Saturday, December 17, 2011

John 6 22 to 27

22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone;
23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)
24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.
25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?
26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Key Observation:
Men saw the earthly but not the heavenly.

Those who seek Jesus are not necessarily seeking heavenly things, and may be missing the point entirely. When I was a young and fresh convert, I took a course from Moody Bible Institute on Christian cults and found to my surprise that it was relatively easy to define a cult. Perry, running for president, got into trouble for suggesting that Romney was in a cult. Those who are outside Christian circles did not get his point, since those who know not Christ see little difference between one brand of religion or another.

Just what makes a Christian cult? There is no rule that fits for everything, and I suppose Jim Jones and his followers definitely would fit the meaning of a cult, though I do not remember the essentials of what they believe. But those are small fringe movements, and their beliefs can quite easily go extreme in one fashion or another. I would even argue that Jeremiah Wright’s church would constitute a cult, since they have a system of beliefs quite different from orthodox Christianity, and which, to my understanding is inclusive of Moslems as well.

The mainline cults are a bit easier to typify. And in each case the focus has to be around the person of Christ. Who is He? The apostle John teaches us that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. He teaches clearly that the Father and the Son are one in equality. In every major cult, this is where I find sharp differences. The person of Jesus is twisted to be the firstborn of God, or an angel. Even in the case of the Moslems, they believe Jesus is a prophet, but that Jesus will serve the Imam who returns, in clear contrast to the Bible teaching Jesus is the King of Kings and will rule the world one day.

If Jesus has declared that He is equal and then commands us to follow Him, how can we possibly follow Him if we do not understand His true nature. “I and the Father are one.” “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” His enemies at least knew what Jesus was claiming, and further they knew, that if those claims were false, that Jesus was guilty of the greatest blasphemy and deserved death. The Scripture says, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him. . . because He was making himself equal with God.”(John 5:18) Again at the end of chapter 8, it says the leaders again “picked up stones to stone him”. Again Jesus was claiming the great “I am” name for himself.

It seems to me to be a basic truth that people are still doing what they were doing in Jesus’ day. They are still trying to redefine Jesus to be what they want Him to be. They wanted a King who would feed them, and that is what they saw in Jesus. Something akin to a great Prophet, but they would never accept Him as who He was claiming to be.
When trying to explain that who Jesus is, I usually take the following line:

me: “Suppose I were to call you Jesus, my friend.”

my friend: “Okay.”

me: “Now I say the Bible says ‘Believe in Jesus and you shall be saved.’ So I believe in you. What happens?”

my friend: “I would think if you are depending on me to be saved, you are in a world of hurt.”

me: “Precisely, for I have placed my trust mistakenly in you, believing you to be Jesus.”

my friend: “So what are you saying?”

me: “I am saying that we better believe in the one Jesus presented in the Bible, or we are likely to find ourselves in the world of hurt that you were talking about.” I would then go on to present what the Bible does clearly present about who Christ is.

The Bible presents a clear picture of Jesus. He was sent from the Father. He was in the Beginning. He shares authority with the Father, and in terms of man, God has given the Son authority over all things. He is the Light of the World, the Bread of Life, the Word made Flesh, and the Lamb of God. All of these things are clearly presented in the gospel of John, who again wrote his book so that “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 21:31)

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

1. Christ the Lord is ris'n today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing ye heav'ns, and earth reply, Alleluia!

2. Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O Death is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Dying once He all doth save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O Grave? Alleluia!

3. Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened Paradise, Alleluia!

4. Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Foll'wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Lyrics: Latin carol, 14th century; Verse 4: Charles Wesley

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