A crowd of people asked Jesus what it takes to please God. Jesus told them to put their trust in him, because he was sent by God. The crowd wanted Jesus to do some sort of miracle in order to prove that he was worthy of their trust. Ironically, Jesus had fed more than 5,000 people with only 5 barley loaves and 2 fish just the day before (John 6). If that was not enough, then miracles would not convince them, so he taught them.
Jesus told the crowd that he is the Living Bread which came down from heaven in order to give life to the world. He came down from heaven to do God’s will. Jesus assured them that whoever trusts in him will have eternal life. He told them that on the Last Day he will raise up all who trust him.
They were skeptical. They began to grumble and complain about Jesus’ teaching. After all, they knew Jesus’ family. Wasn’t he the son of Joseph and Mary? How could he now say that he came down from heaven?
The people rejected Jesus because they could think of him only as a man, the son of a carpenter, not the Son of God. Apparently they were unaware of Jesus’ miraculous birth. They knew nothing about the wonderful events in Bethlehem a little more than 30 years earlier. They were blind to the power of his miracles and unmoved by the authority of his teaching.
Many of the people in that crowd were unable to see Jesus as more than a man. The idea that he came from heaven to give his life for the life of the world was offensive to them. But some who were listening to Jesus that day did not walk away. They knew that he was the only one with the words of eternal life. They had come to trust and to know that Jesus is the Holy One of God.
Christmas is a time to remember that Jesus is more than a man, that he is the Living Bread which came down from heaven, from God. Many people still cannot see him as anything more than a man, and so they have no real interest in the truth of Christmas. But some have come to trust and to know that Jesus is the Holy One of God, and we look forward to Christmas because it reminds us that Jesus came down from heaven to do God’s will, to give us eternal life. Merry Christmas!
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men,
Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR