Jesus was rejected by His own people because they could not believe that a man from Nazareth born to common parents could possibly be the Messiah. Jesus gave this discourse on the Bread of Life in the synagogue in Capernaum.
John 6:41-59: 41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 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. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
Commentary: 6:41-42. The Jews, hostile unbelievers, grumbled because of Jesus’ proclamation of His heavenly origin. Like their ancestors in the wilderness, these Jews murmured. Their thinking was seemingly logical: one whose parents are known could not be from heaven. They were ignorant of His true origin and full nature. They said He was the son of Joseph, but they did not know of the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation. He had come down from heaven because He is the Logos.
6:43-44. Jesus made no attempt to correct their ignorance other than to rebuke their grumbling and to point them to the drawing and teaching ministry of God. They are not in a position to judge Him. Without God’s help any assessment of God’s Messenger will be faulty. No one can come to Jesus or believe on Him without divine help. People are so ensnared in the quicksand of sin and unbelief that unless God draws them, they are hopeless. This drawing of God is not limited to a few. Jesus said, “I . . . will draw all men to Myself”. This does not mean that all will be saved but that Greeks (i.e., Gentiles; 12:20) as well as Jews will be saved. Those who will be saved will also be resurrected).
6:45. In support of this doctrine of salvation by God’s grace, Jesus cited the Old Testament. The quotation, They will all be taught by God, is from the Prophets, probably Isaiah 54:13, though Jeremiah 31:34 has the same thought. This “teaching” of God refers to His inner work that disposes people to accept the truth about Jesus and respond to Him. Everyone who listens to and learns from God will come to and believe in Jesus.
6:46. Yet this secret teaching of God is not a mystical connection of people with God directly. Knowing God comes only through Jesus, the Logos of God. As one is confronted by Him and hears His words and sees His deeds, the Father works within him.
6:47-48. These two verses summarize Jesus’ teaching in the debate. I tell you the truth occurs here for the third of four times in this passage. He who believes is in Greek a participial construction in the present tense, meaning that a believer is characterized by his continuing trust. He has everlasting life, which is a present and abiding possession. Jesus then repeated His affirmation, I am the Bread of Life.
6:49-50. Manna met only a limited need. It provided temporary physical life. The Israelites came to loathe it, and ultimately they died. Jesus is a Bread of a different kind. He is from heaven and gives life. A person who eats of that Bread will not die.
6:51. Since Jesus is the Bread of Life, what does “eating” this Bread mean? Many commentators assume that Jesus was talking about the Lord’s Supper. This passage may well illuminate the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, in relation to Christ’s death. But since the Last Supper occurred one year later than the incidents recorded in this chapter, eating His flesh and drinking His blood should not be thought of as sacramentalism. “Eating” the living Bread is a figure of speech meaning to believe on Him, like the figures of coming to Him, listening to Him, and seeing Him. To eat of this Bread is to live forever. Jesus’ revelation about the Bread was then advanced in that not only is the Father giving the Bread (Jesus), but also Jesus is giving Himself: This Bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Salvation is by the sacrificial death of the Lamb of God. By His death, life came to the world.
6:52. As often happens, Jesus’ teaching was not understood. A violent argument started in the crowd regarding what He meant. Their perception remained at a materialistic level. They wondered, How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?
6:53-54. This revelation by Jesus is marked out as important by the fourth use of the phrase, I tell you the truth. Sacramental interpretations appeal to the words eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood as evidence that Jesus was speaking of the eucharist. As stated earlier, the basic objection to this approach is historical: Jesus did not institute the Communion service until a year later. Drinking “His blood” is another bold figure of speech. The Jews knew the command, “You must not eat . . . any blood”. And yet blood was the means of atonement. It is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. Jesus’ hearers must have been shocked and puzzled by His enigmatic words. But the puzzle is unlocked by understanding that Jesus was speaking of His making atonement by His death and giving life to those who personally appropriate Him. Faith in Christ’s death brings eternal life and (later) bodily resurrection.
6:55. Just as good food and drink sustain physical life, so Jesus, the real (reliable) spiritual food and drink, sustains His followers spiritually. His flesh and blood give eternal life to those who receive Him.
6:56-57. One who partakes of Christ enjoys a mutual abiding relationship with Christ. He remains in Christ, and Christ remains in him. Menō is one of the most important theological terms in John’s Gospel. The Father “remains” in the Son, the Spirit “remains” on Jesus, and believers “remain” in Jesus and He in them. The implications of this “remaining” are many. A believer enjoys intimacy with and security in Jesus. Just as He has His life from the Father, so believers have life because of Jesus.
6:58-59. Jesus gave this discourse on the Bread of Life in the synagogue in Capernaum. He often spoke in Jewish synagogues, where men had opportunities to give expositions and exhortations. The services were not as formal as those of traditional American churches; “laymen” usually spoke. The conclusion to Jesus’ exposition and exhortation, based on the manna incident from Exodus 16, repeats the major themes: Moses’ bread did not give lasting life (salvation does not come by the Law); God has given the genuine life-giving Bread . . . from heaven; those who trust Jesus have eternal life.
What wonderful words and understanding from Jesus about where the true bread comes from and who may receive it.
There is nothing to compare with the richness of God’s love, mercy, wisdom and goodness towards His children. Amen.
Where there is no sin, there is no wrath, but there will always be faith, hope, love and holiness. Therefore those who have faith, hope, love and holiness will always be found in Jesus’ Book of Life.
God is testing us every day and has given us the right to make our own choices. Do you know which ones are the right choices in Gods mind?
Fear God, love God, honor God, and trust God with all your heart, mind and soul and you will receive and experience the joy of the promises of God’s blessings in His time.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I praise You for Your Son and the Holy Spirit. I praise You for Your grace in sending Your Word about Jesus being rejected by His own. It is such a wonderful pleasure to be a child of Yours. Please bless all those who have read this article for they too are seeking Your righteous truth, love, wisdom and understanding.
May God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit and Christianity be our guiding lights, our safety nets and our inspiration for loving happiness in all of Your kingdom. Father into your hands I commend my spirit. Not my will, but Yours be done. Please come Lord Jesus.
I pray in Jesus sweet name and to His glory through the power of the Holy Spirit,