What is Faith — John 6:41-47
The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
When Jesus said that He is the bread of life that came from heaven, people began to speak against Him. They knew the human parents and relatives of Jesus. On the basis of that knowledge, it was difficult for them to believe what Jesus said. To them Jesus tells that no one can come to him unless one is attracted by the Father. As fulfilment of the prophesies, only those who are taught by the Father and heard from Him come to Jesus. Those who come will have the faith and they shall inherit resurrection and eternal life.
Here we see the given nature or infused aspect of faith. As we know faith is one of the theological virtues. It means that it is not just of human origin. Faith has a given aspect. God gives or arouses it in us and our response to it realizes in the proper faith. If there is only a human basis, we will be like the Jews who spoke against Jesus as it was difficult for them to believe what Jesus said. From a human point of view what Jesus is and what He tells are confusing. It does not satisfy our mere intellect.
Jesus prays, “I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed to the infants” (Luke. 10:21). In relation to faith it is not intelligence or intellect that matters. We need them to have a real understanding of faith. But faith is not purely intellectual knowledge where everything is based on reason or proof.
Faith is supernatural where everything is based on revelation. Faith is the obedient response to the revealing God. St. Paul says, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise” (1 Cor. 1:27)
This is faith. So in order to have eternal life, we have to give ourselves to the revealing God in total submission. God the Father teaches us and draws us to the Son who gives us eternal life. Unconditional assent and firm response is demanded from our part. So let us give ourselves to be taught and drawn by the Father who will give us eternal life in His son, Jesus Christ.
– – – reflection by Fr Abraham Muruppel