Post image for 6 Jul 2009: John 6:38–40

6 Jul 2009: John 6:38–40

by Stephen Hebert on Monday - 6 July 2009

in Biblical Studies, New Testament

Amidst a discussion in which Jesus tells the crowd that he is the bread of life, that those who approach him will never go hungry or have thirst, he makes it very clear that he has come to do the will of the one who sent him. The one who sent him is his father, and his father’s will is also made known in John 6:38–40.

Hebert Translation Nestle-Aland 27
“…I have descended from heaven not so that I may do my will, but so that I may do the will of the one who has sent me. This is the will of the one who has sent me: everything that he has given me I shall not destroy, but I shall raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my father: Everyone that looks upon the son and believes in him shall have life eternal, and I will raise him up in the last day.” ὅτι καταβέβηκα ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ οὐχ ἵνα ποιῶ τὸ θέλημα τὸ ἐμὸν ἀλλὰ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με. τοῦτο δέ ἐστιν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με, ἵνα πᾶν ὃ δέδωκέν μοι μὴ ἀπολέσω ἐξ αὐτοῦ, ἀλλὰ ἀναστήσω αὐτὸ [ἐν] τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ.τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός μου, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ θεωρῶν τὸν υἱὸν καὶ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον, καὶ ἀναστήσω αὐτὸν ἐγὼ [ἐν] τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ.

In the past I have looked at Luke 4:18–19 as a summation of Jesus’ purpose. In that passage, Jesus says that he has come to:

  • Proclaim good news to the poor.
  • Proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind.
  • Set at liberty those who are oppressed.
  • Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

No doubt, that is a fairly impressive mission statement. However, in John 6:38–40, Jesus states his purpose and God’s will a little more succinctly. Jesus’ purpose is to do the will of God. That will is not to destroy, but to raise up. That will is not to turn his back on the people, but to remain faithful so that those looking on him and believing in him shall have eternal life and shall be raised up.

To its very core the gospel is worthy of it’s name: it is good news. The gospel is uplifting and not a downer.

Often a naysayer will say to me that they are not on board with Christianity because its rules and regulations condemn people to Hell. There is an exclusivity about Christianity that these folks just can’t handle.

On the contrary, I’d say that while Christians have a tendency to be exclusive and judgmental, that is not the case for the religion’s namesake. Jesus was inclusive (e.g., he dined with all sorts of people), and came neither to abolish the harsh Judaic Law nor to oppress people with it. Rather, he came to fulfill that law. He came to be the propitiation and the expiation for our sins. Not just the sins of a certain few, but of all.

The gospel is inclusive and uplifting. In spite of its origins in violence, it is a message of hope and salvation, a message of strength in weakness and glory emerging from despair. It is a story of social upheaval and reversal as the Kingdom of Heaven breaks in on what a friend of mine calls: “The Bogus World System” — the system that we have built to protect our power, to protect the illusion that we are masters of our own destiny.

Just as Jesus sought to do the will of the one sending him (i.e., the Father), we too should seek to do the will of God — whatever that will may be for each of us!

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