John 6:41-71 Verse by Verse Bible Study
Verses 41-42: So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?"
The people would not accept Jesus' claim to Deity, nor that He had come down from Heaven. They were saying, "We’ve known Him all his life, and even his parents. How can He say that He came down from heaven?"
They had a point in saying they had known Jesus and His family all His life.
Except, they were not there when the angel, "Gabriel" came to Mary, and they were not there when Mary, expecting Jesus, visited Elizabeth who at the time was expecting "John the Baptist."
Nor when the Spirit in John the Baptist, still in Elizabeth's womb had leaped when He recognized Jesus in the womb of Mary. (John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit from birth).
" And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb." (Luke 1:14-15).
And where were they when the angels appeared to the shepherds? Saying unto you is born to you in the city of David a Savior.
Where were they when at the age of twelve Jesus, speaking of God His Father, told His parents "Know ye not that I must be about my Father's business."
And when the Voice from Heaven said, "This is my Son in whom I am well pleased?"
There are other references, but the point is that these people did not know Jesus.
Rather than explain, Jesus simply rebuked their grumbling.
Verses 43-44: "Jesus answered 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."
God does not want His People to complain. If you remember, He threatened to destroy the people who had grumbled to Moses.
Jesus said that if they were in the right relationship with the Father, they would have recognized Him. Those who do not recognize Him, do not know the Father.
Verse 45: "It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—"
Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 54:13, "All your children shall be taught by the LORD,..."
And these were the children. Their walk with God should have been such that they could have received the Spiritual revelation necessary to understand His Words.
God had sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus because the people were not spiritually ready to accept Jesus.
Verse 46-47: "not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father."
Only Jesus has seen God!
Verse 48-49: "I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died."
Again, Jesus takes up the theme of the bread. He tells them the "Heavenly Bread" He offers is superior, because it gives eternal life.
Verses 50-51: "This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
Some believe that when we lay this body down, we become, "nothingness." However, the Bible teaches that the unsaved will die two deaths:
1: The death of the body at the end of life on earth, (the death we are all aware of).
2: The Spiritual death at Judgment Day, (where they are totally and eternally separated from God).
According to this Scripture, those born again, or as Jesus said, "Eats of this bread," only suffer the death of the body, and then spend the rest of eternity with Christ.
Our life does not disappear, we do not die and then come back to life zillions of years later. In this Scripture, Jesus is saying that, those who believe in Him do not die but "Will live forever."
When this body wears out we go to where He is, and, in His timing, we will receive a new body like His Glorified Body.
Jesus has been drawing a sharp contrast between Himself and the manna in the desert throughout this study, by referring to Himself as, the "living bread."
The word "flesh," a reference to the human life of Jesus was misunderstood by the people.
Perhaps in our day, He would say, I have come from Heaven to bring you the gift of Eternal Life. I am going to pay for it with my own body, my flesh.
Verse 52: "The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
They were interpreting His Words literally.
According to Bible Background of this period:
The Romans considered themselves to be intellectuals, a civilized nation that abhorred cannibalism, which was occasionally practiced by various cults and barbarians.
They had heard of the "Lord's Supper," but did not understand that the eating of the blood of the Lord was a symbolic figure of speech, and had assumed the Christians were just another cult which practiced cannibalism. Which helps explain why the Christians were so hated by the Romans.
According to history, a first-century Roman Emperor, "Nero," had the martyred Christian bodies burned in His courtyard for entertainment.
Back to the Jewish people:
It is difficult to understand how they could not have associated a metaphorical meaning with what Jesus was saying.
Reminds us of what the author of the book of Hebrews said: "About this, we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing," (Heb:5:11).
They were definitely dull of hearing,
The Jews thought that since they were God's Chosen People, they were the only ones He was interested in; However, John 3:16 tells us that God sent Jesus because He "so loved the World."
Time and again the Jewish Nation had refused to listen to God, and at one point, when they had made a golden calf idol, He had called them a "Stiff-Necked People," and, if not for Moses, would have destroyed them all:
"And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of thee a great nation" (Deut 9:13-14).
Much later, God said:
"... Go and tell this people, hear indeed but understand not; and see but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat and make their eyes heavy ... lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and convert and be healed." (Isaiah 6:9-10)
And this Scripture:
"In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: By hearing you shall hear and not understand; and seeing you shall see but not perceive. For this people's heart is waxed gross and their ears are dull of hearing and their eyes they have closed lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should understand with their hearts and should be converted and I should heal them." (Matt 13:14)
Apparently these Scriptures written hundreds of years earlier were still in effect.
Verse 53: "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 you."
The Jews saw this as a powerful and most unusual statement. They could not understand that the new "Passover Lamb of God," was speaking symbolically.
They could not grasp, or accept that these words were coming from the Son of God, the One whom John had said in John 1, was, "The Word."
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." God the Father sent the “Word," (“His Son”) to earth.
The One who had been, "Spirit" had come to earth to live in the restraints and limitations of a human body.
The "One" whose ways are higher than our ways, and thoughts higher than our thoughts, was trying to reach these people with His Message. The message was, "without Him they could have no eternal life."
Verse 54: "Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
In Exod 12:8, eating of the Passover Lamb was required.
Soon Jesus would give his body and spill His blood on the cross. All who believe would be welcomed into the New Covenant of Christ, and receive the gift of eternal life.
Verse 55-56: "For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."
Jesus repeatedly spoke about the sacrifice of His body, and the spilling of His blood.
Faith in whom Jesus is and what He was soon to do on the cross, is vividly described in terms of eating and drinking.
Jesus repeatedly spoke about the sacrifice of His body and the spilling of His blood.
Summary of the "Communion:"
The "Last Supper" and "Communion," are recorded in the synoptic Gospels, but not in this Gospel. This summary is intended to help understand the communion as much as possible.
Under the Old Covenant, the Israelites fed upon the "Passover Lamb," and drank the "blood of the grape" as a symbol of its blood.
Under the New Covenant, Jesus, the "Lamb of God," is now the "Sacrificial Lamb."
In Luke 22:19 Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Passover meal, the last supper they would have before His death. At this supper, Jesus inaugurated the "New Covenant," and commanded His Followers to partake of the "Communion," in remembrance of Him.
At the "communion," a small cracker, or unleavened bread is eaten, symbolizing Jesus' body; then the fruit of the grape is taken, symbolizing the blood of Jesus.
This is to confirm total faith and commitment to Jesus' New Covenant.
The Old Covenant is no longer in effect. It has been replaced with the "New Covenant" of Jesus.
Verse 57: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me."
God the Father sent Jesus, and He lives because of the Father, and whoever feeds on Jesus will live, (have eternal life).
Verse 58: "This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever."
The bread that came down from heaven is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Not the kind of bread the Israelites ate in the desert and later died.
This "Bread from Heaven" is the "Son of God" who extends the offer of eternal life. Who could turn that down?
Verse 59: "Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum."
Jesus is teaching from the Synagogue in Capernaum; (thought to be next door to Peter's house).
In this part of the study, Jesus extends the "Words of Eternal Life."
Verse 60: "When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"
According to the above Scripture, many of the people, including His disciples, found Jesus’ statements, incomprehensible, and impossible to accept.
Verse 61: "But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, "Do you take offense at this?"
He might have said, even after all the miracles you have seen, is this going to become a stumbling block to you?
Knowing in himself: Reflects Jesus' supernatural ability to know what is on the mind of man.
Offense: Does this upset, displease, shock and scandalize you? Jesus was asking, are you going to be so offended that this becomes a stumbling block?
Verse 62: "Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?"
What they had seen to this point could hardly compare to what was to come; soon He would be crucified, die, rise from the grave, and ascend to Heaven, where He had previously been for longer than they could imagine.
Verse 63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."
He was speaking of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
By saying, "The Words I have spoken to you are Spirit and Life," He was making a distinction between the Spirit and the flesh.
The flesh, or natural man, is worthless, no help at all. The answer is in the Spirit. The Spirit is what gives everlasting life.
Many of the Jewish interpreters were masters of figurative interpretation. Incredibly, they miss the message when He said, "The Words I have spoken to you are Spirit and Life?"
Verse 64: "But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)"
Some in that day were like our modern day mind readers, who were called "miracle workers." They were thought to know the mind or heart of some people.
Only God was the "Searcher of Hearts," the One who knows the hearts of all people.
Jesus knew in advance that Judas Iscariot, one of the disciples He had personally hand-picked, would be the one to betray Him.
Verse 65: "And he said, This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."
Here again, Jesus knows their faith is missing and stresses the initiative of the Father. Salvation is a gift granted through belief/faith in Jesus, and no one can come to Him unless the Father grants it.
Verse 66: "After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him."
The unbelievers were now separated from the genuine Believers. Some Bible references refer to the departure of these disciples as apostasy, "abandoning what one has believed, (as in a faith)."
We are not given a specific number, but there were likely hundreds and possibly thousands who rejected Jesus and would no longer walk with Him.
Earlier in this study, He had fed thousands of these same people, and they had become Followers.
This is said to be the only recorded incidence in the New Testament where the Believers stop believing in Jesus. They rejected Him because of His Doctrine.
Jesus did not run after, or beg them to come back. He just let them go. I am not aware of anywhere in Scripture where Jesus ran after, pleaded, or demanded people to follow and believe in Him?
A part of me says, "I am glad they rejected Him, because they didn't deserve Him;" and yet, I too am undeserving.
Next, a sharp contrast between the faith of the twelve, and those who left.
Verse 67: "So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?"
The original hand-picked twelve were not among those who rejected Him. Speaking to His disciples as a group, He questions their faith, and asks if they also are going to leave?
Verse 68: "Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,"
With Simon Peter as the spokesperson, the twelve affirm their complete faith in Jesus.
Verse 69: "and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."
"Holy One of God" Positively identifies Jesus as God, (God the Son). Demons, knowing who Jesus was, once used this same phrase when speaking to Jesus, (Mark 1:24 and Luke 4:34).
Peter says, “We have believed, and we know! That you are the Messiah."
Verses 70-71: "Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil." He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him."
Earlier Jesus had said, "there are some of you who do not believe." Here He qualifies Peter's use of the word, "we," by saying, "yet one of you is a devil."
"Judas," who rejected and betrayed Jesus, was one of the original Twelve, and was personally chosen by Him.
The twelve disciples had seen and heard enough to convince them that Jesus was who He claimed to be. They were saying, "Where else could we possibly go? You are the "Deliverer" there is no one else. We may not fully understand all you are saying, but we know that you are the Messiah, and we're not leaving."
This concludes our study of, "Jesus is Rejected by His Own."
Our next study is:
The Feast of Booths, John 7:1-24
Jesus moves from Capernaum, (by the Sea of Galilee), to Jerusalem; but, because of the hostility and plots against Him, waits a few days before going to the feast.
Gospel of John Bible Study, Main Page
Why is it so difficult for our educators and society, in general, to understand that love and respect for one another taught from a young age can solve much of the world's hostility and social problems!
"Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov 22:6).
Love is the answer!
True loyalty springs from the heart and is wrapped in love. It is often in our most private moments that true loyalty, or the lack of it, is made known.
Reaching the world with the message of Jesus
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Samuel L Mills
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Maryville, TN 37802