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Sunday, November 18, 2012

"If Anyone Has An Ear, Let Him Hear" # 8

Now, it was during the season of the Passover that the Feast of Unleavened Bread was also kept; and in John six, we find our Lord Jesus revealing further the true meaning and reality of these Feasts of the Lord as He miraculously feeds the 5,000. Each of the Gospels records this important incident: Matthew tells us that, "Jesus ... saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick" (14:14); Luke tells us that, "He received them and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing" (9:11); Mark tells us, "And Jesus, when He came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things" (6;34). John tells us that it was the Passover season, and only in John do we find the full meaning of the feeding of the 5,000.

So, "When Jesus then lifted up His eyes, and saw a great company come unto Him, He saith unto Philip, 'Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?' And this He said to prove him: for He Himself knew what He would do" (John 6:5, 6). Jesus knew what he would do, for He knew what was in the hearts of men. He knew that this great company that was coming unto Him was not only hungry physically, but He knew that in their hearts, they were starving spiritually. He also knew that these 5,000 men that were coming unto Him were, by decree of the Law of God (Ex. 23:14-17), on their way, or soon would be on their way, to Jerusalem to the Feast of Passover and to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For God's Law decreed that "three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord God." They were to appear at the Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread, and at the Feast of Pentecost, and at the Feast of Tabernacles. This is why John six numbers the men, and not the women and children.

Yes, Jesus "knew what He would do," for He knew that the "feasts of the Jews", held at the temple in Jerusalem, would not sustain the people's lives "before the Lord God." Jesus was about to announce that the Law of God had been fulfilled: - the Law which had brought these Passover pilgrims  three times a year before the Lord their God had been fulfilled. He knew that the "time had come, and now is" that He alone could sustain their lives before God. And, now, all who would "come unto Him" - both men, women and children - would partake of Him Who is the Bread of Life.

So Jesus fed the 5,000. Consequently, when the men who had seen the miracle realized that Jesus could meet their natural and material needs, they wanted to make Him a king, by force if necessary. But Jesus perceived their intent and departed, because He was not to be a king in the old creation. No! He was the True Bread from Heaven! He was the Eternal Life and the Life Sustainer of the New Creation!

Then the people began to look for the Lord Jesus, and when they found Him the next day, He said: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loves, and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting Life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed" (John 6:26, 27).

"Then the people asked Him, 'What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?' And Jesus answered and said unto them, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent" (John 6:28-35). In other words, the Lord was saying, "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the Gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

Then, even though they had witnessed the miraculous feeding of the 5,000, they asked Him to give them a sign that they might see and believe; and with the feeding of the 5,000 filling their thoughts, they also spoke of the manna their fathers had eaten in the wilderness, "As it is written, 'He gave them Bread from Heaven to eat' " (John 6:31; Psalm 78:24). Many of the Jews believed that Moses was a redeemer and that he had caused the manna to rain down from heaven. And it was also their belief that the Messiah to come would cause manna to come down from heaven. They were looking for a Messiah who would satisfy their earthly needs and desires.

Again, Jesus knew what was in their hearts, and He said unto them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; [no, that manna came from God, and His next words brings them right to the present time] but My Father giveth (present tense) you the True Bread from heaven. For the Bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth Life unto the world." Then said they unto Him, "Lord, evermore give us this bread" (John 6:32-34).

"And Jesus said unto them,  'I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst' ... 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting Life.' I AM the Bread of Life." (John 6:35, 47, 48).

With these words, the Lord Jesus Christ proclaims the principle of Life in the New Creation; for as the Bread of Life, He gives Eternal Life to the believer - Life in the present, and Life in the future, and Life forevermore. And we receive this Gift of Eternal Life because He gave His Life upon the Cross; for as the Bread of Life, Christ is saying of Himself, "I AM the Living Bread which came down from Heaven: 'If any man eat of this Bread, he
shall live for ever: and the Bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (John 6:51

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 9)

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