Prepared by John E. Marshall
Believers marvel at those who encountered Jesus in the flesh, yet did not believe in Him. God incarnate was in their midst, but they did not recognize Him.
John 6:41-42 (Holman) Therefore the Jews started complaining about Him, because He said, AI am the bread that came down from heaven.@ They were saying, AIsn=t this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can He now say, AI have come down from heaven?@
They completely misjudged the importance of Jesus. Seeing His lowly circumstances, the crowd ruled out Deity. They stand as an everlasting testimony to the fact something is dreadfully wrong with people.
God made us perfect, but things went awry when Adam sinned. We still reel from a domino effect.
We are so helpless that a miracle is necessary before we can discern Christ=s true nature. We cannot be lifted up unless a hand from above reaches down into the depths of our despair to help us.
Jesus had to become what we are to make us what He is. Heaven must still come to earth if earth is to rise to Heaven.
John 6:43-44 (Holman) Jesus answered them, AStop complaining among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.@
Our Fall in Adam had an extensive toll on us. It damaged us, made coming to Christ for salvation obnoxious to human nature.
Multitudes admire Christ=s teaching and example, but do not want His blood. They reject the atonement because it humbles.
People like to feel independent, to think they are able to come to Jesus entirely on their own terms in their own time, but they must come when the Father draws or they cannot come at all. It is impossible to come to Jesus without the Father=s drawing. The power of sin in us is so strengthened by long continued practice that it almost has the power of a second nature.
Jesus said, AI assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin@ (John 8:34). Sin, the divider between God and humans, can become a sinner=s delight and addiction, gaining such a strong grip on us that it becomes virtually impossible to cast off by ourselves.
The problem is systemic, in our essence. Our very nature, altered by sin, becomes so corrupt that we have neither desire nor power to leave sin and come on our own to Christ.
The problem is not a physical defect. It is as easy to walk to church as to a tavern, to voice a prayer as to blaspheme.
The problem is not a mental defect. We can believe what Jesus says as capably as we can believe what anyone else says.
The problem is in our nature. Two illustrations help. Sheep and wolves have four legs, a nose, a mouth, two ears, etc. A sheep is tame, follows a shepherd, and lives on vegetation. A wolf will never be tame, follow a shepherd, or enjoy vegetation. Why isn=t the wolf like the sheep? They are different in their natures. However much we try to tame a wolf, its nature will always be a barrier.
If we command a mother to stab her child, she will say AI can not.@ No physical or mental incumbrance keeps her from doing so. Her nature prevents it.
Due to the Fall and our continuance in sin, our nature is depraved. It is impossible for us to come to Christ without the Holy Spirit=s assistance.
John 6:45-46 It is written in the Prophets: AThey will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me B not that any one has seen the Father except the One who is from God. He has seen the Father.@
Sin not only corrupts our nature, but also blinds our understanding. We can not, on our own, clearly understand the truths of God.
We must be Ataught by God.@ We must not only have Alistened@ (outward hearing), but also have Alearned@ (inner assimilation). God Himself must teach us directly.
Believers are life-long pupils in God=s school. Even the Bible can be rightly interpreted only if the Holy Spirit takes it and applies it to our hearts.
The Holy Spirit, our Teacher, begins with three vital lessons for unbelievers: the sinfulness of sin, the helplessness of people, the sufficiency of Christ. Before the Holy Spirit teaches, people usually have a high opinion of themselves. He destroys this myth immediately and begins to break the sinner=s heart.
We never see sin as exceedingly sinful unless the Holy Spirit shines His light on it. We love our own sins too much to deal with them impartially. Our conscience finds it hard to censure us as much as our iniquity deserves.
The Holy Spirit=s conviction drives red-hot truth into a cold heart. The Spirit works in an unbeliever, causing inner conflict, a turmoil better than the horrible calm of a dead sea of spiritual indifference. The storm He stirs in a sinner is an effort to move us from spiritual irrationality to spiritual soundness, the most important business a lost person has to conduct in this world.
Has the Holy Spirit begun to stir your heart? Don=t run and hide. Don=t seek a diversion. Seek refuge in Jesus instead.
John 6:47 AI assure you: Anyone who believes has eternal life.@
The Holy Spirit, a perfect gentleman, persuades and coaxes, but never lets His drawing interfere with human freedom. Any who believe will be saved, but if a person is unwilling, Christ does not save them against their will.
Our natural bent is to love physical things more than spiritual things, even to the point of saying ANo!@ to God. Nature teaches us a lesson here. Sea and wind obeyed Jesus= APeace, be still.@ The Fig tree withered at His word. At God=s command, ravens fed Elijah, and the sun stood still for Joshua and retreated for Hezekiah.
Nature has no spirit and no human intellect, but obeys immediately when God calls. Inanimate nature shames us.
We humans receive God=s grace and blessings, the world and all it contains were made for us, Christ died for our sins, we alone can have a personal relationship with Jesus. Yet we disobey.
The Holy Spirit draws people by making them want to come to Jesus. God does not tantalize us by giving us a desire and then not saving us. If we are willing, God is ready to save.
Imagine a Summit Conference in heaven convened by God to answer His question, AHow can I bring people back to me?@ Gabriel began, ABlow the trumpet. Arrest everyone=s attention, and tell them You love them.@
Michael was less patient, ALet=s have war and settle this issue once for all time.@ Enoch suggested a gentler plan, AFather, walk with them a while. They will come to know You love them.@
David recommended, ABuild a beautiful edifice. All the world will be awed and know You are God.@ Jeremiah=s advice was soft, AGo weep in their presence. Their hearts will break.@
Jesus interrupted the deliberations. AI will go live among them, and die in their place. Then they will see the depth of Our love for them.@ With heavy heart the Father replied, AEven if you do this, they still won=t come to Us.@
Then the Holy Spirit said, AJesus, if you do this, I will spend the rest of history drawing people to you.@ Thus the plan was determined.
We cannot save ourselves. Give up the effort. God has done it all for us. Our role is to receive by means of repentance and faith in Jesus.