Jesus, the Bread of Life
Comments for Study 8
Key verse: 6:36
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I. "Do Not Work for Food that Spoils" (25-34)
>1. Why had the crowd come to Jesus on the mountainside across the lake? (2)
* John 6:2 "and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick."
* "a great crowd of people" -the men count was 5,000; include women and children the number was probably twice as much.
>Why were they looking for him now? (14-15, 25)
* John 6:25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?""
* John 6:14-15 "After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself."
* "the prophet" -Referring to the last Old Testament prophecy, ""See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6))
* "by force" -Jesus had clear perspective of his mission. He would not be forced. This was not God's idea.
* They wanted to make him king so he could solve their bread problem eternally.
* "Rabbi, when did you get here" -Verses 23-24 indicated that they discovered that Jesus has slipped away from them on the other shore. They asked this question out of surprise, rebuke, and flattery. Jesus did not answer them.
>What was the difference?
* Originally they came with some faith to be healed. They were then seeking the Messiah, now they were seeking only physical needs. They deteriorated to a sub-human level.
* Miracle seeking isn't the greatest reason to seek the Messiah, but it is by far better than seeking him for physical needs alone.
* After the teachings and the miracle they should have grown in faith, followed him, and learned from him.
>2. What did Jesus say to the crowd? (26)
* John 6:26 "Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill."
* "I tell you the truth" -A phrase Jesus often repeated and recorded by John to point out a teaching that is very important.
* Jesus rebuked them so that they would repent.
* The crowd's faith deteriorated and Jesus escalated. He did not say this earlier.
* Jesus knows the heart motivation. If it needs improving and/or changing he challenges.
>Why were they so urgently looking for bread? (27)
* John 6:27 "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.""
* They had no food again for they ran around the lake to get to him. They were looking for more. They expected Jesus to give them food again.
* "food that spoi1s" -food of and for this world but also can apply to anything of the world.
* "food that endures to eternal 1ife" -spiritual food.
* Jesus states man's purpose and priority in life. Jesus told Satan when he was tempted to make rocks into bread, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4)
* This is a contrast with temporary joy and satisfaction to eternal joy and satisfaction.
* The crowd had not spiritual desire. They were following Jesus for the wrong reasons.
>Why can physical bread not be the real solution to man's basic life problem? (See Gen. 3:17, 19; John 5:24; Eph. 2:1-2)
* Genesis 3:17 "To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life."
* Genesis 3:19 "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
* John 5:24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."
* Ephesians 2:1-2 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient."
* The problems are that we live in a cursed world and we are dead because of sins. Our restoration is not complete, the curse needs to be removed, and the world needs to be restored. Sinful man needs to be made alive.
* Adam was driven out of Eden, not because of a bread problem, but because of a sin problem.
* Working for bread is an endless thing.
* Give bread to a man and he will be full for one day. Teach a man to grow wheat and turn it into a bread he may live seventy years. Receive Jesus and he will have eternal life.
>3. How did the crowd respond? (28)
* John 6:28 "Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?""
* They are preoccupied with their bread problem.
>What did they mean?
* They wanted to work to get the food that endures to life.
* In verse 27 Jesus told them, "work...for food that endures to eternal life..." then he would give it to them.
* They were confused and yet desired it. They said they wanted it only to get the free bread and fish.
* They wanted and thought that they could get a clear cut solution to their food problem.
* This is similar to what Jesus said to the Samaritan women, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water... whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst." (4:10, 14a) She responded correctly.
>What did Jesus teach about the real solution to man's life problem? (29)
* John 6:29 "Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.""
* From this it can be learned that God's work is teaching faith in Jesus, the Messiah.
* "believe" -in the original Greek language: "be" means "to", and "lieve" means "live".
* God wants us to live by faith.
* Jesus stuck to the point, believe in him as the Messiah.
* The hardest and yet easiest work that one must do is believe with a whole heart, mind, and strength in Jesus, the Messiah. This is displayed in 6:60.
* Because of sin, doubt, and the fallen nature, believing is hard.
* Believing in Jesus is the work of God unto salvation from the fear of death and punishment.
>Did the crowd accept the good news he told them? (30)
* John 6:30 "So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?"
* They now really understood what Jesus was asking them to do. But they were beginning to take offense at him. All they really wanted from him was food. So they tried to trick him into getting it.
* They remembered and new of the miracle of the feeding. Also, Jesus had healed many the day before according to Mark and Matthew.
>What did they want? (31)
* John 6:31 "Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'""
* Outwardly they seem to want a miraculous sign as proof. But in reality it was just a trick to force him to give them more free food.
* They used the word of God not as it was intended but for their own benefit. They proved their point by using scripture in the wrong way.
* They wanted to use God for their own benefit and gain.
* Their attempt at logic is twisted. They were saying, "Jesus giving bread equals him being the Son of God. But Moses giving bread does not equal Moses being the Son of God.
>4. What did Jesus teach them about the bread the Israelites ate in the desert? (32)
* John 6:32 "Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, 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."
* God is the source of bread and all food.
* The Israelites had food every day, but in the end it didn't really help them. They still sinned and rebelled against God.
* Jesus feed many of these same people the day before, but that did not mean that they would go to heaven and be in the kingdom of God.
* "given you bread the bread from heaven" -Jesus did not say you forefathers. He said them.
>About the true bread from heaven? (33)
* John 6:33 "For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.""
* Jesus is the eternal bread of life. He is the word of God made flesh as John pointed out in chapter one.
>What was their response? (34)
* John 6:34 "Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread.""
>Do you think they accepted his words?
* They didn't want to accept what Jesus was saying.
* Their mind was like a compass which always turns north. They always went back to trying to get free bread and fish.
II. I am the Bread of Life (35-59)
>5. What does Jesus mean by "hunger" and "thirst"? (35)
* John 6:35 "Then Jesus declared, "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."
* "I am the bread of life" -Jesus is talking about spiritual needs. We need him to live. He needs to be in our whole being.
* Indirectly physical food is also implied because he who has a relationship with God will be taken care of by God. The apostles and any true believer in Jesus has never died from a lack of food or water.
* "never" -No exceptions, an absolute promise with the only condition of "to believe."
* Jesus did not give them what they demanded because it was nto what they really needed. Giving them food at this time would have only degraded them to a lower point that were they were at now. At times this is why Jesus says no to our requests as well. If we seek righteousness first, he gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want.
* Jesus knows that hunger and thirst are real needs because he himself fasted and was tempted in the desert for forty days.
* Jesus has made us a promise here. If he were not to keep it then he would be a liar. He always keeps it. He is not a liar.
>What is Jesus' invitation and promise? (36-37)
* John 6:36-37 "But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away."
* Jesus gave the solution to our hunger and their need.
* "you have seen me and still you do not believe" -Jesus had done all the Messiah was prophesied to do, but they did not believe and trust in him as the Messiah.
* "All that the Father gives me will come to me" -True believers are a gift from God to Jesus. We do not initiate the relationship. God does. It is his sovereignty.
>What is Jesus' purpose in coming to this world? (38)
* John 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me."
* Jesus obeyed.
* "come down from heaven" -Jesus is the only human to come down from heaven. Jesus is claiming he is the Messiah and that the Messiah is more than a man.
>What does he teach about God's will? (39-40)
* John 6:39-40 "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.""
* God wills that we do his will. Jesus taught us to pray, "your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." God's will is for us to believe in his Son.
* This is what it means to come to Christ.
* "lose none" -his promise to his loved ones.
* "raise them up at the last day" -The physical resurrection. See 1 Corinthians 15. I wrote a lot on this in my manuscript The Believer's Future - Hope That Inspires.
* "last day" -Of this age of the preaching of the good news, aka church age and age of grace.
* "come" -God sends us to Jesus, but we must go to him in faith and love.
* "everyone" -no exceptions.
* "eternal life" -Jesus gives us eternal life. We do not earn it.
* When they did not accept Jesus words they left him and he let them go. He does not force himself on anyone. He gives the truth and waits to see who responds positively to it.
>6. How did they respond? (41-42)
* John 6:41-42 "At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?""
* "grumbled" -What is the reason people grumble?
* They saw Jesus from a human point of view. They forgot all the miracles they were doing. They forgot what he had taught.
* This response came because their hearts were now completely hardened. Their hearts were hardened because they did not get what they wanted; that is free food.
>How did Jesus deal with their grumbling? (43)
* John 6:43 "Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered."
* Jesus commanded them and us. We should accept. Sometimes we don't understand, still we are asked to believe. Understanding is not important as believing is.
>What does it mean to be drawn by God? (44)
* John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day."
* God draws men to himself through his Son.
* This is God's hand of providence.
>How does God draw men to Jesus and to himself? (45-47)
* John 6:45-47 "It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."
* "They" -Those who hear Jesus, and indirectly us as we read and study his words are thus taught by God.
* They must listen to the Father and learn from him.
* Jesus is indirectly calling himself God.
>7. Who is Jesus? (48)
* John 6:48 "I am the bread of life."
* He is making the same claim in 35, 38, 41, 48, and 51.
>What does Jesus do for people struggling for the bread problem in the world? (49-50)
* John 6:49-50 "Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die."
* Promise them a better future, an eternal future.
>What did Jesus have to do in order to give us his flesh to eat and his blood to drink? (51-52)
* John 6:51-52 "'I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?""
* Jesus had to shed his blood as he died on the cross so we could drink it.
* The Israelites were told in the desert to only collect enough for one day with the except of the Sabbath rest and the day before. They were also told to eat all that they collect and not not save it. They were to eat every day to they were full. (Ex. 16:1-36)
>8. What must we do to solve our life problem and have eternal life? (53-58)
* John 6:53-58 "Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, 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 real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.""
>What does it mean to eat his flesh and drink his blood? (Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:17a)
* Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
* Ephesians 3:17a "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith."
* We are not to be cannibals. We do not eat real flesh.
* We spiritually eat and drink Jesus. We meditate and spiritually digest Jesus. This is living by the Spirit.
* Verse 59 says they meet Jesus in the synagogue, and verse 25 doesn't say "at the lake" but "by the lake." So they were in Capernaum which was by the lake.
III. "To Whom Shall we Go?" (60-71)
>9. Why did many disciples turn back from following Jesus at this time? (60,66)
* John 6:60 "On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?""
* John 6:66 "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him."
* Just because a person is with a Bible believing and witnessing Christian group now does not mean they will stay and it doesn't mean he truly believes in Jesus.
* When people leave it does not necessarily indicate a fault in the church, congregation, pastor, menotor, and Bible teaching.
* "This is a hard teaching" -Sometimes the truth is hard to hear. If I don't understand it and/or can't accept it right away I should give God a chance to open our eyes.
* "who can accept it?" -Even the disciples who left Jesus realized that if they were to follow Jesus then they must accept all of his teachings. Some people think they can be called Christians while not believing all that the Bible teaches.
>What did Jesus teach them to help them believe? (62-65)
* John 6:62-65 "What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."
* Jesus wanted them to accept the words he spoke to them.
* He taught them that he was teaching them spiritual things in earthly terms.
* Even the demons believe there is a God and Jesus is the Son of God, but they do not obey and believe his words. (James 2:19)
* Even if people see miracles it does not mean that they will believe and obey. The Israelites saw many miracles of God, but in the end they disobeyed, even building a golden calf and calling it the God who brought them out of Egypt.
>10. What did Jesus ask the Twelve, and what was Peter's response? (67-69)
* John 6:67-69 "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." "
* This was defiantly the Holy Spirit speaking through Peter because Peter was just a weak man who didn't fully understand everything Jesus was saying. Even Jesus indicated this to Peter in verse 70.
* Like when the Holy Spirit worked in Peter here, when God words in us, it is for a clear reason.
* Jesus asked this question so the apostles would examine their hearts and to make a decision.
* Jesus taught the truth without compromise even though many turned away from him. He doesn't look for quantity, but quality.
>What does this teach about Peter's faith?
* It was based upon Jesus being the Holy one of God.
* Simon Peter accepted Jesus was the bread of life.
* The apostles were the hope of the future because they believed and accepted Jesus even though they didn't always understand and often did not pass the tests of Jesus.
>How were the motives of the Twelve different from the motives of the crowd who followed for a while, then left?
* The disciples wanted spiritual food.
* The Father had drawn them. (70)
* Through accepted Jesus a confirmation of faith came from Jesus..
* John 6:70-71 "Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)"
* Jesus always knew about Judas. If there was a betrayer among the apostles, how many are in Jesus' congregations today?