Let’s turn to John chapter six as we continue our journey through the Bible.
After these things (6:1)
That is, the things of Jesus being to the feast in Jerusalem and the healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda and the discussion that came up with the Jews over that on the sabbath day.
He went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias (6:1).
In chapter six, we have John’s account of the middle part of the ministry of Christ which begins more or less at the death of John the Baptist and will take us through to Peter’s confession at Caesarea, Philippi that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Actually chapter six encompasses about two years of Jesus’ life. This is all that John gives us out of this two years of the middle ministry of Jesus. Other gospels give us other events. But you remember John is selective. He is giving just certain of the signs that Jesus did. And so here in the sixth chapter, we have a couple of signs, but this is all that John tells us of this middle ministry of the life of Jesus, a two-year period of time. He picked out these two events in this particular two years.
A great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased (6:2).
At this point the popularity of Jesus is growing. Everywhere He goes He’s followed by a multitude of people. And you remember that the other gospels tell us that the occasion of going over the sea of Tiberias was the fact that the disciples had come back that He had sent us. They gave the reports of how the Lord had worked with them. Devils were subject and so forth. And He said, Let’s go over to the other side that we might just relax a bit. There were multitudes of people thronging Him everywhere He went. And so they went over to the other side of the sea to get a little rest and relaxation. But the people saw the direction they’re ship was going and they ran around the upper part of the sea of Galilee so that by the time they landed in this deserted area near Bethsaida, it was deserted. There was a crowd of people waiting for them.
And so Jesus ministered to that crowd of people all day up until the evening. John puts in this fact that,
The passover, feast of the Jews, was close (6:4).
They were in that time of the passover feast which means that it was a full moon.
And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples (6:3).
When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great multitude or a great company come unto him, and he said unto Philip, Where can we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do (6:5,6).
It was just sort of a test of Philip’s faith and confidence in Him. Philip really didn’t pass the test. He sort of looked at it from purely a natural standpoint. He said, Lord, I don’t think that we could buy bread. I think it would cost about eight thousand dollars to buy enough bread for all of these people.
Jesus was wanting to know the kind of confidence they had in Him. If Philip would say, Well Lord, You know You can do anything. What do You want to do? But Philip just looked at it from purely a natural standpoint. Andrew was a little braver. He made a slight suggestion but then he immediately dismissed it. He said,
There’s a little lad here with five loaves and two fish. But what is that with this multitude (6:9)?
In other words, it was, Here’s a little bit but. And then he immediately dismissed his thought.
But Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was a lot of grass in that place (6:10).
At the passover season, you’re in early spring. And the area around Bethsaida, covered with grass and wild flowers, is very beautiful in the early spring up in the upper portion of the Galilee region there. Beautiful fields covered with grass and flowers. And so Jesus said, Have them sit down.
So the men sat down, and the number of them was about five thousand. Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those that were sat down; and likewise also the fish as much as they would. When they were filled (6:10-12),
The Greek word there is literally glutted. They were really filled. They were like you are after the Thanksgiving dinner when you feel like, I can’t eat another bite of pumpkin pie or I’ll burst. So “when they were filled,”
he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. They gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments from the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world (6:12-14).
They saw this marvellous miracle. They began to say, “This is in truth that prophet.” Moses had prophesied that there shall come another prophet like unto myself, and to him you shall give heed. When Jesus did this miracle, the people were saying, “This is the prophet that Moses said was going to come into the world. Truly this of a truth is the prophet which was to come into the world.”
When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone (6:15).
They were ready to acclaim Him forcibly as the Messiah. But they were seeking to acknowledge it on the wrong basis. The basis of the miracle of His feeding of the five thousand. The fact that their stomachs were full. He had met their physical needs. They did not understand the mission of the Messiah at His first coming. They did not understand the spiritual aspect of His mission that He was to lay down His life. He was to give His flesh. And thus, He did not allow them to, this popular movement of acclaiming Him as the Messiah on the basis of their having their physical needs met.
The other gospels, and interestingly enough, the feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle that is mentioned in all four of the gospels. The other gospel writers tell us also about the feeding of the five thousand. They fill in a few details that John doesn’t give to us. John just gives us the bare essentials. But the other gospels tell us that Jesus went with the disciples down to the seashore and He had them get in the ship and He constrained them to go back over to the other side. Commanded them, go on back over to the other side. And then He dismissed the crowds. Okay, you’ve eaten, you’re full now. Go home. And then He went on up alone into the mountain and Luke tells us that He was there praying unto the Father.
The disciples went down unto the sea, And they entered into the ship, and they went over the sea toward Capernaum [at the command of Jesus]. And it was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew (6:16-18).
It’s sort of like the Santa Ana winds that we get here. It comes down through the canyon and up at the northern end there near Gennesaret. It really follows that canyon down and when it hits the sea of Galilee, it really whips the thing up. You must realize that the sea of Galilee is some six hundred and fifty feet below sea level. The weather is much like the weather at the Salton Sea, which is also below sea level and you have then your high temperatures there in that valley you have the coastal cool air and of course, as the hot air rises the coastal cool air comes flowing down in. And so it can create some pretty powerful winds and some rather high seas on the Galilee. One of those times when the wind really began to blow, here were the disciples out there trying to row against the wind.
Now they were seasoned seamen. They had spent, many of them, their lives there on the sea of Galilee. They were familiar with the moves of the sea of Galilee. In fact, it would seem that at least four of the disciples their hometown was Bethsaida. They had many of them moved over to Capernaum but they’re not that far apart. The fishing is really good there on the upper end where the Jordan river comes in, brings a lot of nutrients and things and there’s a lot of fish up there on the northern end. So the disciples knew that sea quite well. The natural thing for a seaman to do when you get a storm like that and you’re rowing and you’re not going anywhere, you’ve got the heavy seas, is to turn your boat around and go with the seas. The only danger is in the turning when you get crossways of being flipped over. But they were able seamen and they knew how to do it.
But Jesus had commanded them to go to Capernaum. So they’re out there really struggling as they’re trying to row against the seas and against the wind. We are told that they had only gotten two-and-a-half to three miles at that point. From Bethsaida to Capernaum is about six miles across the sea. So it means they were out in the middle of the sea. They had only made it about halfway when their progress was halted by this wind. And as we made note this morning and it is I think significant, there is a common fallacy that we often hold thinking that if I am in the will of the Lord, if I am obeying the commands of Jesus, my life should be a piece of cake. That I shouldn’t have any problems, I shouldn’t have any troubles. I should always have calm seas with the wind at my back. Because after all, I’m doing the will of the Lord.
Let’s think about that for a minute. Let’s think about Jesus. In doing the will of the Father there in Gethsemane, as He was facing the cross, you remember His prayer, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not my will, thy will be done” (Matthew 26:39). And submitting to the will of the Father did not bring the wind at His back and a calm sea. It brought the cross.
Oftentimes for us, the will of God is not an easy thing. It many times is a very difficult thing. And I face adversities when I seek to do the will of God. So often I’m going against the tide when I seek to do the will of God. But Jesus saw their dilemma. Full moon, sea of Galilee, you know how clear the skies get around here when we get those Santa Anas. That’s the only benefit of those things that I can see. They blow the smog halfway to Hawaii and we have some clear days. And so with the full moon and the sea of Galilee, you can see across the sea. Not that wide and He could see no doubt, as He is sitting there on the mountain, that little ship out there in the middle. And He realized it wasn’t going anywhere with that strong wind. And so Jesus went out to help t hem.
That’s the beautiful thing. I may face some adverse winds. I may face some real trials but the Lord will come to rescue me. He’ll be with me in the storms. The Lord said, “And when you pass through the waters, they will not overflow you: when you pass through the fire, it shall not burn you” (Isaiah 43:2). He didn’t say you’re not going to be facing heavy waters, deep waters. He didn’t say you won’t be facing the fire but He has promised that He would be there with you in it.
You remember the three Hebrew children there. He didn’t spare them from the fiery furnace. That’s what we would have done, have we been in control. But He allowed them to go into it that He might be with them in it and show that He can preserve even in the fiery furnace those who put their trust in Him.
So the Lord came to them but He was walking on the water. They looked up and here, though they weren’t getting anywhere against the wind, He was. Head down, into the wind, walking towards them on the water. They were frightened. They thought they were seeing a ghost (6:19).
But Jesus said unto them, It’s I; don’t be afraid. And so they willingly (6:20,21)
I bet they willingly,
received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went (6:21).
Immediately they found themselves in Capernaum. That was a miracle in itself. John doesn’t tell us about Peter venturing out. He sort of leaves out, he gives us some other insights of Peter’s mistakes but he’s gracious to Peter on this one and doesn’t mention it. Of course, he probably knew it was already recorded in the other three gospels. What’s the sense of rubbing it in.
The following day (6:22),
This was a couple of days in the life of Jesus. The one day there going over to Bethsaida, the crowd meeting them. Him ministering to them up until the evening. His taking the five loaves and two fish and feeding them. And then sending them away. Walking to the disciples on the water. Now the following day,
when the people which stood on the other side of the sea [over in Bethsaida] saw that there was no other boats there, except that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone (6:22);
And John gives us a little note here.
(Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias near to the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus (6:23,24).
When they came to Capernaum, they saw that there was only the one boat, the one that the disciples went in. And they knew that Jesus wasn’t in it.
And so when they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, Rabbi, how did you get here (6:25)?
Interesting, Jesus did not answer their question but,
He did answer them saying, Verily, verily, I say unto you, You seek me, not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat the loaves, and were filled (6:26).
You seek Me. You didn’t really see the real miracle. You ate and you were filled, that’s why you’re seeking Me. But you really didn’t see the miracle, the real purpose behind it.
Labour not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed (6:27).
God has placed His seal upon Him. “Labour not for the meat that perishes.” Jesus is going to seek to bring them from a purely materialistic thinking into the spiritual realm. He’s going to try to help them understand and to see what they didn’t see of the spiritual nature of what happened. As He talks to them in the realm of the Spirit, their thinking still in the realm of the flesh.
And this often is a problem that we have. As the Lord seeks to teach us things of the Spirit and we’re always thinking in realms of the natural, the physical; and the Lord is constantly trying to draw us into the spiritual. In a little while He’s going to say, The flesh profits nothing. “Don’t labour for the meat that perishes. The flesh profits nothing. But for that meat which endures unto everlasting life which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”
Then they said unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God (6:28)?
They knew the law. They knew what God required of them in the law. But they knew their inability to keep the law. So “what must we do that we might work the works of God?” What can we do that we might keep the law? They recognized that they needed help. I cannot keep the law of God. I want to do the works of God. So what shall we do that we might work the works of God. The desire to work the works of God but recognizing my inability to do so.
Is there a dynamic? Is there a power? Is there something that you can lead us to that will help us that we might do the works of God?
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he hath sent (6:29).
Through believing in Jesus, you will come into a new dimension of life. The life of the Spirit. In the life of the Spirit, there is the dynamic to enable you to be what God wants you to be. As Jesus was promising the Holy Spirit to His disciples, He said, “But you will receive power, [dunamis, dynamics] after the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts 1:8). That which you cannot be in and of itself or through your own abilities or through your own efforts, through your own results. He can help you to be through the dynamic of the Spirit that you receive by believing on Jesus Christ. “This spake He of the Spirit, which was to be given to those that believed on Him” (John 7:39), the scripture says. So through the Spirit is the dynamic. Through believing in Jesus there is the receiving of the Spirit. “What must we do, that we might work the works of God? This is that work of God” in your life that will enable you to keep God’s divine ideals.
What does the Lord require of you? In Deuteronomy he said, “This is what the Lord your God requires, that you love God, and that you serve Him with all of your heart and all of your soul” (Deuteronomy 11:13). The prophet Micah said, “He has shown you, what is good; what does God require of you, that you do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8)? God’s requirement.
Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). I can’t be perfect. I know me well enough to know that I’m not perfect and I can’t be. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like, I would like to be perfect. However, I wouldn’t have much tolerance for the rest of you if I were. But we all of us realize that we can’t be perfect. I can’t keep the law of God.
As Peter, when they were talking about the Gentile believers, what relationship do they have to the law and what should we rule as far as the Gentiles and the law? Peter said, “Why should we put on them a yoke of bondage, that neither we nor our fathers were able to bear” (Acts 15:10)? Why load it on them? We haven’t been able to keep it. It’s pretty honest confession by Peter.
God’s divine ideal I am incapable of keeping even though I desire to keep it. So what must I do that I can work the works of God? And Jesus said, This is it, believe on the One that God has sent. This is the work of God that will enable you then to do the works of God. God doesn’t give up on me just because my flesh is weak. But He gives to me that dynamic, that power of His Spirit whereby I can be what God would have me to be.
It isn’t that God’s standards have been lessened for me. It isn’t that God has stooped down to my lower level. He still seeks to bring me to His high level. Knowing I can’t attain it and achieve it in myself, He gives to me the dynamic, the power of the Spirit by believing in Jesus. God hasn’t given up on you. And the Lord is going to perfect that which concerns you. “Having began a good work in you, He’s going to continue to perform it until He has accomplished it” (Philippians 1:6).
And so day by day, we grow in grace as we grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And as we yield more and more to the Spirit, as we learn to walk after the Spirit and to be led by the Spirit. As we reckon the old life to be dead, crucified with Christ, more and more the life of the flesh has less power over us as we walk in the Spirit and we are being conformed by the Spirit into the image of Jesus Christ.
As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “We, with open face beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed from glory to glory into the same image, by His Spirit that works in us” (2 Corinthians 3:18). How beautiful that is. No, I haven’t yet arrived, Paul said. “I’ve not yet apprehended” that for which I was apprehended of Jesus Christ. Neither do I count myself perfect. “But this is what I’m doing, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before.” The things which were behind were the things of the old life of the flesh, leaving that, pressing on to the life of the Spirit, “I’m pressing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God which is in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14).
I’m not yet what God would have me to be but I’m on the way. I’m getting closer. Thank God I’m not what I was a year ago. Or two years ago. There’s progress, there’s growth. The Spirit of God works in me. He’s not through, He often puts up “Under Construction” signs as He shows me those areas of the life that still need to be yielded and surrendered to Jesus Christ. But He’s working. And so that dynamic. That’s what they were seeking, Jesus told them how to get it. Believe on the One whom God hath sent.
They then said unto him, What sign do you show us then, that we may see, and believe you? what do you work (6:30)?
Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat (6:31).
The idea is that, Moses gave us the bread from heaven. He said there will be another prophet like unto himself. Yes, you gave us bread yesterday but that was just one day. Moses did it for forty years. They’re thinking of the kingdom of God in the physical realm. They’re still thinking of the full stomachs, and the kingdom to be established on the basis of the physical realm rather than the spiritual kingdom. “The kingdom of God is not meat or drink; but righteousness, peace, and joy” (Romans 14:17). But they’re thinking of meat and drink. “Our fathers ate manna in the desert or in the wilderness. What sign do you show us?”
And Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you (6:32),
That “Verily, verily” is always an attention-getter. It’s sort of, Listen carefully to what I’m going to say.
Moses gave you not that bread from heaven (6:32);
Moses didn’t give you that.
but my Father is giving to you the true bread from heaven (6:32).
Taking it from the manna, the physical sustenance that God gave to them in the wilderness, to the spiritual again. God gives you the true bread. My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world (6:33).
That’s the true bread.
Then they said unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread (6:34).
Like the woman of Samaria, Give me this water, that I don’t thirst and have to come out here anymore.
Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life (6:35):
They’re talking about Moses and they’re thinking of the comparison of the prophet with Moses. But you remember that when Moses came to the burning bush, and the Lord spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, telling him to go to the Pharaoh and to demand the release of the Israelites from their bondage and slavery in Egypt; Moses said, But they won’t believe me. And who shall I say has sent me? What was God’s answer? I am that I am hath sent thee.
And so here Jesus said, I am. This is one of those places where Jesus is using this name for Jehovah for Himself. “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11). “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). And in the garden when the soldiers came to arrest Him, Jesus said, Who are you looking for? They said, Jesus. He said, I am. And they fell backwards on the ground (John 18:4-6). And so, “I am that ego eimi, I am the bread of life.”
he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (6:35).
Radical statements. Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, “He who drinks of the water that I give shall never thirst again” (John 4:14). Talking again in the realm of the Spirit. Again, He’s talking to them in the realm of the Spirit. You’ll never hunger, you’ll never thirst. Recognizing that there is deep inside of every man a hunger for a meaningful experience and relationship with God.
As David said, “My soul thirsteth after Thee, O God. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so pants my soul after Thee, O God. For the living God” (Psalm 42:1,2). How I thirst for God, how I hunger for a meaningful experience and relationship with God. And Jesus is declaring that He is the bread of life and if you will come to Him, you’ll be satisfied. You won’t hunger again. You won’t thirst again because in Him you will find that for which the Spirit hungers and thirst, the meaningful relationship with God.
But I said unto you, That you’ve also seen me, and you believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out (6:36,37).
What a beautiful promise. “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” Here you have both sides of the coin. “All that the Father giveth to Me shall come to Me.” That’s divine sovereignty. But human responsibility, choice—he that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. When we think of this in light of predestination and election, if you come to Jesus, asking forgiveness of sins, submitting yourself to follow Him as Lord, acknowledging Him as Lord, He doesn’t go down a list to find out if your name is on it. He doesn’t say, Oops, oops, somebody goofed. Sorry your name’s not here. Doesn’t happen.
“Whosoever will, let him come and drink of the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). You say, Well, I can’t reconcile that. Of course you can’t. No one else can and that’s why they argue so much.
I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me (6:38).
What a marvellous statement. And so we hear it again in the garden, “Nevertheless not My will be done, but Thy will, be done” (Luke 22:42). I didn’t come to do my own will. And that should be true of every one of our lives. We shouldn’t be here to do our own will. But we should be here to do the will of the Father. Life is really found when we submit ourselves into doing the will of God. That’s where fulfillment comes. I was created for His good pleasure. If I seek my own pleasure and live for my own pleasure, I’m going to live an empty, vacuous life. But if I will learn to live to please Him, and if I will seek to please him, I will find a very rich and fulfilling and overflowing cup. My life will be an overflowing cup. Oh the pleasure, and I do always those things that Jesus said that please the Father. “I didn’t come to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me.”
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise them up again at the last day (6:39).
That’s the Father’s will. That we who have been given to Him, He’ll keep us and raise us up in that last day.
And this is the will of him that sent me [He repeats it], that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life (6:40):
That is, sees Him in the true light of the Spirit. Sees in the sense of comprehending, understanding the realm of the Spirit. Those that really see the Son. “It’s the Father’s will, those that see and believe on Him, that they may have everlasting life,” and His promise,
and I will raise him up at the last day. 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 (6:40-42)?
Their familiarity with Him. Isn’t this Jesus? We know His father and mother, Joseph and Mary.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Don’t murmur among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him (6:43,44):
Another interesting statement. “No man can come except the Father draw Him.” But I believe that the Father seeks to draw all men to Jesus Christ. And all of us who came, came as the result of the Spirit drawing us, the Father drawing us. It’s my responsibility, however, to yield to the Father. “God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). And so there is the divine operation of God but there is also that necessity of human response to the work of God.
It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God (6:45).
Notice “they’ll all be 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, except he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life (6:45-47).
This is basically what He said to Nicodemus who was seeking the method or the way by which he might be born again. And Jesus said, “Whosoever believeth on Him, God gave His only begotten Son, whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). And so again, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.”
I am that bread of life (6:48).
They murmured at that. They had problems with it. We know His father and mother, how is it that He said He came down from heaven and so forth. But He said, “I am the bread of life.”
Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die (6:49,50).
Death has two biblical definitions. One, the separation of the consciousness from the body. When your brain no longer functions, you’re dead. The other definition is the separation of your consciousness from God. If you are living without a consciousness of God, without an awareness of God, with no thought of God, you are dead spiritually. The separation of your consciousness from God, living apart from the consciousness of God. Living only with the consciousness of the flesh and the things of the flesh, the Bible says you’re dead. A person who lives only for pleasure, the Bible says, is dead while they’re still alive. Jesus is using here this second definition when He says that if we believe in Him, we will never die. You’ll never be separated from God consciously.
I am extremely thankful and becoming more thankful everyday that He’s not talking about I’m going to have to live forever in this body. That is not a happy prospect as the body is going to pieces. But He’s talking about the spirit again, the things of the Spirit.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world (6:51).
God made Him to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness through Him. He died that we might live. The bread is His flesh. He said to His disciples when He broke the bread, “Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:24).
“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray; we turned every one of us to our own ways; but God laid on him the iniquities of us all” (Isaiah 53:5,6). He bore our sins. He gave His body, His flesh as a sacrifice, sin offering for you and for me.
The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily [these are those attention words again], I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you (6:52,53).
If you don’t partake of Me, if you don’t recognize that I’m given My life for you as a sacrifice, an atoning sacrifice for your sin, if you don’t recognize that, you don’t have life. You don’t have spiritual life. Again, He’s talking in the realm of the Spirit and their thinking in terms of the flesh and this is the conflict that’s going on. They’re on two different levels.
And so often as we are trying to explain to people about Jesus Christ and the gospel of Jesus Christ, you’re on two different levels. They’re thinking on the physical, you’re talking in the realm of the Spirit and they can’t comprehend, they don’t understand. It’s just mumbo-jumbo. And yet, to you it’s very clear, it’s very plain.
So here is Jesus talking on the level of the Spirit; they’re thinking on the level of the flesh.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day (6:54).
Again that little promise and phrase.
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed (6:55).
We are brought to the communion table and there we take the cup. “This cup is a new covenant in My blood that is shed for the remission of sins. This bread is my body which is broken for you” (1 Corinthians 11:24,25). Partaking of Christ. The blood of Christ cleansing us from all sin. Nourished and strengthened by the body of Christ.
As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me (6:57).
There is the spiritual life; it’s in partaking of Jesus Christ.
This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things he said in the synagogue, as he was teaching in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can get this one? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples were murmuring at it, he said unto them, Does this offend you? What and if you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before (6:58-62)?
Is this bothering you?, He said. When it actually happens. Their concept of the Messiah was materialistic. He’s fed us, we’re full. Let’s make Him the Messiah. It was a materialistic Messiah that they were looking for. One that would feed them without any effort on their part. Jesus knows that He is to give His life, His body. He is to be a sacrifice. And so He’s talking to them about My flesh being meat indeed. My blood being drink indeed. You must partake. But He’s talking about the cross and the sacrifice that He’s going to make for sins.
So He said, Does this offend you? What’s going to happen when you see Me on the cross? When you don’t see Me throwing over the Roman government. When I don’t lead the armies against the armies of Rome. This may offend you but when you see Me on the cross, and even the disciples that stuck with Him, even Peter who said, Lord, where can we go, You have the words of life. Even they were offended. Jesus said, All of you are going to be offended this night because of Me. He’s referring to the cross and the cross was a stumbling block to them. So when He begins to talk of His cross, it’s difficult. They are murmuring and many of them turned, didn’t follow Him anymore. They couldn’t handle that. They couldn’t handle the concept of the spiritual kingdom of God because they were thinking only in terms of the material.
We are told, Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this, they said, It’s a hard saying; who can hear it? So Jesus then said,
It is the spirit that makes alive; the flesh profits nothing (6:63):
Always trying to lift us from this unprofitable realm of the material world into the profitable realm of the spiritual world. The superiority of the spirit over the flesh. The spiritual realm over the material realm. Something that Jesus constantly was teaching.
the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (6:63).
“It’s the spirit that makes alive; the flesh profits nothing.” God help us to really grasp that.
But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and they walked no more with him (6:64-66).
If you’re not going to set up a physical kingdom, material kingdom, you’re not going to make me rich and feed me with the bread from heaven, then I’m going home.
Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will you also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (6:67,68).
Where can you turn? Where can you turn? Looking back at the world, there’s really nothing to go back to. We might have difficulties. We might have problems. We might not understand exactly and fully what the Lord is seeking to teach us. But where can we go? We know that the world has nothing. It is empty, it has nothing to offer. “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
And we believe and are sure that You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spoke of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve (6:69-71).
So John lets us know that Jesus all along was aware of Judas, of what he was doing and what he was going to do. And yet ordained of God for this purpose.
Next week, chapter seven. Next Sunday night, Anaheim Stadium. And so we’ll have a couple of weeks in chapter seven for you to study it and really digest it well.
Father, we give thanks for the bread of life. How wonderful that we can eat and live forever. Jesus, we pray that You will lift us from the materialistic concepts and from the concepts, Lord, that are fleshly. Recognizing that that profits nothing. And lift us, Lord, into the realm of the Spirit that we might live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit and follow after the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit. That we might be all You would have us to be and do all that You would require of us to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Your interpretation of life. This is, Jesus said, You believe on Me, you’re going to have life. What is your interpretation of life? To the prodigal son who came to his dad, how did he interpret life? It’s fancy clothes, nice shoes, jewelry, plenty to eat and drink. Partying. I’m going to go out and live it up. That was the interpretation of life. But what did it lead him to? Pig pen. Destitute. Empty. Came home to his dad. What did he find? Clothes. Dad said, Put the robe on him. Found shoes. Put new shoes on him. Found jewelry. Put on the ring. Found plenty of food. Kill the fatted calf. He found the party. What people are searching for, life in the world, leaves them empty and destitute and all the while, that life is at the Father’s house. Aren’t you glad that you know the Father? And He’s drawn you to that wonderful life of the Spirit that is so satisfying, so rich and so full.
May the Lord be with you and watch over you. May He guide you through this week as you seek to know and understand His will. And may He give you that power to work the works of God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #8074