The Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6:41-51

All That the Father Gives Me (Continued)

The same teaching is continued from yesterday’s reading, for it is a continuation of the same dialogue.  “The Jews” usually refers to religious leaders in John’s gospel, but here it applies to the people speaking to Jesus who only the day before were miraculously fed from his own hands.  Jesus had spoken of himself as the “bread of life” that had come down from heaven.  The question they ask, which seems sensible enough, is basically, “How can he say, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven,’ when we know his mother and father?”

As many of us were raised in church and have been hearing the gospel story since childhood, we easily miss the incredible claim the gospel makes.  Imagine if your next-door neighbor, whom you remember as a baby but was now thirty years old, told you that he was the bread of life and came down from heaven.  Would you not think him insane?  Granted, Jesus’ miracles were signs of his divine origin, but still they knew his parents and thus assumed an ordinary nativity.  So the people wonder, “How can he say that he came down from heaven and expect us to take him seriously?”

And this takes us right back to what we discussed yesterday which Jesus reveals in this passage: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”  Though we know that childbirth is a natural event, we still think it miraculous, as well we should.  Well, God would have us know that being born again of the Spirit far surpasses being born of the flesh (John 3:1-21).  No one has ever awakened one morning and said, “Well, today I think I’ll become a Christian; after all, it just seems like the right thing to do.”  And even if someone did, he only did so because the Father, through the Holy Spirit, was drawing that person to understand the person and work of His beloved Son, receiving the gifts of faith and repentance.  How else do you explain this?  How can you expect people, then or now, to believe what sounds on the surface plainly ridiculous?  Jesus added, “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me – not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.”  So here, Jesus indicates that only he has come from the Father, as the Father’s very own Son, sharing his Father’s nature; the rest must come by a drawing, that is, a work of God on and in the heart – the new birth.

Do you believe?  Give glory to God.  Do others mock?  It is because they are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18), and so would we were it not for His drawing.

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