Flesh and Spirit
Flesh and Spirit
Words of Faith 10-25-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"
 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you?  What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!  The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.  Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.  He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."
 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
 "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.
 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
 Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!"  (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)
Jesus had attracted quite a crowd. Many were following Jesus out of curiosity and did not really believe in Him. As Jesus moved closer to His mission in Jerusalem it appears that He deliberately “thinned” this crowd. He did so not with demanding requirements but by putting a difficult teaching before them.
His talk of eating flesh and drinking blood could only be apprehended in the Spirit and then accepted by faith. In this way, Jesus drew the line between the flesh and the Spirit. “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”
Why would Jesus “thin” the crowd? Perhaps it was simply that He knew the hearts of people. He knew who would believe and be saved and who would not. He knew who could endanger His mission and who would not. He was even aware of Judas’ treachery and that it would develop on schedule.
There was no sense in continuing to minister to people who were not being drawn to Him by the Father. Notice that it was the Lord who thinned the crowd and not the disciples. We cannot apply this because we, as disciples ourselves, do not have the right to thin the crowd. We have no such knowledge of who is perishing and who is being saved. We must leave it to the Lord to separate any “weeds” from the “wheat”. We should not give false assurance to anyone but we also should not drive off any who are seeking.
Jesus set a line of separation here. As long as we are trusting our flesh-- what we can see and hear and comprehend with our own minds and sensibility-- we will fail to grasp what Life in Jesus is really all about! Jesus pushed these followers to the end of their flesh saying that if they find it hard to think that He came down from heaven just wait till He goes back!
Such things are not apprehended and confirmed in the flesh but by the Spirit. Such life does not come from our striving to understand but by the Spirit Himself. “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”
So how do we know that the Father is drawing us? Is it when we understand all things? Is it because we somehow “get it”? Not necessarily. The Twelve still did not “get it” but they realized they had nowhere else to go.
“‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’”
Walking in Life close to God does not mean you have all the answers (Praise God!) Walking close to God is initially a realization that there is no other answer and no other place to find life. As the Gospels attest, the Twelve did not understand the journey ahead but Eleven did understand the difference between life and death. To follow and believe in Jesus is life; to turn away is death.
So where are you today? You probably do not have all the answers, I know I don’t. Have you come to the end of trusting in your flesh-- your own mind and sensibility-- to grasp the things of Life? Have you also come to the conclusion that there is no other place to find Life? Let the Spirit work in you. Let Him reveal Life to you. Remember, the Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words of Jesus are Spirit and they are life.
Lord, reveal to me more and more of Your Life each day. Turn me away from death. Turn me away from disbelief. Turn me away from trusting in my flesh. In Jesus’ Name.
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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2002, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.