Psalm 71:19–21 (MEV): Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heights; You have done great deeds; O God, who is like You?
You who have shown me great distresses and troubles will revive me again,
and will bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You will increase my greatness, and You will encircle and comfort me.
The psalms are written in poetic language. They are also used to convey truth to the Israelis in an easily memorized way. It is no different here.
The psalms are a carefully curated collection of prophetic poetry. When I says that, I am not saying that they predict the future, only that they convey truth. Sometimes, the truths encountered veil something yet to be revealed in a future time.
Look at the middle verse from the selection above. It says, “You who have shown me great distresses and troubles
will revive me again,
and will bring me up again
from the depths of the earth.” That is a truth hinting at a yet future hope. One in which the psalmist rests assured. The You is God. And the psalmist trusted that God would revive him. He would raise him from the depths of the earth. That’s a euphemism for resurrection.
This is teaching that God has the power to raise the dead. There is no way to escape that idea, given the language. It’s certain some might balk at it being just poetic language, but it still contains solid truth.
Consider that this is the songbook of the Israeli people. They would be familiar with the words in it. I will give you, some because of education may have committed parts of it to memory. This understanding is what I want to connect to something Jesus said.
There were a large group of folks that followed Jesus into the wilderness. He fed them with a young boy’s lunch. The Bible tells us there were 5,000 men in this group. It was probably a much larger crowd.
Jesus fed them. After, He quietly left to go to Capernaum. These same folks not seeing Him the next day, surmised He crossed the sea and took to boats after Him. When they came to Him, they asked Him how He arrived there. They didn’t see Him get in the boat with the other disciples; and there were no other boats there.
Can you imagine?
Then Jesus spoke to them. He spoke to them in a way that brought their own motivations for seeking Him to light. Of course, they were seeking signs. Nevertheless, they had been drawn to Him and came to find Him. Then… We’ll, let’s look.
Jesus claims some impressive things about Himself, somehow they seem to scoff in disbelief at His claims. They want more signs as proof. Here is what Jesus said to them.
John 6:36–37 (MEV): But I told you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All whom the Father gives Me will come to Me, and he who comes to Me I will never cast out.
Read all of John 6, see what is there. Keep in mind that last line above, Jesus never did cast out anyone of that present audience. They were drawn to Him and even came to Him. And the indictment for their condition is not on God. It’s on them.
After some more teaching, He makes an important statement. Important because of it’s ( at least) double emphasis.
John 6:39–40 (MEV): This is the will of the Father who has sent Me, that of all whom He has given Me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Raise him up on the last day… According to the psalm, Who has the power of resurrection?
What is Jesus saying about Himself?
Leave it to the crowd to tell us exactly what they heard and thought. They started murmuring…
John 6:42 (MEV): They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Why did they mention who they knew Jesus’ father to be, if they didn’t understand His claim to be the very Son of God?
Jesus tells them to stop murmuring. He again affirms what He previously said, even adding to it.
John 6:44–46 (MEV): No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘They shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and has learned of the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God. He has seen the Father.
No one can come to Jesus, unless the Father draws them. Yet they did come proving they were already drawn to Him. By Jesus’ testimony, it is the Father Who drew them.
Jesus raises them up at the last day. He is yet again claiming that ability of God. It is the simple truth, He is claiming to be God (if you’re paying attention.)
Everyone who has heard and learned of the Father comes to Him. And they already did, because they had heard and learned of the Father. Jesus was telling them more about Him.
He then claims to have seen the Father. Because He is from (think Offspring of) God.
John 6:47–51 (MEV): Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes in Me has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.
He offers the simple truth. One either believes or they do not. There is nothing that prevents anyone from believing the words Jesus says.
It’s clear from the text, if you’re reading this, you’ve heard of the Father, learned of the Father and are drawn to Jesus. But will you believe the claims of Jesus?
That question alone is the great divide. Those who believe in Him, I repeat not just believe Him but believe in Him, have eternal life. Those who do not, do not have eternal life.
Remember, God won’t cast any out. That is Jesus Who is God doesn’t cast any that come to Him out. If you don’t believe that… It’s on you.