What did HE say? (continued)
Bread of Life (Part 4)
We have spent considerable time exploring the ideas behind the words that play so important a part in Christianity and especially in this part of the Gospel of John. Believe is the singularly most difficult word to deal with in this context. Although there are numerous sayings from the Master outlining the Way and the Path to the Kingdom there are many who believe and preach that faith is the way. These same are most often those that also believe and teach that the Kingdom is for after this life despite Jesus teaching to the contrary. Well meaning people, genuinely spiritual according to their beliefs, are missing the point of Jesus teachings on the Kingdom of God and the requirements for attainment in this Life on Earth. At times it seems that there is an intentional following after scattered scriptures that pave the way to the Kingdom with little effort other than to ‘believe’ in their ordinary sense of the word.
There is a great extra effort required to attain to the Kingdom hence the stern warnings by the Master regarding such. He tells us to “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33); He says that we need to “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24). He tells us also that “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21) and He says to us that “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47). These are the way to the Kingdom and to the Presence of God and no one can make any of these more important than another or discount the effect of any. So we have seeking, striving, doing and believing.
Because the way is not the easy one, we have expanded on the word believe to acknowledge what the normal meanings are and to also put into it the overall intent of the Christ as put forth in sayings like those cited above. For us to believe is to follow; following is then active belief. We said in an earlier post that in belief we have conviction and trust in the Master and what He says; we are firmly persuaded that His way is the way and, focused on Him whom we trust , we turn away from the world of men and follow the path of the Christ. This is not merely an act of believing that He is the Christ; it is an active belief that carries with it all the same criteria listed above regarding the attainment of the Kingdom of God. This is a very important matter to those who are actively seeking the Presence of God; Believe, Follow, Do are all combined in our pursuit of the Kingdom now.
Returning now to our text: “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:38-40). In Jesus the Spirit is fully working through the personality that He presents to us in the flesh. For Him, while there may be the same temptations, there is full understanding of the Presence of God in that the Spirit that He is (and we are all Spirit) has full control over the mind and emotions and physical appetites; that is, over the personality. He is telling us here that He, as Spirit and in Heaven, is not doing the will of the flesh but the will of the Spirit, the Father. He tells us in another place that the Kingdom of God or Heaven is within us, as it is within Him as well, and this, as we have discussed, is the place of our Spirit selves, the Inner Man. He is telling us here the same things of Himself. When we can so focus away from this life and onto the spiritual life then we too can say we do not the will of the flesh but the will of the Spirit.
Jesus next defines the will of the Father in two ways so that here we should see that no one will of the father can be said to be of any more importance than another. Looking closely at these we should also see that they are not related to the will of the Father noted above from the Gospel of Matthew. The citation from Matthew is one that we should do His will and these in John are that we should have His will. That Jesus should lose none that come to Him is the will of the Father. In yesterday’s post we discussed the nature of giving as in the Father has given to Christ and this is important to understand. Spiritually we are ever with the Father in His Kingdom, eternally. Looking at this from our personality perspective however we do not see nor realize this truth and we only see what is in our hearts and minds. Bringing ‘down’ from above this knowledge of the Spirit is giving to our conscious personalities the spiritual Light. It is here that the Christ is born in our hearts which is our but our conscious working mind and emotions; our conscious personality. The next reference to the will of the Father is “that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life” which again is nothing that we would do as is commanded in the verse above from Matthew. Here the Master talks of seeth Him and this is not a practical thing for any other than those that were there. So how do we need to understand this? He combines the seeing and the believing together and, as we said, believing should be looked at as its natural consequence which is following. Now then we have seeing and following and can explain these words for our use, 2000 years later, as: When one begins to sense the Light of the Spirit and begins to focus upon it letting it lighten the whole house, then the Christ is born in the heart and this is the part of seeth the son. So we see the Son and we believe and we follow and have eternal life.
In both of these verses there is a ending statement of raising on the last day. One must assume that there is some reference here to the resurrection which is a part of Christianity that is much misunderstood and for which there is no clear scripture. There apparently was some understanding of resurrection in the Jewish religion as there were sects that believed and others that did not and so today we have the same. The common idea of the dead bodies rising from their graves is no where explained in scripture but is rather woven from some obscure sayings and there is much disagreement in Christian circles regarding the Rapture and the Resurrection. Again, when we look at these things spiritually and realize that we are Spirit and that this body that we use is simply that, a body, we can get past this sometimes rather bizarre belief. Suffice it to say here that we do not know what the reference to raising up on the last day actually means and we await some revelation that will help us to make sense of it. It is interesting to note how the King James Version translated these verses; in the first verse as raise it and in the next as raise him. It is also interesting to note the inclusion of the word again. All this helps make the unclear ever more so.
“The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:41-44). After a brief dialogue with the Jews showing their unbelief of any that the Master has said, Jesus repeats two themes. The first is that those that the Father giveth to Jesus, rephrased as being drawn to Him, can come unto Him. If we read these verses with our understanding again but using draw we find that they make ever so much more sense. The Spirit, our Father and our true selves, draws the attention of the conscious personality. This can show us more of the natural working of the Spirit within than our conscious personality just sensing the light. The second is the theme we just discussed on being raised up at the last day.
The Master continues saying: “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father” (John 6″45-46). Here we have confirmation of what we have been saying. The Master tells them that all who have heard of the Father and learned of the Father will come to Him and this is the same as He said before except that here, in place of the Father giveth and in place of the Father … draw him we have those who hear of the Father and learn of Him. Now all these things should be seen to mean the same thing and this is so in our understanding. We hear of the Father, He draws us and gets our attention, we learn more of Him and in this all we come to Christ. The conscious personality is awakened to the Presence of God and the Christ is born in heart of the man. We hear, we believe, we learn as men and the more we hear and learn and focus on Him the more we believe and follow the promptings or drawing of the Inner Man and as the Christ is born and nurtured in the heart we are born anew. Jesus continues by telling us that no man sees the Father except the man that is of the Father and in this saying is the same idea. The Spirit, the true man, sees the Father because he is with the Father. The personality, which is what Jesus speaks of here, only sees the Father when that Spirit self draws the conscious life of the man to Him.
From gospel to gospel the idea is the same. The words are different but the meaning of all is the same. There is not one message in the synoptic gospels and a different message in John. There is only one: “seek ye the kingdom of God” (Luke 12:31)
Note on the Quote of the Day
This daily blog also has a Quote of the Day which may not be in any way related to the essay. Many of these will be from the Bible and some just prayers or meditations that may have an influence on you and are in line with the subject matter of this blog. As the quote will change daily and will not store with the post, it is repeated in this section with the book reference and comment.
Repeating a Quote of the Day from the past that has some significance in relation to what we are discussing here:
Speak to Him, thou, for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet- Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet. (Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809–1892). From the poem The Higher Pantheism which puts forth the authors spiritual belief. Whether we agree with him or not, the quote if spiritually perfect for all of Christianity as well as any other world religion.
For us today this saying shows us the closeness of the spiritual self to the Father and then too the closeness of the spiritual self with the personality of man. We may like to think of God as something outside and above but the reality, as we have seen in so many of the sayings of the Master, is that God is with us and in us and we need only to let ourselves be drawn.