May 18

John 6:41-71

Starting in verse 41, we continue to see Jesus speaking about Himself as the bread of life. He speaks of eating His flesh and drinking His blood – well, you can imagine the response. A man seems to be talking about cannilbalism to them, a disgusting suggestion of His followers eating Him. However, Jesus wasn’t talking about a literal digestion of his body and blood, but of a spiritual covenant. When we take communion, we are remembering that we are becoming one with Him, RECEIVING IN OUR HEARTS what happened to Him in His body on the cross and His blood that was spilled out.

It’s not surprising that people did not receive what Jesus had to say when they could not receive the revelation of a spiritual truth, but rather tripped up over the mystery shared through a natural illustration of eating flesh and drinking blood, so many people turned away from the Christ. As a leader, it is never easy when people walk away from you. One, it is a rejection of you as a leader, in this case they turned away from following Jesus. Two, it is a rejection of your corporate vision, in this case, Christ’s kingdom.

Jesus knew His statement would not be understood or received. This is important – in verse 63, Jesus says, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” He is speaking of a spiritual interpretation of what He said. Then He says in verse 64, “There are some of you who do not believe” – speaking in mysteries on purpose so that those who would not receive Him would not receive revelation of Him. This isn’t the only time Jesus spoke in mysteries; He often spoke in parables. Why? It took an open heart to receive Christ and an open heart to receive revelation. If their heart was closed, they would not understand.

Jesus didn’t find His value in whether people received or rejected who He was and what He was here to do. His confidence was in His Father. Together, the Trinity ruled the Universe. There was no insecurity in Jesus.

Jesus did love people and His purpose was to save those who would receive Him. In versed 67-69, He says to His inner circle, “Do you also want to go away?” After the message of being the Bread of Life, Peter answers about eternal life, saying, “You have the words of eternal life.” Peter’s heart was open to receive both Jesus and His kingdom. Peter also said, “We have come to believe and know that You are the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of the living God.” They disciples understood this was a spiritual saying. The disciples understood that Jesus had to be received in their hearts.

In verse 70, Jesus speaks regarding Judas, knowing this man would betray Him, a member of His own team. Abandonment is rejection through withdrawal. Betrayal is something different. Betrayal is when someone who knows you and chooses to try to harm or destroy you.

Many people have experienced both abandonment and betrayal by people who were once part of their group, church, or business for a long period of time. Of course, some move on simply because of a change in life or an opportunity those leaders could not provide, but some are people who are hurting and broken that walk away anytime they feel uncomfortable. Some are arrogant and think they know more than others, separating themselves from a group, and at times, trying to separate others from the group, too. Some are rebellious, unable to submit to authority or to work with others. NO ONE IS PERFECT. We live in a world where we all miss it from time to time. We need to receive and extend grace, forgiving ourself and one another. We need safe places to heal and be restored. We need spiritual authority that will teach and correct us in love. We need to learn and keep on learning with a humble, teachable spirit.

Let’s remember, even if people decide to walk out, bring division, or refuse to submit and try to fight you, but we’ll all end up at the same destination for eternity. Let’s do our best to go after Jesus and live our lives with spiritual understanding and maturity.

2 Kings 20-22

Hezekiah’s life was extended by 15 years because he prayed and asked for healing.

In 2 Kings 20:5 it says, “I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you.” God takes notice of every tear we cry (Psalm 56:8; 2 Timothy 1:4). Isaiah ministered to the king, and God gave a sign on a sundial, either moving the shadow or moving the sun!

In chapter 21, we read how Manasseh, king of Judah did evil, and in chapter 22, we read about Josiah, king of Judah did what was right. Let’s remember that the prophet gave a prophecy about Josiah in 1 Kings 31:2. He was the youngest appointed to the throne, only eight years old. When he was 26, Josiah inquired about the Scripture, and when he learned what God wanted, he repented. Josiah brought the last great revival to Judah in the old testament, cleaning out the temple and restoring worship. If we ever see that we are living in a way that isn’t right in God’s sight, then we should be like Josiah and be quick to turn around and obey.

Huldah is a prophetess, a woman in the office of a prophet, speaking for God and making just decisions. She was a great help for young Josiah, hearing from the Lord and sharing those messages with the king. A word from a prophet should confirm what God has already put in your heart.

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