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bread which cometh down out of heaven and giveth life unto the world." They then ask him for this bread. "I am the bread of life. He that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. Your fathers did eat manna in the
which came down out of heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever. He that eateth my
flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life. abideth in me and I in him.
As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he that eateth me, he also shall live because of me.
The Jews might have understood the metaphors used by Jesus had it not been that the thought which the metaphors conveyed was beyond them. He was speaking of modes of life transcending conditions of the flesh; a spiritual life coming through him from God, who is spirit. The condition of its imparting was the doing of the will of God in belief on the veritable embodiment of that will which was before them. So many of the Jews murmured. Jesus said to them, "It is the spirit that giveth life; the flesh profiteth nothing. The words which I have spoken unto you are spirit and are life."" Thus he declared that spirit is the source of life, even of those phases passed under conditions of the flesh. The flesh giveth it not. The words of Christ are the commandment, the will, of God. They and it are spirit and life, and so can give life. As many turned away, Jesus said to the Twelve, Would ye also go away? The answer of Peter shows that he is gathering a meaning: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast words of eternal life."'' Peter begins to discern that the body's meat and drink is not the source of life.
In the seventh chapter the Jews in Jerusalem argue
1 John vi, 35, 49, 51, 54, 56. The intervening verses of the chapter must be read to obtain the full connection and import of the thought.
2 Ib., iv, 24.
3 Ib., vi, 63.
among themselves that Jesus cannot be the Christ, because his origin was known. Jesus replies, "Ye both know me and know whence I am," my place of birth and parentage. The real source of my life and mission ye do not know. I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, aλnivós. This word means more than truthful in the sense of veracious (άλŋ¤ýs); it means true in the sense of veritable, real,-true-being rather than truespeaking. It is here applied to God as the source of the life true, real, and eternal, which Christ is setting forth. And the same word is used when Jesus speaks of his judgment as being true because he is not alone, but the veritable Father is with him, speaking in him.'
The latter half of the eighth chapter shows the failure of the Jews to understand the life which Jesus there speaks of as an abiding in the truth which maketh free. "If ye abide in my word ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." There was nothing strange in the thought of a teacher enabling hearers to know the truth; but the truth shall make them free, that they do not understand, especially as they were not in bondage to any man. Jesus is speaking of the bondage of sin. He who committeth sin is a bondservant of sin, and abideth not in the house forever; hath not the eternal life of God, had only by those whom the Son and his truth accepted have made free from sin, which leadeth away from God unto death. Life is here set forth under the aspect of accepting and abiding in the truth of God; and the discussion leads to Jesus' declaration," If a man keep my word, he shall never see death," and to the Jews' reply, "Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead and the prophets. Art thou greater than Abraham? Whom makest thou thyself?" Jesus tells them that Abraham rejoiced to see his day, whereat the Jews exclaim, Thou art not yet fifty years old! And Christ's great answer not only states that before Abraham 1 1 John viii, 16.
was born, Christ was, but makes known his eternal life as absolute, freed from categories of past and future, unconditioned on such successiveness as lingers out the life of earth: before Abraham was I am.
The parable of the good shepherd makes up most of the tenth chapter. Towards the end, in reply to the Jews' demand whether he be the Christ, Jesus answers, "I told you, and ye believed not. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me." Those works bore witness of that life which was in Christ and which might manifest itself here in its life-imparting power. Each of the miracles was an instance of the eternal life from God manifesting itself in modes independent of the conditions of ordinary earthly phenomena. Jesus continues speaking of his sheep: "My sheep hear my voice. .. and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." The life from God which Christ imparts is mightier than the powers of evil, and cannot be destroyed. And Christ's words as to himself and God-I and the Father are one— again indicate the transcendent nature of this life; that it is something which sense perception cannot grasp, nor men whose thoughts are bounded by sense imagine. Nor is it subject to any limitation arising from the distinctness of the personality of the recipient from the personality of the Giver. "If I do not the works of my Father, believe But if I do them, though ye believe not me, believe the works, that ye may know and understand that the Father is in me and I in the Father."
Two expressions of the nature of the life which was in Christ, and which he gives, must be spoken of before passing to the final discourses with the disciples. Before the raising of Lazarus, Jesus says to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth
and believeth on me shall never die.'
I am the resurrec
tion and the life. I am both, and the two are the same. Eternal life is resurrection in itself; it is never dead; it is always risen, though the body be in the tomb.
Again: "He that beholdeth me beholdeth him that sent me," a phrase indicating how the life of Christ in God, of God in Christ, transcends all conditions that men could apply to the relationship of sender and him who is sent. "And I know that his commandment is eternal life,' —a last statement for the world; the power of God, the will of God, the commandment of God, to men through Christ, is life to them that believe, accept, and do.
Its Final Revelation
Christ's communings with his disciples and his prayer of consecration to the Father contain his final words of life eternal, and these farthest truths are presented set in the motive and the means of life's attainment, the spirit of love. Christ's love could not be told to men who hated him. Disciples. In the hearts of disputing Scribes and Pharisees, there was no love to which his love might speak. But the disciples loved him, and from the heart of love could know the life which lies in love, and apprehend it as the world could not. In the world Jesus had been the fulness of humanity. He had been the heart of love, the helping and life-giving hand of love as well. Had he not too in jealous wrath driven desecrators from his Father's house? And had he not groaned in his spirit, indignant at the ways of man which make the power of death and all earth's pain. Jesus wept,—he was a man, and loved his friend, wept at his grave. At last he shows his disciples God's love washing the feet of men; and now, in
2 Ib., xii, 45.
1 John xi, 25, 26. 3 Ib., xii, 50. Ib., xiv-xvii. The following short setting forth of these chapters may indicate Jesus' way in John's Gospel of expounding the nature of the life of man and God, and the relation between them, by successive statements, each one complete in itself, yet each one developing the previous thought by stating a further aspect of it.
telling them of the life he is, the life they are through him in God, his words ever meet their love, their grief at the Master's going, ever turn back to the heart of man and God which was in Jesus Christ, and thence return to those poor, God-touched Jews with that heart's messages of love and life and union of all hearts which love in God.
Believe in God,
"Let not your heart be troubled. believe also in me.' In my Father's house are many mansions." The promised life is veiled in the image of a house with room for all; but the spiritual nature of this life appears when the same word, μovai, which is here translated" mansions" is used in a subsequent verse thus: "If a man love me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode (μovýv) with him." The abiding of Christ and the Father with the disciple on earth is identical with the "mansion," the abiding of the disciple in God hereafter. Such a conception of life eternal here and now, and unconditioned save on relationship to God, removes reality from death, makes it the merest apparent change.
Love lingers to assure the disciples: "If it were not so I would have told you." And to this reassurance Jesus adds a new statement: "For I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also. And whither I go, ye know the way." These last words make at least one disciple conscious that he does not understand; and from Jesus' answer it is again evident that such language as I go to prepare a place, I come again," is not to be referred to any separation, as of distance and reunion in one locality. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; how know we the way? Jesus saith unto 1 Cf. the Syriac reading of the Sinai Codex, "Believe in God, and in me ye are believing."