No Turning Back

Many of the people following Jesus, when they heard the teaching about flesh & blood communion, said, “This teaching is too hard. Who can even understand this?” (111).

Jesus knew that they were grumbling again, so he said to them, “Do you want to give up? Do you need to see me go back to heaven in order to be convinced?

“Only God’s Spirit gives real life; it’s impossible to find real life in the strength of your flesh.  What I’m teaching you is what gives you access to God’s life-giving Spirit.

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“But I understand that some of you won’t believe me.”  Jesus always knew which ones wouldn’t believe and which one would betray him. Then Jesus added, “This is why I said that no one can come to me unless the Father has willed it.”

After all this, many of Jesus’ students turned back & would not follow him anymore. So Jesus asked his twelve chosen witnesses, “Would you also like to leave?” Peter answered him, “Master, to whom would we go? We believe & know that you are the Savior who has come from God.  Only you have the words that promise real life.”

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Later, Jesus told them, “I chose the twelve of you to be my witnesses.  But now I have to tell you that one of you still refuses to believe in me.” He was talking about Judas Iscariot, who would ultimately betray him.

Jesus, please help me to love believing & serving You.

(111) John 6:60-71

What God Wants

Next day, some of the people who had been fed by Jesus took boats & crossed the lake to look for him (109).  They found Jesus in the synagogue in Capernaum, and they asked, “Teacher, how did you get here?”  As he often did, Jesus ignored that issue & addressed their real issue.

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“I know you’re looking for me because you’re hungry for more bread, not for more of God. But don’t seek food that spoils; instead, seek food that will give you new life – life that will continue in heaven forever, even after physical death. This is the food which God gives in me & which I give to you.”

Some of the people asked him, “What does God want us to do?” Jesus answered, “God wants you to believe in me.  I’ll take it from there.

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“But what miracle will you do,” they said, “so we can believe you? After all, Moses wrote that even our ancestors ate bread from heaven, when God gave them manna in the desert.”

Jesus replied, “God gives you the real bread from heaven, and I am the bread that God gives.  Anyone who comes to me will never be hungry; anyone who believes in me will never be thirsty.

“I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.  But none of you will come to me unless God has willed it; I have come to do only what God has willed.

“On the last day, I will restore physical life to everyone who has come to me.

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“What God wants is for you to experience real life — life that will continue in heaven forever, even after your physical death.”

God, please help me to love doing only Your will.

(109) John 6:22-40

Thomas

Thomas, one of the twelve chosen witnesses, was not there when Jesus came (222). When he joined them later the other witnesses told him, “We have seen Jesus!”

Thomas said to them, “Unless I put my finger on the scars of the nails in his hands & put my hand on the wound in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later the witnesses were together again behind locked doors; this time Thomas was with them. Again, Jesus appeared suddenly among them & said, “Be filled with peace.”

Jesus turned to Thomas & said, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then put your hand in my side. Stop doubting & believe.” Then Thomas did believe & exclaimed, “My Master & my God!”

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Jesus replied with this promise: “Do you believe because you see me? Many people will believe without seeing me & they will be blessed by God for their faith.”

John the Witness wrote down many accounts of events in the life & ministry of Jesus.  He wanted his readers to believe that Jesus is the Messiah of God.  He wanted you to have new life by believing in Jesus.

At the end of his account of the life & ministry of Jesus, John also testified that Jesus did many other miracles which were not written down.

 

(222) John 20:24-31

The Way: Living With God

Jesus challenged his friends to embrace living with God (199).

“Up till now, I have often used figures of speech to tell you things about God. But the time has come for me to speak to you plainly about God.  It’s time for you to go on living with God.   It’s time for each of you to have your own very direct & very personal relationship with God.  God loves each one of you very much.

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“God loves you  — because you love me & because you have believed that I came from God. I did come from God into the world, and now it’s time for me to leave the world & return to God.”

His friends replied to Jesus, “But now you are speaking plainly, without using figures of speech; now we understand you.  We really do believe that you came from God.”

Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? Remember, the time has come for all of you to be scattered, and for me to be left all alone. But I’m never really alone, because God is always with me.

“I have been telling you all these things so that, whenever you feel all alone, you will have the same powerful peace that God gives to me.  God will always be with you, too.

“In the tribulation of this world, you will experience suffering.

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“But you can be peaceful through it all, knowing that I have overcome the world.”

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(199) John 16:25-33

The Way: The Only Way

Then Jesus asked his chosen witnesses a question (191).  “When I sent you out that time without money or clothes, did you lack anything?” “Not a thing,” they answered.

“But now the situation is different,” Jesus said. “Any of you who has money must take it.  And you should also take a sword this time. The inspired scriptures, which say, ‘He shared the fate of criminals,’ will now come true about me.” Some of the witnesses said, “Here are two swords, Master.” “Your obedience is sufficient,” Jesus replied.

“I don’t want you to worry about any of the coming challenges. Just keep believing in God & in me.  In God’s house there are many rooms; I’m going there to prepare a place for you. You know I wouldn’t tell you this, if it wasn’t true.

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“After all is prepared, I’ll come back for you.  Then I’ll take you with me & we’ll be together again. You already know the narrow way that leads to where I’m going.”

Thomas said to him, “Master, we don’t know where you’re going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus chided him gently, “After all this time, don’t you get it, Thomas?  I am the way, the truth, and the life; the only way to God is with me. Because you know me, you know God.”

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But Philip still didn’t quite get it, so he asked, “Master, won’t you please show God to us?” Jesus simply replied, “I am in God and God is in me, so if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen God!”

 

(191) Luke 22:35-38, John 14:1-14

The Promise Of New Life

Even though Jesus had performed many miracles among them, many people still were not inclined to trust Jesus (185).

Hundreds of years earlier, the prophet Isaiah had been given visions of Jesus’ glory. But he had also been inspired to see that many people would not trust Jesus.  This was distressing to Isaiah, so he asked: “God, has anyone believed our report? Has your power been revealed to anyone?”

Then God revealed to Isaiah the reason many people were not able to believe.  God told Isaiah: “I blinded their eyes & closed their minds, so their eyes wouldn’t see, and their minds wouldn’t understand, and they wouldn’t turn to me to be healed.”

Nevertheless, some Jewish authorities were inclined to trust Jesus.  But most of these were not willing to talk about Jesus openly — because they feared the Pharisees & didn’t want to be kicked out of the synagogue. So, basically, they wanted the approval of men more than the approval of God.

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Then Jesus said for all to hear: “Anyone who believes in me also believes in God. Anyone who sees me also sees God.

“At this time, I have not come into the world to judge people.  Anyone who rejects me & does not obey me will ultimately be judged by my words on the last day.  All my words have been spoken on the authority of God.

“At this time, I have come into the world as light, to save from darkness anyone who believes in me.

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“At this time, God has sent me so you can begin to experience new life now — new life that will continue in heaven forever, even after your physical death.”

 

(185) John 12:37-50

Jesus Helps Us All See God

When Jesus heard that the Pharisees had expelled from the temple the man whose blindness he had healed, he went to find the man (117).  “Do you believe in the Messiah?” Jesus asked.  The man answered, “Tell me who he is, sir, so that I can believe in him.” Jesus said to him, “I am the Messiah.” “I believe, Master!” the man said, and he knelt down before Jesus.

Blind Man Worships

Jesus then told the man, “All people will be judged in response to my coming into the world.  Some, who have been blind to God, will now be able to see God.

“But some, who thought they were seeing God clearly, will have their blindness about God exposed.”

Some Pharisees who were nearby heard him say this and asked him, “Surely you don’t mean that we are blind, too?”

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Jesus answered, “If you had admitted that you were blind to God before I came among you, then you would be innocent in God’s eyes now.

“But since you still claim to see God clearly apart from me, you remain guilty in God’s eyes.”

 

(117) John 9:35-41