The Gospel of John, The Period of Controversy, The Claims of Jesus Christ, Jesus as the Bread of Life, Part XVI, John 6:63-67 - Lesson 46
Read Verses John 6:
Verse 6:63, It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.
Jesus is talking here about the Holy Spirit and his work of regeneration.
This was the great need of those who were offended.
They could not discern spiritual things until they had spiritual life.
He says without compromise or dilution of the message that only the Holy Spirit gives that spiritual life.
It is he who quickens, he that imparts life.
There is nothing in the flesh that works the works of God.
All works of the flesh amount to nothing where the regeneration of dead sinners is concerned.
The logical arguments of the mind, powers to control the will, touching sentimental appeals to the emotions, beautiful music and hearty singing,
stained glass windows, professional choirs, a religious atmosphere, charismatic and dynamic preaching, none of these are of the slightest help in quickening dead sinners.
It is God's Spirit that gives birth to the saint.
If you have been born again, then you have been born of the Holy Spirit.
Remember Jesus told Nicodemus: That which is born of the flesh is flesh: and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
The flesh cannot hear the Spirit, it has no sensitivity to the Spirit.
The Spirit does not give life to the flesh because in the flesh dwelleth no good thing.
The flesh is temporal, the flesh has a limited existence to it, but your spirit is eternal.
The Holy Spirit deals with that which is eternal.
It only gives birth to spirit.
It gives life to spirit. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
He says that the words that he speaks are spirit.
The words of Christ can make alive; they can impart the life of God to your spirit.
It is the Holy Spirit in the human spirit which imparts eternal life, and that Spirit resides in his word.
The Holy Spirit uses the words of God to bring about that quickening.
James says that God begets with the word of truth.
Even if a priest in the mass could give the literal flesh and blood in a mass it would profit nothing.
It is the Spirit that quickeneth.
Jesus says that the words of God are spirit and that they are life.
That is why faithful preaching and teaching of God's word is the only means we have to enter into the work that Jesus came to do, to seek and to save that which is lost.
Verse 6:64,65, But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
Notice the word that Jesus uses to describe the inability of man to come to him.
He uses the phrase "that no man can come unto me." He does not use the phrase "no man will come unto me."
John 1:13, says expressly that the new birth is not of the will of the flesh, but it is of God.
No man, he says, can approach Jesus Christ to receive grace unless the Father draws that person.
God is sovereign and God is in control.
Were it not for the drawing power of the Father no man or woman would be saved.
Man's flesh does not have that power to draw nigh to God.
It is by God's grace and God's grace alone.
These listeners were expecting to be convinced by argument and persuasion, a work of the flesh, but Jesus is telling them that only by yielding themselves to God, by turning to him, by believing the words that he spoke, by accepting the words that reveal to them what they really are, will the Father's drawing power be effective in their lives.
What drew them to Christ?
Was it because of the miracles?
Did they expect a prominent place in the kingdom that they believed he was about to establish on earth?
Did they come for a miracle of healing?
Did they come seeking some gift?
Or was it divine constraint?
What drew you to Christ?
Was it some fervent evangelistic appeal?
Was it the traditions of your family?
Was it some emotional distress on your part with a cry for relief?
Or was it the words of Christ, was it the drawing of the Father?
If you are saved it was because of the drawing of the Father, for no man or woman has anything within him or her that will take the place of the drawing of the Father.
This group of disciples would not hear this saying.
Exclude works in men's thinking and you will see the same reaction.
Preach the sovereignty of God as Jesus did when he said that no man can come unto me unless the Father gives him that right and you will also see their wrath.
Verse 6:66, From that [time] many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
This is a sad saying of John the Apostle.
These disciples not only left Christ, but that which they learned from him they forsook.
They walked no more with him.
Their walk did not continue when they left his presence.
They no longer dwelt with him, their abiding ceased and they reoccupied their old places.
They went back to the manna that they had never left.
They were numbered externally as disciples but internally they were never with him.
These were the very men who would have made him their earthly king.
These were the very men who prayed. Lord, evermore give us this bread.
Now we see that the Bread from heaven was not to their taste.
They went half way but that is not enough.
No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God. Luke 9:62
They did not forget those things that were behind, they did not press toward the mark of the high calling of God.
They were not new creations because they returned to the old things of their past life.
They returned to their good works and their rituals and their traditions to try to satisfy the Father.
They returned to the temple and their sacrifices and tithes.
Anything that was of the flesh instead of the spirit.
They had no spirit for that.
By this action they showed that they had not been drawn by the Father.
They returned to the world and drew back to perdition.
Verse 6:67, Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
I believe we can note a depth of sadness in this question.
Was Jesus sad for himself?
No, his sadness went out to those that left the bread of life, those who returned to the manna of this world that does not give life.
He is saying as Joshua of old said, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve."
The many that departed caused Jesus to ask if this departure, would encourage the twelve to leave also.
He wants no unwilling disciples.
He begs not, he flatters not, he makes no terms.
He does not need disciples.
We need him.
So he tests their faith and in so doing receives a confession of faith and receives a closer attachment to himself by those that were faithful.
What will they do now that many are leaving.
What is their faith built on? Is it numbers?
When people leave this ministry what does that cause in your heart?
Does the Lord also put you to a faith test?
So he asks them, will you also follow the popular crowd?
Or will you stay with what appears to be a failing cause?
Their answer reveals whether or not a divine work of grace had been done in them.