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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Monday, July 18, 2016
Today’s scripture reading:
God, not people, plays the most active role in salvation. When someone chooses to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, he or she does so only in response to the urging of God’s Holy Spirit. God does the urging; then we decide whether or not to believe. Thus, no one can believe in Jesus without God’s help.
Jesus was alluding to an Old Testament view of the messianic Kingdom in which all people are taught directly by God. He was stressing the importance of not merely hearing, but learning. We are taught by God through the Bible, our experiences, the thoughts the Holy Spirit brings, and relationships with other Christians. Are you open to God’s teaching?
The religious leaders frequently asked Jesus to prove to them why he was better than the prophets they already had. Jesus here referred to the manna that Moses had given their ancestors in the wilderness. This bread was physical and temporal. The people ate it, and it sustained them for a day. But they had to get more bread every day, and this bread could not keep them from dying. Jesus, who is much greater than Moses, offers himself as the spiritual bread from heaven that satisfies completely and leads to eternal life.
How can Jesus give us his flesh as bread to eat? To eat living bread means to accept Christ into our lives and become united with him. We are united with Christ in two ways: (1) by believing in his death (the sacrifice of his flesh) and resurrection and (2) by devoting ourselves to living as he requires, depending on his teaching for guidance and trusting in the Holy Spirit for power. (NLT)
John 6:41-51 – Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread from heaven.” They said, “This is Jesus, the son of Joseph. We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
But Jesus replied, “Don’t complain about what I said. For people can’t come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them from the dead. As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to me. (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)
“I assure you, anyone who believes in me already has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. However, the bread from heaven gives eternal life to everyone who eats it. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; this bread is my flesh, offered so the world may live.”
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” –John 6:48 (NRSV)
Nancy J. Clark (Michigan) titled her story “FOOD FOR THE SOUL;” here is a portion of Nancy’s story:
“Every time I hear the phrase ‘the bread of life,’ I think of my grandparents’ home in Toledo, Ohio. With our family gathered around the table, my grandfather’s blessing always ended with, ‘Now bless this food to our bodies, and feed our souls the bread of life.’
“. . . But Jesus as the bread of life? Looking back now over may years of my faith journey, I am aware of times when I have cried out to Jesus for help and he has kept me moving through each transition, doubt, or loss. His words of love and forgiveness have nourished my battered soul more times than I can count.
“That’s the connection, isn’t it? Just as earthly bread fills and nourishes our bodies, Jesus fills and nourishes our souls. That’s what my grandfather meant when he prayed, ‘and feed our souls the bread of life.’”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Jesus is our bread for the journey.
Prayer: O God, our source of strength, thank you for feeding our bodies with the good things of the earth and our souls with your bountiful love and promise of salvation. Amen.
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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