Monday, 14 April 2014

"... DOING THE WORKS OF GOD" Bible Reading Thoughts for April 14th


     In John ch. 6 today we have an elaborate account  of the feeding of a multitude with loaves and fishes.  The story is familiar to us, it is the one miracle of Jesus that is recorded in all 4 gospels.  Afterwards they cross Galilee, it is evident that Jesus has a great number of followers  (would be disciples!) at this stage; he chides them, “Do not labour for the food that perishes but for the food that endures to eternal life” [v.27]
     Most do not get the point!  Do we?  Many are very interested in being able to do remarkable things, “they said to him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’” [v.28] They find the answer of Jesus unsatisfactory – do we?  They do not get his point when he says, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” [v.29]  Belief is proved by what that belief causes us to think and then do!  Jesus next develops the concept of spiritual bread in contrast to what they have recently taken part in.   They only listen to him, we could say, with one ear; only picking up what they want to hear!  It has become the same in a sense in these days, sort of reading with one eye!
     Jesus proceeds to tell them, “This is the will of my Father that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” [v.40]  How do we get our minds into true focus so that we ‘look on’ Jesus in a way pleasing to the Father?  The next verse tells us, “So the Jews grumbled about him …” [v.41] and Jesus says, “Do not grumble among yourselves.  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.  And I will raise him (or her) up on the last day.” [v.44]   
    Sadly, “after this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him” [v.66]  Let us think – what kind of person does the Father, the great and utterly wonderful Creator of all things “draw (to) him”  through the work of his Son?
      What do we read in the last chapter in Isaiah!?  “… this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” [v.2]  With what attitude of mind do we read the word of God?
Proverbs 24:13-14 we read of the goodness of honey, and what it's effects symbolises spiritually:
"My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: SO SHALL the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul..."

We have a wonderful example of the powerful effect honey can have on the body in Jonathan (1 Sam 14:25-31), Saul had commanded that no one should eat that day they were fighting the Philistines:
"the men of Israel were DISTRESSED" and were "very FAINT", they were battling the Philistines (symbolic of sin), and because they had not taken food to sustain themselves they were in a very distressed state due to the battle.

Jonathan unknowing of the commandment of Saul, found honey and took of it, the effect on him was powerful:
"he (Jonathan) put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in an HONEYCOMB, and put his hand to his mouth; and his EYES were ENLIGHTENED"

Then, because of what he experienced through the effect of the honey on him, he wanted others to do the same, as he could see the sad state they were in:
"see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been ENLIGHTENED, because I tasted a little of this honey"

As we fight the good fight, we must continue to take in the daily bread of the word, that we do not become distressed or faint, and that our spiritual eyes be ENLIGHTENED. Also, let us be as Jonathan and encourage others to do the same.