35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 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’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 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— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 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.” – John 6:35-51 ESV
In this section Jesus throws all reservations to the wind, declaring He is the bread of life, the provider and sustainer. The people are hearing His words, but they are not making a connection that Jesus is the son of God. He gives them one of several “I am” statements. Generally when I read the section about “you shall never hunger or go thirsty”, I typically jump to the conclusion that I am not going to be hungry or thirsty, but that is not what the statement is. Jesus is indicating that when you are hungry and thirsty, He will provide for us.
Jesus is working with the “church people” again, so of course his words are reflective of the Old Testament, which would have been very familiar to his audience.
they shall not hunger or thirst, – Isaiah 49:10 ESV
Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. – Isaiah 55:1 ESV
How do you approach or deal with the concept that Jesus is going to provide everything you need? It seems simple, but how about when your waiting for the medical test results, facing financial struggles and even in family feuds and disagreements with loved ones; how do you use this promise in action?
This ends up being one of the famous “I am” statements of Jesus in the bible. Jesus attempted to make it clear that the bread of heaven was not physical bread; rather, it was Jesus himself. Jesus went on to call out the “fans” by saying “you have seen Me and yet you do not believe”. The people had been exposed to Jesus, they had sat under Jesus’ teaching, and they had seen His miracles, but they had not yet believed. We might question why, but Jesus makes it clear, they did not have the ability.
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. – John 6:37 ESV
If we grasp this important verse, all of our theological battles of election, divine sovereignty, and human responsibility would vanish. I have come to realize that when there’s something in the Word of God that I don’t like, the problem is not with the Word of God, it’s with me.
This verse is indicating that God, the Father, will give certain individuals to Jesus care and He will take care of them. Also, that anyone who believes in Him will never be abandoned or cast out. This really ties into Jesus famous line: ‘I will never leave you for forsake you’.
“This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.” – John 6:39-40 MSG
What kind of hope can you get out of the bit of scripture in the Message version?
41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 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’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.– John 6:41-43 ESV
We need to notice that they were wrestling with His statement about His origins and apparently had not heard His dramatic words about salvation. Because He was familiar to them, they had a difficulty getting past HIs statement that He had come from heaven.
Do you have situations whee some people get hung up with who you used to be or where you grew up and what you did? What are your feelings when people don’t want to grasp and agree with the “new you”?
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 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— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 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.” – John 6:44-51 ESV
What is it that you think gave you the ability to finally surrender to Jesus as your higher power? Did you struggle from the concept of desire to actually surrendering?
Verse 44 declares that God will draw people to Him. Sometimes the word “draw” is related to something like compel or encourage. So should we read this as “No one will come to Me unless the Father woos them to Me.”? No, His meaning was much strong. He used the same Greek word that is used in the book of Acts when Paul was seized and dragged out of the temple (Acts 21:30). We can be sure those angry Jews did not try to woo Paul to come with them.
Jesus said that we are so corrupt, that our hearts have been so hardened toward the things of God that we cannot respond to God and come to Him on our own.
You may have had experiences with individuals that had an intellectual desire to engage with Christ. They knew there was a void but they just couldn’t match up the dots. Their efforts were a labor and their behaviors were not consistent. Some times they come closer out of curiosity, and then there are those that just come boldly right in the middle and expect change; yet it is not long before they drift away.
We read verses that similar to verse 47, about “just believe and you are going to heaven”, then we reflect on the experiences we have had engage with Christ and reading the bible about doing what we learn from the bible; about loving our neighbor as our self and making disciples of all nations and we get confused and distraught. What happened to “just believing”?
What are some of your thoughts about: “Truly, truly, I say to you , whoever believes has eternal life.” – John 6:47
We learned in chapter three and we will see again in chapter eleven, that once we believe, we get to have a relationship with God. Now having a relationship with God is a lot different than merely believing. We can believe that a person like Rick Warren or Nick Saban exists, but that does not mean we have a relationship with them. We have been given the opportunity to have a relationship with God and to learn about Him, but that relationship takes on more than just belief.
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” – John 3:36 NASB
“I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. – John 11:25-26 NLT
What are some of the additional insights to merely believing that we can glean from these two additional verses?
It has been said that eternity is real for both the believer and the unbeliever. One will be a grand experience and the other will be quite heated. As we draw closer and increase our relationship with God, we desire to love Him, please Him and learn from Him. As illustrated in the message about the vine, we abide in Him. These actions are possible now, before we die. We acknowledge that as believers we are saved for Him in heaven, but the time we spend here on earth can be some much better if we engage with Him. His story is so much bigger than we can fully grasp, but it is by faith that we engage and abide.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
- R. C. Sproul. John (St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary). Kindle Edition.
- Nicholas Thomas Wright. John for Everyone. Kindle Edition
- Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
- New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
- Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.