sacrifice from the sky

marmsky June 2018 (11)

sacrifice from the sky

Devotions from Jefferson Vann

John 6:47-52

Joh 6:47 “Truly I tell you, anyone who believes has permanent life.
Joh 6:48 I am the bread of life.
Joh 6:49 Your fathers ate the manna in the desert, and they died.
Joh 6:50 This is the bread that comes down from the sky so that anyone may eat from it and not die.
Joh 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from the sky. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Joh 6:52 At that, the Jews argued among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

sacrifice from the sky

Jesus had already explained his metaphor by saying that anyone who believes has permanent life. In this passage, Jesus ties that teaching to an Old Testament type which prefigured his ministry. That type was the manna. Eating the living bread means believing in Christ, who sacrificed his flesh on the cross for us.

The Jews arguing among themselves missed the point completely. Just like their ancestors, who questioned the gift of manna, these unbelievers would rather have an explanation than a salvation.

There are lots of things in life, and in God’s word that we will not understand. That should never be an excuse for unbelief.

LORD, increase our faith, and help us to have faith in you in spite of the things from your word we do not understand.

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marmsky June 2018 (10)


John 6:41-47

Joh 6:41 This was why the Jews started grumbling about him — because he said, “I am the bread that came down from the sky.”
Joh 6:42 This is what they said, “This is not Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from the sky’?”
Joh 6:43 Jesus answered them, “Stop grumbling among yourselves.
Joh 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me extricates him, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Joh 6:45 It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to me–
Joh 6:46 not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God. He has seen the Father.
Joh 6:47 “Truly I tell you, anyone who believes has permanent life.


The Greek word ἓλκω  (helko) in verse 44 is often translated “draw,” so I always thought of it as some kind of force from God attracting those who would believe. But the word has a more interesting history. It is the word used for extricating or extracting a sword from its sheath.

What is this power that extracts people from their antagonism to Jesus? It is being taught by God. The ones who listen to the Father’s word, and learn from him, believe who Jesus really is, and are promised permanent life.

LORD, extricate us, and teach us how to believe in your Son.

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what my sender wants

marmsky June 2018 (9)

what my sender wants

Devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2407

John 6:34-40

Joh 6:34 Then they said to him, “Sir, always give to us this bread .”
Joh 6:35 Jesus told them “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will not at all be hungry, and the one who believes in me will not at all ever be thirsty.
Joh 6:36 But I said to you that you have seen, and you are not believing.
Joh 6:37 Each one the Father is giving to me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never throw out.
Joh 6:38 Because I have come down from the sky, not to do what I want, but what my sender wants.
Joh 6:39 This is what my sender wants: that each thing given to me by him I will not destroy, but resurrect it on the last day.
Joh 6:40 Because this is what my Father wants: that everyone who is seeing the Son and believing in him has permanent life, and I will resurrect him on the last day.”

what my sender wants

If you are ever concerned with what God wants of you, reflect for a while on this passage. God wants you to get to a point where you will never be hungry and thirsty again — where you will have permanent life. You have two obstacles keeping you from experiencing what God wants for you. You are sinful, and you are mortal. Christ’s atonement on the cross took care of the first problem, and his plan to resurrect you and give you permanent life will take care of the second problem.

But there are conditions that you and I must meet in order to qualify both for the salvation from sin and the resurrection to permanent life. We must come to Christ, and we must believe in Christ. Knowing about Christ is not enough. There were those in the crowd whom Jesus was speaking to who even saw and experienced his ministry and miracles, but did not believe.

Do you want to experience both forgiveness and a future from Jesus? Believe him.

LORD, draw the readers of this post to yourself through Christ. Forgive them and free them from death.

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true bread from the sky

marmsky June 2018 (5)

true bread from the sky

Devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2406

John 6:28-33

Joh 6:28 They said to him, “What can we do to work the works of God?”
Joh 6:29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God– that you believe in the one that he sent.”
Joh 6:30 This is why they said “What sign are you going to make so we may see and believe in you?” they asked. “What are you working?
Joh 6:31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert, just as it has been written: He gave them bread from the sky to eat.”
Joh 6:32 Jesus said to them, “I am honestly telling you, Moses didn’t give you the bread from the sky, but my Father gives you the true bread from the sky.
Joh 6:33 Because the bread of God is the one who comes down from the sky and gives life to the world.”

true bread from the sky

God answered Moses’ prayer and gave the manna to the Israelites in the desert. That was a miracle, a work of God. But the people had to believe that work, collect and consume the manna to save themselves from starvation.

Now, Jesus tells his listeners that he is the true bread from the sky. If the people do not listen to him, believe his words, and follow him, they will starve. God has no other means to permanent life.

LORD, thank you for providing the true bread from the sky — Jesus Christ.

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lasting rust

marmsky June 2018 (7)

lasting rust

Devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2405

John 6:22-27

Joh 6:22 The next day, the crowd that had stood on the other side of the sea saw there had been only one boat. They also saw that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone off alone.
Joh 6:23 Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
Joh 6:24 When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
Joh 6:25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you happen here?”
Joh 6:26 Jesus answered, “I honestly tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Joh 6:27 Don’t work for the consumable that perishes but for the consumable that lasts for permanent life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal of approval on him.”

lasting rust

I though it interesting that the word John uses here (the word I translate “consumable”) is not the normal word for bread, or a meal, but the word βρωσις that is elsewhere translated “rust.” Moths and rust are things that consume (Matthew 6:19). But Jesus uses the word here for something that is consumed. Some consumables (like ordinary bread) are eaten and then disappear. They offer temporary maintenance of life, but do not last. Even the miraculous bread and fish the 5000 had experienced was like that.

Jesus offers a consumable that lasts for permanent life. That is his promise to those who believe in him.

Thank you LORD, for the promise of permanent life through Christ.

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when Jesus happens

marmsky June 2018 (6)

when Jesus happens

Devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2404

John 6:16-21

Joh 6:16 When evening happened, his disciples went down to the sea,
Joh 6:17 and got into a boat, and started across the sea toward Capernaum. Darkness had already happened, but Jesus had not yet come to them.
Joh 6:18 And the sea, due to a high wind blowing, began to stir up.
Joh 6:19 This is why after they had rowed about twenty stadia, they saw Jesus walking on the sea. He was nearing the boat, and they were afraid.
Joh 6:20 But he said to them, “I am. Don’t be afraid.”
Joh 6:21 That was why they wanted to take him into the boat, and at once the boat was at the shore where they had intended to reach.

when Jesus happens

What struck me when reading this text in the Greek is how many times John used the word γίνομαι (to become or happen). It appears four times in this short passage (16,17,19,21). Other Gospel writers emphasized other things when relating the story of Jesus walking on water. John appears to emphasize the fact that our experience with Jesus cannot be controlled or manipulated. He is the I AM, so he is going to happen to us. We may not be ready for him when he happens next. We may not be “prayed up” or spiritually in tune. But it is not about the measure of our faith or our frame of mind. It is about him.

LORD, interrupt our lives. Come and happen among us.

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he avoided the temptation of power

marmsky June 2018 (8)

he avoided the temptation of power

Devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2403

John 6:10-15

Joh 6:10 Jesus said, “Make the men recline.” There was plenty of grass in that place; so they reclined. The men numbered about five thousand.
Joh 6:11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks he distributed them to those who were reclining– so also with the fish, as much as they wanted.
Joh 6:12 When they were full, he told his disciples, “Collect the leftovers so that nothing is wasted.”
Joh 6:13 So they collected them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces from the five barley loaves that were left over by those who had eaten.
Joh 6:14 When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This truly is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
Joh 6:15 This is why, when Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

he avoided the temptation of power

Last year, when I was visiting churches in Japan, I visited a castle, and learned that the ruler who built it had solidified his power by hosting a ceremonial tea ritual with many of his underlings. The tea ritual helped the people to see him as benevolent — a provider. No doubt, the crowd of men who participated in this first wave of the miracle saw Jesus in the same light, which explains why they wanted to immediately force him to become their king. Anyone who can provide food like that must certainly be able to deal with the Roman menace.

Jesus returns to the solitude of the mountain. He was there not to deliver the people from bondage to Rome, but from the bondage of sin. To do so, he had to avoid the temptation of power, and sacrifice himself for them, and us.

Thank you Jesus, for avoiding power, and seeking to sacrifice yourself for our redemption.

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always enough

marmsky June 2018 (4)

always enough

Devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2402

John 6:1-9

Joh 6:1 After this, Jesus went to the shore of the Sea of Galilee (the Tiberias).
Joh 6:2 A massive crowd was following him because they were watching the signs that he was performing by healing the sick.
Joh 6:3 Jesus went up a mountain and sat down there with his disciples.
Joh 6:4 Now the Passover, a Jewish feast, was near.
Joh 6:5 So when Jesus looked up and noticed a massive crowd coming toward him, he asked Philip, “Where will we buy bread so that these people can eat?”
Joh 6:6 He asked this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Joh 6:7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread wouldn’t be enough for each of them to take a little snack.”
Joh 6:8 One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
Joh 6:9 “There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish– but what are they for so many?”

always enough

John’s version of this story introduces the idea that Jesus and his disciples had already climbed a mountain, and were resting at the top when they saw the massive crowd coming to Jesus. It was a rather stupid thing to do to climb a mountain with no food. But the crowd was desperate to see Jesus. John mentioned this fact because he included stories that emphasized who Jesus is. Jesus knew that he could provide for this crowd. Even if a few more had thought to bring lunch that day, it still would not be enough. Jesus is always enough.

LORD, thank you for always being enough for us.

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no love for God

marmsky June 2018 (3)

no love for God

Devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2401

John 5:41-47

Joh 5:41 “I do not accept acclaim from people,
Joh 5:42 but I know you– that you have no love for God within you.
Joh 5:43 I have come in my Father’s name, and yet you don’t accept me. If someone else comes in his own name, you will accept that one.
Joh 5:44 How can you believe, since you accept acclaim from one another but don’t seek the acclaim that comes from the only God?
Joh 5:45 Do not be thinking that I will accuse you to the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope.
Joh 5:46 Because if you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me.
Joh 5:47 But if you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe my words?”

no love for God

Jesus’ scathing condemnation of his critics included the statement that they had no love for God within them. He implied that Moses’ words accuse them of this deficiency. Moses commanded the people of Israel to love God with all their entire beings (Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:1; 11:3; 13:3; 30:6). It was to be the core motivation of the old covenant. Yet, Moses also predicted the coming of Jesus (Deuteronomy 18:15-22). Yet these critics from Jesus’ generation rejected him, and so rejected Moses, whom they claimed to follow.

If we really love God, we will accept his Messiah. We will listen to his words, and believe in him.

LORD, increase our devotion to Jesus, and trust in his words.



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the word residing

marmsky June 2018 (2)

the word residing

Devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2400

John 5:36-40

Joh 5:36 “But I have a more significant testimony than John’s because of the works that the Father has given me to complete. These works I am doing testify about me that the Father has sent me.
Joh 5:37 The Father who sent me has himself testified about me. You have not heard his voice at any time, and you haven’t seen what he looks like.
Joh 5:38 You don’t have his word residing in you, because you don’t believe the one he sent.
Joh 5:39 You examine the Scriptures in detail because you think you have permanent life in them, and yet they testify about me.
Joh 5:40 But you do not want to come to me so that you may have life.

the word residing

The irony Jesus draws our attention to here is that the very people who are spending their lives studying the Scriptures are those who are missing out on the promise of permanent life. They need to do more than know the Bible. They need to know him. They need to come to him, and believe him. They need the word residing in them.

LORD, we welcome your word residing within us.

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