with Alan Bailey
Welcome to this Bible Study. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.
Chapter six of John's Gospel is a rather long discussion concerning the most important things people can talk about. Even though the statements Jesus makes seem plain enough, the hearers were slow to understand, if at all. As we read, we need to think about the claims Jesus makes about himself as the implications are highly important. You will see that Jesus is not admitting to being simply a great teacher, He is saying much more than that. Look and listen closely.
Verses 25-27 When they found Him on the other side of the lake, they asked Him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" 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. 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."
This crowd of people had come from the other side of the lake where Jesus had fed the 5000. They didn't see Him leave there because it was late and dark when He walked on the water and crossed by boat with the disciples. Not answering their question, Jesus exposes their real desire, that is, more free food. He wanted them to have more than that. Food comes and goes, but the Lord has eternal life to give us. This is a new quality of life which never ends. Jesus is actually offering it to them. He assures them that the Father has placed His seal of approval on Himself (Jesus), (referring to the title, Son of Man which He often used).
Verses 28 & 29 Then they asked Him, "What must we do to do the work of God?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one whom He has sent."
It is typical of human beings to feel that to do something good will bring them into favour with God. It is an age-old error. Sure, doing good is good, but there something else that must be seen.
When an individual's life is yielded to Christ as Lord, changes take place. Being in a right relationship to Him means receiving a new life that never ends. He was asking His hearers to believe on Him, acknowledging Him as Lord. This new kind of life is not obtained by any good deeds we do.
Verses 30-33 So they asked Him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" 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. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
The crowd wanted some proof that Jesus was sent from God. Already they had seen the miracle of the feeding of 5000 people but they wanted more. They referred to the time hundreds of years before when manna came as food lying on the ground. This happened daily for some years. They were suggesting Jesus do something like that again.
Jesus wanted to turn their eyes away from edible bread to what He called the true bread from heaven. God has something much greater to give than manna. In a plain statement, Jesus says that He himself is that bread.
Verses 34-36 "Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread." 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. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe."
Jesus sees their response as being shallow. He is looking for something deeper and more sincere. Trusting in Jesus is transforming. There is a satisfaction within that is like hunger and thirst being quenched when a person truly finds Him. Jesus knows what is lacking in their response. They haven't whole-hearted trust in Him.
Verses 37-40 "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me. 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.
This important paragraph is telling us that God is steering believing people to His Son. Jesus promises that no one will be turned away. They will be kept by Jesus and resurrected bodily for life in heaven. God's plan does not hang uncertainly in the balance; it is sure and safe.
Verses 41 & 42 At this the Jews began to murmur against 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 say, 'I came down from heaven'?"
Here is evidence that Jesus was right in seeing unbelief rather than belief in these people. The mystery of the coming of God the Son in human flesh was too great for them. They knew His mother and His supposed father and they could not see any further.
Verses 43-45 "Stop murmuring among yourselves," Jesus answered. "No-one can come to me unless the Father who has sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. As 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.
Jesus is pointing out that the coming of people to Himself is carried out by the plan of God the Father. It is not a matter left to chance as if God just hopes people will believe. The Father is ensuring that the divine plan of salvation actually works and people will be saved for eternity. It is true that many will not believe, but many will.
Verses 46-51 "No-one has seen the Father except the One who has come from God; only He has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fore fathers ate 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. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If a man eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Jesus claims to have personal knowledge of God the Father. More than that; He has a near relationship we do not fully grasp. Eternally, He has been with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity we know as God.
It seems that Jesus is repeating things He has already said but we can see that He needs to make an emphasis for the people to get some grip on His message.
It could be truly said that the position is the same today as it was then. Some believe, some don't. Human hearts can be hard and stubborn, even doubting when the evidence is in front of them. It should have been obvious that Jesus was not speaking idly or making empty boasts. All He claimed was backed up by His life—a sinless life that revealed supernatural powers.
Again we ask, on whose side do you stand?•