Thursday, July 22, 2010

Food that Endures to Eternal Life (Jn. 6:16-27)

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev Dr Stephen Tong on 18 July 2010 in True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 6:16-27

Often times people do not learn what they need to learn from an experience. After witnessing Jesus feeding 5000 people, instead of seeing His power as Creator, the people learnt that He should be made king because they imagined that under His leadership they would prosper. They missed the power of God and was only concered about the food that made them full.

When the evening came, Jesus’ disciples were in the boat at the lake. There was a strong wind and they were helpless. Jesus came and once again demonstrated to the disciples that He was Lord over nature. The disciples were afraid when they saw Him. They had followed Jesus for quite some time but they were still afraid of ghost. Jesus had to remind them, “It is I, don’t be afraid.” (Jn. 6:20). When Christ is present, we should not be afraid. The Scripture teaches us not to forsake the heart of boldness, not to lose our courage. But many people’s faith are not stable.

The next day the crowd looked for Jesus, not for His word but for material food. People usually have all kinds of excuses for not having time to hear God’s Word but always seem to have time to respond to material things. They looked for him and called him Rabbi with respect. Jesus immediately responded to them, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” (Jn. 6:26) These people’s courtesy and respect towards Jesus was not sincere, but was based on the benefit they could get from Him. Jesus did not like this and did not hesitate to frankly tell them their motives. Courtesy and niceness does not equal goodness. But most people judge goodness based on how other people treat them. In contrast, Jesus knew the hearts of all men and would not be deceived by their hypocrisy.

Jesus said, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” (Jn. 6:27) John 6 not only tells us God is Creator, but also that God is Saviour. After Christ fed thousands, He taught them about the food that endures to eternal life. Jesus said their ancestors died after eating manna that came from heaven so they need to eat the flesh of Jesus, the Word of God. In John 4 He told the Samaritan woman that their forefather still thirst after drinking from the well. If we drink of the living water, we will never thirst. If we eat the flesh of the Son of Man, you will never die. Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes out from the mouth of God.

All the four gospels recorded this miracle of feeding the five thousands, but only the gospel of John explained the significance of the incident. That is Christ’s teaching that we should not look for food that spoils. The Jews asked Jesus how they could do the works of God. Jesus’ reply was that the work of God is to believe in the One He has sent. It seems that the sentences do not quite link. But faith is essential, as Christ rejected people who did not come to Him by faith for eternal life. He teaches us not to work for food that spoils but to seek to understand eternal things.

So we should deal with absolute things with an absolute spirit, and deal with relative things relatively. Those who seek after God earnestly will be blessed indeed.


At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke 22:19 (New International Version)

19And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."


-> we are saved by receiving Jesus through the Eucharist.

As Jesus said 'this is my body' we believe what he said as the truth.

We either believe or deny it.
what's the consequence if it's true? and we deny it?

what's the consequence if it's not true? but we believe it's true?

We bet our eternal life on it.


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