Text: “For the life of the flesh is in the Blood; and I (God) hath given it to you upon the altar (the Cross) to make an Atonement for your souls; for it is the Blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”
Good morning, Spiritually discerning Christian! When you read the Holy Bible you read with God-given Spiritual discernment as opposed to the natural discernment of the unregenerate soul. It is this God-given gift of Spiritual discernment that makes the vast difference - the Eternal difference - in what you read and understand and what the unsaved natural soul reads yet completely misunderstands. Such a vital understanding means the difference between going to spend Eternity in Heaven with Christ, and being cast into the ’…lake which burneth with fire…’ Praise God for Spiritual discernment!
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. BUT the natural man (the Spiritually unregenerate man) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are Spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:12-14)
This vital concept of Spiritual discernment is well illustrated in our Journey in John’s Gospel today. Today’s selected Bible reading above clearly depicts the concept at work in the minds of the Jewish crowd from Tiberias, when they totally misconstrued what Christ was seeking to teach them concerning Himself as ‘the Bread of Life’.
“The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man (Jesus) give us His flesh to eat?” (V.52)
They immediately thought that the Lord Jesus was literally encouraging them to practice cannibalism: (v.)‘…the practice of eating one’s own kind…’; Cannibal: (n.)‘any eater of the flesh of its own species…’ (Chambers Dictionary, page 237.)
This is what renowned Bible Scholar Matthew Henry says on the subject: “Christ, having thus spoken of Himself as the Bread of Life, and of faith as the work of God, comes more particularly to show what of Himself is this ‘bread’, namely His flesh, and that to believe is to eat of that, (Vs. 51-58) where He still prosecutes the METAPHOR of food.
“Observe here, the preparation of this food: ‘…the bread that I will give is My flesh (V.51), the flesh of the Son of man and His Blood (V.53). His flesh is meat indeed, and His Blood is drink indeed (V.55), observe also the participation of this food: we must eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink of His Blood (V.53)…This is certainly a parable or figurative discourse, wherein the actions of the soul upon things Spiritual and Divine are represented by bodily actions about things sensible, which made the truths of the Christ more intelligible to some, and less so to others (Mark 4:11-12)…” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, page 1955)
“And He (Christ Jesus) said unto them (His twelve disciples), Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but unto them that are without (the unregenerate), all these things are done in parables; that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” (Mark 4:11-12) (Isaiah 6:8-10)
The ‘meat’ and the ‘blood’ that the Lord Jesus was metaphorically, symbolically, and figuratively speaking of, was His own pure Body and sinless Blood which He had come to give as an Atonement Sacrifice upon the Cross at Calvary to pay the redeeming ransom for our vile sins! (John 3:16)
However, not being granted God’s gift of saving faith, the multitude in question did not understand, could not discern, the Spiritual implications of such a profound, Divine and Eternal concept; they could not perceive the Spiritual message, and thus could not receive God’s Salvation and ‘…live for ever…’ (V.58) Christ alone is God’s way of Eternal Salvation.
“For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the Word preached did NOT profit them, not being mixed with faith (‘…the gift of God…’) in them that heard it.” (Hebrews 4:2)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Rejoice therefore, discerning Christian! For if you are reading and understanding this Bible Lesson - you are living proof of the facts it contains.
Thought: ‘Take, eat, (symbolically) this is My Body, which is broken for you, this do in remembrance of
Me.’ (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)