Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… Last week we discovered two facets of Jesus’ character and purpose. Jesus described Himself:
Today, let’s look at two more truths when it comes to fully appreciating Jesus’ divine identity.
In John 6:25-40 the Christ of Christmas is described:
n As the BREAD who came to SATISFY.
John chapter 6 takes place in a synagogue in Capernaum. I have stood in the 4th century synagogue where excavation work has revealed a portion of a 1stcentury mosaic floor. It is most likely that Jesus walked across this very floor. This synagogue was built by the Roman Centurion for Jews (Luke 7:1-5).
On this occasion, Jesus speaks of their short-sightedness. They desire physical bread when Christ offers them the bread of Life (John 6:25-40). Jesus has just fed bread to the 5,000 (John 6:1-15), the people have witnessed a miracle, but Jesus points out the peoples’ spiritual unbelief in verse 26. The Lord points out the true state of their anemic souls. They desired to seek and follow Him, but for all the wrong reasons.
Lots of people seek Jesus to meet some need(s) — especially during the Christmas season when many think about Him. But as Jesus points out in verse 27, their motives for seeking Him are not pure. They will never be truly satisfied.
Jesus’ primary purpose for coming is to meet our eternal need, not just our temporal needs. Only Jesus can meet our eternal need. John 6:27 declares: ‘On him (Jesus) God the Father has placed His seal of approval.’ In the ancient world, the seal rather than the signature authenticated a document. It guaranteed the contents of the package or the fulfillment of a contract. Once again, Jesus was authenticating His divine identity. He had the Fathers “SEAL of approval” to offer spiritual satisfaction to hungering souls.
This discovery caused the people to ask a question in verse 28 — what must they do to live for God? In verses 29-35, Jesus tells them not to put their faith in passing temporal things, but to trust in the One whom God sent to satisfy our spiritual need. To give confidence that our trust has been well placed in Christ, Jesus declares Himself as the “I AM”, saying “I AM the Bread of Life” (verse 35).
In other words, I AM the only SATISFIER, the only sustenance, the only bread that will satisfy your soul.
Lastly, in John 10:9-10 the Christ of Christmas is described:
The shepherd, on occasion, left the pen in the care of an under-shepherd or “watchman” (verse 3). The “watchman” in this context is likely a veiled reference to John the Baptist who is later referred to in verses 40-41.
In this context, Jesus refers to Himself as, “I AM the good Shepherd.” There’s that “I AM” phrase once again – which is Jesus’ blatant attempt to identify His true divine identity. He uses this phase a second and third time in John 10:7 and 9, calling Himself “the door”, saying “I AM the Gate”.
The door or the gate into what? Jesus is the door into the pen, the safe enclosure, the fold of salvation. And Jesus is not just any door — He is THE door. He is THE gate. Jesus is not offering just another way of salvation among other choices, He is offering the only door. There is no other way to receive salvation except through Jesus.
Some call this narrow intolerance or arrogance. But the truth by its very nature is exact, precise and narrow. Truth cuts and divides and is far more exclusive than it is broad. Truth can be down-right offensive to those who see themselves as enlightened. By its very nature truth is absolutely intolerant of untruth.
And so, by Jesus’ admission, each of us are forced to make a decision. Will we accept this invitation to enter His sheep fold? Or will you allow the thief of this world to rob you of eternal life? It is your choice.
This Christmas, many will forget, neglect and even be hostile to the REAL REASON for the SEASON. Jesus will be forgotten under all the tinsel, wrapping paper and ribbons. As Luke wrote, “There was no room for them in the inn.”
I trust we won’t crowd Christ out of Christmas this year.
Have a blessed week,