John 6


‘After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.’ John 6:1-3

A period of time passed between chapters 5 and 6 but we don’t know how much time but during this time, Jesus’ ministry continues in the Galilean area. Here He heals many people and teaches much regarding life and love and of course, He runs into trouble with the Jews.

John the Baptiser is also beheaded in this time period. Much of this missing time can be read about in the Gospels. However, it must be understood that these accounts don’t record all the events that occurred. Why?

Firstly because these were perhaps not necessary to John’s purpose, John 20:30-31, and secondly, because John assumes his readers are already familiar with the other Gospel writings.

Here we find the fourth sign, Jesus feeds the five thousand, John 6:1-15 / Matthew 14:13-36 / Mark 6:30-56 / Luke 9:10-17, and His first ‘I AM’ claim. This is the fourth sign recorded by John and the only miracle that is recorded in all four Gospels.

Jesus has returned from Jerusalem to Galilee, and note that each chapter so far has alternated between Jerusalem and Galilee. From the other Gospel accounts, we can deduce that this actually occurred after the time when the apostles had been sent out to preach, this visit to the mountain was probably for rest and fellowship, Mark 6:30.

These events seem to stand out very clearly in John’s mind, He remembers which disciples replied to Jesus’ questions, John 6:7-8, he recalls the boy with the food, John 6:9, and remembers how far they rowed from shore afterwards when they saw Jesus, John 6:19.

The Sea of Galilee, John 6:1, was also known by other names, Lake Gennesaret, 1 Kings 19:19-21, Sea of Tiberius, John 21:1, was probably the better-known name outside of Palestine.

It’s also, called Lake Chinneroth, Joshua 12:3, Lake Chinnereth, Numbers 34:11. It’s a small area by today’s standards, but in those days, it supported a relatively large population.

On the north-east coast of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus withdrew after hearing of the death of John the Baptiser, Matthew 14:12-14, and to give the apostles rest after their extensive preaching, Mark 6:30-36.

There was no avoiding the crowd that followed Jesus, they wanted to see more miracles and they probably carried the sick with them. But some must have recognised Jesus as the Messiah and were genuinely wanting to hear more of His lessons. He welcomed them and healed their sick, Matthew 14:14 / Luke 9:11.

The fact that the people have come because of miracles is especially relevant when you see how quickly they deserted Jesus when He will not be their king, John 6:15, and when it’s time to eat flesh and drink blood, John 6:52-66.

It seems that the disciples were tired after the mission they had been on. Jesus went on the hill to get a little rest, but the crowd persisted in following Him. Jesus sits in a reclining position, John 6:3, as was traditional at the time, Luke 4:20 / Matthew 13:2 / Matthew 23:2 / Matthew 24:3.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

‘Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So, the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also, the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So, they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.’ John 6:4-15

As the Passover was near, John 6:4, it must have been spring. This was one of the three major feasts that the Jews were obliged to attend. It seems that Jesus is now at the height of His popularity. Soon, after this bread of life discourse, many of His followers were to turn back, John 6:66.

Jesus tests Philip, John 6:5-6, this again is particularly relevant if the apostles have been outperforming miracles, healing, preaching etc. He already knew what was to happen, but it was appropriate for His plans to test, ‘peirazo’, Philip at this time to see if he understands that his Lord can supply every need and handle every situation.

Philip fails the test miserably as he looks only to himself and the common purse for a solution, John 6:7. He ignores the role Jesus could play by employing His power and fails to understand, John 14:8.

200 denarii equal around 4 quarts of barley, 1600 quarts of wheat which was the purchasing power of the day, an awful lot of money. One denarii was a working man’s wage for the day and so this equalled 8 months’ wages.

In John 6:8-9 we see Andrew attempting to get something organised and he finds a ‘paidarion,’ that is a little boy with some food and presents this to Jesus. He passes the test where Philip failed and he gives Jesus the chance to perform a miracle, he uses a little initiative and gets the job done.

The loaves would have been small, almost like rolls, ‘artos’, round flat cakes made with wheat flour, or black barley bread, it was the common daily bread of the people. The fish were probably dried or pickled as was the norm at the time.

Mark reports that the people sat down on the green grass and the number given is 5000 men, Mark 6:44. Matthew 14:21 says ‘5000 plus women and children’. This could have been the total number present, or another 5000 women, and it’s possible children could have been there.

The total present was immaterial, if Jesus could feed 5000, He could just as easily feed 10,000. Jesus always gave thanks before eating. Some Bibles say, ‘blessing’ but this wasn’t blessing the crowd, but thanks to God for the bread, John 6:11.

Luke’s accounts tells us that Jesus split the people into groups of fifty, Luke 9:14. Mark tells us they were split into groups of one hundred and groups of fifty, Mark 6:40.

But all are fed until satisfied and then that which was left over was collected into baskets normally used for sowing seed, John 6:12-13. They were not big, but by this stage size was insignificant. The bread was regarded by the Jews as a gift from God, and so no food was wasted.

In John 6:14-15 we see this was a visible sign because all present saw it and benefited from it. There were two results, first, they wanted to make Jesus king by force and second, they deduce that Jesus must be the prophet that was foretold, the prophet mentioned is a reference to the one predicted in Deuteronomy 18:18 / John 1:21.

The people have obviously wanted a political Messiah, and now here is one who can feed them without any effort on their part, He could provide a physical utopia for them. The Jews wanted a political and military leader like David, who would re-establish David’s throne and the physical kingdom of Israel.

Jesus wasn’t the kind of king they wanted Him to be. This was the high time in His popularity and from this time on they begin to leave in disappointment, as He wasn’t what they expected, and also, they are disturbed by his teaching, John 6:60-66.

Jesus withdrew alone for a time of reflection, John 6:15 / Matthew 14:25. He wanted the people to receive Him after a sincere, well thought out decision but He didn’t want them to take Him in the emotional state they were now in.

Christ is the king of individual hearts by faith and obedience, true and sincere, not by force which is no example of kingship. Jesus is looking for unconditional surrender of the heart, Proverbs 3:5-6 / Luke 9:23 / Romans 12:1-2.

Jesus Walks on the Water

‘When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.’ John 6:16-21

Here we find Jesus walking on water, John 6:16-21 / Matthew 14:24 / Mark 6:48. The sea of Galilee was infamous for its storms, as they were sudden and violent in this area, causing common disruption of the fishing, John 6:18.

The wind is upset by the mountains of the region and funnelled through the Jordan river valley causing strong winds on the Sea of Galilee, this is common even today.

The disciples left about 6 pm, but were still rowing when Jesus came to them in the fourth watch of the night, 3-4 am, and they had rowed only three or four miles, John 6:19. They are frightened when they see Jesus, John 6:19, they think it is a ghost, Matthew 6:26.

Note that only Matthew records Peter walking on the water, Matthew 14:22-33. It teaches us that the unexpected should be expected when we spend time with Jesus.

John 6:20 says, ‘It is I, ‘EGO EIMI’ do not be afraid, take heart’, Matthew 14:27. No matter how stormy things look, they are not so bad when you share them with Jesus. So, they agreed to take Him on board, and then they were immediately ashore, John 6:21, which is possibly a second miracle within a miracle.

The disciple’s reaction indicates a growing faith, Matthew 14:33, and the result, again they worshipped Him saying ‘Truly you are the Son of God’, Mark 6:51-52.

They were astounded, for like Philip, their hearts were hardened, for they didn’t fully understand the implications of the signs of the loaves and fishes.

He could feed the hungry, He who could heal the sick could calm and control the tempest, therefore He can and will take care of you. Anyone who follows Jesus for physical gain has missed the point and will not gain the spiritual benefits of salvation.

Many arguments have been built up around this miracle, today some people think that Jesus walked on a sandbank, others say, that the Greek indicates that He was still on the shore.

However, as the boat was 3 miles into the sea and Jesus got into the boat, it seems that the Biblical version holds more water! The boat then enjoyed some miraculous transportation to the shore. This miracle built up the faith of the disciples, also proving Jesus’ power over normal natural laws.

‘On the next day, the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So, when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.’ John 6:22-24

The disciples of Jesus were left on the far shore, the 5000, not those who became apostles. The next morning, they could probably see as far as the other shore from where they were standing and they could see that only one boat was moored there, the one travelled in by the disciples, John 6:22.

They knew that Jesus had not gone over with the disciples, so they start searching in the immediate area, but to no avail. These people then seem to realise that Jesus had arrived at the other shore by some supernatural force so when some boats arrive from Tiberius, they get into them and come looking for Him, John 6:23-24.

Jesus the Bread of Life

‘When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So, they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” John 6:25-34

It seems as if this conversation is split between the lakeshore and the synagogue, the split is probably between 40/41. The crowd found Him on the other side of the lake, while John 6:59 clearly places Him in the synagogue which was on that side of the lake.

When they find Jesus, He is going to explain to them the meaning of the sign of loaves and fishes and amplify it with teaching on the True Bread of Life.

Four Main Interpretations

1. That the bread of life primarily applies to the Lord’s Supper.

2. That it deals with only spiritual realities using the figures of Jesus’ body and blood.

3. That while it does deal with spiritual realities, it sets forth principles that also apply to the Lord’s Supper.

4. That it teaches that at the Lord’s Supper we physically eat and drink the Lord’s body and blood.

After asking the question, John 6:25, we find Jesus’ response in John 6:26-27. Jesus replies in a form of a statement regarding their motives for seeking Him. Jesus knows that they haven’t understood the signs of the loaves and fishes.

Remember these signs are to point to who Jesus is, John 20:30-31, they aren’t meant to be miracles just for the sake of feeding hungry bellies.

Jesus tells them their motives were wrong, they can’t work for eternal food, John 6:26-29. They wanted to benefit from the miracle worker and wanted to make Him their king by force, John 14:15, so that they could snap their fingers and Jesus would feed them while they lounged about doing nothing.

Jesus offers them two kinds of food, He had filled them with physical food, John 6:5-13, now He offers them spiritual food, and He encourages them to eat this food which leads to eternal life, John 6:27.

They were concerned about the food that perishes, He wanted them to be concerned about the food that endures to eternal life, John 6:27. Jesus alone was that food, on Him the Father has set His seal, set his approval, John 1:32-33 / Acts 2:22, take up your cross and follow me.

In John 6:28 they ask, ‘how can we do what God requires?’ This is in the continuous sense, ‘What are we to do as a habit that we may go on working the works of God’. They were probably thinking of Law works. ‘The work of God is to believe in the one He has sent’, John 6:29, means you need to keep on believing in me as the Messiah.

In John 6:30-31, they ask ‘for a sign’. All the miracles they have already seen are forgotten and they seek to base their faith on sight, 2 Corinthians 5:7. It was a common Jewish belief that the Messiah would repeat the miracle of the Manna.

Perhaps they are thinking Moses supplied a nation with Manna but Jesus only fed a multitude. Moses fed Israel for forty years but Jesus has only fed a multitude twice. Perhaps they are saying this is what Moses did, what credentials do you have?

They never seek the fulfilment of physical needs as opposed to spiritual needs. Jesus never performed any superfluous miracles, each had a purpose.

Jesus now indicates the nature of the miracle in John 6:32-33, and corrects their mistaken impression. It wasn’t Moses but God who fed them bread in the desert, Exodus 16, now He sends the true living bread, His Son.

He then describes in detail what He means by this true bread.

1. True, ‘alethenos’, genuine, real, John 6:32.

2. The bread of God, provided by God, John 6:33.

3. The bread of life, spiritual life, John 6:35.

This is all conditional, trust, belief, accept, obey, follow, that you may have eternal life. In every instance, He is speaking of Himself.

Then He tells them of its origin.

1. From heaven, John 6:32.

2. Comes down from heaven, John 6:33. Again He insists He is talking about Himself, ‘I have come down’, John 6:38.

Jesus the Bread of Life

‘Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:35-41

‘I AM’

John never uses the word miracle in his gospel but he does use the word sign regularly. There are 16 signs recorded in John’s gospel, 8 are things which Jesus did and 8 were things which Jesus said.

John is basically saying that the ‘I AM’ claims of Jesus are signs, selected from many other signs. And he says these signs are selected with a purpose in mind and that purpose is that you believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be, John 20:30-31.

Here we find the first of seven of Jesus’ I AM’ claims, John 6:35 / John 8:12 / John 8:58 / John 10:9 / John 10:11 / John 11:25 / John 14:6 / John 15:1.

Each of His ‘I AM’ claims are claims that He is God, EGO EIMI, is the Greek equivalent of  YHWH, Exodus 3:13-14 / John 5:18. He is Eternal, Psalm 135:13, and self-existent, Psalm 88:6-7.

When we come to the ‘I AM’ claims of Jesus, we need to remember that Jesus was not giving Himself a Name or a title, but was asserting His Deity. In other words every ‘I AM’ reveals some aspect of His nature and purpose. Here He is ‘The Bread of life.’

In John 6:34 they ask for this bread but in John 6:35-40, Jesus declares Himself to be the bread of life again. Jesus is the sustainer of life, all who come to eat of Him, will never go hungry. Eternal life is a present reality and possession of the believer, John 3:15-16 / John 5:11-13 / John 10:27-30.

How do we receive this bread? He who comes to me, John 6:35. He who believes in me, John 6:35. He who sees the Son and recognises and appreciates His purpose and identity. He who believes in Him, John 6:40.

And what are the benefits of this bread? This bread gives life, John 6:33. We will not hunger, John 6:35. We will not thirst, John 6:35. We will have eternal life, John 6:40.

We will be resurrected to salvation in the last day, the believer in the Lord will be raised at the last day, John 6:39-40 / John 6:44-54. If the Lord repeats Himself, that means that what He says is important, there is no room for a second resurrection 1000 years later, Hebrews 9:27-28 / 2 Peter 2:4, Christians are being described here.

‘So, the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:41-51

This is the first of many grumbles, John 6:52, and the Jews start to grumble disapprovingly among themselves. They know His parents and His family but how can He be the Christ? John 6:41-42. Jesus hears grumbling and interjects answering the questions they were asking among themselves, John 6:42-51.

It’s no longer just the crowd who is grumbling, but that group of people called the ‘Jews’, including the rulers of the synagogue. The text implies that they were following Him around in order to trap Him, Matthew 15:1-7 / Mark 2:23-24 / Mark 3:1-2.

Initially, the people were called the ‘crowd’, John 6:24, now the term ‘Jews’ is used, John 6:41. Jesus has confronted the multitude, now He is to confront the Jews and later confront His disciples, John 6:67-70. This is the watershed time when the rubber hits the road.

In John 6:43-45 Jesus says that no man can come to Him unless drawn by the Father. There are two factors involved in coming to Jesus, firstly, man’s own will, no man can come to Jesus unless he wants to come, Matthew 5:40 / Matthew 23:37. Secondly, God’s drawing power, Romans 1:16 / John 6:45 / 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15.

John 6:45 makes it clear that people are drawn to God through teaching, Romans 10:17 / 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15. We are born again into God’s family after being taught the reality of sin and our need for a saviour and accepting the Good News that Jesus is and brings, Jeremiah 31:31-36.

In John 6:46-51 we see that Jesus is ‘the living bread’, Jesus again declares Himself to be Deity. ‘All’, He says, are taught, those who listen can come and have life and if any eat of the bread of life, He will live forever. This is being re-emphasised because of the Jews.

God will not materialise in front of people to teach them Himself, no one has seen God except the one whom He has sent. Jesus will give Himself, His flesh for the world and so, He is food for the soul.

‘The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So, Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.’ John 6:52-59

Here we find the second grumble, ‘how can this man give his flesh to eat?’ The Jews don’t understand, and a fierce argument breaks out, they disputed. They have ears but don’t wish to hear, Isaiah 6:9-10 / Mark 4:12. No great hidden truth is being revealed, yet the Jews practice a dose of spiritual blindness.

The manna in the desert brought physical life for a short time, forty years, Exodus 16:35, but Christ brings eternal spiritual life, John 6:58.

Those who ate the manna died, those who eat of the bread of life live on. He will give of Himself, His flesh for the world and He is food for the soul. Jesus again refers to Himself as the food giving life and He goes over the previous message again, but this time makes it more literal.

He rubs it in so to speak, to make sure they get the point unless you eat My flesh and blood you haven’t lived. He introduces the idea of blood and the role it will have to play, John 6:53-56, but He isn’t referring to cannibalism, as that would be against God.

He is referring to the commitment and trust of those who become His followers, what they will understand will change their lives and create a new birth because of His sacrifice.

In other words, this is not literal but a figurative description of belief in, relying on, trusting in and obeying Jesus. This passage acts as a summary of Jesus’ teaching on the bread of life and Him as that Bread.

John 6:57 gives an idea of the closeness of the relationship between Jesus and the one who feeds Him. The words, ‘remain in me’, John 6:56, give the same same thought which is found in John 15:5-7. Was He a literal vine, were His follower’s literal branches? Also, 2 Corinthians 6:16 says that God dwells in the lives of His people, we are His temple.

Is this a literal temple? No. Acts 17:24 says He doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands. Are His words, ‘if anyone keeps My word, he will never die, John 8:51-52, are they literal?

We who look at the picture as a whole have a distinct advantage over those of His day. We can see how the blood and the bread tie in to be representative of Christ’s body and blood on the cross, Matthew 26:26-29, the sacrifice of Jesus, Hebrews 10:19-20.

So, this passage is primarily a reference to the death and sacrifice of Jesus which the Lord’s Supper became a memorial, 1 Corinthians 11:24.

So, when Jesus is here speaking about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, He is referring not to a literal act but rather a call to His audience to place their faith in what He will achieve for them through His death on the cross. His sacrificial death is the only way salvation and eternal life are possible for the sinner, John 14:6.

There were many other times when Jesus capitalised upon a situation that was presented to Him in order to teach a lesson, which is what He is doing in this chapter with the feeding of the five thousand.

John 6:59 confirms that the discussion took place in Capernaum, at the synagogue, but this doesn’t mean that it would have had to be on the Sabbath as there were meetings at the synagogue on other days of the week. It is claimed by archaeologists that the remains of this synagogue have been discovered in a dig at Capernaum.

Many Disciples Desert Jesus

‘When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” ‘After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So, Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.’ John 6:60-71

Notice how Jesus loses much of His popularity here and is never to recover it until after the establishment of the church, Acts 2.

In these verses, we see the followers who sought Jesus after the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand are being discussed. These people seem confused by what Jesus has said and they now count the cost of following Jesus and find they aren’t willing to pay the price, John 6:66.

The Jews with the preconceived ideas of what the Messiah would be like and what His plan would be weren’t pleased with this revelation of the Messiah which asked for commitment, Jesus doesn’t fit their bill, and so, once again they grumble.

Jesus asked His disciples, ‘does this offend you?’ John 6:61. In other words, what if you see Me ascend into heaven, would that make any difference, John 6:62.

Those who had put a crudely literal interpretation on His words were disgusted. The law forbids the drinking of blood, meat had to be specially prepared to meet the law’s requirements. Yet if they had bothered to think back to the reason for this rule they might have understood.

Leviticus 17:11 says ‘It is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life’. Jesus is saying, ‘I am atoning for your sins’. The centrality of the crucifixion of Jesus as the only refuge for sinners and the only way for salvation, John 14:6, was to prove an offence not only for these people here but also for many more in the future.

Paul writes later in 1 Corinthians 1:18 and says that, ‘the world thinks it is foolishness. To the Jews, a real stumbling block’ and that is what we read of happening here.

John 6:62-64 brings out the thought or question regarding faith. Does man’s faith come from within himself? Or are we led to faith by the Spirit of God? John 6:65 may be read to suggest that God gives faith which leads to eternal life but this leads to the question of predestination.

John 6:45 tells us that all who listen and learn come to Jesus. Jesus can’t be telling us to literally eat His flesh and blood for He now says in order to clarify the point that the flesh profits nothing, we cannot, by eating the flesh of Jesus, gain anything, but the sacrifice spiritually accepted by God can give us eternal life.

This tells us that the Spirit gives life, the Spirit is active in the heart before, Acts 16:14, and after a person commits themselves to God, Ephesians 2:1-3.

The true understanding is that the Spirit is waiting to help the willing heart examine the evidence, but if a person is dead set against the Gospel, then even the Spirit of God can only stand by helpless.

The Spirit has been involved in ensuring we have the message of the Gospel to read and understand and listen to, 2 Timothy 3:16. He will help us if we strive to understand the message and will help us if we are willing to apply the message, 1 Corinthians 2:14. The teacher teaches all who accept will be saved, and all who reject will be lost, Mark 16:16 / 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10.

John 6:66, says, ‘after this’ which means literally as a consequence of this teaching, many of His disciples left. The Messiah they wanted was a Messiah who would make things easy for them, who would be a powerful earthly ruler, who would miraculously feed and clothe them, a nice easy road to follow.

The road Jesus offers will not be an easy road to some earthly utopia but a road that may demand suffering and self-denial, or self-sacrifice just as Jesus gave Himself.

His teaching tested their faith, with Him there was no compromise, notice this in John 6:41. The crowd turn away because they don’t want this kind of Messiah

Jesus has just witnessed many of His regular followers giving up and turning around and He now gives His innermost circle the opportunity to examine themselves and ensure they are willing to continue on the road in John 6:67-71. It’s also an opportunity for them to be tested. They had an opportunity to make a conscious decision at this point.

Peter answers on behalf of them all, and shows an understanding of His Master’s teaching, although not, perhaps, on behalf of Judas. He states the common belief of the 12, that He is the Holy One of God.

They all, by not objecting to Peter’s answer, commit themselves to follow Christ. This phrase ‘Holy One of God’ is only used one other time when Jesus healed the demoniac by casting the demons into the swine, Mark 12:34 / Luke 4:34.

John 6:70-71 reveals a deep dark secret. Jesus knows which one of the disciples is a betrayer. The full impact can only be seen and understood as we see Judas, staying in apparent full agreement with Peter while the rest of the crowd of followers left.

John explains what is meant in John 6:70. The betrayer was a chosen apostle, like the rest, he was given miraculous powers, Luke 6:13, yet Jesus calls him ‘devil’ ‘diabolos’, accuser, slanderer. This was one of the names of Satan himself.

Jesus doesn’t say that Judas was a devil when he first became an apostle but rather we see that he was a covetous man, ‘pleonexia’, John 12:4-6 / John 13:20-27. Remember, John is writing in retrospect, He and the others didn’t know this at the time.

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