This wraps up a long chapter, probably the longest chapter in the New Testament. For some background, we review some high points in the events and Jesus’s sermon about his being the bread from heaven.
Jesus fed 5000.
He fled, but walked on water that night. Seen only by his disciples.
The crowd finds him and wants to know how he got across the lake.
Jesus redirects attention from being fed physical bread to his eternal spiritual bread.
He declares, you cant work your way into heaven. It’s about faith, belief.
But the crowd demanded a sign, like Moses did in the wilderness. Did they think the miracle feeding would continue daily, as it did with mannah in the wilderness?
Jesus redirects again about the true bread from heaven.
They saw but didn’t believe it.
His listeners were stuck on the earlier claim about descending from heaven. They seem to have missed eternal security, and gods desire to reconcile.
They knew his parents, how can he say he came from heaven?
Jesus really rocks their boat as he gets to the difficult part. He restates he is from the father and has seen him.
Mannah had a temporary benefit, but those who ate it are dead. Jesus is bread from heaven, eaters will not die.
Wait. What? Eaters of his flesh? What does he mean by that?
His claim is that his believers should eat his flesh to receive eternal life.
The Jews had to deal with what he meant. What does he mean, eat his flesh?
He is the source of life. Apart from him, our life is not self-sustaining.
Spine of a Bible ca. 2001, “Used with permission from Microsoft.”
60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”
Disciples. Not limited to the 12, but students at large, an adherance.
It wasn’t only the Jews and religious leaders who had a hard time with this concept, even some of his disciples had trouble understanding.
Jesus was polarizing. His messages were Not always about peace and love. If he was all about good vibes, he would never be crucified. His puzzling, difficult saying served to separate the men from the boys, the true followers from those in name only.
But what about the 12 closest disciples?
61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?
He heard their grumbling, trying to figure out what he meant, but Jesus knew their hearts. The concept of this spiritual bread is a foundational belief about Jesus. As difficult as it is, how can the disciples receive later, more difficult things to be understood?
62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
aThis seems to be Jesus’s way of prophesying to them, about what they would see. Men can’t save themselves. Eternal life isn’t in them. We have nothing but needs. It takes trusting in the atoning price Jesus paid for our eternal life.
Going by the question Jesus asked, was the disciples hung up on his descending from heaven, and not so much on the eating of his flesh as the bread of life?
Something to note. None of the gospels record his ascension. It appears Only in Acts.
63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
Jesus short circuits the issue of eating flesh by claiming it is the spirit that gives life. Spiritual bread. The flesh is nothing. Spirit is everything. Again, we are not self-sustaining. No pulling up by bootstraps. The Holy Spirit is central to the bread of life concept.
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.)
Even among the closest 12, Jesus knew that not all believed.