28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do?
31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven.
33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” They said, “give us that bread every day.”
What is the general theme of the passage?
The crowd was fed but Jesus knows they still don’t understand the purpose of His miracles. They’ve found Him and have come up with a plan: encourage Jesus to “give us that bread every day” like Moses did, because we want “to perform God’s works, too.” “If you want us to believe in you” we need more! Jesus reminds them God is offering them a lifetime of more…because He is “the true bread from heaven.”
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus understands what it is the people are committed to — getting more for themself! Jesus is aware of their obvious needs. What they intend as manipulation, Jesus turns into the opportunity to tell them the truth they need to know.
What does it say about people?
Sin’s intent has found a way to program people with a split personality of faith that desires to A) “perform God’s works” at the same B) it looks for the reward it thinks it deserves.
Is there truth here for me?
There are sincere moments when I want “to perform God’s works, too,” but there is also evidence that sinful split personality still exists in me. The sting I experience when a really good deed I’ve done, in secret, is attributed to someone else is the reality of truth Jesus uses as opportunity to show me truth I need to know. I am not immune to trying to manipulate God for more…even in the sincere goodness of a secret moment of grace extended to someone else! The “True Bread of Heaven,” has seen the need of a heart locked in A) and B). Jesus has transformed that heart’s desire and an undeserved reward into the Life God has promised for those who “believe in the one he has sent, ”…you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “ABBA! Father!” Romans 8:15b
161 Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word.
162 I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and detest falsehood but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.
165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
166 I wait for your salvation, Lord, and I follow your commands.
167 I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly.
168 I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you
>§§§> Reading Right to Left but using Columns today
My heart trembles at your word
Like one who finds great spoil
But I love your law
I praise you for your righteous laws
And nothing can make them stumble
I follow your commands
for I love them greatly
for all my ways are known to you
Rulers persecute me without cause but
I rejoice in your promise
I hate and detest falsehood
Seven times a day
Great peace have those who love your law
And I wait for your salvation, Lord
I obey your statutes
I obey your precepts and your statutes
TAP ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO EXPAND IT FOR READING
Colossians 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ…22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
17 reality, however, is found in Christ
* 22 things that are all destined to perish with use
23 self-imposed worship…[ 3 versions]
– lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence NIV
– no value against fleshly indulgence NASB
– no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires TLB
Sometimes I begin by reading a passage of Scripture and jotting phrases that catch my attention [see above]. My go-to version is usually the NIV. I frequently re-read the same passage in a few other versions hoping slightly different words will gel into a focus. Then the hard part begins: to trust God really has something in that Word that will nourish faith in my daily life. I try to write a sentence or two based on those phrases. Today that focus seems to be either/or.
Either you learn how to live every day as if “reality, however, is found in Christ” OR all you’re investing yourself in is “self-imposed worship.” Is it possible, even likely, the very best spiritual nourishment we choose, reading the Bible, praying, service, church attendance and even writing a blog about faith, can become self-imposed worship of rules and regulations, not Christ?
We all know the answer to that question is yes. The Scripture is very discreet about how it words *verse 22 so I will be too. “Reality, however, [that’s] found in Christ” requires the same diligence of daily nourishment for our hearts that food does for our bodies. Both kinds of nourishment are subject to the same natural processes. Unless our investment is able to renew the reality of Christ in us and become our true worship that has real “effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires” it’s just the waste of “self-imposed worship.”
Dis·cern·ment – the ability to judge well.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Reality and healthy survival demands our being able to judge well to live well. That ability to judge well is what our Sovereign Judge, Resurrected Perfecter an Evidence of Truth have united to provide us. Defining the “division of soul and of spirit” requires more imagination than the grisly image Hebrews paints of a sword whacking through bone to reveal the living inner part, the marrow, that actually provides it needed nourishment.
Hebrews is saying the soul is like a boney structure we might identify as the biblical hard heart. The penetration of that boney structure has to happen to reveal the marrow, the Spirit, inside that hard heart. That allows the Spirit and the Word of God to become the needed nourishment of our growth, impact the intentions of our heart and teach us to judge well. It’s the total package.
Mark 7:5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders
instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
…14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”
…the missing verse 16 in the NIV is footnoted to be v4:23 “If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”
Before I’d even read this chapter I was struck by seeing the amount of “red” on the page. Jesus had a lot to say about their traditional observations but tradition wasn’t the problem. God had given man 10 very important commands to be traditionally observed. The problem had become letting outward religious actions take the place of an inward relationship to God.
That’s what makes Jesus’s use of food as an example so perfect. God designed us as an efficient system with both emotional and physical needs. Faith is still a dietary matter. It’s making the choice to let God himself be responsible for our nourishment and then tradition can become food that changes our heart not just a physical ritual temporarily taken in and then eliminated. “If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The image of that sharp, double-edged sword makes being changed by the word of God sound so brutal…and painful. Here’s an idea to consider about how that sword might be working in you as you read.
Have you ever read a familiar part of Scripture and been surprised to find you see something new and meaningful you’d never seen before?
I think that’s the sword at work cutting up the Word of God into smaller, easier-to-digest pieces for you. Thats how it becomes the nourishment needed to reunite your soul and your spirit. That’s complete renewal that penetrates your bones, your heart and your mind. That’s God’s Plan Be.