41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
At least some of these Jews have known Jesus in His human form, as the child of Joseph and Mary. He declares that He is the true bread from heaven but, because they think they know Him they are, at the least, skeptical. How do we know who someone is? We think we know them by how we identify them. They are someone’s child, someone’s friend, a co-worker, a team-mate, or something similar. Once we have identified them that way they are stuck in a certain box in our mind. We then supply them with a role and boundaries that go along with that box. They cannot be anything other than what they are according to those identifiers. If you found from reading a newspaper that the co-worker you had been standing next to at your machine for five years was the rightful heir to the throne of England your mind would have a great difficulty in understanding or “attaining unto” (Psalm 139:6; Philippians 3:11) the very idea because that person’s convenient identification in your mind was destroyed. We confine our reality to narrow definitions and, by doing so, often miss great truths by which God is trying to teach us something.
Modern scientists insist that dinosaurs are 80 million years old or thereabouts and when red blood cells are found in their bones instead of questioning their established dating method of comparing a fossil to the previously assumed age of the layer of dirt in which its found they marvel at how red blood cells can last so long in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Even, when using their own dating method of C-14 they discover that dinosaurs lived recent to our time they simply ignore the information because it interferes with the convenient box in which they keep the information that contains their belief in long ages of geological time. They cannot perceive what this new information actually means, that they could be completely wrong about how old things are. They cannot question their most basic assumptions.
When you come to the Bible you will define words as you understand them or, if you are interested in that sort of thing, as the translators would have in Elizabethan and Jacobean England based on early modern English meanings. However, you must free yourself from those constraints and define the words as the Holy Spirit does, in context, within the Bible, using it as your map legend, so to speak, with the words being alive, speaking to you.
As an example, an Elizabethan scholar will say to you that the phrase, “after that,” found in Acts 1:8 means, “when,” and that isn’t apparent by the archaic rendering. However, not being aware of how the King James Bible defines itself he will not know that what he is saying simply isn’t true. In its first use, “when,” follows it in the context showing you how to use it (Genesis 6:4).
We have been taught many things about God’s word, from skeptics who dismiss it to so-called men of God who both wrench words and verses out of context to make them mean things they were never meant to mean. These things we are constantly unlearning as we read God’s word and let Him speak to us without the narrow identifiers that we have grown accustomed to accepting. For instance, there are no angels with wings in the Bible, the angels didn’t sing at Christ’s birth, they spoke, and the great fish prepared for Jonah doesn’t represent a particular species we know today as it was specially prepared for its purpose.
Someone is always trying to take the Bible away from you by telling you if you don’t speak and read Hebrew, Greek, and Latin you can’t understand it. They might say the English is archaic and hard to understand. They might say the doctrine is too deep for the unlearned to grasp or that only the words of the original writings were inspired by God and only the message in the translation of the day is inerrant and infallible. But, those people are doing Satan’s job. Because they want to rip this Book from your hands and remove it from your mind.
These Jews could not receive Jesus’ statement because they could not grasp that what they knew about Him was wrong or incomplete and that something now was being revealed greater than their understanding.
Matthew 13:54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
Some of you who are believers led a deplorable, wasted life before you were saved and some even after for a time. Your family and friends are incredulous that you claim to be a follower of Christ now. They scoff at your declaration of faith and look for any proof they can find that you are lying through your teeth or mentally disturbed. Some of your extended family will never believe that you are no longer worthy of their utter contempt because it is convenient to keep you in that place in their mind. It justifies them and allows their continuing pretension of their superiority to you.
John 4:44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.
They will say they want proof but even with overwhelming evidence they will not believe that you are anything but what you were; immature and selfish, a pain in the neck, a failure, a criminal, or a mooch.
Here in this passage, familiarity does breed contempt. These Jews knew Jesus as a youngster probably and thought of Him as, perhaps, a religious young man of their culture and obedient to His parents although Luke, chapter 2, gives us an indication of His devotion to His mission and obedience to the Father at an early age.
Luke 2:41 ¶ Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? 50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
In times past we did not worship individuality as we do today. A person was not easily able to extricate himself from the cultural context in which he was born and lived. Clearly, also, from this context, Jesus did not spend His time doing tricks for his family and neighbors growing up, bringing dead animals back to life, and making it rain in a drought. Clearly, He revealed Himself when He did and the people who knew Him were unaware of His nature as fully God and fully man until the time. They may have thought of Him as a very bright young man whose devotion to God and the Law given to Moses was exemplary but this new information is beyond the grasp of their minds due to their spiritual condition.
People who say Jesus must have done miracles as He was growing up, other than perhaps for His mother as is apparent from John 2:1-5, are just as foolish as those who say the Old Testament Jews were looking forward to the Cross. In order to believe either thing you have to deny the Scripture’s clear statements. They Jews did not know Him, He revealed Himself and performed miracles that they would require, and yet they still denied the proof they had been given.
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
What incorrect information are you holding onto that keeps you from believing in Christ? Is it that nothing can be real that you don’t already know about and believe? Are you able to question your most basic assumptions about life? I know I had difficulty with it. It couldn’t be true because I wasn’t taught it in school, I wasn’t raised that way, and there are so many different opinions, who knows? My forebears had allowed so-called men of God and so-called scholars to remove the true Bible from their churches and homes replacing them with Bibles translated from German theology and the apostasy of the phony “science” of textual criticism and each generation strayed further from the truth until I grew up with the only thing teaching any kind of spirituality being the television and movies, and they were filled with lies.
It is established in the Gospel According to John up to this point that Jesus is not only the Creator (John 1:1-3), but also God in the flesh, the only time this ever happened in history (John 1:14-18), and He is the Messiah, the Christ (John 4:25-26), and the Prophet that Moses predicted (John 6:14).
Will you believe?