About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
The Bread Of Life (ch. 6:25-59)
verse 25 we see that the crowd finally found Jesus and asked Him,
"Rabbi, when did you get here?"
Note that those who asked this question viewed Jesus as a Rabbi,
which simply means a teacher.
are some people who believe that Jesus was an official Jewish rabbi
because He was called a rabbi and because He was allowed to speak in
some of the Jewish synagogues. Rabbi
simply means teacher. I do
believe Jesus was a teacher, because He taught.
However, I'm not convinced that He was an official Jewish
rabbi recognized by the Jewish establishment.
Most of the establishment refuted Him.
Yes, He was a teacher sent by God, but not officially designated
by the Jewish leadership.
is always interesting to see how Jesus answers questions from people.
He did not give a direct answer to their question that we know of
from the text. In verse 26
He basically told them that they didn’t follow Him all the way over to
Capernaum because of the miracles they saw, but because they were fed.
The Greek implies that they "gorged" themselves on the
food Jesus gave them. Jesus
is simply saying that this crowd wanted more food.
Jesus appeared to be a food machine for these people.
Why would one have to work when they could just hang around Jesus
all the time and He’d feed them. No
wonder they wanted to make Jesus king.
It would make
Jesus is speaking to the crowd about food, He tells them not to
"work for food that spoils."
These words would have sounded great to these people.
Why work for food when Jesus can magically make food appear for
us. Again, it's the ultimate
welfare state. But, Jesus
wasn’t really talking about material food.
Jesus wasn’t saying to stop working and let me supply your food
was in fact speaking of a different type of food that they didn’t
quite understand. Jesus was
speaking about "food that endured into eternal life."
Of course, we know that this food is the Word of God that enabled
Him to do His Father's will. Remember
back in John 4 after Jesus ministered to the woman at the well.
The disciples brought Jesus some food but He told them that He
had food already. In
context, the food was the spiritual ability to minister to the woman
that He received from His Father. Jesus
hears the Father speak the Word and Jesus immediately does what is
spoken. The same should
apply to us.
food could only be given to the disciples by the Son of Man, who is
Jesus. The term Son of Man
that we see here and elsewhere in the gospel accounts is in reference to
Daniel 7:13 and 14 where the prophet foretells the day when the Messiah
will arrive on earth to set up His kingdom.
Daniel refers to the Messiah as being one like the Son of Man.
This Messiah would in fact be both God and
the words "placed His seal of approval on." What
is this seal of approval? We
see Paul use this same terminology in his letters.
The seal is the Holy Spirit.
The seal first appeared when Jesus was water baptized, when the
Holy Spirit came upon Him and the voice from Heaven said that Jesus was
God's Son whom God loved. The
voice was subsequently confirmed by the miracles that Jesus performed.
Jesus was telling the crowd was not to work for earthly food for their
stomachs, but work for this heavenly food.
This tells me that the number one priority for Christians is to
devote as much time to the work of the Lord as is humanly possible.
Hobbies and other such things are secondary to the work of the
Lord. We'll have all of
eternity on the new earth to spend time on our hobbies and other such
their confusion as seen in verse 28, some in the crowd asked, "What
must we do to do the works of God?"
These people were thinking in typical Jewish tradition that was
laden with works. Good works
were to make us acceptable before God.
It's all about works. It's
all about what I can do. What
good thing can I do to do the works that Jesus is doing.
verse 29 Jesus’ answer was extremely simple.
He told them that believing in Him whom God has sent was actually
doing God’s work. Once
again, we must understand the word believe in New Testament terms to be
the process by which we give our lives to Jesus.
If we give our lives to Jesus, that is the work that needs to be
done in order for us to receive this heavenly food which brings us
eternal life? The most
important work that we can do is to simply believe, or, trust our lives
with Jesus, and even then, we can't do that without the help of the Holy
Spirit. As Paul said in
Romans 12:3, faith, or trust, is given to us by God Himself.
As humans we do not have the ability to have faith in Jesus.
We do not have the ability to trust our lives with God as we
should. It's all about
faith, or trust. We live by
faith as Paul says in Romans 1:17. We
live by trusting our lives to Jesus each and every day.
verse 30 the crowd asks what I’d call somewhat of a dumb question.
They asked Jesus to perform some kind of a miracle to prove what
He was saying was true. Well
these people had just searched Jesus out, took a trip across the lake to
find Him, because of the miracle He already did for them.
They were just miraculously fed and now they are asking for
another miracle from Jesus to prove Himself.
How stupid can humanity get.
Jesus never does miracles to prove Himself.
Jesus never does miracles on our demand.
The feeding of the crowd should have been sufficient for these
people but apparently it wasn't.
seen in verse 31, along with this demand the crowd reminded Jesus that
their forefathers were fed by God miraculously in the desert after they
had just fed these people once. He
was now claiming to be God’s Son and could offer them some kind of
food in order to receive eternal life.
He told them that if they wanted this food, they’d have to give
their lives to Him. This was
a major decision for them to make. Was
Jesus going to feed them on a daily basis like God fed their fathers in
Old Testament times? It was
a logical assumption to make. They
still had their minds set on earthly food as you can see by their
verse 32 Jesus gives further explanation to what He is saying.
He says, "It is not Moses who has given you the bread from
heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from
heaven." Notice the
verb tense in the first phrase. "It
is not Moses who gave you …"
Moses did not give the bread to their forefathers.
God gave the Israelis food. The
"you" is a collective "you."
You, means the nation of
shocking thing is what Jesus says in verse 33.
He tells the people that the "true bread of God is He who
comes down from heaven." The
bread of God is not bread as these people understood bread.
It was not the bread that they ate miraculously on the other side
of the lake. The bread of
God was a person, and it was Jesus Himself.
is a great truth of Scripture. What
Jesus is in fact saying is that our relationship with Him is more
important than earthly food that nourishes our earthly bodies.
There is a spiritual food that gives life throughout eternity and
that is Jesus Himself. We
need to be very accurate here. Jesus
is not saying that God is this food.
He is saying that He is the food.
He was the one sent down from Heaven.
God has sent and appointed Jesus to be what we need to live for
eternity in heaven. Our
relationship is with Jesus through His Holy Spirit.
He represents us to the Father.
We need to speak about Jesus way more often than we do because He
is indeed the bread of life that God has sent for us to partake of.
It is only through Jesus that we have life eternal, and that life
eternal has started for us already if we have given ourselves to Him.
verse 34 the crowd answers Jesus by saying, "sir, from now on give
us this bread." From
this response I don’t think they caught onto what Jesus was talking
about. I believe they were
still thinking of some kind of supernatural bread as their fathers ate
in the wilderness. Again,
they were thinking of being fed in some kind of welfare state.
As we have been seeing throughout the book of John, every time
Jesus speaks to people there is a mental disconnect between Jesus and
those to whom He is speaking. Humanity
just can't get what Jesus is all about, unless the Holy Spirit speaks to
of their response, Jesus, in verse 35, simply and plainly says, "I
am the bread of life, he who comes to me will never go hungry, and he
who believes in me will never be thirsty."
Jesus Himself is the bread that comes down from heaven.
Of course, such words would just confuse anyone.
How could a person be bread?
How could one eat a person? Was
Jesus talking about cannibalism here?
Obviously He wasn't.
said that if you partake of Him, meaning, give your life to Him in
divine fellowship, you won’t be hungry again.
He is not speaking of physical hunger.
He is speaking of a spiritual hunger that can be found in all
men. This hunger may not
even be evident to all men, but in one place or time in a life, every
man and woman will sense this hunger.
Jesus’ claim is that if we give our lives to Him, this hunger
will be quenched and we won’t hunger again.
this in mind we do know of people who have truly tasted of the bread of
life and for one reason or another have chosen not to continue to eat
from God’s bread. They
indeed do hunger again.
is a question I've often asked in regard to not ever being spiritually
hungry or thirsty again. Why
are so many so-called western world Christians seemingly hungering and
thirsting for things this world can offer them when they should not be
so hungry and thirsty. Either
they are not real Christians or else they have not put Jesus first in
verse 36 Jesus tells the crowd, as He has before, that even though He
stands before them, they do not believe Him.
They have not given themselves to Jesus.
For the most part, the crowd tagged along and followed Jesus
around for many reasons, but not for the right reason.
They were merely on the band wagon.
37 is interesting. Jesus
says that "all the Father gives Him will come to me and whoever
comes to me, He will never drive away."
It is the Father through the Holy Spirit that draws people to
Jesus. Once someone comes to
Jesus, Jesus will embrace the person.
He will never say "no" to anyone coming to Him with
Christians have used this verse to support their thinking concerning
predestination. That is, God
chooses those He wants to come to Jesus to be saved.
I understand how they use this verse, but it is my thinking that
God the Father will at one time or another bring people to Jesus.
Besides, it is quite possible that Jesus is speaking in the
present tense. That is, all
that the Father brings His way while on earth, He won't drive away.
I'm sure that the same thought would apply now, but while on
earth, not all men came to Jesus. Only
certain men came to Jesus with pure motives, and those men and women
Jesus did not drive away.
fact of the matter is that no one can come to Jesus unless the Holy
Spirit leads him. This is
why our prayers for our unsaved friends and family are so important.
We pray that the Holy Spirit will lead these people to Jesus.
verse 38 Jesus gives the reason why He wouldn’t drive anyone away.
He says that He came down from heaven to do what the Father has
sent Him to do. So that
being the case, why would He drive away someone that the Father sent His
way? That would make no sense.
again that Jesus speaks of His divinity when He says that He has come
down from Heaven and that God is His Father.
More than the other three gospel writers, John zeroes in on the
divinity of Jesus. This
might well be because when he wrote this account; I believe near the end
of the first century, he had to deal with all sorts of heresies
verse 39 Jesus continues to say that the Father’s will is for Him to
lose no one that His Father has given to Him.
Once again, those who believe in the idea that God predestines
certain to be saved is seen in this verse.
They say God draws certain people to Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t drive them away, and He doesn’t lose any that
He doesn’t drive away. Those
who believe in eternal security use this verse as well.
Once again, I believe that Jesus is speaking here of His close
disciples that His Father has given Him while on earth. He may not be
speaking of believers like you or I.
From creation, we all have a choice to follow the way of God or
not. We have the choice to
begin to follow and then change our minds, if that is what we want. That
being said, I'm not discounting that those who come to Jesus today are
not being considered in this verse.
Jesus will lose none of us, assuming we don't want to be lost.
I say that based on many other Scriptures.
see a progression between verse 39 and verse 40.
In verse 39 Jesus says that He will lose none that the Father
sends His way. That's His
disciples back then. Then in
verse 40 Jesus expands this by saying, "everyone who looks to the
Son of Man and believes in Him shall have eternal life."
That includes you and I and all throughout this age.
goes on to say that all who the Father sends His way will be raised up on the last day. The last day is
when Jesus will come back to earth.
Those who are His will be raised to a new life.
This tells us, right from the lips of Jesus, just when the
resurrection of our bodies will take place.
That will be the day when Jesus returns to rule the earth.
That will be the day we will be given what we call our glorified
eternal bodies. That is the
last day of this present age.
verses 41 and 42 John tells us that the
verse 43 Jesus is very blunt with these people.
He tells them to stop grumbling. At
this stage in the discourse Jesus seems to be getting quite upset, and
in verse 44 Jesus says it once again.
No one can really come to Him, meaning come to Him in faith,
unless His Father draws them to Him.
This means that no one listening to Jesus could understand His
words and come to Him in full trust unless God the Father pulled him to
Jesus. I think that Jesus
was specifically speaking about God the Father drawing people to Him
back then while He was on earth, yet I believe the same holds true
today. Man cannot come to
Jesus on our own. Man cannot
understand the things of God unless God the Father, through His Spirit
draws Him. Man does not have
the ability to trust his life to Jesus.
We need God's help. This
makes prayer very important on our part.
It is our job to pray that God by His Spirit will draw people to
Jesus in order for them to make a clear decision one way or another
then says that He will raise those who come to Him up on the last day.
This is the day of resurrection when Jesus finally returns to
earth. It's the day we
receive what has traditionally been called our eternal glorified bodies.
It's the very last day that ends this age.
verse 45 Jesus quotes from Isaiah 54:13.
"They will be all taught of God."
I believe this Isaiah quote speaks to what Prophetic Futurists
call the Thousand Year Rule Of Christ.
When Jesus returns, and He will return to Jerusalem
to rule the world, we will receive our glorified eternal bodies.
During these thousand years, we the redeemed, will be taught by
God. Apparently there will
be more for us to learn in the era ahead.
verse 46 Jesus tells the people that no one has ever seen the Father but
the One who has come from the Father, meaning Him.
He said this earlier in John.
Why did He say this? Jesus
had just spoken about God drawing and teaching people.
So to make things clear, He tells them that even though God may
speak to you in some way, you have never seen Him face to face.
No one has ever seen God. It
might well be possible that no one will ever see God. This is why Jesus
will be our representative to God on our behalf for eternity as the book
of Hebrews clearly points out. Jesus
is not only our Saviour; He is our priest for eternity.
verse 47 Jesus clearly states that "he who believes has everlasting
life." The context put
this belief as being directed towards Jesus.
Yes, you first have to believe in God the Father who draws you to
Jesus, but from that point on, you then put your trust in, or give
yourself to, Jesus. The
person who does this will have eternal life. Remember,
the Greek word translated as "believe" here and elsewhere
means "trust." Jesus
isn't simply talking about believing as in mental assent.
again, in verse 48 Jesus states clearly that He is the bread of life.
He is really trying to make this point clear to those listening.
Manna in the wilderness for the Jews is a thing of the past.
A new age is about to emerge.
It is all about Jesus. Manna
gave physical life to the Jews while in the desert, but Jesus gives
spiritual life to those while in the desert of this age.
verse 49 Jesus says that the Jews ate manna in the wilderness and died. That
bread was material bread which man needs to eat on a daily basis to stay
alive. Jesus goes on to say in verse 50 that here is the bread from
Heaven. If you eat of it,
you won’t die. Yes, your
physical body as you know it will die, but you will live on forever.
Humans are more than physical beings.
We have a spiritual element to our nature because we have been
created in the likeness and image of God.
That means we are a shadowy image of who God is.
God is eternal, without beginning and without end.
We, although having a beginning, have no end.
We either will spend eternity with God or apart from Him.
51 sounds like cannibalism, but it really isn’t. Jesus
says that the bread that He has been speaking about is His body, and
that this bread is given to the world.
We know that Jesus was not telling these people that they needed
to rip off his arm and cook it for a meal.
He is speaking figuratively.
In our attempt to understand the Bible we need to understand what
is figurative and what is literal. Sometimes,
as is in this case, that is obvious.
Other times it is not so obvious, especially when studying the
book of Revelation and other prophetic passages.
says that this bread is my flesh that I will give for the life of the
world. We see that Jesus’
body is the bread. We note
that His body will be given. This
took place on the cross. Jesus
gave away His body at that point, and it was given to the world.
The cross was not only for the Jews but for all people groups of
the world. Jesus plainly
states this to be a fact. All
nations could come and be part of the family of God.
All nations could become children of Abraham.
As the Abrahamic Covenant so clearly put it; all nations would be
blessed in Abraham's descendent who we know is Jesus.
words of Jesus now cause a great commotion among the Jews.
In verse 52 we note that those in the crowd began to argue among
themselves over the words of Jesus.
How could one possibly give them their flesh to eat?
They’re thinking of cannibalism but Jesus is thinking spiritual
food. Again, there is a
disconnect going on here between Jesus and the Jews, but, as the
prophets have spoken before, their eyes have been blinded by God
verses 53 and 54 Jesus responds to their argument, not with a clear cut
answer that they’d understand, but with more of the same and even an
addition to what He ass already said.
He says that "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and
drink of His blood, you have no life in you."
Now He’s talking about drinking His blood.
That sounds worse than eating His flesh.
have real life we must give our lives to Jesus.
This implies that even though we live on this planet as humans we
walk around like dead men. We
are not alive as Adam and Eve were alive prior to their fall from God's
grace. It's my contention
that we have no clue what the fall of man did to the life of humanity.
Our beings have been so disrupted that our present state of being
is more dead than alive. That
being said, if we hand our lives over to Jesus we begin on the road to
restoration that will end when we receive our glorified human bodies.
verse 55 Jesus says that my flesh is real food and my blood is real
drink. By this He is saying
that what He has to offer is as real as material food and drink is just
as important as well. A
matter of fact it is more important. We
know that we don’t physically eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood.
What Jesus is saying is that believing in Him is more than giving
mental ascent to what He is saying.
It is more than agreeing with the truth He is presenting.
It is building a relationship with Him in divine fellowship
through the Holy Spirit. This
is way more than simply believing with one’s understanding as our
modern word believe suggests. This
is the crux of the gospel and is sadly misunderstood in Evangelicalism
today. We say, "Repeat
this prayer after me and be saved."
There’s more to salvation than repeating a prayer.
Eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood clearly tells us
have taken this passage and have run with it by saying in the Lord's Supper,
or communion, the brad and wine actually become the body and blood of
Jesus as it is digested into our system.
This is a leap into a fantasy world.
I see no connection between what Jesus is saying here and the
verse 57 Jesus says that He draws His life from the Father.
By this I believe He means every aspect of life; every aspect of
who He is, is a result of His union with God, His Father.
He then says that if we continue to feast on Him we will draw
life from Him, as He draws life from the Father.
Our life as Christians, in all its varying aspects, comes from
Jesus. This is clear.
It does not come from God the Father, only in the sense that the
life of God flows first through Jesus and then to us.
This should show you the importance of Jesus in our lives.
If this is so, then we should speak of Jesus much more than we
do. Christians today speak
more about God than Jesus these days.
That shouldn't be because much of the world believes in a god.
We need to distinguish the God we serve.
He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as this passage
section ends in verses 58 and 59 with more repetition.
Jesus has repeated Himself over and over again in this section.
He says that to have life eternal we need to eat His flesh and
drink His blood. Obviously
He is speaking in a spiritual sense. His
point is that the spiritual is just as important, in fact more
important, than the physical. The
physical is earthly and has a defined end.
The spiritual is eternal, without end.
Eating and drinking, that is feasting on Jesus is a spiritual and
ongoing experience that gives life to us in all of its varying aspects.
It is much more than simply agreeing with the truth.
says that all these things were being taught by Jesus while He was in
the synagogue in