Welcome back to another post that focuses on the “Verily, verily” statements found in the Gospel of John. In John 6:22-59, we have four “verily, verily” statements. Jesus was focusing on one main idea in four different ways, and there is a shift halfway through them. We will find in this passage what exactly Jesus means by verse 48, which states, “I am the Bread of Life”. Now I am not going to type out the entire passage. However, I will list the four “Verily, verily” (rendered “truly, truly” in the ESV) statements.
26 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal."
32 Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
47 "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life."
53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."
In all of these statements, there are more verses to further clarify what Jesus means by them. He teaches further on what the “Bread of Life” is, where it came from, what happens when you get it, what you are to do with it, and what happens if you don’t take it. So many questions will be answered in this post and others to come. But for now, you should take a look in your Bible (or online at http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+6&version=ESV), and read the entire passage (John 6:22-59) so that you can get a fuller picture than just the singled out statements.
In the first statement, found in verse 26, we see Jesus bringing to light what the problem is. The people following Him weren’t doing so out of a desire for Him and the blessings and instructions that He brings. Most of the people were seeking him for what He could physically give them in the moment that was temporal. The people saw in Him Someone that could give them what they wanted without working for it. So the people of Jesus’ time wanted to make Jesus King for what He could physically – temporally – provide for them. Yet, Jesus was teaching them that it is not the physical that He came to provide for.
Dake further expounds upon verse 26 saying, “You seek Me, not because you saw miracles, but because you did eat; not as being convinced by visible miracles, which should lead godly men to acknowledge Me as Messiah, but as by appetite, which leads sensual men like beasts through impulse of want and supply.” This expansion clarifies to me what the true core problem is that Jesus is opening their eyes to. The miracles that Jesus did confirmed that He told the truth about His coming as Messiah. Some see it, but, unfortunately, many others do not. Jesus knows not only what we do, but why we do it. He knows the heart. So when the men would “grumble within themselves”, He knew why, and He often spoke to that unbelief.
Then there is yet another study Bible that places a note on John 6:26 stating this:
“Jesus criticized the people who followed him only for the physical and temporal benefits, and not because they were spiritually hungry. Many people use religion to gain prestige, comfort, or even votes. But those are self-centered motives. True believers follow Jesus simply because they know his way is the way to live.”Life Application Study Bible, 1996
Jesus’ point was that all that these people were interested in was physical satisfaction. They had received an unexpectedly large meal, but they wanted more. There are other hungers which can be satisfied only by Him. There is the hunger for truth, which in Him alone is the truth of God. There is the hunger for life, which in Him alone is life more abundant. There is hunger for love, which in Him alone is love that outlasts sin and death. Christ alone can satisfy the hunger of our hearts and souls.
In the Geneva Bible of 1560, there is a note attached to John 6:27 that further clarifies what “meat/food” means in that verse. It says, “which nourishes and augments our faith.” It actually is written in the Old Old English, so I modernized it just a tiny bit. The point is, the nourishment that Jesus was giving them was for their spiritual betterment, not simply for their physical needs to be met. But then I read another note just under it that is further clarifying verse 27 referencing the portion that reads, “for him [has] God the Father sealed (Geneva 1560).” It reads, “For when he appointed him to be the Mediator, he set his [mark] and [seal] in him to be [the only] one to reconcile God and man together.” The Father gave the Son authority and power. Jesus shows this power and teaches with authority. Yet, we are still so short-sighted as to see what we need in the here and now, physically, not getting past that to what we are starving for spiritually. But Jesus is still teaching.
This leads me to wonder, why am I praying and reading Scripture? Is it for the gaining of knowledge? Is it to fit in to a particular group or gain a specific set of friends? Am I doing these things to simply check off a list so that God will bless me? Or am I genuinely seeking a real and meaningful relationship with God? Am I furthering my love and adoration of Him, eternally grateful for what He has already done for me, and gaining more of an understanding of what makes Him satisfied with me?
It is hard to say sometimes. Sometimes I don’t want to do anything to further my relationship with anyone. I want to do nothing but think about myself and my needs/wants. If I can be completely honest, I do actively try not to be so self-involved, but there are times when it just happens. Other times, I choose to focus on everything but God. But He is still there, guiding me through life, proverbially holding my hand, and teaching me in various ways. The top way to live is in truth.
A little side note: In Hebrew, a word for truth is ameth. It is spelled with three Hebrew letters: aleph, which is the first letter of the alphabet, min the middle letter, and tau the last. The truth of God is the beginning, the middle, and the end of life.
Gotta go fill up my cup…..