A Word for Today | John 6:68
John chapter 6 presents one of the most glorious scenes in the Bible, starting with Jesus miraculously feeding the five thousand. He then preached his “Bread of Life” sermon, which contains some of the most uplifting grace-driven theology in all of Scripture. It is remarkable, then, that the chapter ends with almost everyone turning their backs on our Lord. After Jesus had spoken about redemption through His own blood, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (Jn. 6:60). Jesus’ disciples also grumbled since this theologically motivated preaching did not fit their church success model. Jesus responded that if people are really to be saved – not just gathered for worldly purposes – there must be a supernatural work that results from God’s Word. He explained: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (Jn. 6:63).
Given Jesus’ experience, we should never be dismayed by the world’s opposition to the gospel and its message of salvation by grace alone. Notice that Jesus did not change His message or methods when the crowds rejected Him. He knew that just as the Father sent His Son to die for our sins, He also sends His Spirit to bring the elect to eternal life. So just as Jesus was not dismayed by the rejection of those He had served and taught, we should not be dismayed that the worldly media disdains Christianity, that worldly leaders persecute believers, or that worldly religious people shun serious Christian teaching. The same is true when it comes to our personal witness: it is God who decides when and where sinners will be saved. The rejection of the gospel by worldly consumers should not cause us to rethink our strategy or be discouraged in our witness. As Jesus stated: “It is the Spirit who gives life” (J. 6:63).
When the disciples expressed concern over Jesus’ doctrinally-heavy preaching, He asked a vital question: “Do you want to go away as well?” (Jn. 6:67). Simon Peter gave the immortal answer: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn. 6:68). As Peter understood, we receive life from God’s Word because Jesus is “Lord.” Just as He had power to feed a great multitude with a few loaves and fish, Jesus has power to make His Word life to our souls. Peter understood that Jesus alone is the true Savior of sinners: to whom else will we listen? Finally, Peter saw Jesus as the true giver of life. Through a trusting relationship with Jesus, His Word brings us to spiritual life and then sustains us with words of life.
Especially in hard times, let us therefore draw near to Jesus through His Word in the Bible. In every situation, our great need is to see Him with eyes of faith and to come to Him for saving grace. Likewise, the greatest gift Christians have to offer the world are the words of life from our Lord. Jesus said: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (Jn. 6:35). Let us therefore be sustained by the life that He gives, and just as the disciples’ hands distributed the bread that Jesus offered to the crowds, let our lips be servants of His gospel ministry of life.
In Christ’s Love,