The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!
In John 6, Jesus heals, performs two miracles (acts that defy scientific explanation), declares the first “I AM” statement of the Book of John (which I will explain shortly), and speaks truth to the people, the Jewish leaders, and His disciples. And Peter makes a declaration that Jesus is God the Son.
Verses 1-4 — Jesus went from one side of the Sea of Galilee to the other. Large crowds followed Him because He was healing the sick. He went up to the mountain, sat down with the Twelve, and taught. It was almost Passover.
Verses 5-6 — Jesus tested the Twelve, asking, “Where are we to buy bread to feed the crowds?” He already knew what He was about to do.
Verses 7-8 — Philip said 200 days’ wages would not be sufficient to give even a little to feed such a large crowd. But Andrew said there was a boy who had five loaves and two fish (probably the boy’s lunch).
Verses 9-15 — Jesus commanded the 5,000 (probably 10,000 including women and children) to sit down in the grass. He took the loaves and the fish, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated (His disciples fanned out with the continual supply of bread and fish). It was true miracle — enough for probably 10,000 from just five loaves and two fish! And there were twelve baskets full of fragments of bread left over. And everyone’s belly was filled — not just a taste, but their hunger completely satisfied.
I tell you, He is the God of more than enough (a limitless supply of all that you need). He is a Multiplier, taking a little and making it much. He takes the little that we were before we knew Him, makes us children of God and makes us co-heirs with Christ. He is a Creator who creates what is lacking (in us). He will completely satisfy the hunger God put in your heart, to know Him. Think on these things. Apply them to your heart. Believe Him. I surely know He did it in me!
So the people declared Him to be the Prophet spoken of by Moses (see Deuteronomy 18:15). They had in their minds to take Him by force to be their king. Jesus knew, withdrew and went to the mountain, alone. They did not yet understand that His kingdom is not of this world.
Verses 16-19 — This account is also found in Matthew 14 and Mark 6:45ff, with additional details. Like all of the Old and New Testament, each account is Holy Spirit-inspired (2Timothy 3:16). But the Holy Spirit inspired John to write his account in just this way.
It was evening. Darkness had settled in. Jesus was on the mountain. His disciples went down to the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had not come to them, so they got into a boat and started across the sea, to return to Capernaum. There was a strong wind, the sea was stirred (it began to rise up). They rowed quite a distance — three or four miles.
Suddenly, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near. It was another miracle, defying the laws of nature and science! They were frightened, thinking it was a ghost, per Matthew’s and Mark’s account.
I tell you, Jesus will miraculously draw near you, when you are in darkness, in a storm. and unable to make headway. He will suddenly appear. What will He do?
Verse 20 — He will tell you, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Actually, in the original Greek, He said, “I AM. Do not be afraid.” What does “I AM” mean? “I AM God the Son, I AM that I AM. I am He” (see Exodus 3:14)!
This One who walked on water will rescue them, because He is the One who created the sea and the land. Any time Jesus says, I AM, it is to communicate to the people of Israel and to us that Jesus is deity, God the Son.
Verse 21 — And as soon as you let Him into your boat (your circumstances), you will immediately reach your destination. The other gospel accounts say He calmed the sea. But more than that, John shows us that He transcended time and space, to get them to their destination IMMEDIATELY. Is anything too difficult for God? That’s a rhetorical question, if I ever heard one! All things are possible, if we will believe (Mark 9:23). When we believe, He will show us that He is true to His Word.
Verse 22-25 — The crowd was perplexed. There was only one boat, the one the disciples took. And yet Jesus was on the other shore with them. How did that happen? Soon, other boats came to the place where Jesus had fed the 5,000. They all went across to Capernaum. When they reached Him, they asked, “Rabbi, how did you get here?”
Verse 26 — When crowds (or you or I) ask Jesus a question, He doesn’t always answer the way they expect. Jesus didn’t say, “I walked on the water, calmed the storm, and immediately transcended time and space to get them to their destination immediately.”
Jesus said, “Truly, truly.” Another great truth! You don’t seek Me because of the miracles that only God can do, that demonstrate that I am God the Son. You just want more food.” Are you seeking God’s hand, so He will do things for you to make your life better, or are you seeking His presence, to know Him in a holy and intimate way?
Verse 27 — So He corrected them. They were hurrying to get more natural bread to feed their bellies. Natural bread will mold. But He had a different kind of food — eternal food that leads to eternal life. He, the Son of Man, would provide it, because upon Him, God had set His seal. The miracles He had performed were the evidence of the Father’s approval of Him.
Verses 28-29 — What shall we do so we may work the works of God? They finally recognized that what Jesus had done was a “God work.” They wanted to do the same. What was their motive? I wonder, did they want to be able to create their own bread for their bellies? Do we do that? Think about it. Why do you want to be able to do what Jesus did? Money? Fame? Or to glorify God and win souls to Christ?
What is the work of God? To believe in Jesus Christ, whom the Father sent. That’s it. You can’t get to heaven by doing good works. But if you believe in Jesus Christ, you will be saved, and when you are filled with Him, you will do what He did when He walked the earth, and even greater (John 14:12), and many will come to Him, through you!
Verses 30-31 — The crowd didn’t get it. If they were to believe in Jesus, they needed to see a work, a miracle, a sign. But they had already received a sign, and eaten the results of the sign. The crowd spoke of their fathers, the ones who ate the manna provided by God during their 40 years in the desert. Why were they in the desert 40 years? Because they didn’t believe God could give them the Promised Land. But He kept them for those 40 years, feeding them manna and giving them water from rocks. Miracle after miracle!
Some in the crowd quoted Exodus 16:4. They knew the Scripture, but could not see God the Son, who was sent from heaven by God the Father.
Verses 32-34 — Truly, truly. Another great truth! You think Moses gave you that bread, but it was God — the same God that now gives you the true bread of heaven, which came down out of heaven. But like the woman at the well, they still didn’t quite see. Always give us this bread (that fills our bellies), they said.
Verses 35-37 — This is the first of what are called the “I AM” statements of Christ in the Book of John. Again, any time He identified Himself as I AM, He was saying “I AM God the Son.” He said He is the Bread of Life, the source of eternal life, life as God has it, here and now, and in heaven.
If you come to Him, it will be just as He said of His living water in John 4. When you eat and drink of Him, you will never hunger or thirst again. His food is a continual resource, not for the stomach, but for the human soul, to put His eternal life inside of you!
They have seen Him, they have seen His “God works,” but they don’t believe. Why? The Father had not given them to Him. Their hearts had not been opened by the Father to receive Jesus. That has to happen first.
The Father must first open your heart. Then you will come to Christ, and He will not cast you out of His presence. A comforting thought!
But it is possible for you to choose to turn away from Him. He never takes away our free will. In Revelation 3:5, Jesus Christ says He is able to erase your name from the Book of Life. Your salvation is assured, as long as you remain with Him. But if you leave, you lose it. Many argue about this truth. But it is the truth.
Verses 38-40 — This is the will of God the Father — that Jesus come down from heaven. By coming down, He obeyed His Father, thus doing God’s will. Jesus does not do His own will, but only God’s will (Psalm 40:7). If He has filled us with His Spirit, we will be the same.
This is the will of God the Father — that Jesus not lose anyone whose heart the Father has opened up to receive Jesus.
This is the will of God the Father — that everyone who looks intently at God the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life. Jesus Himself will raise up their mortal bodies on the last day, at the end of things. When we die, though, our spirits go directly to Him (2Corinthians 5:8).
Verses 41-42 — The Jewish elite were grumbling (murmuring) at this point. They were upset and filled with unbelief. Once again, He was referring to Himself as the Son, making Himself equal with God. And He was saying that He came down out of heaven. But they knew Him as Jesus, the son of Mary and Joseph. Who does He think He is, saying that He came down from heaven? He was born just like us.
Verses 43-45 — He said, “Do not grumble among yourselves.” The Father draws the ones who come to Jesus, and Jesus will raise them up on the last day. He quoted Jeremiah 31:34, which says God teaches men and women. Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Jesus.
So, coming to Christ isn’t a decision we make. We hear the voice of God the Father in His Word, He teaches us and draws us to the Son, and then the Son receives us.
That’s exactly how it happened for me. The Father drew me to Christ, not my friend, Debbie, though she did invite me to come to her church building. And it was He who opened my heart to receive His Word. And it was through that process that I was saved. That way, no human can boast in the number of salvations that were done through their ministry. Ahem. Are you listening, evangelists?
Verses 46-47 — We are drawn by the Father, but no one — even now — has seen Him this side of heaven. But Jesus was sent by God the Father. Therefore, He has seen God the Father.
Truly, truly. Another great truth. He who believes in Jesus Christ has eternal life.
Verses 48-51 — Jesus repeated, I AM God the Son. I AM the bread of life (v. 35), the Source of this eternal life that will continually supply every spiritual need in you.
The manna your fathers ate in the desert did not give you eternal life. They died.
But I am the bread sent from heaven, and if you eat of it, you won’t die. What? He meant that though our bodies (earthly tents) will age and fall away, we will have eternal life, a building from God, a house not made with human hands, an eternal house in heaven. But you have to eat of it. You have to take Him into yourself.
Again He repeated, I am the I AM. I am the living bread, the bread that gives eternal life to whoever eats it. And the living bread that I give is My flesh. I freely give and offer my flesh so that whoever in this world believes in Me will have eternal life.
Verses 52-58 — The Jewish elite were repulsed. By what? It is against God’s law to eat human flesh. Horrors! How can Jesus say that? How can He do that? They began to argue about it, with each other.
Now Jesus explains the spiritual significance of the Lord’s Supper (see Matthew 26:26ff). When you take it, you spiritually take Christ in. The bread is not Christ’s actual body, but it represents Him. The juice or wine is not His actual blood, but it represents Him.
There are some that just take the Lord’s Supper because it is given, but if you know what you are doing when you eat the bread and drink the juice or wine, you demonstrate that you have God’s eternal life in you. And your body will be raised up on the last day, to a resurrection of life.
If you do are simply going through the motions, or if you reject the Lord’s supper, you demonstrate that you do not yet believe and that you do not have His eternal life in you. Your body will be raised up to a resurrection of death.
He was not talking about cannibalism. His flesh is true food and His blood is true drink that gives you eternal life. He compares it with natural food and natural drink, which gives you natural life that ends when your body dies. It cannot give you eternal life.
Only His body and blood can give you eternal life. And if you understand what you are doing when you eat of His body and drink of His blood (take the Lord’s Supper, per 1Corinthians 11:23ff), He is geographically located within you, and you in Him, which means His eternal life is already inside of you.
Jesus Christ lives because of the Father. He has always existed. He lived again because His Father raised Him from the dead. He never died again. He lives! Those who understand the Lord’s Supper not only have eternal life here and now, but also when their body dies.
I believe Jesus pointed to Himself when He said, “This is the bread which came down out of heaven.” He is not like manna, which provided only natural life for physical bodies. He who eats of Him will live forever.
He said all of these things in a synagogue in Capernaum.
Verses 60-65 — Some of the disciples (but not the Twelve) left Him, because they did not understand the spiritual meaning of His words. Cannibalism — it was something that they could not bear to hear.
Jesus knew their grumbling. He knew they were stumbling, falling away because of His words.
So He asked them what they will do when they see Him ascend to heaven, where He was before He was sent? For some this was the final blow. Again, He was saying He was deity, God the Son. It was blasphemy, to them.
But He said it is the Spirit who gives life. It is by the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ enters us and puts eternal life into us. It is the Spirit who gives life to the very Word of God. The flesh can’t see the truth (1Corinthians 2:14).
Many in Judaism were taught to do good works to get to heaven. But those works are done in the flesh. Only by believing in Jesus Christ would they have eternal life. It is the same for you and me.
Jesus said His words are Spirit (from the Holy Spirit) and life. If we heed them, we will have eternal life. But He discerned that some really didn’t believe He was who He said He was. He knew this from the beginning, and He knew which of the Twelve would betray Him to the Jewish elite.
Again, He repeated that no one can come to Him unless that one has been drawn by the Father. You did not choose Him. He chose you (John 15:16). And you can reject the Father’s drawing. I have seen people who have done so.
If He draws you and He chooses you and you don’t reject Him, then it is incorrect to say that you “made a decision” to come to Christ. You come to Christ by way of the Father’s drawing, and this drawing is a gift from the Father.
You are saved by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of good works that you do, so no one can boast (see Ephesians 2:8-9). Grace is far more than “unmerited favor.” It is the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life. God drew you by His divine influence.
Verses 66-71 As a result, many withdrew, who had been following Him. So He asked the Twelve if they wanted to go away, too. And Peter said, “Who else would we go to? You have words that give eternal life. We (the Twelve) have believed and come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Great revelation from God Himself!
Jesus responds that He chose them, and yet He knows that one is a devil, the son of perdition (John 17:12), the one who would betray Him. Judas was that man. But the other eleven did not yet know it.