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John 6:24-35


“The Gift of Life


I want to start with a serious story today. There was “a play” called “Fifteen Minutes.” In the play, there was a young man who was running towards success and advancement. He dreamed of future happiness and rejoiced. But one day, the young man who was being examined at the hospital heard shocking words from his doctor. The young man’s life had only fifteen minutes left. Hearing this, the young man ripped out his hair in agony. At that moment, a mail carrier appeared and handed him the notice of conferment of Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D.). Shortly afterwards, the mail carrier brought another letter, a message that he would inherit a million dollars. Then the doctor next to him said, “Dear man, you are now a millionaire. But, sadly, you only have five minutes left, so what good is all that wealth?” Then the mail carrier reappeared and handed him another letter. It was a marriage consent letter from a woman whom the young man had longed for and proposed to. The doctor next to him said again, “Now, all your wishes have come true. But, don’t forget that you only have one minute left to live.” Hearing this, the young man was extremely troubled, and then he collapsed and died.

What do you think of this story? For sure, none of us wants failure. Perhaps, we all want success and wealth. However, if we lose our lives, how are success and wealth useful to us? We shall all die someday, but there is good news for us; if we believe in Jesus Christ, we do not perish, but we have eternal life (John 3:16). It is amazing news! God sent us Jesus Christ as the gift of life. Everyone who believes in him will be born again with a new life in Jesus. In today’s Scripture, it is very clear that God’s will is that we all believe in Jesus Christ and have eternal life (John 6:29). Believing in Jesus Christ is God’s will and, at the same time, the work of God, which God expects us to do. We may start God’s work at the point of believing in Jesus Christ as the Lord of our lives. And our Lord may lead us to the next step.

As you may remember in the last Sunday’s Scripture, after Jesus fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, he disappeared. When it was dark, he came to his disciples, walking on water. People only saw the disciples on the boat without Jesus (John 6:22). They were looking for him everywhere. Finally, they found Jesus on the other side of the sea and asked him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Let us listen to their irrelevant conversation. The people asked him, “When did you come?” Jesus answered, “You are looking for me not because you saw the sign, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” Jesus continually said, “Don’t work for the food that perishes, but for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Jesus clearly said, “Don’t work for the perishable food, but work for food of eternal life, which is the Son of Man will give you.” However, they asked him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus said, “Only believe in him. That’s God’s work.” They said, “Show us the sign, and we may believe in you. We learned Moses fed our ancestor in the desert.” Actually, Jesus showed them the sign that Jesus is the messiah: sat them down on the grass, and fed them. Jesus fed them with five loaves of bread and two fish a day ago, but they still didn’t know who Jesus was, while they knew the Scripture very well. And they asked him show a sign.

How about us? We also know the biblical story well, but it is not easy to apply the biblical story to our lives. We believe that the Scripture is the word of the Living God, which was inspired by the Holy Spirit [God] (2 Timothy 3:16).  However, we often realize how different knowing and believing are. Perhaps, we all agree that living out the word of God in everyday life is not easy. However, it is not by our effort but by God’s grace. As if we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ through the grace of God, faith and salvation are the gifts of God’s grace through Jesus Christ.

I often recall my younger days when I didn’t know about God. The story I told you earlier reminds me. I worked and studied hard to succeed without my parents and grandparents’ support. As I told you before, I grew up in a patriarchal family, and my grandfather didn’t want to support my education because I was a girl. But, with my mother’s encouragement, I studied hard to succeed. I graduated from a private high school and a university without my family’s support. After I got a job, I felt successful, and I wanted to show my family what I achieved without their support. However, I was involved in a traffic accident and heard from my doctor that I would not walk anymore because of a broken spine. Can you imagine how I felt at that moment? Many feelings were mixed up, such as regret, resentment, complaint, unfairness, grumbling, anger, forsakenness, despair, depression, and loneliness. Besides, the people who were around me discouraged me with words of hopelessness. My mind was full of negative feelings.

However, God cared for me even though I didn’t know about God yet, sending a pastor to my hospital room. Through the pastor, I heard the good news that Jesus is my savior and the healer, and the comforter. After that, I changed my mind toward that of a hopeful future with gratitude and confidence. Finally, I got surgery on my spine and had therapy, and then I could walk again. Faith is the great gift of God. Faith leads us to true life in Jesus Christ. I believe in God by God’s amazing grace. If I didn’t believe in the good news at that time, I am not sure how my life would be. It was the gift of God. Otherwise, I cannot explain it. Therefore, we shouldn’t be proud of faith but should be humble. And it would be best if you spread the good news to whoever you meet. Who knows, your courage to tell the good news may change someone’s life, as it did my life.

We often pay attention to things like food, money, and materials in the world as if the people asked Jesus to give them the bread in verse 34. The people asked for the bread of life from Jesus because they couldn’t notice Jesus was the bread of life. We too often focus on what we don’t have rather than what we have. Why don’t you try to focus on what you have now? This simple change may lead you to be a positive and grateful person.  You may see how much God loves you. Don’t forget that you already received the gift of life in Jesus Christ by the grace of God. May the gift of life make you and your family, and your loved ones full of God’s grace! Thanks be to God! Amen!