Dec 6, 2015

And I give them life everlasting!

Taking a look at John's Gospel chapters 6 and 10. About sheep and food :)

   After reading this article go directly to your Bible and read both chapters prayerfully. I think there are some similarities. I am using the Douay Rheims translation for this article.

As you read these scriptures THINK about what it means to "believe" in Christ.

Ask yourself, what is my Lord and Savior asking me to believe about him?

Do you believe his Words?

Do you doubt our Lords Words and means to effect your salvation?

Do you believe what our Lord says in John 6 is possible?

Take it and read! See for yourself. May our Lord open our eyes to him who is truth, amen.

John 10:

"Jesus therefore said to them again: Amen, amen I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers: and the sheep heard them not. I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep: And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep. 
I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me. As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd. Therefore doth the Father love me: because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it away from me: but I lay it down of myself, and I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of my Father." (Jan 10:7-18)

Jesus here in chapter 10 speaks about his followers which are likened to sheep. Christ is The good Shepherd. He will gather together his flock from among the Jews and Gentiles. He loves his sheep perfectly, watches over them perfectly, protects them perfectly, even gives his life up for them perfectly, and as you will see in John 6, feeds them perfectly!

His sheep know him personally and faithfully. Christ's flock believes in him and what he says!

"And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem: and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch. The Jews therefore came round about him, and said to him: How long dost thou hold our souls in suspense? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them: I speak to you, and you believe not: the works that I do in the name of my Father, they give testimony of me. But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice: and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them life everlasting; and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall pluck them out of my hand. That which my Father hath given me, is greater than all: and no one can snatch them out of the hand of my Father. I and the Father are one." ( Jn 10: 22-30)

"And I give them life everlasting"

Of course being a part of Christ's flock has it's perks. But, how will He give his sheep life everlasting? To answer this we can look back in John's gospel to chapter 6 and just let our Lord answer that.

John 6:
"Jesus answered them, and said: Amen, amen I say to you, you seek me, not because you have seen miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you. For him hath God, the Father, sealed." (Jan 6:26-27)

He tells those following him that all they want is more food. They are hungry sheep and look to their master to feed them, but they don't yet get how he will feed them. Here Jesus is setting the scene for his most difficult teaching, a teaching that will bring a schism. To have everlasting life we need everlasting food. Also, "Sealed" reminds me of "I give them life everlasting; and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall pluck them out of my hand," in chapter 10.

"They said therefore unto him: What shall we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered, and said to them: This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he hath sent. They said therefore to him: What sign therefore dost thou shew, that we may see, and may believe thee? What dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you; Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. They said therefore unto him: Lord, give us always this bread." (Jn 6:28-34)

Yes, Lord give us this bread always!

His followers still are looking to be fed. Some typology going on here. Moses who is a type of Christ fed his people with miraculous bread from heaven, so Christ also will. But, here Jesus wants his flock to understand that the food that he will provide is superior and much more miraculous then what Moses provided.

Note: In typology the type is never greater than what is being prefigured. For example. Moses is a type of Christ and Christ is greater than Moses. The manna which fed God's people is a type of the bread Christ will feed his sheep. If the manna was real, miraculous bread from heaven, then how much more real, and miraculous will Christ's bread be? In fact Christ specifically pointed out how much more superior his bread is in (Jn 6:28-34) already quoted. In other words. The manna wasn't a symbolic bread, it was real bread from heaven! It is biblically inconsistent to think that Christ's bread would be merely a symbol of what he is saying in John 6 when the manna was not.

THINK about that!

Keep reading: Here is the part where The good Shepherd feeds his sheep (followers) perfectly.

"And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, that you also have seen me, and you believe not." (Jn 6:35-36)

Speaking to those who did not hear his voice and believe. And those who believe (like sheep) will come to him. Jesus tells us that "he that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst." Certainly, he didn't only mean this to those who knew him personally then. What he is implying is a miraculous food that will feed his flock throughout all times, until he comes again. He also reminds us the importance of believing. Ask yourself what is he wanting us to believe in order to never thirst or be hungry? Obviously he isn't just talking about everyday ordinary food - food that parishes. There is so much more going on here.

"All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will not cast out. Because I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. Now this is the will of the Father who sent me: that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again in the last day. And this is the will of my Father that sent me: that every one who seeth the Son, and believeth in him, may have life everlasting, and I will raise him up in the last day." (Jn  6:37-40)

Our Lord is asking us to see him, and believe!

More doubters and unbelievers. There are some in chapter 10 too in verse 19 and so on. 

Keep reading It's getting good!

"The Jews therefore murmured at him, because he had said: I am the living bread which came down from heaven. And they said: Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then saith he, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered, and said to them: Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him; and I will raise him up in the last day. It is written in the prophets: And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard of the Father, and hath learned, cometh to me. Not that any man hath seen the Father; but he who is of God, he hath seen the Father. Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life." (Jn 6:41- 47)

Believe what Lord?

 "I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (Jn 6:48-52)

Have you ever wondered at that? More of that typology going on here. Remember when I said, "Moses who is a type of Christ fed his people with miraculous bread from heaven, so Christ also will." And, "Jesus wants his flock to understand that the food that he will provide is superior and much more miraculous then what Moses provided."

Jesus explains further with a more intensified language and more typology.

He's serious folks!

"Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever." (Jn 6:53-58)

Schism anyone?

When we continue reading in John 6 we see that Jesus has created yet another dissension as seen in John 10:19. Although here in John 6 we see that it is more like a schism. The first schism among our Lord's followers and it was the Words of Christ (because they didn't believe) that provoked it.

Ask yourself: If our Lord was only speaking symbolically, and actually didn't intend to feed his sheep his very own flesh and blood then why would he a) use such seriously strong language and b) risk a schism among his followers? Notice he didn't call them back, our Lord accepted the schism, because his Words are serious he meant what he said, and if his teachings cause a schism because his so called sheep don't want to believe then so be it!

He's not going to make us believe and he is certainly not going to change his teachings to fit our comfort level, or make it easier to believe. Our Lord means what he says and he offers us a choice to accept his teachings or not.

"This saying is hard, and who can hear it?"

"Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it? But Jesus, knowing in himself, that his disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you? If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning, who they were that did not believe, and who he was, that would betray him. And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father." (Jn 6:60-65)

His followers were having trouble with this teaching and for good reason. Many of them were Jews and the eating of blood and human flesh is forbidden! They wondered if he was for real, and how it was going to be possible. Was he talking cannibalism? Jesus tells us that it is God who will help us to understand and it is by the power of God that we will believe.

We must ask God to help us with this!

They just walked away?

"After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him. Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus answered them: Have not I chosen you twelve; and one of you is a devil? Now he meant Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon: for this same was about to betray him, whereas he was one of the twelve.(Jn 6:66-71)

They "walked no more with him." Here after he explained this hard to understand teaching (telling them that somehow he would give them his real flesh and blood as food) many just walked away.  Many of his disciples just couldn't wrap their heads around it so they just left. They lacked faith in Christ's words and did not believe and joined the schism. Our Lord reminds us later in John's Gospel about belief, "blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed." (Jn 20:29) Christ wants faith!

"To whom shall we go?"

To be fair to the text, not all of Christ's followers walked away doubting and disbelieving. Some stayed despite their lack of understanding. They just loved our Lord and believed in him!

They didn't understand how, but they knew that if that is what he says then I am sure he has a plan. Peter and the twelve just believed and trusted! They recognized the means that Christ would use to grant them and us eternal life and they trusted that it would play out according to God's plan.

Ask yourself: Do you trust and believe like the Apostles and thos who followed their lead?

Or do you doubt and disbelieve like those who walked away?

Ok, so what about verse 63? 

"It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life." 

Many people use this verse to debunk everything our Lord said as literal and apply to his words a spiritual meaning only. They may say, "see he was talking symbolically the whole time and verse 63 proves it."

But, does it? Our Lord says, "It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing." First of all there are a couple things going on in this verse I admit, but it's not Jesus saying, "relax I was only speaking symbolically."

"It is the spirit that quickeneth." We are being reminded that this miraculous, spiritual food that Christ will give his flock is made possible by the Holy Spirit, it is the Spirit that will give life to his words and make this possible. It is the Spirit of God that will help us to believe Christ's Words. Just like he said, in verse 65 and elsewhere. It is God and the Holy Spirit that will give us the Grace possible to understand.

"the flesh profiteth nothing" Some people may read that part and take it to mean that Christ wasn't really talking about giving us his real flesh and blood to eat, only symbolically. But, I argue that's not the case. They assume that "flesh" here is referring to Christ's flesh. Are we to believe that Christ's flesh profits nothing? Let me remind you that the same flesh that our Lord says he will give for the life of the world as spiritual food is the same flesh that profited forgiveness of sins on the cross! And the same flesh that was assumed into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God!

What our Lord meant (and you can take it or leave it) was that without His Flesh as our True and Spiritual food, our flesh profits nothing! We can do nothing and are nothing without out our Lord who is the way, the truth and the life! (Jn 14:6) Remember what our Lord said earlier, "...Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you." (Jn 6:53)

We may not fully understand how, but we know why. And, we are told that this is how He will feed his sheep. Will we listen to his voice, and believe?

Will we follow him wherever he asks us to go?

Jesus Truly Present in The Blessed Sacrament of The Eucharist, I believe, help my unbelief, and the unbelief of those who want to follow you. Amen

Words From The Church...

 "At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us." (Catechism of The Catholic Church 1323 Article 3: The Sacrament of The Eucharist)

"At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord's command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: "He took bread. . . ." "He took the cup filled with wine. . . ." The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation. Thus in the Offertory we give thanks to the Creator for bread and wine,154 fruit of the "work of human hands," but above all as "fruit of the earth" and "of the vine" - gifts of the Creator. The Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek, who "brought out bread and wine," a prefiguring of her own offering." (CCC 1333 also in Article 3) 

Sincerely, Joanne

If you like this or just want more food for thought please see my other studies like this one as well as the link for the Catechism which I highly recommend.

Also please subscribe with your email to the right of this blog and share with your friends below.

Thanks in advance!

Eucharist in Scripture Study Guide

John 6 New World Translation

Article 3: CCC The Sacrament of The Eucharist.

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