March 10, 2015
The hungry crowd was astounded at what had happened right in front of their eyes. Twelve men had suddenly become waiters in a wasteland, carrying basket after basket of bread and fish, feeding a multitude of thousands. The food was inexplicably coming from a small boy’s lunch. What a miracle!
At the center of it all was a man called Jesus. The crowd began to follow this remarkable stranger who had given them food like they had never had. Jesus knew what they were thinking, and told them that they were seeking Him not because of the enormous miracle He had performed but because they were hungry and had been fed. He instructed them not to strive for physical food that could bring only temporary satisfaction but for the fare that He could give – everlasting life.
They understandingly asked Him for another sign (hopefully one that would end in another meal). Jesus reminded them of a time long ago when their forefathers were trapped in a vast wilderness with nothing to eat. He told them how God had supernaturally rained down upon them bread from heaven (the manna). He then gave them this glimpse of His grace. He said, “I am the bread of life.” The manna was symbolic of Him. He was the real bread of life that the Father had given. Whoever would come to Him would never hunger and whoever believed in Him would never thirst. Wow!
Note the powerful words then spoken by the greatest communicator who ever lived. “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37). I have pondered the depth of these words numerous times. First came the giving and then the coming. The meaning is magnanimous! I did not come to Him because I stumbled across the marvelous gospel given in a clear way, nor because I had the good sense to believe the gospel when I heard it, and not even because I had the discernment to place my trust in Jesus Christ. No! I came to Jesus Christ because of a transaction that took place long before I was ever here.
God the Father gave me to Christ. I received the gift of God’s grace because I am a gift of God’s grace. Praise Him! God orchestrated my whole salvation experience: the hearing the gospel, the understanding that came, and the trust that I placed in Christ. No theologian can spin the sense and dull the significance of the God-Man’s words. His words rocked my world and forever changed my life. And not only this, but He continued.
“For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me that of all that He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up in the last day” (John 6:38-39). My salvation and my eternal security were wrapped up tight in the mind of God long before I was ever here. It was His will that made the eternal difference for me, not mine.
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:40). So what is my invitation when I give the gospel today? It remains, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” and “Whosoever will may come.” But I always pray that there may be some “gifts” in the audience.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).