John 6:22-24 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.
So the night before was the feeding of the 5000. After which the crowd wanted to make Jesus king and He put His disciples in the only available boat while He went up into the mountains to pray.
The next morning, probably the pilgrims who were on their way to Passover in Jerusalem would have continued on their way. But many would have still been around hoping to see Jesus do another miracle. But they couldn’t find Him.
They knew He didn’t go with His disciples so they hired boats that had arrived from Tiberias on the western shore of the lake, to take them to Capernaum on the northeast shore. There they found Jesus in the synagogue. And of course had no idea how He got there.
John 6:25-27 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Jesus ignored their question. But He helps them grasp the true aim of life.
In the Gospels, Jesus introduced key statements with the phrase “Truly, I tell you” more than 100 times. The word translated “truly” is the Greek form of the Hebrew word “amen”, meaning “let it be so” or “it is so.” In the Old Testament and the Epistles “amen” comes at the end of a statement. Christians might say “Amen” when they agree with something or someone.
Jesus alone begins statements with “amen.” And usually He says it twice to stress its importance. He uses this term when He speaks of Himself as the bread of life. So this is REALLY important!
As always, He knows peoples’ hearts. He knows they were coming to Him today because He had fed them free food the night before! They wanted more food! And they wanted healing and political freedom. Few longed for the spiritual satisfaction only Jesus could give them.
But remember from the beginning of our study of the Gospel of John: Jesus’ miraculous works are called signs because the miracles point to Jesus as Messiah and Lord. Feeding them bread represented Jesus as the Bread of Life, given to them for eternal life.
Jesus gives them here a way to change by giving them two definite commands. The first was negative – “Do not work for food that spoils.”
What consumes your thoughts, time, energy and money? Don’t put your whole life’s effort into things that are only material. You really can’t take it with you! We can take stock of our lives and ask God to show us specific ways to alter our daily life toward this eternal perspective.
Jesus tells them that He, the Son of Man, is the source of food that never spoils. And that He will give it to them (and us). It’s a gift! No one can earn it – He freely gives it to all who believe. And “Son of Man” is a Messianic term, so He’s announcing He’s the Messiah here.
Where He says, “For on Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.” Jesus is the only way to God. We receive eternal life only through Christ. Only Jesus can satisfy human hunger for meaning, purpose and fellowship with God. He placed this hunger in the human heart when He created a human personality.
John 6:28-29 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Our work is knowing who He is, believing everything that means and opening our hands and receive His gift. HE did the work. His perfect life, His sacrificial death on our behalf was the only real work here… Eternal life rests on GOD’S faithfulness!
John 6:30-33 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, 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. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
The crowd was basically saying, “It is true that you have just fed more than 5000 people. But you did it just once: Moses fed the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years. If you are God’s unique prophet, then prove it. What sign greater than anything Moses did, will you do?”
This seems kind of incredible that they would still ask for more miracles! But don’t we see people doing that today? We have the whole Bible telling of God’s redemption from Genesis to Revelation and still people say, “Well, if God will do this one thing, then I’ll believe.” Sometimes we wait for Jesus to give us more understanding; instead of acting on what we already know.
I’ve heard several theologians and ministers lately say, “You probably don’t need another Bible study. You just need to start being obedient to what He’s told you.”
All of nature and history testify to Him. The unity of God’s Word testifies to its truthfulness. Like these people, many today want a Jesus they can control. One who will keep them well fed and prosperous
John 6:34-40 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 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 them up at the last day.”
They still don’t get it. They wanted a formula for eternal life, not a relationship with Christ. They asked Him for something and He offered them Himself! Jesus tells them for the 4th time: this time with a bit more information
“I am the bread of life” is the first of 7 statements Jesus makes about Himself, His identity and work in a believer’s life. The 7 statements are only found in the Gospel of John. The other 6 are:
I am the Light of the World
I am the Gate (the door) for the sheep
I am the Good Shepherd
I am the Resurrection and the Life
I am the way, the truth and the life
I am the Vine
We’ll get to each of those in the coming chapters, but just so you know – when He says “I am” – He’s calling Himself Yahweh. Because that’s what God said His name was in the Old Testament.
Where He says we are God’s gifts to Jesus - Scripture teaches twin truths: God “chose us in Him (Christ) before the creation of the world” (We were predestined.) YET, we are responsible to believe. Faith is a gift, but God doesn’t do the believing for us.
But because we are God’s gifts to Jesus – we can know He’ll never turn us away when we come to Him!
It’s God’s will that we believe in His Son and have eternal life! He will raise us up with a transformed body – every trace of sin and sorrow removed, spotless and glorious like His own glorious, imperishable human body.” We will live forever with Him and every other believer, raised by Him to glory that never ends.”
This is WONDERFUL news!! If we come to Christ we will go to Heaven. Because that’s God’s will!!!!
John 6: 41-51 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 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’?”
43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Nobody could miss that Jesus was claiming divine origin. Yet these people knew His family. He had grown up in the area. From their perspective, how dare He claim to have any origin other than a merely human one.
John said, “the Jews” grumbled. When John, himself a Jew, refers to “the Jews” he means the leadership or Jesus’ opponents. And they didn’t really know all about Jesus. They assumed Joseph was His father. They didn’t know He was born from a virgin. And He didn’t tell them – although things like that and being born in Bethlehem would have pointed to Him as the Messiah they were waiting for.
Instead He showed His authority by the sinless life He lived. By His miracles, By the way He spoke scripture and His bold claim to equality with God.
Any of these things should have caused a seeker to have considered His claims, but their refusal to believe was actually hostility toward God and unbelief in the Old Testament prophets.
Jesus answered their grumbling with essential truth about salvation:
First, God the Father gives and draws individuals to His Son.
Second, God holds responsible those who refuse to believe the truth about His Son.
Third, belief in Jesus brings everlasting life immediately and forever.
Fourth, Jesus would give His flesh, His life, for the life of the world. “The bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
In verse 45 where He said It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.
He’s quoting Isaiah who prophesied the entire community, all Israel, will be taught inwardly and directly by God. The full scope of this prophecy will happen in the future, but still then and today all those who respond to God’s drawing to faith come to Jesus.
And He will never turn away anyone His Father draws to Him. No believer need ever say, “I hope to reach heaven.” Eternal life, by definition, cannot end. It is a permanent possession of every believer. We immediately are with Jesus when we close our eyes on earth.
Jesus could not have been clearer here – that HE is the way to eternal life!