Each Day in the Word, Sunday, March 19, 2023

John 6:41-51 (NKJV)

41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” We cannot, using our human reason, intellect, or will power, believe in Jesus or come to Him. The flesh cannot comprehend the gospel or believe it. Faith must be worked in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. St. Paul states this same thing in Ephesians 2:8 when he writes that faith is “not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

How does God draw men to Christ? Jesus explains, “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me” (v. 45). God the Father teaches us through His Word. Christ Jesus, who is “from God” and “has seen God” (v. 46) reveals God’s will to us through His teaching. Through Christ’s doctrine—which is just another word for teaching—God the Father wants to draw people to Christ in faith, so that by believing in Him they may have everlasting life.

Many neglect hearing God’s Word altogether. Others hear God’s Word but judge it according to their worldly notions. The Jews in today’s reading murmured against Jesus’ claim to be the Bread which came down from heaven which gives everlasting life to those who eat His flesh. In their minds, they knew Jesus’ parents so He clearly wasn’t “from God.” Nor did they understand that to eat the bread of life is not like eating the manna in the wilderness (v. 58). It is to feast on Christ’s Word by faith. Man, after all, does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. On the night in which Jesus was betrayed He will give His very body and blood to His disciples to eat and drink for their forgiveness, salvation, and newness of life, but here He teaches us how the Father draws men to Him through Christ’s Word.

Since the preached Word is how God the Father snatches the elect out of the jaws of Satan, we should hear it as often as we have opportunity and meditate on it throughout the day. That is how we eat of Bread which came down from heaven.

Let us pray: Keep us steadfast in Your Word, O Lord, and daily draw us to Christ in faith. Grant that we hear it gladly and daily read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest it. Amen.

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