The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 6:41-65.
Before we start on these Scriptures, I think it’s important to note that the focus of a lot of what Jesus had to say, is about Himself and what He has been sent to do. If there ever was a man with a mission, Jesus personifies that and to infer that Jesus was just a great teacher, totally clashes with the reality of what Jesus actually said. It’s really important to note that Jesus didn’t say that He had come to show us a way or explain some truth or show us something about life.
Jesus said that He WAS the way, Jesus said He WAS the truth and Jesus said that He WAS the life. (John 14:6), which is entirely different.
And even though Jesus spoke the words that God the Father gave Him and did the things that God the Father willed Him to do, it is vitally important to note that because of the work that God the Father gave Him to do and what it would specifically accomplish, the pivotal point of that work is the recognition of who Jesus is and what He and only He could do and did do for us, because of the will of the Father.
The reality of that recognition is self evident in all of the following Scriptures that we will be looking at.
John 6:41-45 NASB
“Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’? ”Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.“
The logic that the Jews expressed to the words that Jesus spoke, in the synagogue at Capernaum (John 6:59), isn’t hard to understand. Jesus basically ignores their grumbling and focuses on a truth that could be taken as evidence for predestination or election, where God decides who will respond to the truth, taking free will out of the picture. Because I do not adhere to this perspective of Calvinism or “Reformed Theology” I look at this verse in the light of Romans 8:29-30 NASB which reads as follows:
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
The sequence, according to my thinking, is exercising free will to look to Jesus, God knows this through His foreknowledge, God predestines and calls, justifies and glorifies. If you disagree that is fine. To be honest, I do see evidence for both God exercising His sovereignty through election and the operation of free will in the Scriptures but that is for another time and place. I also believe that God the Father is in fact the one who opens our eyes so that faith becomes a reality, so in that essence, after our free will is used to look to Jesus, I can see how God the Father is instrumental in making our faith a reality.
I believe that where Jesus says that it is written in the prophets refers to Isaiah 54:13.
John 6:46-51 NASB
“Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
No one has seen the Father except He who is from God, that being Jesus.
I’ve mentioned before that whenever you see Jesus saying “truly, truly” or “verily, verily” we are talking about a truth carved into stone.
He or she who believes in Jesus has eternal life.
Jesus is the living bread of life who was sent from Heaven to us by our Heavenly Father.
The bread that Jesus gives us is His flesh (body) that He sacrificed for us.
John 6:52-56 NASB
“Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”
Notice the “truly, truly”, we’re talking about absolutely vital understanding here.
Eating the flesh of the Son is believing what the flesh (body) and the shed blood of Jesus accomplished for us (the whole world – the whosoever), which brings eternal life. Without this acknowledgement, we die or are eternally separated from God. Those who believe in Jesus will be raised up (resurrected bodies) on the last day. Those who believe in Jesus, abide in Him and He in us. Faith in Jesus, which includes believing what the giving of his body and blood accomplished for us, is in reality, what gives us life in Him and is indeed spiritual food and drink. Without this acknowledgement our spirits are eternally separated from our Heavenly Father.
Pivotal acknowledgement? Absolutely. Which explains why there is no other name given under heaven by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12).
John 6:57-65 NASB
“As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”
These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
Did you notice what hasn’t taken place yet?
Jesus hasn’t explained to his disciples that He will be crucified and rise again yet. At least it doesn’t mention it yet in the Gospel of John. There are hints of course, like John the Baptist saying “behold the Lamb of God” and the statement by Jesus saying He will rebuild the temple in three days but you will note that it was only after the fact that they understood what this meant. This is still relatively early in the ministry of Jesus. If the Apostle John is writing this down in chronological order, which he appears to be doing, isn’t it interesting how that one sentence about this taking place in a synagogue in Capernaum, brings us an awareness that we could have missed? There was no last supper yet (this is my body, this is my blood). There was no crucification or resurrection yet.
We can understand what Jesus meant now because we know what happens but they hadn’t really been told yet. At that particular time, in Capernaum, in the synagogue, these words that Jesus spoke would have indeed sounded difficult to understand, even to His disciples.
But Jesus knew exactly what He was referring to and what does that tell us?
Even if you exclude the miracles and walking on water (which I am not BTW), does this sound like the words of a normal human being? It is even possible that a normal human being would have the ability to plan his own death (not to mention his resurrection) and work that into his teachings this early in his ministry, with this amount of detail focusing on the need to acknowledge what was to come and what he would accomplish?
It just strikes me that the manner in which Jesus spoke and the things that He explained and foretold before they happened, just puts everything that Jesus says, in a class all by Himself.
More to follow.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!