We have been looking at a number of important and interesting verses in the Bible throughout the last few posts and the one we are going to look at today is one of the most comforting of texts in Scripture. “For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40
The sermon on the bread of life unfolds for the people the reality that their salvation is in Jesus and not holding on to the traditions and teachings of an inferior understanding view of redemption. While the Jews celebrated Moses and commemorated the giving of Manna in the wilderness Jesus reminds them that the Manna faded and is long gone. He is the true bread of life that nourishes and sustains them. “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread, which comes down from Heaven that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:48-51
Anyone who accepts His free gift of salvation will have eternal life and has passed from death into life. It is time that the Jews turned their back on the teachings of Moses and accepted Jesus as the one who is greater than Moses and live by faith instead of striving to earn merit with God.
“ ‘Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on Him has God the Father set his Seal.’ Then they said to Him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’ “ John 6:27-29 Could Jesus have been any clearer in addressing the people? They, under any circumstances, could not do the works of God, but if they believed in Jesus and the Father who sent Him they would have eternal life.
John 6:40 is a precise summary of the sermon and covers a number of its key elements. It is the will of the Father that we should be saved. How different this is from how many people see the Father even today. Somehow, we have received the picture of the Father sitting in Heaven stoking His long white beard while all the time He intently is searching into the lives and characters of humanity to find sin so that He can find them guilty in some celestial judgment.
Many people view the Father as the God of the Old Testament and Jesus as the God of the New Testament but that is not how John sees the Father at all. Instead it is the will of the Father that everyone who calls upon Jesus name with a sincere heart will be saved. Jesus says in verse 39, ”And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given me, but raise it up at the last day.” The Father’s will isn’t to keep us out of Heaven but to introduce us to it.
Verse 40 continues, “that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life.” If you struggle with self-esteem issues or doubt that you are good enough for God then this verse is of great encouragement. Everyone means exactly that – everyone. If we believe that Jesus died to eradicate our sins, and was resurrected on the third day, then we have the promise of eternal life.
Jesus pronounces a tremendous heart-lifting promise in John 10:27, 28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.” And then to make sure we understand fully what He is saying He adds, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (V.29-30) Just in case you were still thinking that the Father was the harsh taskmaster of the Old Testament, Jesus makes it clear that He and the Father are one in their love and dedication to save eternally anyone who accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
What an injustice and burden we have laid upon struggling Christians throughout the years by insinuating that they were not good enough, or working hard enough to be accepted by God. We down played grace, intentionally or unintentionally, to emphasize doing and being instead of resting and trusting in the merits of Christ. I hope no one reading this blog today feels discouraged because they don’t believe they are worthy of salvation or haven’t proven themselves worthy through their deeds and actions. All we have to do is come to Jesus and tell Him we are sorry for our sins and ask forgiveness at the foot of the cross. When we put our trust in God’s promise that whoever comes to Him will never be snatched out of His hand.
But, what happens if we should die before the return of Christ? Jesus has that covered as well in verse 40, “and I will raise him up at the last day.” (See verse 39 and 44). Jesus not only raises up those who have died believing in Him, but he raises us up in a spiritual sense when we put our trust in Him. We receive new courage and new hope. For those of us who have lost loved ones we know what a hole it leaves in our hearts. But, for those of us who trust in the grace of God to reunite us one day with our loved ones we are left with peace and the assurance of Jesus’ words.
John 6:44 tells us, “No one can come to me (Jesus) unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Here is the promise to all those who accept the call of Jesus to follow Him, He will raise us up at the last day. When we put our trust in God’s grace we walk in the newness of life with assurance that no one can “snatch us out of His hand.”