Familiarity Breeds Contempt
41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves.44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. (John 6:41-47, NKJV)
The last we saw Jesus was speaking to the multitudes about seeking the true bread from heaven rather than the bread that would feed their stomachs.
6:41-42 Where Did Joseph Go?
It would seem that everyone in the synagogue at Capernaum knew Joseph at this time. Matthew 13 also tells us that they knew him in the synagogue at Nazareth, which was about 20 miles away:
When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” (Matthew 13:54-57)
Now we do know that Joseph was dead by the time of Jesus’ crucifixion because we’ll read in chapter 19 where Jesus commits stewardship of His mother to the Apostle John:
When Jesus, therefore, saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:26-27)
But as to how and when Joseph died, we are not told.
Familiarity Breeds Contempt
They’re saying, “How can this guy have come from heaven? We know His mom and dad. We know His brothers and sisters.” Their familiarity with Him kept them from recognizing the supernatural in Him. Familiarity breeds contempt.
6:43-45 The Father Draws Them
Jesus tells them that they should not waste their breath grumbling about Him. They can not come to Him unless the Father draws them to Him.
This makes for something that is very difficult to accept, and even harder to understand! This is what the Bible refers to as “predestination.” The fact that God chose us for salvation even before we were born:
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (Ephesians 1:4-5)
Now He did this in His love and with kind intention. But to many, it still sounds really unfair. People have a tendency to be angry at God about that. “Why didn’t you choose me?” Well, first of all, if you would get saved, then you would see that He did, in fact, choose you! But Biblically, we are not even given room to argue with God about it:
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, (Romans 9:14-23)
The whole point here is that God is God. And we, little insignificant, finite beings that we are cannot accuse God of being unjust. On the contrary, He’s being more merciful than any of us would ever be. He’s made salvation available to all. The Lord:
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
He patiently endures them even though He already knows who will reject Him:
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)
God sees the future and knows who will choose to know Him. He sees the future and knows who will choose to reject Him. Now, if I am honest with myself, I have to admit that if I were God, I would not have called Judas to be an apostle. I would not have let him carry the money box. I wouldn’t have shown him such love and compassion when I knew that he would betray me. I would not have endured Pharaoh for a minute. I would not have endured Cain or Balaam or Pilate or the Pharisees. I would have seen into the future, seen their hearts of wickedness and lifetimes of hatred for me and smoked ’em before they could even be born! God knows who will accept Him and who will reject Him. But He still says to all:
That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:15)
And those who God sees will believe, He predestines them and draws them to Jesus Christ.
6:46 No Man Has Seen The Father
Even though the Father draws them to the Son, no one has ever seen the Father. John mentioned that in chapter 1 when he said,
No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. (John 1:18)
Remember back in Exodus 33, there appears to be a contradiction. We read that Moses would meet with God in the tent:
So the Lord spoke to Moses’ face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. (Exodus 33:11)
But then just 7 verses later, we see that Moses asked:
And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” (Exodus 33:18)
And God answers:
But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” (Exodus 33:20)
Now, this would seem like a contradiction, until we realize that God is a Trinity; one God in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It was God the Son that Moses would speak to face-to-face, and God the Father who said, “You cannot see My face.” No man has seen the Father, except the Son. Moses met face-to-face with a pre-incarnate appearance of God the Son.
6:47 Eternal Life
Once, a man came up to Jesus and said,
Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16)
Most of us are under the impression that eternal life is gained by the good works that we do. We think that as long as my good works are better than most of the jerks that populate this earth, I will be okay, and God will let me into heaven. But the Bible tells us over and over again in so many different ways, that it is only those who believe in Jesus Christ that have eternal life. John 3:16 is, of course, the perfect example,
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
So there is nothing other than believing in the Son that you need to do to gain eternal life. But as we talked about last time, true belief is a total dedication, a fully-committed life. So we need to make sure that we’re continuing in the walk of belief. That means someone who truly believes will be living a righteous life and will be persevering in good works. That is why we see verses like:
“And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46)
Eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; (Romans 2:7)
Your good deeds do not earn you a place in heaven; they do not give you eternal life. But they do prove that you have eternal life. James explains this very well in his epistle:
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17)
Your believing is proved by your perseverance. Your commitment to Christ is ratified by your righteousness. You are saved by believing. Your belief is proved to be true by your works.