The Gospel of John is said to be built around seven miracles, which give rise to seven discourses and seven “I Am” statements of Jesus Christ. Yet it appears that there are more than seven significant miracles and “I Am” statements applicable to Jesus Christ in this book.
The first of these “I Am” statements is found in this chapter; although, all such statements in John this writer believes to be important are listed as follows.
- Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51)
- Jesus declares, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46)
- Jesus declares, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58)
- Jesus declares, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:7, 9)
- Jesus declares, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, 14)
- Jesus declares, “I am the Son of God.” (John 10:36)
- Jesus declares, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25, 26)
- Jesus declares, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
- Jesus declares, “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.” (John 14:10, 11; 17:21)
- Jesus declares, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:1, 5)
Jesus Christ personally claims that He is (1) the “Bread of Life,” (2) the “Light of the World,” (3) the “Door,” (4) the “Good Shepherd,” (5) the “Son of God,” (6) the “Resurrection and the Life,” (7) the “Way, the Truth and the Life,” (8) “In the Father,” and (9) the “Vine.” But most importantly He declares His Deity as God by declaring that (10) He is the “I AM” (Exodus 3:14; Revelation 1:8).
Repeatedly the Apostle John reveals that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, that He is absolutely the first and the last (everything) to every person in the matter of salvation (permanent justification from sin), in the matter of sanctification (progressive deliverance from the power of sin in this life) and in the matter of ultimate transformation (the resurrection of the body and deliverance from the presence of sin).
Christianity centers on and around one Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is through Him and Him alone that a person may enter into the spiritual life and thrive in the spiritual life. A Christian, when controlled (filled) by the Spirit of God, will glorify and testify only of Jesus Christ--not the other two Persons (the Father and the Spirit) of the Trinity.
In this chapter Jesus performs the fourth and fifth of nine miracles John puts forth as “signs,” which are presented specifically “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name (John 20:31).
The nine miraculous signs depicted by John are:
- Water Changed to Wine (2:1-11)
- Healing of the Nobleman’s Son (4:43-54)
- Healing of the Impotent Man (5:1-9)
- Feeding of the Five Thousand (6:1-15)
- Jesus Walks on Water (6:16-21)
- Healing of the Blind Man (9:1-12)
- The Raising of Lazarus (11:38-44)
- The Resurrection of Jesus (20)
- The Miraculous Catch of Fish (21:1-6)
After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little." One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world." Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
After (the time frame is uncertain, but apparently several months) “these things” (that which occurred in chapter 5), Jesus went over (probably from the northwest side to the northeast side) of the Sea of Galilee near the town of Bethsaida (Luke 9:10), which was also known as the Sea of Tiberias. The city of Tiberias was located on the western bank, which was the capital of the province of Galilee. The city was named after the Roman Emperor Tiberius.
The tense of the Greek verbs indicate that a great multitude of people “were following” Christ. They were following Him, not necessarily because they believed in Him, but because they had seen Him perform miracles by healing the sick. Unfortunately, this reason for following Christ isn’t sufficient with God. God only recognizes the person who follows Christ when he does so by the principle of faith, which is based strictly on God’s Word. If it takes physical miracles to solicit devotion to God’s Son, the attachment will always fall short of God’s approval. It is unfortunate that in so many ministries of today, the emphases are on show, apparent physical healings and emotional displays; instead of on faith and the teaching of sound Bible doctrine.
The time was near the Jewish Passover Feast during the month of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish calendar. Three Jewish feasts take place during this month--Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of First Fruits. The last four Jewish feasts take place in the seventh month, the last month of their religious year. These “fall feasts” are the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Each of these feasts is both commemorative and prophetic. The first three feasts in the spring are prophetic of Christ’s first coming; the last three of His second coming. In between these feasts is the Feast of Weeks, the only feast in the Old Testament where leavened bread is ordained. Because of this it has a Gentile dimension to it and portrays the Church Age.
Christ and His disciples go up “on the mountain.” The entire area at this location is hilly and rugged. The highest elevation is about 3,000 feet. There is a spot near Capernaum that may well be the spot where they assembled. Jesus noticed a large crowd converging on His position. The order of events composing the miracle of feeding this multitude, taken from this passage in conjunction with companion passages in Matthew 14:15-21; Mark 6:34-44 and Luke 9:12-17, are as follows:
- After a report from His disciples as to what they “had done and taught” and since there were so many people “coming and going” making it impossible for the disciples even to eat, Jesus told His disciples “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet [solitary] place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:30, 31)
- Jesus and His disciples traveled by boat across the Sea of Galilee to a place near the town of Bethsaida, located on the northeastern side of the sea. “But the crowds learned about it and followed Him.” He had compassion on them because “they were like sheep without a shepherd,” (Mark 6:34), so “He welcomed and spoke to them [began teaching them many things] about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.” (Luke 9:11)
- Late in the day Jesus’ disciples came to Him suggesting that He send the people away and into the surrounding villages to buy some food (Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 9) and find lodging (Luke 9). Jesus told His disciples to feed them. Then He asked Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” Philip replied that “Eight months’ wages [Greek--two hundred denarii] would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6:5-7) Jesus was asked if they were to go and spend that much money on food for the people. Jesus in turn asked His disciples how many loaves they had and then instructed them to “go and see.” (Mark 6:37, 38)
- Simon Peter’s brother informed Jesus that there was a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, so Jesus told His disciples to have the people sit down in groups of about 50 each (Luke 9:14). There was much grass in this location, and about 5,000 men along with women and children sat down as instructed (Matthew 14:21).
- Jesus took the barley loaves and the fish, looked up to heaven and gave thanks, broke the loaves and fish into pieces and gave the pieces to His disciples who in turn gave them to the people.
- The people had as much as they wanted and then Jesus said to His disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” (John 6:12) The disciples gathered 12 basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish (Mark 6:43).
This miraculous sign of the “feeding of the 5,000” (plus women and children) illustrates several points worthy of note. The ones that come to mind are as follows.
- God provides for those who follow Him.
- God will test His disciples regarding their faith.
- God takes the little we can give to provide much for others.
- Gratitude to God is in order when about to share and consume food.
- God uses His disciples in feeding the multitude.
- When God does the feeding, He does it to the full.
- God is concerned about left overs and would have nothing go to waste.
This miracle so convinced the people that Jesus Christ was the Prophet who was to come, which was spoken of by Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18), that they wanted to crown Him as their king immediately. Jesus knowing this and the fact that “His time” had not yet come, went out alone on the mountain to escape the crowd. This was necessary because He knew that such action would upset the preordained timetable for Him to first be sacrificed, to be put to death, to rise from the dead and eventually (after the Church Age) take up His rightful position as King of Israel.
Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.
Companion passages to this one are Matthew 14:22-36 and Mark 6:45-56. One apparent conflict between the passage in Mark and this one is that it appears that Christ is instructing His disciples to cross over the Sea of Galilee to Bathsaida, whereas in John He tells them to go toward Capernaum. The structure of the Greek language in the Mark passage can be interpreted that Christ instructed His disciples to cross over the sea “from” Bathsaida. Since the feeding of the 5,000 took place near the town of Bathsaida, Jesus must have instructed His disciples to take a boat and cross over the Sea of Galilee from a position near Bathsaida, which is on the Northeastern side of the sea, to Capernaum, the town He claimed as His “own town” (Matthew 9:1), which is believed to have been located on the Northwestern side of the sea.
The Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:18) was also called Sea of Chinnereth (Numbers 34:11), Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1) and Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1). It lies nearly 700 feet below sea level 60 miles north of Jerusalem in the province of Galilee. It is a fresh water lake fed by the Jordan River, bringing down the snows of Mount Herman and the Lebanons with the rains of the hills to form a lake nearly 13 miles long, eight miles at its greatest width, and from 80 to an estimated 700 feet deep.
The order of events regarding this crossing of the Sea of Galilee is as follows.
- After Jesus directed His disciples to enter a boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, He dismissed the crowd and then went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray.
- During the “fourth watch” of the night, while His disciples were fighting high winds out on the sea, He walked out upon the water coming near them and was about to pass them.
- When His disciples saw Jesus walking upon the waters, they cried out in fear thinking they were seeing a ghost. At this Jesus said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
- Peter then answered Jesus saying, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” At this Peter exited the boat and started walking on the water toward Jesus. At a small distance from the boat he took his eyes off of Jesus and placed them on the turbulent sea. This caused him to sink and to cry out to Jesus for help. Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him, saying, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
- Jesus and Peter then climbed into the boat. At this the storm ceased. This completely amazed His disciples, because “they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” But upon seeing Christ walk on the waters and seeing that the storm calmed upon His entering the boat, they worshipped Him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
When they reached the other side, they landed at Gennesaret. This is a reference to the Plain of Gennesaret, an area with a mild climate and which produced a year-round supply of vegetables, fruit and grain. Here the people recognized Jesus and it was soon that the multitudes again came to him, carrying their sick and lame. The people begged Jesus to let them touch “even the edge of His cloak,” and “all who touched Him were healed.”
On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone--however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks--when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You come here?"
The next day the crowd that was fed the day before saw that Christ and His disciples were gone. They realized that there were no other boats at the shore except for the one Jesus’ disciples took to cross over the sea. So they entered boats, which had come from the city of Tiberias, and crossed over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. When they found Jesus and knowing that He somehow had crossed over without the use of a boat, they asked Him how he got there.
John 6:26, 27
Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him."
Jesus didn’t answer their question but got right to the point, which was their true reason for finding Him. He told them that they didn’t come because they accepted the signs that clearly revealed Him as the Son of God, but that they only came to have their appetites satisfied again. He told them not to expend any effort for non-spiritual food, but to do so for spiritual food, which endures to everlasting life and which only the Son of Man who has been approved by the seal of God the Father could give them.
John 6:28, 29
Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
Having heard Jesus mention the topic of “work” (expending effort) toward spiritual matters and thereby thinking in “legalistic” terms, they immediately wanted to know what they could “do” that they might “work the works of God.” This was a product of their “religious” background. Religion is antipathy to Christianity. Whereas religion only recognizes “human good,” or the works that man can perform to gain the approbation (approval) of God, Christianity recognizes only “divine good,” which is simply and only “non-meritorious” faith as the means to gain God’s favor.
Here in this passage Christ gives them a very important answer, one which stands out in all of Scripture. Here he informs the legalistic mind what is the ONLY “work of God,” that is, the only work that can please God--if one must call it a “work.” It is to simply and only believe (have faith in or accept by faith alone) the Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore they said to Him, "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give 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." Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always." And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.”
Here is a perfect example of the obstinacy of the heart without God, as is reflected by those who only a day before were fed to the full by Christ with a meager five loaves and two fish. Instead of taking to heart His previous teachings and accepting His Deity as was confirmed by His miraculous feeding of the 5,000 plus, they again came looking for another sign to prove that He was the Son of God. Essentially they were saying that they must see first and then would believe. This is not God’s order. God’s way is for the sinner to believe first and then he will see. Faith always comes first.
To continue their inquiry, they reminded Christ that their fathers were provided manna when they were in the desert, quoting from Psalms 78:24, 25. Here they inaccurately use the Word of God to illustrate their point. It wasn’t Moses who gave out the manna. It was God. This is a common practice of the lost when they attempt to prove something using Scripture. They twist and turn it to conform to their position. They dishonor God and His Word by doing so.
Jesus tells them in no ambiguous terms that it wasn’t Moses that provided the manna, but then quickly shifts the conversation from the past and the temporal to the present and the eternal. He states that His Father (a reference again to His Deity) now gives them the “true bread” and He defines it. He clearly tells them that this “bread of God” is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. It is not physical bread that can only temporarily sustain physical life; it is spiritual bread that sustains eternal spiritual life.
They still didn’t get it. Thinking of physical life, they then ask Christ to give them this bread “always.” So Jesus had to be very blunt. He tells them that He is the Bread of Life, bread that is not limited to just the nation Israel but is for all who will accept Him by faith. He equates coming to Him with believing in Him, just as receiving Him is equated to faith in Him in chapter 1:11 and 12. The bottom line is that the only way to be spiritually fed by God is to exercise the non-meritorious principle of faith. Once this is done, Christ confirms that the person will never again hunger or thirst spiritually.
Finally Jesus informs them that they had already seen Him, and they still will not accept Him by faith. Sadly this is the condition of most of the lost to this day. Even in light of all that God reveals to them in nature, through His Word and by the lives of surrounding Christians; they continue to refuse God’s influence.
"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”
Here Christ makes a most profound statement, one in which theologians argue in volumes even to this day. It is a statement that portrays the Doctrine of Predestination (Election) and the Doctrine of Free Will. Election is understood as the pre-selection by God of a select few for eternal salvation; whereas Free Will means that everyone has the opportunity to obtain eternal salvation. This study will not attempt to dissect the doctrines and either prove or disprove them in light of Scripture. Both doctrines exist in Scripture. Both are true. Before man they may never be reconciled, but you may be certain that before God they are completely reconciled. Suffice it to say that God would have no one to eternally perish. He would have all come to Him through faith in Christ. Christ “is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).” The fact is that only those who exercise the principle of faith in accepting Jesus Christ are able to receive eternal life. To put it in other words, only those individuals who by faith rely only on Jesus Christ and His work for their personal and eternal salvation will be saved. These then are the ones who God the Father gives to His Son and who by their exercise of will come to Him.
The second part of this most profound statement is that whosoever comes to Christ will by “no means” be cast out by Christ. A more rock solid statement on the eternal security of the believer has never been made. Once a person comes to Christ and receives Him by faith for His personal and eternal salvation, Christ will never cast him out--NEVER!
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
Jesus proceeds to bolster His thesis. He states that He came down from heaven (again declaring His Deity) to do His Father’s will and not His own. Actually He is not saying that He has a different will from His Father, since He and the Father are One; but He is saying that His will and the Father’s will are in perfect agreement. He then reaffirms the eternal security of the believer by stating that “all He [the Father] has given Me I should [will] lose nothing [not even one of the “all”].” And then He further confirms that all that the Father gives to Him, i.e., the Church or Body of Christ, He will raise “it” up at the last day. This refers to the Rapture when the Church will be raised (resurrected) from the earth (both those who are alive and those who have died) and translated into their glorified bodies to meet Christ in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18). He finally reaffirms that anyone who “sees” the Son (shown by the Holy Spirit to be the Messiah who takes away the sins of the world) and exercises his own “free will” to accept Him by faith, that person may have everlasting life and Christ will in fact resurrect him at the last day.
What does it mean to “see the Son?” It certainly doesn’t mean physical sight, since many of those who physically saw Jesus would not believe and thereby not enter eternal life. It does refer to a spiritual understanding that Jesus Christ was in fact the Son of God, born of a virgin and was the coming Messiah according to Scripture. In other words, to truly “see” Jesus, one must accept as truth the Word of God.
The Jews then complained about 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 says, 'I have come down from heaven?’” Jesus therefore answered and said to them, "Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore 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. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.”
Even if the crowd didn’t understand the spiritual message of Christ as the “Bread of Life,” they did understand Him when He said that He came down from heaven. This led them to murmur among themselves and coming to the conclusion that this couldn’t be so. In effect they were denying His virgin birth, because they insisted that He was the “son of Joseph.” This is not unlike so many today. They cannot accept the fact of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, and thereby they deny His Deity. If a person cannot accept God’s Word about His Son, the fact that He is virgin born by means of the Spirit of God; he cannot accept the perfection (absence of sin) of Jesus Christ, His substitution-sacrifice on the cross, His resurrection and, therefore, eternal life--which is the result of faith in these essentials.
Christ tells them not to murmur among themselves. In other words, don’t worry your heads off about the matter. It certainly didn’t unduly bother Jesus, because He knew that unless the Father drew them they wouldn’t come by faith to Him. He knew what Christians must always learn, to wait upon God for spiritual victories. He makes a reference to Isaiah 54:13 by stating, “And they shall all be taught by God.” He further says that anyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Him. The essence of the meaning is that God speaks to and influences the lost to come to Christ by means of Bible doctrine--Scripture. It’s not that anyone actually sees God in this process, since God is Spirit and only the Son of God can actually see the Father. But by reading the Word of God, anyone may hear and learn from God.
Finally and with great emphasis (“Most assuredly”), Christ again proclaims that the person who believes in (by faith relies upon) Him has (present tense--right then) everlasting life. Salvation is no more complicated than this succinct formula. All a person must “do” to be saved is to by simple faith rely completely and only on Jesus Christ for his personal and eternal salvation. It’s not how good one may be, how much he may give of his possessions, how kind he is to men and animals or how faithful he is to a church. None of this will save him. Salvation is only by the grace (unmerited favor) of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Nothing more! Nothing less!
"I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 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; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
Jesus again draws a pictorial contrast between the physical manna (bread) given to the Jews while in the wilderness, which never extended their life; and Himself, the spiritual bread, which if eaten imparts eternal life to the consumer. By using the expression, “Your fathers,” Jesus dissociates Himself from fallen humanity and implies His Deity. And then He becomes even more graphic by saying that the spiritual bread He is speaking about is His flesh, which He will give for the life of the world. In essence He is saying that He will give up His life and die upon the cross of Calvary so that the world (not just the Jews) may have eternal life. The only requirement is that man accepts Him and His work on the cross by faith.
The reference of eating the flesh of Christ in this context is not a reference to the communion ordinance. It is clear from the context that it means that the way one appropriates Jesus Christ, i.e., “eats Him,” is by faith alone. When a person trusts solely in Jesus Christ for His personal salvation, he partakes of the benefits of His Person, of His work and of His eternal promise.
The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?" Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, 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 eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats 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 he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven--not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever."
The Jews could not clear their thinking of the physical. They simply could not see that Jesus was speaking of spiritual things. But Christ “cuts them no slack.” He would stay on theme! He would continue on course! He hammered home the following facts:
- Without eating His flesh and drinking His blood a person has no (spiritual) life.
- Whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood has (present tense) eternal life and will be resurrected by Christ at the last day.
- Christ’s flesh is (spiritual) food and His blood is (spiritual) drink.
- The person who eats His flesh and drinks His blood abides in Christ and Christ abides in him [speaking of the spiritual union between Christ and every believer].
- The person who feeds on Christ will (spiritually) live by means of Christ just as assuredly as Christ (spiritually) lives by means of the Father [speaking of the manner in which a person lives the spiritual life once saved].
- Christ is indeed the bread that comes from heaven and whoever eats this bread will live forever.
There is an incontrovertible rule that says, “Anytime two things are equal to a third thing, they are equal to each other.” In verse 47 Christ stated that whoever believes in Him has everlasting life. In verse 54 Christ again states that whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood has eternal life. It therefore follows that to eat the flesh of Christ and to drink His blood is the same as believing in Him, the result of which is eternal life.
These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?" When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
Apparently the crowd to whom Christ had delivered His remarks about the “bread of life” had caught up with Him in the synagogue in Capernaum. By this time Christ had more disciples than the original twelve. Anyone who followed Him and professed to accept His teachings was known as a disciple; although, this did not necessarily mean the person had truly accepted Him in faith and was a “true disciple.” This was evidenced in their reaction to his message regarding the eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood. This was offensive to them. A more literal translation of the statement, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” is “Offensive and intolerable is this discourse. Who can accept it?” It may also be literally translated as, “Who can stand and listen to such offensive doctrine?”
Jesus knew what was in their hearts, on their minds and on their tongues. He then takes on these “disbelieving disciples” face-to-face by saying, “Does this offend you?” He knew that they too were thinking only about His physical flesh and blood and had no concept of the spiritual meaning of His message. He then asked them what they would think once He goes back to heaven. How then would anyone be able to eat His flesh or drink His blood? He makes it clear that He is speaking of spiritual matters by saying, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” He further speaks to the power of God’s Word by saying, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” This is a “cardinal truth,” as one opens the Bible--its words are spirit and they are life.
Jesus tells them that some of them were not believers, because, as God, He knew who would not believe in Him and then would betray Him. This was the reason He said what He said regarding the fact that only those granted by the Father would come to Him. He knew that this doctrine in particular would be offensive to unbelievers. And it certainly was so, because from that time on many of His “disciples” followed Him no more. They were not believers. They were “false disciples,” who followed Christ for all the wrong reasons.
Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.
Jesus then turns to the twelve disciples and asked them if they too wanted to leave Him. Peter speaks up for all of them, revealing that they would not leave Him for He alone had the “words of eternal life.” But more than this, they had come to know by an assurance only faith can bring that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. They genuinely believed in His Deity and that He was the Messiah, which would take away their sins. Jesus then acknowledged their faith by admitting that He had chosen them, yet also admitting that He knew one of them was a “devil”--speaking of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, who would eventually betray Him.