Bible Reading: John 6:35-40. 43-46, 61-65
35-38 Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.
39-40 “This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.”
43-46 Jesus said, “Don’t bicker among yourselves over me. You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent me is in charge. He draws people to me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come. Only then do I do my work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End. This is what the prophets meant when they wrote, ‘And then they will all be personally taught by God.’ Anyone who has spent any time at all listening to the Father, really listening and therefore learning, comes to me to be taught personally—to see it with his own eyes, hear it with his own ears, from me, since I have it first-hand from the Father. No one has seen the Father except the One who has his Being alongside the Father—and you can see me.
61-65 Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, “Does this throw you completely? What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from? The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.” (Jesus knew from the start that some weren’t going to risk themselves with him. He knew also who would betray him.) He went on to say, “This is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to me on his own. You get to me only as a gift from the Father.”
What’s it all about?
Sometimes you’ll hear people talking about something like a “conversion experience” or a “decision for Christ” when they’re talking about their decision to become a Christian, but there’s another way of looking at the “decision” you make when you become a Christian. You have the free will to decide, sure, and you could have chosen something different – but in today’s reading it’s clear that God has a different perspective. When we look at the whole thing from God’s perspective, our decision to follow Jesus becomes less like a bold move on our part and so much more like God getting a victory.
You know, God fashioned the Heavens and the Earth, and He planned your life just as carefully as He planned the placing of the stars in the sky, so it makes sense that He’s been leading you to this “decision” for a long time, putting people and situations before you and almost begging you to see what He offers to those who faithfully believe. The hardest decision really wasn’t saying “yes” to Christ – it was saying no all this time!