Looking at the world through the eyes of Jesus and John we arrive at chapters six through eight where the Lord is recognized as the Prophet Who had come into the world (6:14). The people watched Jesus heal the sick and now feed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Signs and wonders. This Prophet they were waiting for was referring to Dt. 18:15-19; God will raise up a prophet like me, said Moses, from among your brothers (Jewish), and they were to listen to Him. That word ‘listen’ is shema which means to hear, listen, and obey. God would talk to the people through this Prophet, the Messiah. Here’s the clincher, if they don’t shema, including obedience, they will be called to account and God will deal with them. This truth was vital and Peter reminded the people in his sermon after the resurrection:
Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people. Acts 3:22-23 ESV
Jesus’ entrance into the world to those who would shema was a fulfillment of God’s covenant to Abraham, Peter declared, sent to the Jew first and then to the Gentile: that’s us. He’s the One Who brings life to the world (John 6:33, 51) through His death in our place; those who don’t shema can’t receive eternal life, their destiny is set. Jesus clarified the separation of people in the world, those who have heard the gospel and remain unchanged:
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:37 ESV
Does that include the whole world, every person who has ever lived? No, remember the snake bites and the bronze pole? Only those who looked in faith received healing; He is life to the world of believers who look to Him.
Jesus’ followers desperately wanted Him to be more open about His mission, perform more miracles, more healings, but Jesus was clear:
“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.” John 7:7 ESV
Finally, the religious leaders in chapter eight tried to trap Jesus but He declared Himself the Light of the World and those who shema will walk in the light of eternal life, not in the darkness of the world. He then condemned the unbelievers once again declaring four times that they will die in their sin. There is no Plan B; you are of the world of unbelief or you follow the Light of the World.
Which side are you on? Jesus said that true disciples abide in His word, know the truth, and are set free. Look to Jesus today and be free.