Now, there were varied reactions among this company who had sought Him out: most of them misunderstood Him completely and went away confused; "the Jews" heard His words and rejected Him and continued to make plans to destroy Him; but the Word also tells us that "many therefore of His disciples, when they had heard this said, "This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" Why were both "the Jews" and the disciples so disturbed? First of all, we need to recall that they all knew that it was the Passover season; and they knew or suspected that Jesus was saying that no longer would the temple in Jerusalem, or the temple worship they loved so much, be the way of worship - all the ceremonies, all the ordinances, all the festal activities, all the methods, whether emotional or formal, were at an end - all that fed their soul, all that fed their human nature, whether is was the intellect or the emotions, must end, for God is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. The time has come, and now is, that they were to take Christ as their Life; and whether they were priests or Pharisees or prophets or scribes or ordinary everyday working people or mothers or children CHRIST WAS TO BE THEIR ALL.
Now, when we read this, we may wonder how they could give these things the preeminence over the Lord - the laws, the feasts, the priests, the ceremonies, etc. We may wonder why many of His disciples followed Him no more. But is not this the great problem of Christianity today, something other than Christ!? something instead of Christ!? something more than Christ!? something that satisfies the natural man other than Christ!? Brethren, many things can take the preeminence of Christ in our lives: a Church organization, a Bible school, a pastor, a doctrine, a teaching, a method, even what we call deeper life teaching, etc. But only Christ can truly satisfy our hearts!
Christ is not saying I give you the Bread of Life; He is saying, " I AM the Bread of Life," and only as you partake of ALL that I AM will God have what He desires in your life. Only then will you have the true reality that I AM in your life, for "I AM the way, the Truth, and the Life." And as we have seen, for those who would wholly follow Him, this includes the partaking of the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13; Col. 1:24). So many of His disciples turned away and followed Him no more; many were offended at His Words, for His Words indicated that Life came out of death. In Luke 9:22, 23, we find this confirmed when the Holy Spirit significantly places the following Words of Christ just after He feeds the 5,000. We find Him alone and praying, and His disciples were with Him, and He said: "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third Day." And He said to them all, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."
Oh, may we be like Peter and the others who continued to follow Him, however imperfectly, all the days of their lives. May our answer be the same as theirs when the Lord asks,
"Will you also go away? -
Are ye also wishing to withdraw? -
Will you refuse to take Me as your ALL?"
Then Simon Peter answered Him,
"Lord, to whom shall we go?
Thou hast the Words of Eternal Life.
And we believe [we have learned to believe and trust] and are sure that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
"These Things are Written That Ye Might Have Life"
When we believe in Christ, we are given Eternal Life; and when we partake of Him, our life in Him is sustained by Him. All of this came about because He, Who is the True Passover Lamb, shed His Blood for us upon the Cross! All this came about because He, Who is the Incorruptible Unleavened Bread, gave His Incorruptible Life for us! But, beloved, we would never have Eternal life in Him, nor the privilege of partaking of Him as Life, if He had not been Resurrected from the dead. That is why when God decreed that the Feast of the Passover be celebrated on the 14th day of Nisan (usually our month of April), and that the Feast of Unleavened Bread be celebrated on the 15th day of Nisan, He also decreed that on the following day, the 16th day of Nisan, "Ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest," an offering of the Firstfruits of your Harvest, a wave offering before the Lord (Lev. 23:9-11). The wave offering always symbolized Life - "But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the Firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Corinthians 15:20).
The sheaf of the Firstfruits was to be waved on the morrow after the sabbath, the day after the feast of Unleavened Bread began. This was the day that Christ rose from the grave, this was the Third Day. And in Revelation 1:17, 18, we find the Resurrected Lord of Glory, the Lord Jesus Christ, the I AM, summing up what took place in those three days; not just days according to our time, but Three Eternal Days in God's Eternal Purpose:
I AM the First and the Last:
I AM He that Liveth, and was dead; and behold,
I AM Alive for evermore, Amen ... "
And in John 14:19 where He is speaking of His Cross, and His Resurrection, He says: "Because I Live, ye shall live also."
(continued with #1 - "Out of His Belly Shall Flow Rivers of Living Waters")