “How can He claim to have ‘come down from heaven?’ Why, we know His parents, Joseph and Mary. We know where He came from.”
“Stop the whispering,” Jesus said. “I don’t expect you to believe. No one can come to Me unless My Father first inclines their heart to Me. Do you remember the verse that says, ‘and they shall all be taught by God?’ That’s what I’m talking about. All who come to Me for life do so because they’ve experienced My Father at work in their souls. Not that you can see Him, only I have ever seen the Father; but I guarantee that if you entrust yourself to Me, you will have Our kind of life in you forever.
“As I said, I am that ‘bread of life.’ Your forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness but they eventually died. I’m telling you that if you eat of Me, you will never die.”
The Jews retorted, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
Jesus said, “Unless you feed on Me, on my flesh and blood, you cannot have life. Only those who get their sustenance from Me have Me living in them. My Father is fully alive and He fills Me with life. In the same way I will fill with life anyone who feeds on Me. Again, let Me remind you that this is a very different kind of bread and a different kind of life than your fathers experienced in the desert.”
Jesus brought this teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. Later, some of His disciples were complaining, “What on earth was He talking about? I wish He wouldn’t make it so hard to understand.”
Jesus, perceiving their agitation, said to them, “Does My teaching frustrate you? If you can’t figure it out now, how will you understand it once I’m gone? But it’s not about figuring it out. Only the Spirit can produce life, not your human intellect. The words I’m speaking give life when the Spirit reveals them. Some of you just won’t believe.” (Jesus had known right from the first who would betray Him.) “As I said, no one can come to Me unless My Father has given them the ability to come.”
It was at this point that many who had accompanied Him turned away and stopped walking with Him. He asked the Twelve, “Do you want to leave as well?”
Simon Peter was quick to answer, “Lord, where would we go? You’re the only one whose words produce real life. We’re convinced that You are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
Jesus responded somewhat pensively, “Yes, I chose all twelve of you, didn’t I? And yet one of you is a devil.” (He was, of course, referring to Judas who would later betray Him.)