Living Bread – Part Three B
(A gleaning from St. John 6)
by Fred Pruitt
Living Bread – Part One – https://thesingleeye.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/living-bread-part-one/
Living Bread – Part Two – https://thesingleeye.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/living-bread-part-two/
Living Bread – Part Three A – https://thesingleeye.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/living-bread-part-three-a/
III B. Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
There WAS a way, however, and Jesus has come to show it to them, and accomplish it in them. It is the way of faith. But let’s start with the word, “work.” Work, despite the fact that it has four letters (in English), is not a dirty word. I looked up every English version of the Bible available to me, and every version used the word “work” in this passage. Jesus meant that very word.
Of course, even Jesus said He worked. All the time. In John 9:4, He says, “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” He made several statements like that. He had stuff pressing on Him to do, and He knew He must be about it. He has what I’ve called the “divine unction,” or the “divine must.” This is not something of the flesh, but of the Spirit. It is God moving inwardly in us toward something specific. Jesus told the disciples: “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” The “baptism” He refers to is the Cross. Mental health workers would have said He was obsessed. But He described Himself as “straitened” until His mission was accomplished. “Straitened” means His life was confined and forced into this narrow passage, that led only to Jerusalem, the Cross, the Resurrection, the Day of Pentecost, and the “many sons,” which are all of us!
Paul also talked about working and “the work.” Paul said he “labored more abundantly than them all.” (1 Cor 15:10). That was one of the verses in my beginning days of reading scripture, that made me think Paul was big egotist. I thought he was a braggart. But I didn’t read, or at least understand at that time, the rest of the passage, when he said, “Yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”
And that is the key to this whole “works” thing. We DO work. We DO produce “works.” Scripture even says our works follow us into the Eternal. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” (Rev 14:13).
But if we, like the Son of Man, can do nothing of ourselves, where do the works come from?
Again, the Spirit in the scriptures gives us the answer – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10).
Some might think that when it says we were created “unto good works,” that it is up to us to find them and do them. No, first of all, we are created IN Christ Jesus, part of the purpose being that our lives will produce “good works.” (All that means is that we live a for-others life, and since we do, we operate out of that and end up doing “things” naturally out of who we are – love stuff.)
The two things go together – created in Christ Jesus in the new birth, and walking in our human life that expresses Christ, the Life the Father has seen from the Eternal. One follows the other. Everything about that verse is positive. There is nothing in it to condemn anyone, or to shame someone into doing good works or to be found wanting, but just a simple statement of fact, that God has already supplied them and we walk in them daily. Paraphrasing Paul, “You have been created in Christ Jesus. Along with this new creation, you will have some purposes and some things to do, people to meet, etc. It will all happen as the Father has determined, and you will be blessed and a blesser.”
They’re HIS works, but we get to do them! He does the doing, choosing the times and the places, and we are the human selves (in union with Him) who do it by the Spirit. None of this “trying” stuff. The Spirit does not “try.” None of this, “I really should be better stuff.” Give it up. Realize WHO lives in you, and also realize it is not by your will or power that you are able to do anything, even take your the next breath. “Which of you, by taking thought,” Jesus asked, “can add one inch to his height? … your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt 6:25-34).
EVERYTHING is a gift! Trust. Believe.
“Behold, he that keepeth Israelshall neither slumber nor sleep… The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (Ps 121).
The Lord is thy keeper!
In other words, WE do not keep ourselves! Put “responsibility” where it belongs, since the “government” (of our individual human lives) is now on His shoulders. (Isa 9:6) Whatever other “government” is upon His shoulders, it all starts with each of us individually recognizing that unto “us” – meaning you and me individually – IN US a child is born – the Christ Child – and a son is given – that’s us – sons in The Son!)
This computer screen is quite intimidating to me at times, the proverbial “blank page” in the typewriter, on the screen. A thousand thoughts swirl in my mind – which ones do I type up? How do I sort it all out? Just the other day, it was intimidating me again. The Spirit reminded me one more time – “Who is writing this? You don’t think you are, do you? Then why do you fret so as if the words won’t come, as if you have to figure them out? Just as I said to you years ago, ‘Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it,’ I say now, ‘Sit down at that keyboard. Be not afraid. Start typing and the words will come.’” So I did, they did, and they do.
I know this might be scary for some, who perhaps have just found freedom through a grace or union understanding. To be talking about doing “good works,” might seem like we are going backwards, falling back into legalism. Hardly! First of all, we don’t go around searching for what we are to do or be. We do not need to take a course or read a book and practice all the suggestions in the book, hoping to thereby find our true purpose in life. The truth is, it finds you! And it finds you in God’s time. Give it a rest. Enjoy the ride. You’ll have plenty to do and it will be God’s perfection every day in His time.
While we are running here and there to the latest great move, book, or message of God, all along we have been fulfilling our purpose. But it’s like Dorothy in OZ. Glenda told her she always had the “power,” through the red shoes, to go home to Kansas, but she had to find it out herself. It’s one thing to be told you have something. It is another thing to actually realize that you do, and to begin using it!
I am convinced that what we are doing has been prepared in the mind of God in the Eternal, and nothing can thwart His will. He has prepared “specific” works, or tasks, commissions, whatever you want to call them, for each of us. How can any member of the Body of Christ not have a part to play, since, no matter the years, the level of understanding, the level of knowledge, whether one has found “Jesus is Lord” just an hour ago, or 70 years ago, Christ is being magnified in each and every one.
(I am not speaking of what humans call “predestination,” or in the natural, “fate.” At the same time we see all things come out of the Father, through the Son, at the same time we see that He works all things after the counsel of His own will, at the same time we see all things finished – we are also living a totally free life, making our choices, doing our deeds, and the human idea of predestination (fate) does not operate on us, because, “Whosoever will!” trumps the human idea of predestination, always. Yet God’s predestination holds steady throughout all this “freedom,” and is an outworking of it. In other words, God’s predestination and man’s freedom, perfectly match up! And man’s freedom, comes out of the freedom of God. God is free, and so are we.)
Of course, these are not “works” to gain salvation or acceptance in the Lord. That’s the KEY! These works are the outflow of the Life that is in us! It is not “I” that do it, but He does it!
How does one enter in; how do we do it? We are not talking flesh here, but Spirit. It is the one key to the whole Bible, our faith, our spirituality, our holiness, our whole lives, and the truth of the universe (I would say this to a space alien if I encountered one, before fainting) – to “believe on Him Whom He hath sent.” Christ Jesus! Believing on Him, changes everything! Believing on Him, is to begin feasting on the Living Bread!
When we find it by the Spirit, we’ll see that the sum total of what is required to walk out this Spirit Life, is not effort, or discipline, or much study, or good teaching, nor anything else we might consider doing to “get close” to God, or to “work His works.” Some of those things are good to do; I am not discouraging them, but the key to everything is here: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19). We put our faith there, and receive it as a gift. It is God who gives the increase.
However, the Son does not do “nothing.” He does nothing “of Himself.” In other words, He is saying His Life is coming from Another – the Father. And He is “One” with the Father, meaning that He is doing what the Father is doing. There is no union if that is not the case. Union of Spirit-spirit will is the foundation of union, two becoming one.
He says, “What He seeth the Father do.” How, how can He see what the Father does? The Father is invisible, even to Jesus. He does not appear in “form.” So how can He see what the Father does? We know He doesn’t have some sort of audio-visual real-time link into heaven, so He can watch the Father do stuff, which He then repeats. We might have thought that when we were children, but as adults we know that idea is silly. He sees what the Father does the same way we do – by faith! But He also knows that He IS the Father, in His Son form! He IS the presence of God. He IS the Father’s Word! And it is out of this inner “sight,” this inner “knowing,” this inner “authority” – “I and My Father are ONE.” – that He speaks the second part, which is something of an automatically working truth. Because I and My Father are one, I see what the Father does, and then it really goes without saying, that the Son does likewise. That is the only way this union works.
When people ask me how I live my life, I give what I guess has become my stock answer, but I cannot stress enough the truth of it for me – “I don’t know. The Father does it. ‘The Father that dwells in me, He does the works.’” I picked this next verse up from Norman using it a lot, and it says the same thing as the above, and has become one of my favorites also. “This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” (Ps 118:23) Oh how true!
How do you do what you do? I don’t know, the Father does it!
To be one with God means we are His expression, as we are, in the world. There is no room for second-guessing in the Spirit, in union. The temptation is always there to do it. “Oh, maybe I overreacted to that,” or, “I should have been more sensitive to what they were saying,” or any other second-guessing statement that, if followed on through, disables our union (only in a temporary sense, not in actuality). It is the same thing as being what James called “double-minded.” Make up your mind about who you are and by His keeping, stick to it! Am I Christ through the Spirit, living in my individual distinct human (Fred) form in the world, or not? The answer is nowhere but in Him. It’s pretty clear what I say and think. But I cannot speak for anyone else, and everyone’s answers must come from God.
If we are “one” we cannot step back from ourselves and judge ourselves after the flesh. The very act pulls us into temporary separation – what some call dualism. Right back to Romans 7. Or, as I like to call it, split personality. The law immediately appears and demands attention. “Here are your faults, your problems, your sins, now get busy and fix all that up!” There’s the trap again, same one that got Adam and Eve, except that since the Garden the accuser has ever been with us, and that’s the dump-truck load he is constantly dropping on us. (He has a completely different dump-truck load for those overconfident in themselves – he tells them they’re right, they should be on top, others are in their way, but he will dominate them one day!)
John Nash, in the movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” one day saw through the delusion he had been living for years. He was a brilliant mathematician, but things went wrong with some of his friends in school, and afterward as a professor, he became embroiled in an operation conducted by U.S. Intelligence, helping to flush out a communist spy ring (1950s). That was the reality he was living in his mind, but it was not the real truth. Eventually, his wife committed him to a psychiatric hospital, and through her love and patience, along with the doctors and therapies at the hospital, he was able to come back into his right mind. He found out vast parts of his life for a period of years were delusions in his mind, complete with living characters, scenarios, run-ins with spies, etc. But over time, finding out the truth of the delusions set him free from them! At that point the characters who were part of that delusion had no more power over him. Though he still saw them beckoning him and pleading with him to take them back, once the spell was broken and he KNEW it was a delusion, he walked free, the lie forever exposed!
Now that’s what that dump load all over us from the accuser really is. To agree with the accuser is to accept a delusion. But that is not who we are. He is only shouting to us from across the way. We don’t have anything to do with him anymore. By the Spirit’s enlightenment, we have seen through the lies of delusion,! And now, living in Christ, pouring out of the Divine nature within, we are full-steam ahead! Don’t worry about the china in the shop! “I can do nothing of myself, but what the Father does, the same does the Son.” Period!
That sounds like a very scary thing to declare for ourselves – after all, we’re talking about Jesus! But the way Jesus lived in oneness with the Father is the same with us, and if we are of a mind to step out of the boat onto the water, trusting the “keeping” Spirit, we can make the same confessions ourselves, as our particular truth, even as it was Jesus’, since He is living by the Spirit within us! That’s faith on steroids, and believe me, they will fight you on it, just as they fought Jesus! Nevertheless, we hold our place, never wavering! That is “coming before the throne of grace boldly” faith!
It is the faith of Christ Jesus, and it is our faith as well, if we are His. Let us understand this well. It is not OUR faith alone! We may have been dealt a particular measure, to get us started, enough to say by the Spirit, “I am yours, Lord, and You are mine,” but down the line we learn we live a heavenly life even in the middle of the flesh world, and that takes Divine faith, not of ourselves, but of Him, and glory be, that IS the faith we are given – HIS!!!! So that nothing is impossible for us, just as nothing is impossible with God.
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 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. 40 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.
Jesus repeats that he has come to do “Another’s” will, and not His own. Though he acknowledges an “own will,” He does not live of it, but lives the Father’s will only. They are one. Jesus has no “separate will” because his own personal “human will” is swallowed up and one with the Father’s will. To me it is interesting that Jesus always talks about “will” as it relates to the “will of the Father,” in Himself, knowing God as His keeper, upholder, etc. He never mentions having a separate will, though He acknowledges having His “own will.” But in Jesus, His “own will” exists to be the expression of the Father’s will.
Conversely, when we bring this issue up in our talks and meetings, that we can trust Him to walk out a life of righteousness in us, it is amazing how people will counter with, “I have free will, I can sin if I want.” Jesus said, “My will (His “free will”) is to do the will of Him Who sent me.” To him, His “own will” was for that purpose – to be joined with God as one.
Could it be used for sin? Theoretically, yes, but that is not where His faith is. His faith is not on Himself having “free will so He could disobey God if He wanted,” (why do people seem to view that as some sort of “right” they have?), but on the keeping of the Father and that it is the Father’s Life, which is coming through by the Spirit. He does not one time raise the issue of disobedience – that would have been abhorrent to Him, not to mention the rip in the universe that could have come from it! My advice for those believe they have free will, therefore they can sin, is to put your faith in the Keeper, rather than the sinner. Same faith, different object, different results.
And then He tells us certain specifics which are the Father’s will:
1) He will lose none of those the Father has given Him, and raise them up on the Last Day
In line with the reality that God is His keeper, Jesus as our Shepherd is our keeper. His sheep know His voice, and He knows them each one by name. The wolves still come and try to steal, kill and destroy, but they cannot get by Him. Even if a wolf somehow manages to catch one of them and try to take it away, the Shepherd will find and rescue every one, before any great harm is done! Not one of them will fall away, and He will raise everyone of them up on the Last Day.
2) The Father’s will is that everyone who sees the Son and believes on Him has everlasting Life, and He will raise them up on the Last Day.
They are the same sheep in each of those statements above. “The ones the Father has given Him,” correspond directly with those who see the Son and believe on Him. What does it mean, to “see and believe on” the Son? There is no formula for this, despite man’s efforts to substitute and adopt formulas. They are usually adopted because someone did something a particular way that brought good results, and other folks think it will work for them, if it worked for the first guy. That is a characteristic of “Christianity” in our time. People have a special move of God in their church or activity, and everybody wants to know how they did it so they can repeat it, too. Somebody writes a book about it or a seminar series about how they did it and you can, too. People get all excited and buy the book or take the seminar and go home and “apply” the techniques and other stuff taught – and more often than not, things do not go as expected. There may be an initial euphoria and swell for something “new,” but if it’s just a rip-off, (though with good intentions), usually it will wane. And then another book or seminar appears, and the crowd is off and running.
That is because God does not work like that. He defies formulas and human expectations of conformity. It “worked” for the first guy because it was a particular move of the Spirit. But it will not for the second, or third, and so on, unless with them it is also a particular move of the Spirit. Often it is not, however, and the copies never seem to have the same dynamic that came with the original. God is not like McDonald’s or Wendy’s. He is not looking into selling franchises. Each work of God is company-owned. (God’s company.)
What constitutes “seeing” the Son, and believing on Him? It is completely inward. We may think it is coming from “without,” but the truth is, it works itself up from the depths inside us. And the “aha” moment, the “Oh, I see,” moment, is always an inner enlightenment from the Spirit, communicated first through our Spirit, and from Spirit into the understanding mind, and finally expressed through the mouth. It comes for some as a flash. One minute we do not see it, the next minute we’re filled with praise.
“Seeing and believing on the Son,” of course means seeing Jesus Christ for Who He is, and believing on this same Jesus Christ, as our Savior and Lord. And that is where I’ll stop with my explanations of that. I cannot explain or analyze it any further, because God is the One Who determines who “sees the Son and believes on Him,” according to His Mind’s and His Heart’s standards. He makes all the judgment calls on individual salvation – that is not my office, nor is it anyone else’s office except the Father’s.
51 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, which I will give for the life of the world.
52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
Dangerous though He knew it was, Jesus flat-out tells them He is the heavenly bread, the living bread which came down from heaven. The only “bread from heaven” they had ever heard of, was the manna in the wilderness which appeared every morning, for just that day’s needs. Two days’ worth on Sabbath eve. Any kept overnight would be rotten by morning, except for the Sabbath’s portion. During most of their sojourn in Sinai, they had manna on the menu every day, and little else. Even though they had a “complaining” incident concerning the manna, the point of it that comes to us, is that they were sustained every single day in the wilderness by the miraculous appearance every morning of “bread from heaven.”
Can we begin to see the correlation here? This fleshly “bread from heaven” is the clear precursor to the Spiritual “bread from heaven.” The fleshly bread sustained their physical lives until the day they walked over the Jordan on dry ground. Once they went over Jordan, after a few days the manna ceased, and they began to live of the fat of the land. Jesus is telling us, that as the “Living Bread which comes down from heaven,” He is our daily sustenance, and will be our daily sustenance in this world, until the day we walk over our Jordan into the Land of Promise to fully possess our possessions. We see it now invisibly in the Spirit and live from it, but there will be a day when we will see it in plain sight.
But of course, the crowd thought He meant that they were to chop off a piece of His human flesh and eat it! “What in the world is He talking about?” They only knew and therefore only saw flesh, as we have stated above. Cannibalism is what they thought He was saying! And not only was the very thought repulsive, but also very very very very taboo! So no wonder, thinking like they did, they got upset.
53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Jesus knew that, how they were thinking, but He does not back up and explain Himself. He doesn’t let them off the hook. In order to “catch” what He was saying, they had to hear it from the Spirit, and it was obvious that had not happened to the majority of the crowd that day. Instead of placating them a bit with an explanation of what He meant, He turns up the heat with even further absurdities to the flesh mind.
“What did He say?” “Did I hear Him right?” “You’re kidding – He wants us to eat His flesh and drink His blood?” What kind of nonsense is this? Then Jesus ups the ante one more time.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
Here, we have finally arrived at the steak and strong drink table.
END PART THREE B