Jesus had delivered possibly the most offensive sermon ever given in his time, a message so viscerally horrifying, so unspeakably grotesque, that many must have been left actually speechless.
Unbelief is basically a spiritual issue, not an intellectual issue.
All the while, as we wrestle with these passages, and seek to live out their truths as best we can, God is conforming our character to be holy and righteous, as God is.
It was a new aspect of the bread that would not perish. Not only would the bread itself last into eternity, but all who ate of it would also last into eternity.
And through the poetry of Psalm 19, we’ll see the author convey this important truth: The revelation of God is available to everyone, everywhere, in every age and culture.
Faith is in the doing, not in the having. You and I cannot wait for faith to be in place before we act. We can only have faith if we actually use it.
Faith, then, does not reduce God to a religious concept, or a catechism, or a set of doctrines. Faith does not content itself with traditions and rites. Faith is not a sentiment that can be set aside.
Faith is a lived reality.
When the disciples saw all those people, what must they have been thinking? Instead of providing their hoped-for rest and retreat, it seemed God was going to ask even more of these physically exhausted and emotionally spent men.
As I study John’s gospel, I keep feeling as though the scientific method of enquiry is not enough to understand spiritual things. Whereas those who are intellectual may well be called to pursue the finer points of systematic theology and to organize the many philosophical strands of a particular doctrine, it is not enough.
The first layer of meaning is straightforward. Ripe fruit, when it is plucked from the tree, is cut off. For the harvester, the ripened fruit is a lovely blessing, but for the fruit itself, to be harvested means its time on the tree will come to an end.
Such splitting of hairs had lost sight of God’s purpose for the Sabbath, and had, with heavy irony, made the Sabbath an onerous burden for the people.