Scripture reading – John 6

The Gospel of John, though not named among the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), will sometimes present us with events in the life and ministry of Christ that are parallel and in harmony with the Synoptics. After all, John was one of the Twelve disciples, and his Gospel and Epistles bear record he was an eyewitness of Christ’s daily ministry.

The Gospel of John supplements the record of the Synoptics, sometimes recording parallel events, but more often presenting details that add a different dimension to Christ’s person, doctrine, and life. While the Synoptics announce “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” John’s focus is to declare eternal life is through Christ alone (3:16-18).

John 6:1-14 chronicled Christ “Feeding the 5,000,” and adds details the Synoptics did not present (not as a contradiction, but a supplement to those Gospels). John 6:14-21 present the setting where the disciples were in a great storm on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus came to them walking on the waves of the water, and said, “It is I; be not afraid” (6:20). The balance of John 6 gave the events that followed the day after Jesus fed the 5,000, and rescued His disciples at sea (6:22).

The People Came Seeking Jesus (6:23-27)

The day after they witnessed the miraculous feeding of the 5,000, those who witnessed the miracle came to Jesus by boat (for He had crossed the waters in the night, while the people had remained on the other side, 6:22-24). Arriving in Capernaum, where they found Jesus and His disciples, the people asked, “Rabbi [meaning teacher],When camest thou hither?” (6:25)

Notice Jesus’ response to their question revealed He was aware they were not seeking Him because they believed He was the Messiah, but because they desired food to eat. Jesus declared, “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled” (6:26). The people had an appetite for physical food, but not for the spiritual food he offered them.

As you read today’s Scripture, remember, Jesus is speaking to the people figuratively, while they interpret what He was teaching literally. The LORD reproved the people for their selfish motives, saying, 27Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (6:27). Thinking literally, the people asked, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (6:28). Their interest was in what they could do, and thereby obtain food that would give them eternal life.

Right Answer, Wrong Focus (6:29-34)

Jesus’ answer moved the conversation from their wrong focus (works), to the only way a sinner might please God—Faith. Jesus declared, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (6:29). How did the people respond? They demanded a “show me” religion, and said, “What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?” (6:30)

The people wanted a physical, miraculous sign before they would believe. Still desiring bread for their physical appetite, they spoke of the “bread from heaven” when their forefathers were in the wilderness (6:31). Jesus corrected their assertion, reminding them that the bread their forefathers ate in the wilderness was physical bread, but the spiritual bread they were to “eat” [accept as truth] was standing right in front of them (6:32). Christ drew a parallel using bread saying, the bread God gave was figurative of the “bread of God” which Christ identified as, “he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world” (6:33). Still blind to the spiritual and figurative truth Jesus taught, the people answered, “give us this bread” (6:34).

“I AM the Bread of Life.” (6:35-58)

Jesus answered their insincere request, revealing plainly, He was the “bread of life” sent from the Father (6:35). He was the “bread of life” which is only obtained by faith (6:35). The people had seen His miracles, but they did not have faith (“believe not,” 6:36). Jesus then declared, like the manna that fell from heaven and fed the people in the wilderness, He “came down from heaven, not to do [His] own will, but the will of him that sent [Him] (6:38).

There were many of the Jews that rejected Jesus’ personal reference when He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven” (6:41), and murmured, for they knew Him as “the son of Joseph,” and knew His earthly father and mother (6:42). Jesus, knowing their thoughts, rebuked their murmuring (6:43), and warned, 44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (6:44).

Remembering, Jesus was speaking figuratively and not literally, He declared again, 48I am that bread of life…51I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (6:48, 51).

Closing thoughts (6:52-66) – Tragically, the hearts of the people were hard, and their eyes were blind. When Jesus offered them His flesh and blood (6:53-58), He was offering Himself, His Word and doctrine. Perhaps you wonder, “how do you know Jesus was speaking of His Word and doctrine? The answer is revealed in John 6:63—the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (6:63b).

Jesus offered them eternal life, if they believed Him and accepted His Word and doctrine. Sadly, like sinners in our day, we read, “from that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him” (6:66).

Are you a sincere believer? If not, will you today, confess you are a sinner, and believe Jesus Christ died for your sins, and rose from the dead? (1 John 5:11-13)

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