This is the sermon for Wednesday, March 26 2008. We are going through the book of John, verse by verse on Wednesday nights.
JOHN PART 26
Rejection of Christ’s message
John 6: 59-71
Last time we looked into John six, we looked at vv. 52-58. We saw some results of partaking of Jesus as the bread of life found in that passage. Now let’s finish this chapter.
We are going to see that Jesus was forsaken because His message became too difficult for them to understand and receive. We will look at how Jesus dealt with those forsaking Him and how we might deal with it as well.
Are you like me, and don’t like rejection? For my personality, rejection can be rather hard to take. And sometimes it might be easier to compromise for the sake of rejection. But we have Jesus as our example on details like this.
Tonight, let’s get real just for a few moments. Most people like the attention that others give them. That is why we dress certain ways, either to impress people, get notice, or draw attention to ourselves. That is why also many people either use our verbal skills to either shock, or impress, because both draw attention to themselves. It is easy to move in the way that the world moves concerning this, but this is not the desire of our Lord and Savior. He has left us as example to follow that we can see in this passage.
That example is Himself. He didn’t do signs to draw attention to Himself, but to give glory to God. He also didn’t use His verbal skills to impress people, because at times He would impress and then turn around and rejection would come by something He said.
Here in John 6 we see this happen. This crowd that Jesus supernaturally fed followed Him because of that miracle. But His words were just too difficult for them to understand. So we are going to see the result of what happens because of Jesus words. Let’s look into our text tonight.
1. Jesus in the synagogue.
John 6:59 ESV – Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
A. The crowd that experienced the miracle earlier in this chapter, the multiplication of the bread and fish, followed Jesus to this synagogue in Capernaum, which is the location given here in our text of Jesus and His teaching.
B. What was He teaching?
He is the true bread of heaven.
They must partake of Him (eat His flesh, drink His blood) to have eternal life.
This idea of eating His flesh and drinking His blood was highly offensive to this group of Jews and difficult to understand much less accept.
2. Many of His followers reject Him.
John 6:60-66 ESV – When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (61) But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? (62) Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? (63) 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. (64) But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) (65) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (66) After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
A. First off these disciples here that are having this difficult time with what He said are not the 12, nor the multitudes that would continue to follow Him, but they are the 5000 that were fed in the wilderness.
B. What did they have a hard time accepting?
The eating my flesh and drinking my blood sayings. Remember, they earlier wanted to do works that gained God’s approval. They are legalistic in their thinking. Jesus says that work is to believe in Him. But this belief is not just some passive decision on their part, neither is it some form of verbal acknowledgment. It is first off, according to the Father’s drawing and enabling, and second, it literally means to partake of Christ, to abide and live in Him and Him live and abide in you. This requires radical change on their part as well as our part as well. I believe Jesus is talking about repentance here. What is repentance? Changing the way you think and act. Notice the Nelson’s New Christian Dictionary’s definition of the word repentance: “Contrition, the acknowledgment and condemnation of one’s own sins together with a turning back toward God. Springing from a disinterested love of God, it includes sorrow, confession, and a determination not to sin again.” This repentance is also brought forth and understood by the granting of the Father (v. 65), and by the life-giving revelation of the Holy Spirit through the inspired Word of God (v. 63).
C. What can we learn from this?
Time and again it is not the intellectual difficulty which keeps men from becoming Christians; it is the height of Christ’s moral demand. Christ Jesus demands an act of surrender Himself, an acceptance of Him as the final authority.
D. Jesus knows of their grumbling and then talks of His resurrection (vv. 60-62).
If these Jews are having a hard time accepting the fact that He is the bread of life and they must partake of Him, they will have a very difficult time with the fact that He will return from where He came, heaven. I think what Jesus is saying here is that His resurrection will prove His words about partaking of Him to have eternal life.
It is the one sign that Jesus always talks about that would prove His Messiahship and Divinity throughout the Gospels.
E. It is the Spirit that brings life (vv. 63-64).
It is not the natural food that brings life, neither is it things of the flesh.
It is the Spirit. And how does the Spirit bring life, through the words of Jesus – His words are spirit and life. Let me also add a personal interpretation if you don’t mind: It is the Spirit that not only brings understanding to the words Jesus has said, but also brings the ability to accept those words He said. The flesh will not understand nor ever try to understand. Jesus knew that even after all He has done and said, that many there would refuse His message. When sharing our faith with those who are not Christ-followers, don’t worry about whether they will receive it or not, that is the Father’s choosing, and the Spirit’s enabling, you just share your faith.
F. The reason why some refused what He said (vv. 65-66).
Quite honestly, those who refused to accept Jesus teachings and would walk away simply were not enabled, or drawn by the Father to receive His teachings. You see, faith is a gift from God, it is not something that is conjured or manufactured by us, or even us reciting a few Scripture text out of context. It is produced by the Father through the Holy Spirit. Sadly, this is a rather controversial belief that I have. But others, actually millions of believers are drawn to the same conclusions that I have been drawn too, by just allowing the Holy Spirit to interpret the Scripture the way it was originally attended too. But this should be an inspiration to us. We don’t have to manipulate and wonder why people are not coming to Christ. We preach and live the Gospel, the Father draws and enables by the Spirit producing life.
3. Jesus addressing the Twelve.
John 6:67-71 ESV – So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” (68) Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, (69) and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (70) Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” (71) He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.
A. The multitude departs.
I’m sure they departed with all kinds of things running throughout their minds. There is probably confusion, anger, frustration amongst them Here is this one who did this awesome sign, and now He wants us to partake of Him. What is up with that?
B. Jesus now directs His attention toward the 12 (v. 67).
C. Are they going to abandon Him as well as the rest of the crowd?
D. Peter gives the answer that reveals His heart and who Jesus is (vv. 68-69).
They have no where else to go. Only Jesus had the words of eternal life. He acknowledges that Jesus is the Holy One of God.
This is a perfect example of the Father’s enabling, and the Spirit’s life giving power in Jesus words. In another passage we see Peter saying something similar. Jesus said there that flesh and blood didn’t reveal it to Peter, but His Father in Heaven. I also believe that this revelation here that Peter gives came directly from the Father, under the Spirit’s inspiration and power. People may spend a lifetime searching for God, purpose, fulfillment, happiness, peace, and all the other things they search for. But the search always ends at Jesus Christ. He is the Holy One of God, the one whose words possess eternal life.
E. Jesus knew that one would betray Him (vv. 70-71).
He knew that one would betray Him among the Twelve. But notice that Jesus hasn’t exposed him, it isn’t the Father’s plan at this time. So Jesus allows Judas to continue following.
Sadly, amongst churches there will be those who are not truly followers of Christ.
They will bring division, resentment, and personal attacks against the people of God.
Our job is not to expose them, but pray for them, and love them. It will be the Father to determine whether or not He will draw them or enable them to come to Christ or if judgment will come.
• Don’t let the fear of rejection keep you from sharing your faith.
• Realize it is not your job to persuade people, but it is the Father’s job.
• If rejection occurs, shake it off and know that you are fulfilling God’s purposes for you.