God’s conditions: Who is the doer of the work?
In my last post, I talked about how Jesus showed the unbelieving crowd, who followed Him in John 6, that the “work” which result is meant to bring the crowd to belief, is God’s work. When Jesus shared that it is God’s work, not the work of the crowd, the crowd demanded a work from Jesus.
John 6:30 (NASB) So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?
Notice that the crowd is no longer conversing with Jesus about their own work. Instead, they want a work from Him. They demand “What then do YOU DO…” They understand that there will be a work whose purpose it is to bring them to faith. They now want a work that they can see, a work that is designed to cause them to believe. Jesus rightfully brought the crowd from their mindset about their own righteous works as being the cause of salvation, to the true cause of salvation which is the work of God.
Jesus is the Doer of the Work
The crowd also understood that Jesus was claiming to be God’s representative so He would be the One who would do the work of God. “What then do YOU DO…” was the crowd’s words challenging Jesus to do the work that would cause them to believe. They ask for a “sign”. The sign is a miraculous even that would manifest the supernatural act of a divine agent. When the crowd asked “What word do YOU PERFORM?”, they are demanding something to see.
John 6:31 (NASB) “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’ ”
The crowd chose a work of God that had been done for their fathers. They reasoned that Moses was God’s representative, so the most miraculous sign he performed was causing bread to come down from heaven. Jesus’ gave the crowd a revelation.
John 6:32 (NASB) Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.
Jesus’ response shows that it is God Himself that does God’s work, not a human representative. Jesus uses the most solemn saying that He can, by saying truly, truly. This is the word “Amen” which is an emphatic particle used to express stress or intensity. Most assuredly, Jesus tells them, a mere human representative did not give you the bread from heaven. It is interesting to note that while the crowd spoke of Moses as giving, and their now-dead fathers as receiving, Jesus turns it around to the personal application for their own good. “It is my Father who GIVES YOU the true bread out of heaven.” The Father is the giver, not a human representative, and the receiver of the giving is the crowd (second person plural, not third person plural). Jesus brings this down to the personal. Jesus also used the perfect tense “has given” which is something that happened in the past, but which produced a state of being or result which exists in the present. It is also in the indicative mood, the mood of assertion which describes something as real and actual rather than something that is possible or contingent on intention.
Just as Jesus promised to give the unbelieving crowd the bread that endures to eternal life (John 6:27), He now says that His Father gives the unbelieving crowd the true bread out of heaven.
Why does the Father give to this crowd?
Why does the Father give the crowd the true bread out of heaven? Jesus concludes with:
John 6:33 (NASB) “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”
Jesus said “for”, or for this reason. The Greek word “gar” is a conjunction as a logical explanatory. Its usage is to explain why. Why does the Father give the crowd the true bread from heaven? The Father’s reason for giving Jesus from heaven is to give life to the world!
What can we know from this passage?
1. We can know that the term “world” must include the unbelieving Jews that made up the crowd standing before Jesus for Jesus promised to give them the bread that endures to eternal life (verse 27), and He also said that the Father gives them the bread that endures to eternal life. It is a Sovereign work.
2. We can know that it is God’s work, which is done by Jesus, which has its purpose in bringing people to faith. It is a Sovereign work of God, not an obligation done by man who merits a payment by God.
In the next post, let’s carry on with John 6 and to see how Jesus’ words are in agreement with what He has already said.