Friday, December 14, 2018

2018.12.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 6:52-59

Questions for Littles: Who quarreled among themselves (v52)? About what? Who answered them (v53)? What did Jesus say we must do, or else we have no life in us? What does Jesus say that we have if we eat His flesh and drink His blood (54a)? What will Jesus do to us, if we eat His flesh and drink His blood (54b)? What does Jesus say is genuine food (55a)? What does Jesus say is genuine drink (55b)? How does Jesus describe eating His flesh and drinking His blood at the end of v56? Who is the source and purpose of Jesus’ human life and mission (57a)? What does v57 say about the person who feeds on Jesus? After having described feeding upon Him in these ways, what does Jesus say will happen to those who “eat this bread” (v58)? Who taught these things (59)? Where? 
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus resolves a quarrel for the Jews, and if we listen closely, He would resolve a Reformation quarrel for us too: “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”

First in v53, Jesus presents us with a problem: we have no life in ourselves. How does He mean this? Physically? Of course not! There they are, living and breathing and arguing. Obviously, He’s talking about spiritual life. The eating and drinking that He’s talking about is one that resolves this problem.

Second in v54, Jesus directly connects “eating His flesh and drinking His blood” to v44, 47. If we look at those verses, “eating His flesh and drinking His blood” is the same as the Father dragging us to come to Christ (v44) and our believing in Christ (v47). Those who are brought to faith in this way are said to be “eating His flesh and drinking His blood.”

We understand this to be true about how we believe in Jesus to be joined to Him and declared righteous before God (justification). But Jesus is now emphasizing God’s sovereign gift of faith in Him as the key to His ongoing work in us for salvation (sanctification unto glorification).

When Jesus says that His body is “genuine food” and that His blood is “genuine drink,” He’s not saying that actual bread and wine are not actual food and drink. He’s saying that though in a spiritual sense, it is still in a very true and genuine way that His body and blood are food to us—that He Himself is food to us. And then He fleshes this true sense out in two ways:

First in v56, we abide in Him, and He abides in us. This happens with food and drink. Someone once asked me if I was nuts, to which I replied, “considering how many nuts I’ve eaten as I’ve grown, I’d have to say that to a significant extent, I am indeed nuts.” Of course, Jesus is “living” bread and wine. He does not become a part of our spirits in exactly the same way that molecules from bread and wine become part of our bodies. Rather…

Second in v57, we live on account of Him. He is the source, cause, and purpose of our lives.

As we move forward from when we first came to Christ, Jesus continues to be our everything, every day. And this is also how we turn our hearts to Him and feed upon Him at His table.
What does it look like to abide in Jesus and live because of Jesus on a daily basis? How do we look to Him in the same way while taking the Lord’s Supper?
Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH202 “Here, O My Lord, I See Thee”

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