September 2, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“Then they asked Him, ‘What must we do to do the works which God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.’ So they inquired further, ‘What sign will You give to validate this word You have given so that we will know it is true and can believe in it? What will You do?’” (John 6.28-30)
The theme of John 6 might be summed up in this way “What comes down will go up.” It does sound completely opposite of how we have learned the phrasing which says “What goes up must come down.” John 6 shows the true “gravity” of the human condition as it relates to our spiritual lives. We have this tendency to shape our thoughts on God and eternal life with the images and understanding of the world in which we live. Jesus shapes our thinking about how to relate with God with the images and understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven. We are made in the image of God. We dare not believe we can create God in the image of humanity.
I pray we will read and take to heart the thrust of John 6 in the light of “what comes down must go up.” We are living in a time and age where hunger is a serious problem. Listen to the “blame game” politics long enough and you will start to hear your stomachs growl with emptiness. It is a set up for the Deceiver to take power with a promise to resolve all the issues of the world and bring a time of peace and prosperity. And, I would alert you to the truth that, from the Christian perspective, we believe that there will be One who will seek to unite all people and bring peace to the world as well. So, how will we know which is which? This is the basis of the people’s question of Jesus as quoted in John 6.30 which repeats their thinking “So, what will you do?” They were begging for evidence they could believe in so they could believe in Him. They desired for Jesus to prove Himself to be who others said He was. Of course, the enemies of the faith desired the same thing but for the opposite reason. They wanted proof for conviction to try and discredit Jesus. Their Plan B was to eliminate Him altogether. So, I say again, “How do we know which is which?”
Jesus’ answer was “What comes down must go up.” The Deceiver cannot lift praises to God unless he would do so in Jesus’ name. Jesus is the only “One” who has come down from Heaven and then be lifted up. And God is the author of that blessing. Jesus reminded the inquiring people of this truth by saying “I AM the bread of life which comes down from Heaven.” He was alluding to the blessing of manna as in the days of Moses. The people brought that image up to Jesus. It was a part of their challenge to Jesus to prove who He was that they could believe in. They were asking for a sign as Moses had given a sign. Jesus corrected their thinking by reminding them, “Moses did not give the Hebrew children in the wilderness bread to eat by day nor quail to eat at night. God did!” And so God was providing “manna” from Heaven in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus didn’t have to give a sign because Jesus was the sign. The world could not define Him. He was defining the world. The truth about the world is based on the rubric of the righteousness of God.
So, as we watch the drama of the world unfold in the days ahead, let us do so with the wisdom which comes from above. The Deceiver, the false leadership, will blame others and proclaim Himself/Herself/Themselves as the solution. There is but one solution and that is “believing in the One whom God has sent.” And we will know this One to be true because all that He says and does will glorify God and not Himself. Interesting then that the people ask of Jesus, even demand of Him, “Moses did this so what will You do?” Jesus answers simply “I will do the will of My Father in Heaven who sent Me.” If God is in Heaven and sent Jesus to the world then what comes down must go up. Consider some of these ups as the evidence of Jesus’ ministry and His call to us to seek the truth, pursue righteousness and trust God:
- He lifted up the bread and fish asking for God’s blessing.
- He lifted up His eyes to the heavens and prayed.
- He lifted up the bread and cup of the Last Supper.
- He was lifted up on the cross.
- He was raised up from the grave.
- He ascended, rose up, from their presence to take His seat at the right hand of God.
There are others you know of for yourself and can read in the gospels. These are just some examples to help promote our focal point on Jesus as “the way, the truth and the life.” They will stand as evidence against the one who will say “I have a plan for your problem” when in fact it is only a plan of “self promotion.” We must be wise for these are those days. Beware of those who “blame and proclaim.” Consider those who “proclaim God and come in the name of Jesus the Christ.”
Father, You are true to Your Word and we are blessed by it. Your Word is righteous and filled with life. Your desire is for our good and the welfare of our soul as Your first priority. We know this does not exclude the “rest” of who we are but sets our minds on higher things trusting that all which is needed shall be provided. We lift You up in our praise and our prayers. We do so in Jesus’ name who was lifted up as well for our salvation and raised up for our resurrection. Hear our prayers, o Lord, we ask- AMEN!