John 6v25-59 Bread of Life
Context verse 25
Chapter 6 opens with the account of the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. This "feeding" miracle clearly forms the basis for all that follows.
Verse 15 makes it clear that Jesus aware of their misunderstanding and wrong plans (to make him a "political" King) miraculously departs to the other side of the Lake.
Challenging their motives verse 26
Jesus often appears to ignore questions put to him. In fact what he does is to cut straight to the real issue without wasting time. There is no value in satisfying their curiosity about his mode of travel. They have followed him for purely materialistic reasons.
Verse 27 urges them not to devote their life and energy in pursuit of "passing gain". What proportion of our lives and energy is spent on the temporal, and what on the eternal?
Here Christ introduces a number of vital truths
1. There is a food at gives eternal life!
2. It is bestowed by the "Son of Man", Jesus himself!
3. This eternal life is a gift!
4. God himself has authenticated his son. This authentication is recorded in John's Gospel both in the direct words of God (Christ's baptism) and in the signs.
A fatal misunderstanding verse 28
They miss his point totally and full of self confidence ask what works they are to perform to earn this eternal life. There is a clear linkage here, Moses gave them manna for food, and the Law. They are happy to receive more legislation in return for a continuous supply of bread. This is salvation by works, earning or trying to earn what is essentially a gift.
Pure Gospel verse 29
Jesus uses the word work here in the sense of "requirement"
Eternal life is exclusively received through faith in Christ himself.
Diverting tactics verse 30
At this point the crowd behaves as if it were interviewing Jesus for the post of latter day Moses. Incredibly they ask for a further sign. Christ is challenged to outdo Moses in the miracle stakes.
Corrective teaching verse 32
A number of errors are exposed
1. Moses gave them nothing, God alone gave the manna.
2. That same God is Christ's "Father"!
3. The "true bread" is not an "it" but a "he" - none other than Christ himself.
4. He comes down from heaven.
5. He gives life to the world.
An inevitable result verse 34
We want this bread now and always!
Glorious claims verse 35-40
1. Jesus identifies himself as both the giver and the gift.
Here we have the first of the "I am" sayings.
The other 6 are
light of the world 8:12
the door 10:7, 9
good shepherd 10:11, 14
resurrection and the life 11:25
the way, the truth, and the life 14:6
the true vine 15:1, 5
2. In coming to Christ there is the guarantee of full and lasting satisfaction. This is not to be understood in the sense of a once and for all meal, but in the sense of an ongoing relationship that continuously satisfies.
3. His hearers do not know him and so are strangers to this glorious experience! Verse 36
4. Predestination and human responsibility are beautifully married in this verse. Christ's people are given to him by the Father (see Chapter 17). They must and do come to him.
5. Verse 37 uses a figure of speech called "litotes" a means of expressing something by using its opposite. An example "its not exactly warm outside" meaning "its extremely cold outside". The meaning here is that all that come to Christ are welcomed and secured within that relationship. The doctrine of "eternal security".
6. Verse 38 the purpose of the incarnation is made clear here. To fulfil the purpose of God, namely to secure all his people, lose none, but raise all that the last day!
7. Pure Gospel again - everyone looking to Christ for salvation will be given eternal life which will reach its zenith in the last day.
Materialism triumphs verse 41-42
Still anchored in this passing world they take exception to Christ's claims to divine origin. They can see no further than is human family. The truth that the Word has become flesh is alien to them.
Further revelations verse 44-51
1. Spiritual things are discerned spiritually, they do not understand because they are not Christ's.
2. Verse 45b all who seek God find him through Jesus. This verse alone would destroy the idea that all religions lead to God. On the contrary all who seek God find him through Jesus.
3. Christ alone is able to reveal the Father as he alone "knows" him!
4. Jesus the bread of life is utterly superior to the manna. Those that eat manna are now dead. Those that come to Christ live forever.
Back to pictures verse 53
Because they will not listen to plain teaching Christ reverts to metaphor. He angers them by strengthening the image.
Thus far the crowd have followed him around, benefited from his miracles, listened to his teaching. What they have not done is to unite with him by faith.
This is graphically presented in the image of eating is flesh and drinking his blood. Food is of no value if it is admired, understanding the recipe and cooking methods are pointless unless you eat and live.
It is equally meaningless to admire Christ from a distance, the great question is do you know him personally?
On this hangs present contentment, and eternal life!
The passage is not directly "eucharistic" but extremely relevant, for many of the issues raised are present at the Lord's Table.
1. The underlying emphasis is on the death of Christ.
2. Ending with the symbols and failing to have a living relationship with Christ is futile.
3. There is no automatic conveyance of grace.
4. We are encouraged to look forward to the last day.