We have some really challenging chapters today. First in 2 Chronicles ch. 3 & 4 we have the details of the Temple Solomon built – and all the gold that was used; it must have been completely awesome to go inside! Sadly, few in the succeeding generations were affected in that way. This was because their sense of the reality of God – and his presence – became ritualized: it was no longer a place where they could draw near to God and sense his unseen presence all around them. Instead it became a place where the religious leaders could exalt themselves – instead of God. The way the Temple Herod built was used in the time of Jesus illustrated this. The parable Jesus told about 2 men in the Temple is very much to the point – see Luke 18 v9-14.
We must ask ourselves: is it possible for the reading and knowledge of the Bible to lead to this attitude? The answer is ‘Yes’ – if our reading and developed knowledge of God’s word feeds our own ‘ego’ as it did the Pharisee..
In Ezekiel we began a sequence of 9 chapters that describes “the visions of God” [40 v.2] that came to the prophet; visons in detail of the ultimate temple that will be built – in the kingdom age.
Finally, the 71 verses in John ch. 6 challenge us to correctly perceive the meaning of the teaching of Jesus. We may wish he had spoken in plain English (or whatever our native language is)! Jesus declares, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” [v.63]
The form of words he uses is not given to us like a plate of food – ready to be eaten and digested! If they were, our Bibles would soon end up on the shelf gathering dust!
Those who wanted a ‘ready to eat’ meal are disillusioned! He had said “whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.” He had also said “my flesh is true food” [v.55] and that any who feed “on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” [v.54] How close are we now to “that day”?
Then in v.61 we read “Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, ‘Do you take offense at this?'” How many take “offense” at the Bible today? Yes, they do – and the result is the same as then – “after this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.” [v.66] Today, so few even begin to walk with him!
Those who continued with him realized more and more the wondrous truth of Jesus’ saying, The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”