Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Eighteen: Bread of Life and False Traditions   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible
Story

Chapter Eighteen:

Bread of Life and False Traditions




JESUS SPEAKS ABOUT HIMSELF AND MANY FALL AWAY

     The people who had come across the sea of Galilee, mostly
the ones from the five thousand whom had been miraculously fed,
finally did locate Jesus and said to Him, "Teacher, when did you
arrive here, we've been searching for you."
     "Truly, it is indeed so very true, you do not come here to
me because of the signs and miracles and teaching that I do, but
because you ate your fill of the food I provided for you from the
loaves. You should not be working so hard for the food that is
physical and soon is gone, but for the food that endures to
enteral life, which I the Son of man can give you, for on Him,
that is me, God the Father has set His seal of approval."
     At hearing this the people answered, "Well alright then,
what must we specifically do to be doing the work of God?"
     "This is the work of God, that you BELIEVE IN Him whom He
has sent," replied Jesus to them.
     "Well, what sign can you give us that we can see and believe
in you?" they quickly answered Jesus, and continued, "What work
do you perform?  Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as
it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.' "
     In answer to this Jesus said, "Of a truth, I say to you, it
was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives
to you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that
which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world."
     "Great," the crowd said, "then Lord, give us this bread for
all times."
     Jesus looked at them, knowing they hadn't understood what He
was meaning, and said, "I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE; he who will come
to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never
thirst. But I've told you already, you have seen me and yet you
still do not believe in me."

     These people were indeed pretty dumb, as "dumb as a fence
post" as the saying goes. They had been witness to miracle after
miracle, and had been witness to the five loaves and two fish
that Jesus had blessed and how it had fed five thousand people,
till they were all full and satisfied. They were still looking
for some "sign" or something from Jesus to back up what He was
saying. They just did not see the light. And part of why they did
not Jesus goes on to tell us.

     "All that the Father gives me will come to me; and he that
comes to me I will certainly not turn them away. For I have come
down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him
who has sent me. And this is the will of Him who has sent me,
that I should loose nothing of all that He has given me, but will
resurrect them all at the last day. For this is also the will of
my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in Him
should have eternal life; and I will raise them up to life
eternal at the last day."

     Yes, it is the Father that must call people, take away their
blindness as we have seen, draw them to Himself through and by
the means of His Holy Spirit. All that the Father calls to Christ
Jesus, the Father wants to see in the resurrection, wants to give
eternal life to in the resurrection at the last day of this age,
when Jesus returns at the sound of the last trumpet, to establish
the literal Kingdom of God upon earth for a 1,000 years and then
for all eternity as Revelation chapters 19 through 22 show us.

     The Jews now began to snicker, then they murmured at Jesus
because He had said, "I am the bread which came down from
heaven."  They went even further and said among themselves, "Why
is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother
we know? Is not this man, just a man like all others born of a
father and mother, how does He known declare to us that He has
come down from heaven?"
     Jesus knew what they were saying and told them, "Do not talk
and discuss among yourselves these things that you cannot
understand. For no one can come to me UNLESS the Father DRAWS
him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in
the prophets, 'And they shall all to taught by God.' So, every
one who had heard and learned from the Father does come to me. I
do not mean that people have seen the Father who have learned
from Him. Only those who have come from where God is have seen
the Father. But it is truth, very real truth, that he who
believes has eternal life. I AM the BREAD of LIFE!"

     We have seen in the previous recent chapters, and we shall
see again in coming chapters, and we do see here in clear words,
that the Father has a PLAN of SALVATION. It is His plan to teach
every human who has ever been created to know about Himself
and Christ Jesus. All people will sooner or later be taught of
God, but for some it is not in this first physical life time.
ONLY those who are drawn and called by the Father can come to
Christ. The rest are left in spiritual blindness, for another
time, another day of salvation, when they will be raised to
physical life and the prophecy of the last verses of Revelation
chapter 20 will be a reality.

     Back to the words of Jesus:

     "Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and they died.
This is the bread that comes down from heaven, that a person may
eat it and not die. I am the LIVING bread which came down from
heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and
the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my
flesh."
     On hearing these last words the Jews disputed among
themselves saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 
They were confused and bewildered at what Jesus was saying, so
Jesus went on to confuse and puzzle them even more with these
words, "Of truth I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the
Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you. He who
eat my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will
raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my
blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I
live because of the Father, so the person who eats me will live
because of me. This is the true bread that comes down from
heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died. He who eats this
true bread will live forever."

     Now, Jesus said all these words to the general public that
was in the synagogue, as He taught  at the city of Capernaum.

     These words even puzzled some of Jesus' disciples like as
never before. Some said among themselves, "These are words hard
to understand, who can listen to them?"
     Jesus knew that even some of His disciples murmured at the
words He had spoken. He knew what was going on in their minds, so
He spoke to them saying, "Are you offended by the words I've just
spoken? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending
where He was before? Here is the meaning of my words. It is the
Spirit that gives life, the flesh is not important, it will not
help; the WORDS that I have spoken to you in all my teachings,
they are spirit and they are life. But some of you I know, do
not believe."
     Jesus knew all along who really did not believe and who
would betray and go against Him. So He said to them, "This is why
I told you that no one can come to me UNLESS it is GRANTED to
them by the Father."

     In one sense Jesus may have had in mind His followers
partaking in the NT Passover by "eating His flesh" (the bread)
and "drinking His blood" (the fruit of the vine), but only in
symbol form, not in any literal sense as the bread and wine
becoming His literal body when eaten, as the largest "Christian"
church on earth teaches. Here we again see (covered in chapter
15) the ones who believed only ON the surface with Jesus, and
ones who believed in a deeper IN or INTO Jesus. The only "on"
Jesus believers, thought He was fine and good as long as He
performed to their wishes and desires, as long as He spoke words
that were not too far out in left field, to their minds. 
     Believing ON Jesus is just a surface thing, it doesn't go
down very deep. Many can believe that Jesus did live as a human
being, that He was a mighty instrument in preaching words about
God ... why most of Islam teaches that Jesus was "A" prophet of
God, but it goes no further than that. That kind of belief is ON
Jesus, as acknowledging He lived, preached, and died. Believing
IN Jesus, means you believe INTO, or WITHIN, Jesus. It is a DEEP
belief that not only believes Christ existed, but believes He
existed as God in the flesh, that He was the VERY SON of God the
Father, a human that was sinless, that lived a life FAR above
what ANY other human being has ever lived. And it is a belief in
Jesus that transforms the very mind, thoughts, words, and
actions, of the one so believing. 
     For further expounding on this DEEP INWARD belief I refer
you back to chapter 15 and the sub-heading "Jesus Remembers Those
Who Did Believe And Repent."

     After all these words from Jesus, it was just too much for
some of His own disciples, and they drew back, packed their bags
so to speak, and departed from Him, no longer wanting to be a
part of those who went about the towns and villages with Him.
     Seeing this, the departing of some of His disciples, He
looked at the chosen twelve and said, "Will you also go away and
stop following me?" Simon Peter was the one to answer for the
twelve, "Lord, to whom shall we go? It is only you that has the
words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to
know, that you are the Holy One sent by God."
     Looking intently at the twelve Jesus then said, "Was it not
I that chose you, the twelve, yet one of you is a devil."
     Jesus was thinking of and referring to Judas the son of
Simon Iscariot, for it was he, one of the twelve, who would later
betray Him to the religious authorities, who would desire to have
Him put to death (John 6:25-71).

     If we notice carefully the words Jesus said here, we can see
clearly that He taught very plainly that He came from heaven,
from the Father. He taught that He existed in heaven with the
Father before He came to earth as a flesh and blood human being.
     We see that Jesus was not meaning to say people should try
to literally eat and drink His blood. But some thought that was
exactly what He was meaning, or they just found it so hard to now
understand His words, and so kind of revolting, they just walked
away from Him, and no longer were counted among His disciples.
But, it was all as Jesus had said, only those called by the
Father, only those who were being led by the Holy Spirit, having
their minds opened to the truths of God, that could come to Jesus
and stay with Him in any case. And for them the words He taught
and making them a part of their lives, was eating His flesh and
drinking His blood. Believing IN Jesus as well as believing
ON Jesus, would mean they had eternal life, and would in the last
day be resurrected to immortal glory in life eternal.

FALSE TRADITIONS CONDEMNED BY JESUS

     As usual the scribes and Pharisees were not too far away
from Jesus at all times. The Pharisees were in every community,
they were the "religious party of the people" but the scribes
were mainly found in Jerusalem. When some of the scribes came
from Jerusalem they banded together with the local Pharisees.
They happened one day to see Jesus' disciples eating food with
unwashed hands, and they called this sort of thing "defiled
hands." The Pharisees had taught the people to wash their hands
before eating, but this washing of hands was not what we may do
before we eat. It was a ceremonial type of washing, a ritual
process, washing all the way up to the elbow. When they came
from the marketplace, before eating, they would go through a
ritual of purifying themselves with water. It was a somewhat
elaborate washing system. There were many other purifying and
washing rites that they did with various cups and pots and pans
and vessels of bronze, even tables and beds. Well, it was all
traditions that the Pharisees and scribes had added to the
religious system for the people. It was way and far beyond what
God had ever instructed in the Old Testament. It was all man made
rules and regulations, but passed off as something God had
decreed to be done. Of course God had decreed no such practices.
It was all false traditions that had no bearing on true holiness
with God.

     The pompous scribes and Pharisees, believing their
traditions were God sanctioned, came to Jesus and said, "We see
here that your disciples eat with unwashed hands. Why do they do
this and eat with defiled hands? Why do they not follow the
traditions of the elders?"
     Jesus answered with some exasperation, and a little anger,
"Oh it is of a truth that Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites,
religious pretenders, when he wrote 'This people honor and
worship me with their lips, but their heart is FAR from me. In
VAIN do they worship me, teaching as doctrines of God what is
merely the precepts and invented ideas of men.'  And what do you
do as a way of life? You leave off doing the commandments
of God, while you hold fast to the traditions of men."

     He further went on to say, "You sure do have a fine way of
rejecting the commandments of God, in order to keep your own many
made traditions. For Moses wrote, 'Honor your father and mother';
and 'He who speaks evil of his father or mother, let him surely
die'; but you say, 'If a man tells his father or mother, what you
would have gained from me is Corban' (that is, given to God) -
then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or
mother, so you make void the commandments of God through
your traditions which you hand on to people. And many such like
things you do to cast away what God has command."

     What does this thing about "Corban" mean, and how did it
void the commandment of God about honoring your parents? This is
how it went. If someone had say $10,000 or maybe a $100,000 they
could "dedicate" it to the "church" - which in this case was the
Pharisee religious synagogue or "religious work" of the
Pharisees. They did not have to give it over to them at the time
it was dedicated to them, it could be dedicated to them
any number of years in advance to the actual handing it to them.
Maybe it was dedicated with the stipulation they would not
receive the money (land, house, etc. that could be sold
for money) till they died. If then, their father or mother became
in need of physical help, the child could say, "Well I cannot
give you any of my money, or sell the land for money to help you,
because I've dedicated it to the 'church' " (the Pharisee church
in this specific case of our Gospel story).
     And so with this clever move on part of the Pharisees, based
upon man made rules and "theology" traditions, they had people
disobeying the very clear commands of God, by following their
self made religious traditions.
     And that was only one example Jesus gave. He said that they
did many other such things with their invented traditions, which
also had people disobeying other commandments of God.

     Jesus called the people to Him and said, "Listen and
understand, it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a
man, but it is what comes out of his mouth that defiles him."
     His disciples came to Him and told him how the Pharisees
were offended by what He had spoken. Jesus simply replied, "Every
plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.
Just let them alone, let them be, they are blind leaders, and if
a blind man should try and lead another blind man, they will both
fall into the ditch or into a pit."

     Sometimes to teach and uphold the commandments of God,
either by word or by action, and to reveal the falsehoods of a
so-called "religion" towards God, it will offend some people.
Sometimes there is no way around it, the truth often cuts people
and they may get offended, even if the truth is presented in the
kindest way possible. Though I doubt Jesus was trying to be
gentle and kind here with the Pharisees.  He was probably
stone faced and very upset in the tone of His voice, as He
uttered these words to the Pharisees. They were after all
pretending to be "godly religious leaders" and Jesus knew
how false and damaging was much of their theology. This was not
the first time the Pharisees accused Jesus of not being truly and
correctly "religious." Now, on Jesus' part it was time to call a
spade a spade, and as they say, "to let them have it between the
eyes."
     Sometimes in life, situations arise when it can be no other
way. This was one of those times.

     But, even the disciples were puzzled again by the parable,
not offended as the Pharisees were, but still puzzled, and they
asked Jesus to explain clearly what He was meaning.
     "Are you still without understanding?" Jesus said as He was
answering their bewilderment. "Do you not see that whatsoever
goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and so passes on and
out? But that which comes out of the mouth, really comes from the
heart and mind, and this defiles the person. For out of the heart
comes evil thoughts, hate, adultery, sexual immorality, theft,
false witness, slander, coveting, deceit, pride, an evil eye,
silly foolishness. These and other such things are what defiles
a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a
person" (Mat.15: 1-20; Mark 7: 1-23).

     We need to note here that the whole context is talking about
"washed hands" or "unwashed hands" as we eat food. It has nothing
whatsoever to do with God's clean and unclean foods laws. The
context is clearly the Pharisees disputing with Jesus over His
disciples not washing their hands, in their special ritual way,
before eating food. The Pharisees put more importance on making
sure there was not one speck of dirt on the hands before eating
food, than some of the commandments of God. Jesus was showing
where the real priority should be.

     Some translations at the end of Mark 7: 19 say, "Thus he
declared all foods clean." The translators want you to think this
is part of the original Greek, and that Jesus was making void the
clean and unclean foods laws that God gave in Leviticus 11 and
Deuteronomy 14. But such words are not found in the original
Greek. The Greek reads, "...but into the belly, and into the
waste-bowl goes out, purging all the foods."
     Yes, of course, if some dirt is on your hands and you eat
without washing them, some dirt may get on the food and into your
mouth, but the body's automatic cleaning system will take care of
the matter and clean it out through the bowels. Some dirt in the
bowels from food does not defile what comes out of the mouth via
the thoughts and intent of the heart and mind. Again, the whole
context here is concerning washing the hands or not washing the
hands before eating food with your hands, and has nothing to do
with God's clean and unclean food laws.

              .................................

Written October 2002


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