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John 6:22-40 (web)

The Bread of Life: Part I

Seeking for Bread

6:22 On the next day, the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea
saw that there was no other boat there, except the one in which his disciples had embarked,
and that Jesus hadn't entered with his disciples into the boat,
but his disciples had gone away alone.
6:23 However boats from Tiberias came near to the place
where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
6:24 When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus wasn't there,
nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

6:25 When they found him on the other side of the sea,
they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"
6:26 Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly I tell you, you seek me,
not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled.
6:27 Don't work for the food which perishes,
but for the food which remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.
For God the Father has sealed him."

6:28 They said therefore to him,
"What must we do, that we may work the works of God?"
6:29 Jesus answered them,
"This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."

6:30 They said therefore to him,
"What then do you do for a sign, that we may see, and believe you?
What work do you do?
6:31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness.
As it is written, 'He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.'"
{Greek and Hebrew use the same word for "heaven",
"the heavens", "the sky", and "the air".}
6:32 Jesus therefore said to them,
"Most assuredly, I tell you, it wasn't Moses who gave you the bread out of heaven,
but my Father gives you the true bread out of heaven.
6:33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven,
and gives life to the world."

6:34 They said therefore to him, "Lord, always give us this bread."
6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will not be hungry,
and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
6:36 But I told you that you have seen me, and yet you don't believe.
6:37 All those who the Father gives me will come to me.
Him who comes to me I will in no way throw out.
6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will,
but the will of him who sent me.
6:39 This is the will of my Father who sent me,
that of all he has given to me I should lose nothing,
but should raise him up at the last day.
6:40 This is the will of the one who sent me,
that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life;
and I will raise him up at the last day."

Discussion Questions

Why did the crowd seek after Jesus?
Why did they ask for another miracle?
In verse 37 he says that he who comes to him he will not cast out, and yet these people came to him but he ran away from them why? And how is this crowd coming to him in a different sense than those of verse 37?
To receive eternal life, what work does God what us to do?
What does this passage teach on Eternal Security?


Paraphrase of the Discussion

Jesus: "You follow just to get something to eat."
The Crowd: "Ok, what does God want us to do?"
Jesus: "Believe in me"
The Crowd: "Do a miracle for us so that we may believe in you.
Like for example make bread come from heaven just like Moses did."
Jesus: "Here I am. I am the true bread which comes from heaven."
Crowd: "Great, then give us a continual supply of bread."
Jesus: "I am the bread of life. He comes to me will never hunger. But you don't really believe me. Those who come to me in faith are the ones the Father gives to me. Them I will not cast out. They will be eternally secure and I will raise them to life on the last day."

The Materialistic Disciple

Many people follow Christ seeking to fulfil their material needs while neglected the weightier spiritual needs.
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.Matt 6:31-33
It appears even in asking for a miracle to affirm his word, the crowd was simply looking for lunch. For Jesus has already given them sufficient evidence through the miracles he had already performed. And Jesus noted that the miracle he did for them was not convincing to them.

What kind of disciple is Christ looking for? These people followed Christ. Are these not those of whom Jesus spoke saying, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me."? And yet Christ ran away from them. For along with those whom the Father has given him there are also other people such as these who follow Christ out of impure or spiritually immature motives. Christ is not interested in those disciples who are simply after him to fulfill their fleshly desires. Even those who claim they want to go to heaven are suspect. For what kind of heaven do you want to go to? Do you want to go to the kind of heaven in which your fleshly desires are met, or one in which your innate sinfulness has been removed from you so that you serve the Lord in newness of spirit?

Why so Vague?

It is interesting that Jesus doesn't just come out and say, "Hey guys, I'm just speaking allegorically." He knew they were not understanding him in the right sense, yet why did he speak this way? Shouldn't his objective have been a clear communication of his message? The reason why he does this is because just understanding with one's mind is not the objective. People need to receive the gospel in their spirit and their mind. If they hear in the right spirit, then they will understand. If they don't understand, then they are not listening in the right spirit and the message has no value to them.
"For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith." Heb 4:2
As one learns from the Father in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, one's faith is enhanced and spirit made open to understanding and receiving the message. An application of this idea is not to be too concerning whether people understand the message. If we preach the gospel the way Jesus did less people may understand, but more of those who do understand will come to eat the true bread of life.

Eternal Security

vs 37-40 advocate the idea that Jesus is not simply offering the possibility of eternal life to those who partake of the bread of life, but rather offering the substance of eternal life and the certainty of it. Eternal is of course not simply referring to eternal existence. Everyone will live forever, but the question is in what state will people exist? Even now many people are physically alive and yet have no life in them, as Jesus will mention in verse 53. In receiving eternal life, a person is guaranteed freedom from condemnation, never to be lost, but will be raised from the dead holy unto the Lord. This is the will of God.  Arminians advocate conditional eternal security, but verse 37 indicates that under no conditions whatsoever will Jesus cast those out whom the Father has given him.

See also the Eternal Security study

A Method of Evangelism

John 6:37 "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away."

To be noted these people "came" to him, and yet Jesus didn't categorize these people as having come to him. For he says just before this, "But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe." For there are church goers who are "following Jesus" for the wrong reason.

Futhermore he indicates here that prior to coming to Him, the Father will exercise some influence. There's some theological controversity about how the Father goes about this "drawing". Calvinists propose a monergistic, fatalistic puppet model of this process, which I don't think is supported in the text.

For he goes on to the text to say, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.'" John 6:45 

Jesus describes this as a process inasmuch as a student getting an education is a process. While the teacher is necessary, yet there must be cooperation on the student's part to learn. So from verse 37, who does the Father give to Jesus? Those who have cooperated with the Father in listening and learning from Him.

This is fascinating in that prior to hearing the gospel, people have the capacity to listen and learn from the Father. This may be helpful in trying to figure out how to approach individuals in evangelism. In evangelism a minimalist gospel is simply the facts and propositions which must be embraced to be saved, namely as Paul wrote, "Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.." 1Cor 15:1-4 Yet as God behaves so also should His children. Thus we find the approaches utilized in evangelism utilized thoughout the NT vary according to where people are at, such as Paul did in Acts 17:22-31. So if given the opportunity, with regards to non-Christians, try to identify how the Father has been trying to teach them. And from that standpoint, preach the gospel.

NIV version used in comments

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Aug 15,2020