Thursday, April 30, 2009

John, chapter 6 part 2

As a writer, I like using metaphors. When I do an article at my other site, Hammer & Rails, I like to use funny metaphors that end up usually being wild comparisons involving football or basketball. Here, metaphors still play an important role. Jesus often taught using metaphors, but they often don’t have much meaning unless we fully understand them. There is no humor if no one understands my funny metaphor. It is often not the fault of the speaker if his audience does not understand the metaphor, either.

That is what we are dealing with here in the second part of John 6. We see Jesus teaching in the synagogue about how is the bread of life. The focus on the sermon is where he gets his power from, yet those in the audience did not understand what he was talking about. They could not see past their human limitations to the heart of the message. In a way, they took Him literally instead of thinking deeper into the meaning of His words.

35Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

41At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." 42They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?" – John 6:35-42

This is a large passage, but it illustrates my point very well. Jesus is trying to speak of his divine nature here. He talks of where He came from and why He has the power to do what He is doing. His audience, however, doesn’t look deeper. They just see him as a man, and in their human minds they view Him as the son of Joseph, not the Son of God. They may have seen some of his miracles to the point, but they still did not believe. It was extraordinary, and even blasphemous, for someone to claim they were the Son of God. Unlike a regular man, however, Jesus could back it up.

As this chapter says, many disciples ended up leaving Jesus because He asked them to walk a harder road. I don’t see where that road is difficult. He simply asked them to believe in Him so they might find eternal life. What can make it hard, however, is that we have to break from the norms of society in order to follow Him. We have to think for ourselves, look deeper, and seek meaning from the Word of Life. If you listen to the world, the Bible is a dusty book of stories. The world is also a place where it becomes easier every day to not think for yourself.

I am not that type of person. I know there is more to this life. I have seen it because of my relationship with Christ. I see people that walk through life with their eyes closed, happy to not think for themselves and grow and it drives me crazy. This very chapter shows us that Christ wants us to grow with Him. He wants us to constantly, even dangerously, seek out knowledge for ourselves. If we’re not growing we might as well be dead.

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