To Whom Shall We Go

      "I am the living bread that 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. The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood you have no life in you.'  John 6:51-53.   "Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a hard saying;  who can understand it?’ When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, ‘ Does this offend you?"   (Verses 60, 61)   "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.  The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life."  (Verse 63)  "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?'  But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, The Son of the living God." (Verse 66-69) .

Jesus Was Speaking Figuratively

     If Jesus was speaking about literally eating His flesh and drinking His blood, then those Jews who were offended were justified in taking offense. God, Himself had given the prohibition against eating flesh with its blood. "But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." Genesis 9:4 "Moreover you shall not eat any blood in any of your dwellings, whether of bird or beast. Whoever eats any blood, that person shall be cut off from his people." Leviticus 7:26, 27. To eat flesh with its blood is to violate a prohibition of God. But Jesus was not speaking literally. He was speaking figuratively or in Biblical terms, in parables. Notice Jesus said, "…the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. Vs 51b. The next verse reveals that the Jews were thinking, "How can he give His flesh to us to eat?"

     It is also helpful to understand why Jesus often spoke figuratively or in parables. We have that answer in His own words, "Therefore I speak to them in parables; because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand." Matthew 13:13.

     To His true disciples He explained that even His flesh could profit no one. It is the Holy Spirit Who gives life by anointing the words that tell what He did with His flesh when He gave Himself as a sacrifice for man’s sin on the cross of Calvary. He also taught that lost mankind appropriates eternal life from those words by faith.

     "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life." John 6:47"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God."   John 6:68b, 69.

Jesus Has Words of Eternal Life

     The words of Jesus came from the heavenly Father and were anointed with spiritual life by the Holy Spirit. To lay hold of the spiritual truth of those words and appropriate the promise of God in those words by faith is to also appropriate eternal life. To fail to appropriate the spiritual truth of those words is to fall short of possessing eternal life.

     Jesus stated plainly why a great majority of His nominal followers fell short of laying hold on eternal life, "But there are some of you who do not believe…" (John 6:64a) The verse goes on to include one of "the twelve" disciples, Judas. Judas had heard most of Jesus’ teachings. He had witnessed most of Jesus’ miracles, but he fell short of appropriating eternal life.

Why Do Many Professed Followers of Jesus Turn Away

     Perhaps the biggest reason of all is that they have listened to and accepted the teachings of man rather than the teachings of the heavenly Father.

     These Jews, including Judas, believed that Jesus would shortly fulfill hundreds of Old Testament prophecies to claim David’s throne and, through Israel, reign over the entire earth. There is no debate that the promised Christ (or Messiah) would someday reign over the earth from David’s throne, but there was not one time that the prophecies said it would take place at His first coming. Peter informs us that the prophecies spoke of "the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow." 1st Peter 1:11. He also points out that this caused perplexity to the prophets who could not reconcile how both "sufferings" and "glory" could take place at the same time. The teachings these Jews had accepted left no room for "the sufferings of Christ." When Jesus spoke of the necessity of His sacrificial death for all sinners their preconceived ideas locked the door of their mind to accepting the truth He spoke. Down through the church age millions more have done the same.

     It is absolutely essential that we do not test the words of Jesus by the words we have received from man. Virtually all that we have been taught by man is flawed in some way. We need to humbly present our minds to God and sincerely say, "Lord, take my mind and remold it with truths of Your words made clear to me by the Holy Spirit."

     Some turn away from Jesus because they sought Him for the wrong reasons in the first place. This crowd that sought Jesus out were part of the 5000 men that had been miraculously fed by Jesus with five fish and two barley cakes. Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled." John 6:26.

     In the early years of mission work in China it was found that great numbers would profess to become Christians…as long as they were supplied daily rice provisions by the missionaries. When the ability to supply rice was interrupted for any period of time many of these professing Christians would turn away. In mission circles the term "rice Christians" is well understood to this day. The sad thing is that many people become professing Christians for physical, material, social, and even financial advantages. When these "wrong reasons" aren’t met to their satisfaction they often turn away.

To Whom Shall We Go If We Do Turn Away

     That was the first thought of Peter. He, too, had been jolted by the statements of Jesus. He briefly considered the prospect of turning away, but as he surveyed all the alternatives he found nothing acceptable. Peter knew something of the disappointing promises of pleasure and materialism, the fleeting exhilaration of popularity, the deadness of religious legalism, the darkness of agnostic doubt and the hopeless despair of pagan idolatry. In Christ alone he found the words of eternal life.

Shall we turn away from Christ to pursue sensual pleasure?

     Sensual pleasures of food, rest, recreation, etc can have their place when kept in proper balance with other areas of life. However, Jesus gave us a powerful illustration of what happens when we forsake our God and give ourselves to the pursuit of pleasure. The prodigal son forsook his father’s house to pursue the pleasures of the far country. No doubt he experienced many thrills in the bright lights, torrid music, raucous laughter, unrestrained drinking and immoral vices…. But in a short time he ran out of money. When he ran out of money his far country friends left him. Nobody would open their home to him or help him. They only job he could get was feeding hogs. Fortunately, he came to himself and realized how stupid he was to leave the Father’s house. He would have been far better off if he had not left in the first place

Shall we turn away from Christ for the religions of man?

     We are told that the number of idols in the various nations runs into the hundreds of thousands. For virtually every one of these idols there is a form of worship. For some idols the worship can be very complex.

     The founders of some religions gave teachings that contained good moral values. The teachings of other religions have motivated the worshippers to gross immorality, human sacrifice and even demonic possession. All the founders of these religions are dead or will die. All of these religions have a system of works by which the worshippers gain acceptance with their deity by the things they do.

     Only Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God sent by the Father and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Only Jesus Christ has fulfilled some 4000 years of prophecies and prophetic symbols. Only Jesus Christ spoke as no other man spoke because He spoke nothing but what He heard His heavenly Father speak. (See John 8:26-28; 12:49, 50; 14:10). Only Jesus Christ had all the sins of mankind laid on Him and received the full punishment of God’s law for sin (Isaiah 53:5,6). Only Jesus Christ rose again from the dead in a glorified body never to die again. Only Jesus Christ has been given all authority in Heaven and in Earth (Matthew 28:18) Only Jesus Christ is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him (Hebrews 7:25) Only Jesus Christ is the coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords before Whom every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Revelation 19:18; Philippians 2:9-11)

Two Reasons We Should Cling Tightly To Jesus Christ

Because we need Him in this life.

          We need Him for the forgiveness of sins we have already committed and the ones we will commit.
          We need Him to give us the power to have victory over sin and live as the Christian we should.
          We need Him as our Great Physician in times of sickness.
          We need Him as Comforter in our times of heartache and grief.
          We need Him as a Counselor for wisdom and guidance to solve the great problems of life.
          We need Him as the Water of Life for our spiritual thirst
             …as the Bread of Life for our spiritual hunger
             …as the Robe of Righteousness for our spiritual nakedness
             …as the Light of the World for our spiritual darkness.

Because we need Him when we depart this life

Our life could end suddenly as it does for thousands of others every day.
Our life could endure until the body is frail and weak, and we know that each breath could be our last.
Should we die our soul will depart the body. Only Jesus Christ can provide us acceptance with God. Should Jesus come in the twinkling of an eye we shall rise to meet Him only if we have placed our faith in Him as our Savior.

     May you be one of those who have hungered and thirsted after righteousness. May you have seen Jesus Christ as the Bread of Life Who gave Himself as a sacrifice for your sins on the cross. May you have appropriated Jesus as the Bread of Life by faith. May you continually feast on the Bread of Life as you think about all that Christ and His salvation means to you now and for eternity.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted

    Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.