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The Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost
"A Hard Teaching"
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.D., M.Div.
INTRO: The Civil War soldiers had a song: "Hard tack, hard tack, come again no more." Their most common meal was a hard biscuit they called hard tack. It was the bread both armies marched on for four long years of war. You could compare some of the teachings of Christ to Hard Tack. It was hard to swallow, but it sustained life.
I. Hard to swallow--vv60-66
A. That Jesus is Gods Son, come down from heaven, the Bread of Life--cf 6:48-58
B. That people have no spiritual power of their own; the Father must "enable them" (v65) and the Spirit must give life--Acts 10:44, Rom 5:5, 1 Cor 12:3, Titus 3:5, 1 Pet. 1:12
Adam Clarke penned a poignant question: This is a hard saying; who can hear it?--Who can digest such doctrine as this? It is intolerable: it is impracticable. There is a similar saying in Euripides: "Tell me whether thou wouldst that I should speak unto thee, a SOFT LIE or the HARSH TRUTH?" The wicked word of a lying world is in general better received than the holy word of the God of truth!
Richard Lenski: They understand Jesus well enough and they see what his "remata" bring; but this is what they do not want and will not have. They seek earth, and when heaven is urged upon them, they turn away in disappointment; in fact, the more they are made to see heaven in Jesus, the more they determine not to have it.
II. This "hard teaching" gives eternal life in Christ
A. Eternal life is founds in the words of Christ--cf Ps 73:25-26; John 6:40, 5:24, 39-40; Acts 4:12; 1 John 5:11-13
B. He is the "Holy One of God," not only the sinless One but the One set apart for the task of our redemption--cf John 1:29, 11:27; 1 John 5:1 & 20
Adam Clarke: Simon Peter answered--With his usual zeal and readiness, speaking in behalf of the whole, To whom shall we go? Where shall we find a more gracious master--a more powerful Redeemer--a more suitable Savior? Thou alone hast the words of eternal life. None can teach the doctrine of salvation but thyself; and none can confer the gift of eternal life but thou alone. Reader, let me ask, whither art thou going? Has the world--the devil--the flesh--the words of eternal life? Art thou turning thy back upon God and Christ? For thy zealous services, what has Satan to give thee? Death! hell! and eternal misery! O stop! Cleave to Jesus; he will give thee that happiness which, in vain, thou seekest in the pleasures of sin.
John Mac Arthur: Like John the Baptist, the Twelve fluctuated between moments of great faith and of grave doubt. They could proclaim with deep conviction, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God" (John 6:68-69).
Now, at last, the truth of Jesus divinity and messiahship was established in their minds beyond question. They would still experience times of weakness and confusion about what Jesus said and did, but they would no longer doubt who it was who said and did them. He was indeed the Christ, the Son of the living God. Gods own Spirit had now imbedded the truth indelibly in their hearts.
It took two-and-a-half years for them to come to this place of confession, through the struggles and hatred of the Jewish religious leaders, the mounting fickleness and rejection of the people, and their own confusion about what the Messiah had come to do. But without question they now knew He was the fulfiller of their hopes, the source of their salvation, the desire of the nations.
On behalf of all the apostles, Peter not only confessed Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, but as the Son of the living God. The Son of Man (v13) was also the Son of God, the Creator of the universe and all that is in it. He was the true and real God, not a mythological figment such as Pan or a mortal "deity" such as Caesar--both of whom had shrines in Caesarea Philippi. The disciples Lord was Son of the living God.
As evidenced by numerous things the Twelve later said and did, they did not at this time have a full comprehension of the Trinity or even of the full nature and work of Christ. But they knew Jesus was truly the Christ and that He was truly divine, the Son of the living God. Son reflects the idea of oneness in essence, because a son is one in nature with his father. So Jesus Christ was one in nature with God the Father (cf John 5:17-18; 10:30-33).
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Children's Message on John 6:60-69
Visual aid: a ticket
Many say today that the Bible is wrong when it tells us that Jesus is the only way to heaven. But I've been to some fun things this summer and I noticed that they do the same thing:
When you go to a game, you have to pay for the ticket. Thats not the way it is with eternal life. Jesus himself paid the ticket by shedding his blood on the cross for our sins. Since he paid the ticket price for everybody, its reasonable that he is the one who makes the rules. He said (John 14:6), "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." In another place we are told: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
So if anybody ever tells you that its not fair that you have to know Jesus to have eternal life, just show them a ticket like this one and remind them that they didnt pay for it; Jesus did. And hes the One who says whats right and whats wrong.
And make sure that your friends have Jesus, the ticket to eternal life.
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Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:33 PM