If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Exodus 27, John 6, Proverbs 3, Galatians 2. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read John 6.
John 6 opens with Jesus feeding 5,000 men by a miraculous act of creation (vv. 1-15). Like all of Jesus’ miracles, this one authenticated his message that he was Messiah as verse 15 indicates. This miracle also sets up Christ’s teaching that he is the bread of life. Those who followed him to Capernaum were looking for another free meal instead of the satisfaction of knowing God through the gift of eternal life in Jesus (vv. 26-29). You would think that anyone who saw Christ perform these miracles would immediately believe anything he said; why, then, did so many not believe (v. 36, 42)? The answer is in verse 44: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” It God’s irresistible grace drawing us to faith in Christ that caused you and me to believe in him for eternal life. This gives us great hope that our eternal salvation is not riding on us. God’s promise is not that, if our faith is good enough, we’ll be raised to eternal life at the end of human history. No, it is God’s irresistible grace that draws us to faith in Christ. And who receives this irresistible grace? Verse 37: “All those the Father gives me….” This is a statement of God’s unconditional election. Who, did Jesus say, “will come to me” (v. 37b)? The answer is “all those the Father gives me” (v. 37a); in other words, those whom God has chosen. This is why our salvation is secure in Christ. It is not dependent on our choosing God but on him choosing us and giving us to Christ in divine election (v. 37). It is not based on the quality of our faith but on “the Father [who] draws them” (v. 44). Finally, we should not be anxious about losing our place in Christ’s kingdom because Jesus said, “and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (v. 37c). This is what knowing Jesus is about. It is not about satisfying our human urges for food or materialism or whatever; that’s what the crowd who followed Jesus was looking for (v. 26). What Christ offers to us is so much more satisfying and permanent! It is “the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” This is a cause for worship as you read his word today; it’s also a reminder that there are people around us who are hungering for truth and longing for something that is permanently satisfying. God continues today to draw by irresistible grace those that he has given to the son in unconditional election; let’s look for opportunities to be the messengers of Christ, the bread of life, to those around us.
One more thing: if you’ve ever wondered why we use the term “Right Hand of Fellowship” to refer to our formal recognition of new church members, Galatians 2:9 gives the answer. This passage does not refer to Paul becoming a church member. It refers to the recognition of the apostles that Paul was also a legitimate apostle. Though Barnabas is also mentioned in verse 9, the key phrase is in the middle of verse 9 which says: “they recognized the grace given to me.” When we give the right hand of fellowship to new members, we are publicly recognizing the grace of God that was given to them in salvation. We are saying, "you are one of us" just as the apostles said to Paul "you are one of us [apostles]." That's why we borrow this term and this token of acceptance for new church members.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.