Here we go again. The “Verily, verily” series that I have been learning about. I am trying to get through the book of John searching out the statements that Jesus made beginning with “Verily, verily” (as in the KJV). In other translations, the statements are begun by the words “truly, truly” or “I tell you the truth”. These statements are important lessons that John saw fit to call out specifically as highlights of Jesus’ teachings. He even states at the end of John in chapter 21 verse 25, saying, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written everyone, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (KJV)”
This last verse of the book of John gives us an overall perspective that Jesus taught so many things. However, there is only so much time in the day and only so many pages in a book to write these things down. So he wrote what he deemed the most important and noteworthy of the teachings. And on top of that, he basically underlined these 25 specific “verily, verily” statements to draw the reader to specifically retain these words.
Here, the people following Jesus asked, “What do we do that are the works of God?” And Jesus defined what the “works of God” were, which is a simple yet profound statement. The statement is, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent (KJV).”
He is reorienting the people who say they are devoted to God. He is redirecting them to a mindset instead of a works mentality. God is looking at the motives of the heart as opposed to the works themselves. Are we drawn to doing something in order to please God, or are we doing something to show others that we are a part of a specific group? Here, Jesus is telling us that our motive is what is important. Our belief in Jesus is more important that the act itself. I am not saying that our obedience is not important. What I am saying is that the act itself is dead without the mentality of honor to the Father.
I am not sure where your mind is at on this one, but for me, at times, I am puzzled as to what specifically I am to do in honor of the will of God. Remembering that satisfying God does not come from the work we do, but from whom he claims to be. Many of the world’s religions are what we are trying to answer on our own about what God wants. However, God simply states what He wants. And Jesus reaffirms what the Father said. This big, gigantic wall that sin has built up comes with a fogginess mentality. We aren’t seeing clearly what God wants, but Jesus clears up that fog. The people of the crowd asked for a sign, but Jesus had already performed many signs and wonders. These people were asking for a specific sign, and they give the example of Moses. This was an attempt to play down Jesus and squash the following He was amassing. Again, Jesus sees to the heart of the issue or problem. Jesus came to fulfill what was written out in the law, AND to be the image of the Father in all that He does. He was obedient to the Father and in union with Him. He shows us how to be.
In the “verily, verily” statement of verse 32, Jesus is reorienting people to where the nourishment of our being is to be directed towards and from where we obtain it. The Father gives us life and sustains us. It is in Him that we grow and flourish. The people said that Moses gave them bread in the wilderness. However, Jesus shows that it was the Father that provided not only the physical bread that was accredited to Moses, but also the law which Jesus came to fulfill. Jesus said this in verse 32,
32 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.”
The people ask for this bread. And Jesus responds with, “I am the bread of life”. I can picture Jesus standing in the middle of a crowd of genuinely puzzled people, curious people, skeptic people, proud people, and believing people. I imagine the looks on these peoples’ various faces. Some confused, some upset, some happy, some joyful, some peaceful, some understanding, and some not understanding. But all in all, the message was being taught. The message was being received by those open enough to accept it. And the seed of the good news was planted in the minds of those not readily receptive to Jesus’ teaching. The scoffers and skeptics were caught off guard by the authority and depth of Jesus’ teachings, but nonetheless, it was given.
Jesus shows us that the “bread of life” is Jesus. He fulfills all that God requires. He is completely obedient and serving, as well as atoning. The “bread of life” is pointing clearly to the sustaining aspect of Jesus. The Father provided His own solution to the problem that man has caused. Just like He provided the “ram in the thicket” back in Genesis, when Abraham went to sacrifice his own son, Isaac, but the “angel of the Lord” stayed Abraham’s hand before he could go through with the task (Genesis 22). Jehovah-Jirah: the Lord provides.
God is all-powerful and provisional. He continues to uphold His part of the covenant. Our only duty in this covenant is to believe. Seems easy, but so many find it difficult. Why is that?
Gotta go fill up my cup…..