23 Life Experience (1)

Final examination is coming up in a few weeks’ time. Matthew was busy preparing for the ISU and all the cumulative assignments before the due date; at the same time, he had to take care of the youth group since he was part of the committee of the youth group at church. Tonight was the regular Friday gathering, and almost half of the people were away, Matthew was a bit disappointed. He had put his heart into preparing the programme and organising everything, but it seemed that nobody cared and no one appreciated his effort! “Well, I guess everyone is busy studying and doing school stuff, this is understandable, I should not be mad at it…..” Matthew was thinking to himself.

When he was home, he signed in right away, Cindy was already online. “Hmmm, I did not see her tonight, maybe I should talk to her and see how she is doing,” so Matthew started chatting with Cindy. He discovered that Cindy actually went to another church’s youth group with her other classmates. Matthew was furious!

Matthew: Why did you go to the other church instead of your own? Do you know we only have half of the people tonight? Do you care about my feelings? Do you know how hard I have been working for tonight’s programme?

Cindy: Why are you so grumpy? I have so much fun tonight, it was wicked! We went to the Karaoke and Bubble Tea Night, it was awesome! You should have come too!

Matthew: I have my sense of belonging; I am not like you, going around different churches just to have fun! I thought you guys were studying at home, at least that would make me feel better! What is your purpose of going to church?

Cindy just disappeared from the chat-room. Then Matthew saw another profile online that rang a bell, it looked like Kent’s profile. As Matthew was browsing through the pictures there, he saw some pictures of the Raptor’s game at the Air Canada Centre. Oh, that’s right, Kent went to the Raptor’s game tonight, no wonder he was not at the youth group. While Matthew was enjoying the pictures, suddenly he spotted something weird, there was a picture showing Chris and Kent in the bathroom, what were they doing? When Matthew took a closer look at it, he was stunned, that couldn’t be right! Chris was rolling a joint (smoking marijuana) in the bathroom! Chris came with Kent to the youth group about a year ago; they were Cindy’s friends at school, both of them enjoyed coming to the youth group and hanging out with the girls, right, the girls! Now Matthew started to get the full picture gradually……He felt being cheated, he felt very lonely, what could I do now? They did not have a right motive of coming to church, and their lives were not even changed, they were not interested in the spiritual stuff and Christ’s teaching. They did not have a spiritual appetite. How could I help them? Lord, tell me how……Matthew was listless, he fell down to the ground in a prostrate position and started praying helplessly to God……

Your Initial Response

How would you feel if you were Matthew? Do you think Matthew’s reaction is justified? What is your purpose of going to church? 

John 6:60–71

60On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 

61Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 

62Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 

63The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 

64Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 

65He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” 

66From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 

67“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 

68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 

69We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” 

70Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 

71(He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.) (John 6:60–71NIV) 

1) “Eye” (“i=Eye”)

iEXP Bible Study Method

1 Draw a question mark at the place where you have difficulty of understanding.

2 Circle “the Spirit” and “the flesh” (John 6:63).

3 Number the confession of Simon Peter in ascending order (John 6:68-69).

4 Fill in the blanks. 67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have ______________________________. 69 We believe and know that you are _____________________ of God.”

2) “Expound” (E)

iEXP Bible Study Method

Owing to the miracle of five loaves and two fishes, many people came to follow the Lord Jesus. Their priority in life was wrong, as they only concentrated on their physical needs. When the Lord Jesus testified that He was the Bread of life who could meet their spiritual needs, they rejected Him instead.

1 What speech did the Lord Jesus give that the disciples found difficult (John 6:60)?

2 What is “the Spirit” indicate here (John 6:63)?

3 Aren’t the disciples the followers of Christ? So why did even they leave Him abruptly (John 6:66)?

4 What did Simon Peter know about Jesus Christ according to his confession (John 6:68-69)?

5 Why did the Lord Jesus regard Judas as a devil (John 6:70-71)?

The Lord Jesus performed a lot of miracles on earth, but the Apostle John selectively recorded seven significant miracles in his Gospel (2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5:1-18; 6:1-15; 6:16-21; 9:1-41; 11:1-57). Jesus Christ fed five thousand with five loaves and two fishes and walked on the water. These two miracles were recorded in John 6.

The miracle of five thousand with five loaves and two fishes attracted numerous followers, but the Lord reminded them not to pay too much attention to corruptible food, but should strive for eternal food instead (John 6:27). These followers thought of God’s wondrous works at the desert in the ancient days – the event of granting their ancestors manna (John 6:30-31). Therefore, they asked Christ to perform another miracle. The Lord Jesus did not accept their request but clearly stated that He was the food which came from God. For those who received Him as food, would not be hungry and thirsty again (John 6:32-35). Jesus Christ moved on to explain this truth and stated that people must eat His flesh and drink His blood. People were perplexed as a result (John 6:52-59).

In the synagogue in Capernaum (John 6:59), Jesus Christ revealed His identity in the public that He was from God and he would satisfy the hunger of humankind forever (John 6:25-66). However, those who followed Him for the sake of bread left abruptly (John 6:66). Then the Lord turned to His twelve disciples and continued to explain the connected truth to them (John 6:67-71).

John 6:60

The literal meaning of “disciple” is learner. According to the context of this passage, some disciples were unwilling to believe the words of Christ (John 6:64). As to the Jews, It was inconceivable for them to accept the idea of eating flesh and drinking blood. Therefore, this idea was hard for the followers of Christ to understand and accept.

John 6:61-62

Based on the original language of the Bible, many English translations stated that the disciples grumbled and murmured after they heard Christ’s comment. Owing to the response of the disciples, the Lord pursued with two questions. First, are they offended because of His comment (John 6:61)? Second, when they hear the statement that the Son of man is going to overcome death, rise to life and return to the Heavenly Father, what then will their response be (John 6:62)? The above two statements are hard for the disciples to understand, and are even offensive to them as well.

John 6:63

In these words of Jesus contained the breath of God and the life of God. However, earthly bodies cannot understand the statement of Jesus Christ. After Christ was ascended to Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to the world, granting life (salvation) to humankind. Therefore, New American Standard Bible viewed “the Spirit” here as the Holy Spirit. By means of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in human hearts, humans could only comprehend the ministry of Christ and know Him precisely.

John 6:64

The omniscience of the Lord Jesus was revealed in His discourse, meaning that He possessed the attributes of God. Christ foreknew that some people would not believe Him, and knew Judas was going to betray Him beforehand.

John 6:65

Christ solemnly proclaims that people cannot come to Him unless the Father brings them to Him. In simple terms, without the grace of the Heavenly Father, people cannot comprehend the gracious salvation of Christ.

John 6:66

As to the followers of Judaism, apostasy was one of the worst sins. The author views the departure of these disciples as apostasy (renunciation of a religious faith). 

John 6:67

As many followers of Jesus Christ began to leave, the Lord challenged the twelve disciples straightaway, saying, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”

John 6:68-69

Simon Peter was a disciple who was bold in expressing his ideas. Not only did he respond to the Lord’s questions personally, but also expressed his personal confession on behalf of the rest of the eleven disciples. In the least ambiguous terms, he stated that Christ was the giver of eternal life and He was also the Holy One of God. In simple terms, Peter believed the transcendent identity of his teacher and He was God’s representative, implying that Peter believed the Lord Jesus as Messiah.

John 6:70

The Lord Jesus did not agree with Peter’s comment, he moved on to point out that not all of the twelve disciples believed Him, and did not evade to single out that one of the disciples was a devil. Jesus Christ affirmed Judas was a devil, for he allowed the Devil to enter and control his heart fully (John 13:27).

John 6:71

Iscaiot means the man of Kerioth. Kerioth was the native town of Judas. John clearly stated that the one who betrayed the Lord and his friends was Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. Conclusion

Many disciples who followed Jesus Christ had their eyesight focused on the food that kept humans alive temporarily, but they ignored the most important spiritual food for humankind. Those who left the Lord Jesus did not pay attention to God’s words in the Old Testament, and they also did not pay attention to God’s works in the history of their ancestors. Furthermore, they did not pay attention to the works and the words of the Lord Jesus, so that they could not comprehend the significance of the five loaves and two fishes, and the discourse that followed afterwards which explained the Lord was the Bread of life, thus caused them to miss the opportunity of attaining the eternal salvation. In short, owing to the fact that they wrongly set their priorities (their only concern was physical food), they overlooked their real needs as a result.

3) “Exercise” (X)

iEXP Bible Study Method

1 Even many followers left Christ; how about us (John 6:66)?

2 Among all of the followers, the twelve disciples were the closest to the Lord Jesus, but one of them was a traitor (John 6:70-71). Humans are complex beings, do we really know ourselves?

3 We must faithfully follow Jesus Christ the Saviour unto death.

4 Memorise John 6:63. 

63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. (John 6:63)

5 Pay attention to God’s works in the Biblical history and in our daily life, so that we can know Him better (cf. John 6:63-31).

6 Let’s pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help us, so that we can really comprehend the essential teachings of the Bible.

7 Grab hold of the lively words of Christ (John 6:63). 

8 We must distinguish who are the real followers of Jesus Christ in the Christian circle. Don’t be affected by the bad testimonies, but turn your eyes upon the Lord, and give undivided attention to follow Him (John 6:68).

4) “Proclaim” (P)

By applying the biblical truths to their lives, believers would experience God. When the Bible students experience God and His truths, they should follow the example of the early Christians of testifying to non-believers and believers boldly. By means of speech, we witness to non-believing friends and to edify believers alike. The fourth step of the iEXP Bible study is “Proclaim”.

iEXP Bible Study Method

After finished studying the text, try to apply the truths to your daily living, family life and church life, and pray that you will experience the truthfulness and power of God’s Word. Grab the opportunity to share your experience with non-believers and believers, in family altar, small groups and social gatherings, as a way of witnessing the power of the gospel to non-believers and edification of believers.

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