The Mass Rejection of the Mighty Saviour
Text: John 6:52-71
If there’s one thing certain it is that if God undertakes to teach someone, He will be successful in doing so. That’s the implication of the Saviour’s teaching in John 6:45, quoting Isaiah. God will teach successfully in order to draw those whom He has given the Son into the experience of everlasting life.
That is the testimony of each Christian here tonight. It is the same as what we read in Jer 31:33, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
And the Lord Jesus Christ is the final word of God to men. He is the message of God embodied. And when the Spirit of God works in a sinner’s heart, that sinner see’s the message of God in Christ. He sees the cross as the way of salvation. And this is all internal. It’s a miracle of divine grace.
“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” John 7:16-17
i.e. if your will is in rebellion to God’s will, you cannot see truth. Humility is the key. Salvation begins in a heart that admits and embraces God’s evaluation of you and what your need is.
This is what happened to Peter, “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Matt 16:15-17
This absolute sovereignty of God in salvation is important to remember when we don’t see what we want to see, and this is so clear in this chapter. I think understanding what’s going on here will help if we can see the big picture.
John is all about showing the glories of Christ. But in showing the glories of Christ, he has to show the horrors of mankind. He warned us of this in the prologue. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. That text is horrible, and we’ve been seeing it fulfilled, and we’re going to keep seeing it fulfilled through this gospel.
The Father draws all He has given to the Son. The stunning effect of that is seen in the fact that this chapter begins with thousands supposedly following, and ends with the disciples. None of the thousands could come of themselves, even though they saw the miracle and heard the words of Jesus. The ineffectiveness of events without the drawing power of the Father, no matter how remarkable, is further emphasized by the focus upon Judas (v64,70). In spite of all Judas witnessed, he couldn’t come – v65.
I. THE OFFER THAT IS PRESENTED
v53 – the offer in the negative. If you don’t eat you don’t have life.
v54 – the offer in the positive. If you do eat you do have life.
v55-56 – give the reasons why. v55 – ‘indeed’ i.e. truly. Distinguish it from regular nutrition. That won’t give eternal life, this will.
v56 – shows the language of union. If you’re not in union with Christ, you’re not connected with the one who has life. Thus, you are in death.
But what does He mean by eating His flesh and drinking His blood? What is Jesus doing here? Well ask yourself what the Jews thought about blood. Were they into digesting blood? Not at all. This is offensive language to them, and it is going to drive them away.
But what does Jesus mean? These words are understood by the RCC to refer to the Mass or the Eucharist, and as you eat that wafer and drink that wine it is the literal body and blood of Jesus. That is not what Jesus is talking about.
i) Compare v54 and v40. They parallel. The eat and drink Him is to see and believe on Him. So the meaning hasn’t changed, it’s just the language He uses.
ii) If it means the Eucharist, then these words must be understood to teach that the Eucharist is the decisive saving factor. Not only does that contradict the likes of v40, that is not consistent with RCC teaching, for they add much more, and salvation is never sure. This act promises to give a future resurrection. But why does He progress to using language He knows will offend?
I think this is His response to their response of His words in v51. He speaks profoundly of the sacrifice of Himself, and they begin to quarrel, dispute, and fight among themselves – v52. They won’t accept their need for one who must die for their sins.
II. THE OFFENCE THAT PROGRESSES
v41,52,60,64,66,70 – looks like man is in control, and as Jesus speaks more and more, they get more and more offended at Him. Is the will of man frustrating the will of the Saviour? Is man in control? Does the Lord watch on helplessly as the crowd refuse Him more and more progressively?
III. THE OMNIPOTENCE THAT IS PICTURED
v44,61-64,67-70 – Does Jesus response, ‘you have chosen well by choosing me’? No. I chose you. v65 and v70 are teaching the same thing. The sovereignty of God in salvation.
Note that this entire passage ends with the discussion of Judas’ betrayal. Why?
Christ uses Judas as a microcosm of the thousands who were fake followers in this passage. The point the Lord makes is that HE is in control, not the crowd.
We need to make sure that our understanding of the Lord’s sovereignty supersedes the apparent decisions of men.
So how can you be saved? If it’s up to the Lord, what are you to do? v63 compare with v68
The Spirit gives life. Without the Spirit there can be no life. But it’s not just the Spirit that gives life, it’s the word. We don’t see the Spirit, but we hear the words. The Spirit uses the Word to draw.
If you are willing to have the words of Jesus in order to obtain eternal life, then the Spirit is drawing you. Seek Him like Peter. See Him as the only choice.