The section begins with those gathered about Him at Capernaum (after the miraculous feeding of the 5000) complaining that Jesus saying that He has come down from heaven cannot make sense because they know where He grew up and they know His relatives.
Has Jesus ‘jumped the shark’ and gone into loopy-land, or is this a truth beyond human cognisance, a truth attested to by the miracles which far exceed regular biblical proportions?
We have here something to add to the list of divine paradoxes, which seem to be God’s modus operandi; man and God, virgin and mother, mercy and justice, beginning and end, immanent and transcendent.
Earthly thinking is that something is either A or not A, mutually exclusive, ie. something can’t be both off and on at the same time.
But divine things can be both, at the same time.
Just because something doesn’t fit within earthly reasoning doesn’t make it divinely impossible.
Are we willing to trust what God says, even when it makes no earthly sense?
Jesus was born of a woman. That’s true.
Jesus came down from heaven. That’s also true.
To which we can add:
Jesus is the only one who has come down from heaven.
Jesus is the only one who has seen the Father.
Therefore we should be taking everything Jesus says seriously, as truth with a capital T, even if it seems outrageous and implausible to us.
In verse 47 Jesus says
‘Amen, Amen, I tell you, he who believes has/holds/possesses eternal life.’
He who believes what?
That Jesus is the bread come down from heaven.
Such a person has, holds, possesses eternal life.
That’s quite a promise!
But it’s not the kind of belief that says, ‘Yeah, Jesus is the Son of God, yeah, I’m OK with that, cool, I can get on with my life and I get eternal life too’.
It is the kind of belief that says, ‘Wow, Jesus left the fulness of heaven to share our earthly life, to bring us the eternal life of the Father, Jesus is the fulcrum of all human history, everything He says carries the weight of heaven, I need to take Him – and everything He says – far more seriously than I’ve ever taken anything in my life before. I need to be fully compliant and obedient to Him, and Him alone. I must base my whole life on the rock of this truth. Hey, this is real News, the people I care about need to know this too. And so does everybody else.’
If Jesus is who He says He is, then any lesser kind of believing in Him is unworthy of Jesus – and not true belief at all.
O Jesus, please help us to believe fully in You. Amen.