Scripture: John 6:37-40 (alternate reading: Luke 14:1,7-11)
37 All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; 39 and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
Meditation: Is your hope in this present life only? What about the life to come after our death? God puts in the heart of every living person the desire for unending life and happiness. While death claims each of us at the appointed time, God gives us something which death cannot touch – his own divine life and sustaining power. In the Old Testament, one of the greatest testimonies of faith and hope in the midst of great suffering and pain is that of Job: "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another" (Job 19:25-27).
Jesus made an incredible promise to his disciplies and a claim which only God can make and deliver: Whoever sees and believes in Jesus, the Son of God, shall have everlasting life and be resurrected! How can we see Jesus? He is present in his word, in the breaking of the bread, and in the church, the body of Christ. Jesus reveals himself in many countless ways to those who seek him with eyes of faith. When we read the word of God in the bible Jesus speaks to us and reveals to us the mind and heart of the Father. When we approach the table of the Lord, Jesus offers himself as spiritual food which produces the very life of God within us (I am the bread of life, John 6:35). He promises unbroken fellowship and freedom from the fear of being forsaken or cut off from everlasting life with God. And he offers us the hope of sharing in his resurrection. Is your hope and desire to see God face to face?
What is faith and how do we grow in it? Faith is an entirely free gift which God makes to us. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals who Jesus is. We can believe in Jesus Christ because he is himself God, the Word made flesh. Faith is a personal adhearance to God and the free assent to the whole truth which God has revealed. Faith is active submission to the One who created us in love and who sustains us by his grace and power. To obey in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth has been guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. We can entrust ourselves wholly to God and believe absolutely what he says. To live, grow, and persevere in faith to the end we must nourish it with the word of God. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) said: I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe. Jesus promises that those who accept him as their Lord and Savior and submit to his word will be raised up to immortal life with him in the Day of Judgment. Do you know the inexpressible joy of belief and hope in the resurrection (see 1 Peter 1:3-9)?
"Lord Jesus Christ, your death brought life and hope where there was once only despair and defeat. Give me the unshakeable hope of everlasting life, the inexpressible joy of knowing your unfailing love, and the unquestioning faith and zeal in doing the will of the Father in heaven."
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not
2 he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.