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Doctrine of Bread of Life

January 15, 2011

Doctrine of Bread of Life
The Lord Jesus Christ called Himself “the bread of life.” The 1st 21 verses of
John 6 are a preliminary preparing us for this “Bread of life” discourse.
Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:33-44, Luke 9:12-17 and John 6:1-14 record the
Lord’s miraculous feeding of 5,000 men, which if we include women and children
exceeded 15,000.
There are 3 miracles, which are recorded in John 6:1-21: (1) Feeding of 5,000
(Jn. 6:1-14). (2) Jesus walks on the water (Jn. 6:15-21). (3) Boat arrives
immediately at the shore (Jn. 6:21).
John 6:1-10, “After these things (The Lord disclosing to the Jews in
chapter 5 His authority of life, judgment and resurrection, which are all
prerogatives of deity; religious leaders in the nation of Israel reject Christ’s
authority) His Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or
Tiberias). A large crowd followed (“was continually following”: Iterative
imperfect) Him, because they saw (“were continually observing”: Iterative
imperfect) the signs, which He was performing (“was continually
performing”: Iterative imperfect) on those who were sick. Then Jesus went up
on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. Now the Passover
(2nd Passover mentioned; 1st Passover mentioned in Jn. 2:13, 23, thus 1 year
before crucifixion), the feast of the Jews, was near. Therefore Jesus, lifting up
His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip,
‘Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?’ (Lord’s testing Philip’s
faith, cf. Gen. 22:1-18; Jm. 1:2, 13-15; 1 Pt. 1:7) This He was saying to test
him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. Philip answered Him,
‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone
to receive a little.’ (1 denarii: 1 month’s wages, thus this is 8 months wages)
One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, ‘There is a
lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so
many people?’ (Barley loaves recall Elisha’s feeding of 100 men with 20
barley loaves in 2 K. 4:42-44) Jesus said, ‘Have the people sit down.’ Now
there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five
thousand.”
Mark 6:40 tells us that the people were seated in groups of 50 and 100.
John 6:11, “Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He
distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they
wanted.”
The imperfect tense of the verb didomi in Mark 6:41 indicates that the loaves
were multiplying in the Lord’s hands.
John 6:12-14, “When they were filled, He said to His disciples, ‘Gather up
the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.’ So they gathered them up,
and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, which
were left over by those who had eaten. Therefore when the people saw the sign
which He had performed, they said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come
into the world.’”
The crowd was recalling Deut 18:15, “The LORD your God will raise up for
you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall
listen to him.”
John 6:15-21, “So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and
take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by
Himself alone. Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea,
and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It
had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea began
to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. Then, when they had
rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea (Mt.
14:25; Mk. 6:48: 4th watch-between 3 and 6 am) and drawing near to the boat;
and they were frightened. But He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ So
they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was
at the land to which they were going.”
The Lord’s “bread of life” discourse appears in John 6:22-69. In our Lord’s
“bread of life” discourse the crowd, which was fed by our Lord the previous day
wanted to make Him king simply because He fed them and not because they
thought He was the Messiah.
The miracle our Lord performed in the feeding of the 5,000 was to demonstrate
that He was God and therefore, the Messiah and worthy of their trust but they
refused the witness of the miracle that attested to the fact that He was indeed God.
Our Lord’s “bread of life” discourse teaches that the eternal Word of God
became a human being in order to give eternal life to those who would believe in
Him.
The Lord Jesus Christ who is the eternal, incarnate Word God came into the
world in order that He might give eternal life to men and He did this so that men
could enjoy and experience fellowship with God.
1 John 1:1, “Who has always existed from eternity past, who we have
heard, who we have witnessed with our eyes, who we observed, even our
hands touched concerning the Word who is the life (of God).”
1 John 1:2, “that is, this One who is the life (of God) was revealed (by the
Holy Spirit) and we have witnessed and we testify and we are proclaiming
(from God) at this particular time for the benefit of all of you this One who is
the eternal life (of God), who indeed by virtue of His divine nature has always
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existed face to face with the Father and was revealed (by the Holy Spirit) for
the benefit of all of us.”
1 John 1:3, “Who, we have witnessed and we have heard, we also are
proclaiming (from God) at this particular time for the benefit of all of you in
order that all of you without exception might also continue to experience
fellowship and this fellowship is as an eternal spiritual truth with the Father
and with His Son, Jesus who is the Christ.”
1 John 5:11-12, “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal
life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does
not have the Son of God does not have the life.”
1 John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us
understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who
is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”
The apostle John states emphatically in these passage that he saw eternal life in
a Person, Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore, we have the intangible (eternal life)
merging with the tangible (Person of Christ). Eternal life was revealed in the
Person of Christ. It was manifested in the words and works of Jesus Christ.
The miracle of feeding the 5,000 in John 6:1-21 was a supernatural work that
attested to the fact that He was the incarnate Son of God and therefore, the eternal
life of God in human form. The words that our Lord spoke in His “bread of Life”
discourse clearly indicated that He spoke the words of eternal life.
John 6:22-26, “The next day (after the miracle of feeding the 5,000) the
crowd that stood on the other side of the sea (of Galilee) saw that there was no
other small boat there, except one, and that Jesus had not entered with His
disciples into the boat, but that His disciples had gone away alone. There came
other small boats from Tiberias (located in the southwest corner of the Sea of
Galilee) near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given
thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples,
they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum (located in
the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee) seeking Jesus. When they found Him
on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, ‘Rabbi, (a term of respect but yet
far short of addressing Him as kurios, “Lord,” a term for deity), when (not how,
the answer to how would mean the unthinkable, meaning He arrived
supernaturally) did You get here?’ Jesus answered them and said, ‘Truly,
truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you
ate of the loaves and were filled.’”
The crowd did not understand the significance of the signs that Jesus was
performing, which demonstrated that He was God and therefore, the Messiah.
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The crowd was preoccupied with the flesh and pleasing it, thus their lust for
physical food caused them to be blinded to the spiritual food the Lord was offering
to them and that would give them eternal life.
Philippians 3:17-19, “Brothers, all of you continue being joint-imitators of
me and continue observing carefully those who are living in this manner just
as all of you continue having us as an example because many, about whom I
often told all of you, but I now say even weeping, are living as the enemies of
the cross of the Christ whose destiny is certain destruction, whose god is the
stomach, and whose glory will certainly result in their shame, those who are
continually occupied with earthly matters.”
John 6:27, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food
which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on
Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”
The crowd in John 6:27 locked onto the word “work” rather than “give”
because they thought they had to work for their salvation but the Lord clearly
states that the “work” of God is that they would “believe” in Him as Savior. They
were taught in the Old Testament that man does not live on bread alone but from
every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
Deut 8:1-3, “All the commandments that I am commanding you today you
shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess
the land which the LORD swore to give to your forefathers. You shall
remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the
wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know
what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you
did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand
that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that
proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”
John 6:27, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food
which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on
Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”
The Lord is not saying to stop working for the food, which perishes and start
working for the food, which endures, to eternal life since it makes it sound like our
Lord’s audience was to work for their salvation.
We have here in John 6:27 a figure of speech called an ellipsis of repetition
where the verb zeteo, “seek” in the adversative clause is omitted and is to be
supplied from the previous verse, which is John 6:26.
John 6:28, “Therefore they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, so that we may
work the works of God?’”
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According to Pharisaic tradition, one entered the kingdom of God by works
consisting of observing the traditions of the Pharisees.
Rom 10:1-3, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them
is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God,
but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s
righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject
themselves to the righteousness of God.”
The crowd was seeking to enter the kingdom through works according to the
Pharisaic teaching but the Lord taught them that entrance into the kingdom was not
by performing works but rather by making a simple non-meritorious decision to
trust Him as Savior.
John 6:29, “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God,
that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’”
Notice how Jesus shifts the emphasis from the work of man to the work of God.
The incarnation of the Son of God is the work of God that provides men with
eternal life. The responsibility of mankind is to accept the gift of the incarnate Son
of God by trusting Him as Savior.
“Believe” is the 2nd person plural present active subjunctive form of the verb
pisteuo (pisteuvw), which in context means to “trust, place complete confidence
in” the Person of Christ in order to receive the gift of eternal life.
The Christian does “not” receive the gift of eternal life because of his own
merits or works but rather he receives the gift of eternal life because of the merits
of the object of his faith, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gal 2:16, “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of
the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ
Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of
the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”
Salvation is a gift and is not something you work for.
Eph 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not
of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may
boast.”
Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in
righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and
renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal
life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
John 6:30, “So they said to Him, ‘What then do You do for a sign, so that
we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?’”
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Divine order is believe and see: John 11:40, “Jesus said to her (Martha,
sister of Lazarus), ‘Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the
glory of God?’”
The crowd is demonstrating here its rejection of the witness of the miracles that
attest to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. Seeing is not believing rather
believing is being sure without seeing.
Heb 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of
things not seen.”
Heb 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who
comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who
seek Him.”
John 6:31-33, “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written,
‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’” (Ps.
78:24:Exodus generation) Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you,
it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven (manna was a type
of the “True Bread”), but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of
heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and
gives life to the world.’”
This is the 1st of 5 references the Lord makes regarding His deity here when He
states that He is the bread that has come down from out of heaven (cf. Jn. 6:38, 50,
51, 58).
John 6:34-35, “Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, always give us this bread.’
Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread (genitive of apposition: “which is”)_life; he
who comes to Me (in faith) will no never (ouk me) hunger, and he who believes
in Me will no never (ouk me) thirst.”
The crowd wanted life and Jesus wanted to give life. What then was the
problem? The problem is that the crowd’s concept or interpretation of life was that
it consisted of possession an abundance of food, shelter and clothing. Life for the
crowd was bound in the temporal and materialism. On the other hand the Lord’s
concept of life was a relationship and fellowship with God.
John 6:36-39, “But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not
believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes
to Me I will certainly no never (ouk me) cast out. For I have come down from
heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the
will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but
raise it up on the last day.’”
This passage teaches eternal security.
Rom 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor
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height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from
the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
John 6:40, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds
the Son and believes (right now-descriptive present) in Him will have eternal
life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:41-51 records the problems that Jews had with the Person of Christ.
John 6:52-59 records the problems that the Jews had with the purpose of Christ.
John 6:41, “Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He
said, ‘I am the bread that came down out of heaven.’”
These Jews are following in the footsteps of the ancestors, namely, the Exodus
generation.
Ex 15:22-24, “Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out
into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and
found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of
Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. So the people
grumbled at Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’”
Num 11:1, “Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in
the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was
kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of
the outskirts of the camp.”
Num 14:1-2, “Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried,
and the people wept that night. All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses
and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had
died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!”
John 6:42, “They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose
father and mother we know? How does He now say, “I have come down out of
heaven’?’”
The statement “I have come down out of heaven” offended the Jews because
they knew that our Lord by saying this was stating He was indeed equal to the
Father and therefore God!
John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.”
Seven times in our Lord’s “Bread of Life” discourse does our Lord state that
He had “come down from out of heaven,” which indicates that He was making
the claim of being God.
The Jews had an erroneous conception of the Messiah. They failed to see that
the Messiah would be God in the flesh.
Isa 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin
will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel
(literally, “God with us”).”
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Isa 9:6, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the
government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
The Jews were looking for a political ruler to throw off the yoke of Rome. They
erroneously thought that He would come spectacularly, which He will at the 2nd
Advent. But they failed to understand that He would not appear the 1st time as
Solomon. The Lord came to deliver Israel from a much greater problem than Rome
and that is He came to deliver Israel from hers sins.
Isa 53:1-12, “Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of
the LORD been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted
to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was
despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And
our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of
God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was
crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity
of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did
not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that
is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and
judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my
people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the LORD was pleased To crush
Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He
will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the
LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will
see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will
justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a
portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because
He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.”
The veil was over the heart of these Jews that our Lord was speaking to in John
6.
2 Cor 3:12-16, “Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our
speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the
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sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But
their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old
covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But
to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a
person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”
John 6:43-44, “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do not grumble among
yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;
and I will raise him up on the last day.”
The Father draws a human being to Himself through the Person and work of
Christ. The attractiveness of the Person of Christ is what draws men to God. He
attracts men to Himself through the love that He and the Son demonstrated at the
cross.
John 12:31-32, “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this
world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all
men to Myself.”
God’s love is the means by which God draws men to Himself. The cross of
Christ is the greatest manifestation of the love of God, which draws all men to
Christ. The Lord drew Old Testament Israel to Himself with His love.
Jer 31:2-3, “Thus says the LORD, ‘the people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness — Israel, when it went to find its rest.’ The
LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an
everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.’”
Hos 11:1-4, “When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I
called My son. The more they called them, the more they went from them;
They kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols. Yet it is I who
taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in My arms; But they did not know that
I healed them. I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, and I
became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; And I bent down
and fed them.”
Some men are attracted to Christ and His cross whereas others stumble over
Christ and His cross and others consider it ridiculous.
1 Cor 1:23-24, “but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block
and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and
Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
John 6:45, “It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE
TAUGHT OF GOD.’ (Quoting Isaiah 54:13, Jer. 31:33-34) Everyone who has
heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.”
You learn from the Father through the Holy Spirit who teaches you through the
communication of the Word of God. The Jews were not willing to come to the
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Lord in faith therefore; they did not find rest for their souls and were not released
from the burden of the legalistic teaching of the Pharisees.
Matt 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I
will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle
and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For
My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
The Jews did not express faith in Christ because they refused to hear and obey
His words.
Rom 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of
Christ.”
John 6:46-49, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is
from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes
(articular present substantival participle form of the verb pisteuo: “the one
who at this moment believes”) has (gnomic present of the verb echo:
“possesses, as an eternal spiritual truth”) eternal life. I am the bread of
(genitive of apposition: “which is”)_life. Your fathers ate the manna in the
wilderness, and they died.’”
The word “manna” means, “What is it?” (Ex. 16:15). The Lord Jesus was a
mystery to those who saw Him. The manna came at night from heaven and the
Lord Jesus came to this earth that is darkened by sin. The manna was small, which
speaks of our Lord’s humility, and it was round, which speaks of His eternality and
it was white, which speaks of His purity. Lastly, it was sweet tasting according to
Psalm 34:8 and it met completely the needs of the people.
John 6:50, “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one
may eat of it and not die.”
The Lord is stating His superiority to the manna. He was the source of the
manna in the Old Testament since He is Jehovah Elohim. It cost God nothing to
give the manna from heaven but it cost God everything to give His Son.
John 6:51, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone
eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for
the life of the world is My flesh.”
The Scriptures state that the Lord died for the entire world.
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
1 John 2:2, “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for
ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”
He is said to have died for the nation of Israel.
John 11:50-52, “nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you
that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish. Now he
did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he
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prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation
only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of
God who are scattered abroad.”
He is said to have gave His life for the sheep.
John 10:14-15, “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own
know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay
down My life for the sheep.”
The Lord said He gave His life for His friends.
John 15:12-13, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just
as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his
life for his friends.”
The Lord Jesus is superior to the manna, which Moses and the Exodus
generation received because He is the source of the manna.
“The living bread” is subjective and the “bread of life” is objective. As the
believer appropriates the Lord Jesus, the Lord becomes the believer’s life. He can
become life to the believer, because He is the “living bread.”
Col 3:3-4, “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with
Him in glory.”
Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith
in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
2 Cor 4:10-11, “always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so
that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are
constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of
Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”
John 6:52, “Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, ‘How
can this man give us His flesh to eat?’”
The Jews misunderstood that Jesus is speaking in figurative language here or
spiritual terms as He did many times during His 3 ½ year ministry: (1) “Destroy
this temple” (Jn. 2:19-22). (2) “Born again” (Jn. 3:1-6). (3) “Living water” (Jn.
4:10-15).
The reason why they didn’t catch His figurative language here was because the
Jews were consumed with the temporal and refused to accept the witness of our
Lord’s miracles, which attested to the fact that He was the Son of God.
John 6:53, “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat
(constative aorist of esthio: “have eaten”) the flesh of the Son of Man and
drink (constative aorist of pino: “have drunk”) His blood, you have no
(gnomic present of echo: “you do not possess as an eternal spiritual truth”)
life in yourselves.”
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John 6:53 is figurative language for expressing faith alone in Christ alone,
which is expressed through obedience to the Gospel message for salvation. The
fact that this passage refers to the point of salvation is indicated by the constative
aorist tense of the verbs esthio, “to eat” and pino, “to drink,” which refers to the
once and for all action of believing in Jesus Christ for salvation.
Faith is the only non-meritorious system of perception; therefore, our Lord
employs the concepts of eating and drinking since they are non-meritorious
functions.
John 5:24-26, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and
believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment,
but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is
coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and
those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He
gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.”
John 11:25, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who
believes in Me will live even if he dies.”
John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no
one comes to the Father but through Me.”
John 6:54-56, “He who eats (descriptive articular present participle form
of esthio: “The one who at the present moment is eating”) My flesh and drinks
(descriptive present of pino: “at the present moment drinking”) My blood has
(gnomic present of echo: “as an eternal spiritual truth, possesses”) eternal life,
and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My
blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me,
and I in him.’”
This statement in John 6:54-56 is figurative language for experiencing intimate
fellowship with the Lord (“abides in Me”) after salvation.
The fact that John 6:54-56 is speaking of experiencing fellowship with God
after salvation is indicated by the descriptive present tenses of the verb trogo, “to
eat,” and pino, “to drink” and the technical expression “abides in Me,” which also
appears in our Lord’s Vine and Branches metaphor in John 15:1-8.
The believer who expresses faith in the Word of God experiences fellowship
with God after salvation. Eating and drinking together is expressive of mutual
participation and of fellowship in the highest sense.
You cannot separate the Person of Christ from the Word of Christ since the
Word of Christ is an extension of the Person of Christ.
John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw
His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and
truth.”
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You must compare what our Lord says in John 6:53-54 in order to not only see
that our Lord is speaking in figurative language but also to understand the
correlation between the Person and Words of Christ with eternal life and with the
Holy Spirit.
John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the
words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
You must compare John 6:53-54 with John 6:63 to understand that in order to
appropriate the life of Christ and experience fellowship with God, one must
express faith in the Word of Christ and the figurative language of “eating My flesh
and drinking My blood” is employed by our Lord in order to teach this spiritual
principle.
Also, notice that our Lord states that the eating His flesh in the literal sense
would profit His audience nothing. Eternal life is received by obeying the Word of
Christ for salvation and is experienced after salvation again through obedience to
the Word of Christ.
The Greek word for “life” that appears in our Lord’s “bread of life” discourse
in John 6:22-69 is the noun zoe (zwhv), which refers to a particular quality of life,
namely the very life of God that has no beginning and no end and transcends time,
matter and space.
Eternal life is received as a gift through faith alone in Christ alone and is
appropriated after salvation by the believer who obeys the Spirit of life who reveals
the will of the Father through the communication of the Word of life. The believer
experiences eternal life in time and thus experiences fellowship with God in time
by obeying the will of the Father of life, which is revealed to the believer by the
Spirit of life through the communication of the Word of life.
Eternal life is an attribute of all 3 members of the Trinity: (1) God the Father
(Jo. 5:26; 6:57; 1 Th. 1:9). (2) Son of God (Jn. 5:26, 6:35 Phlp. 2:16; 1 Jo. 1:1) (3)
Holy Spirit (Jn. 6:63; Rm. 8:2).
Therefore, all 3 members of the Trinity are involved in the mechanics of
experiencing fellowship with God: (1) The Father of life has provided the believer
the Spirit of life and the Word of life as the means of experiencing fellowship with
Him. (2) The Word of the Son is eternal life. (3) The Spirit of life inspires the
Word of life.
The Holy Spirit through the communication of the Gospel reveals the Father’s
will to the unbeliever that he must believe in His Son in order to receive eternal
life.
The Holy Spirit through the communication of the Word of God reveals the
Father’s will to the believer after salvation that he is to become like Christ. The
believer who is obedient to the Father’s will, which is revealed by the Holy Spirit
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through the communication of the Word of God will live in eternal life and thus
experience fellowship with God.
Obeying the Word of life is equivalent to obeying the Spirit of life since it is the
Spirit who inspired the Scriptures and makes them understandable to the believer.
2 Peter 1:20-21, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is
a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act
of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
John 16:13-16 states that the Spirit’s ministry is to take the doctrines of Christ
and make them understandable to us so that we can apply them.
John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in
My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all
that I said to you.”
John 15:26, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the
Father, {that is} the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will
testify about Me.”
John 16:13-15, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you
into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He
hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will
glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that
the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will
disclose it to you.”
1 Cor 2:1-16, “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with
superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him
crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and
my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in
demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on
the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. Yet we do speak wisdom among
those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of
this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the
hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the
wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had
understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is
written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT
HEARD, AND WHICH HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN,
ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” For
to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things,
even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man
except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no
one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of
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the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things
freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by
human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual
thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of
the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand
them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises
all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN
THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we
have the mind of Christ.”
Since our Lord states that the “words” He spoke were “Spirit” and were “life,”
we can see that being filled with or more accurately influenced by means of the
Spirit in Ephesians 5:18 as well as walking by the Spirit in Galatians 5:16 is
synonymous with having the word of Christ richly dwell in you in Colossians 3:16
and exhibiting the Word of life in Philippians 2:16.
To be filled by means of the Spirit and letting the Word of Christ richly dwell in
your heart are synonymous terms since they both produce the same results.
A comparison of Ephesians 5:18-21 and Colossians 3:16-17 along with John
16:13-15 clearly indicates that this is the case.
Ephesians 5:18 emphasizes the Spirit’s importance to our relationship with
God. Colossians 3:16 emphasizes the Word of God’s importance.
Eph 5:18-21, “And do not permit yourselves to get into the habit of being
drunk with wine because that is non-sensical behavior, but rather permit
yourselves on a habitual basis to be influenced by means of the Spirit,
speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and
making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all
things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be
subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
Col 3:16-17, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all
wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever
you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks
through Him to God the Father.”
Since being influenced by the Spirit and letting the Word of Christ richly dwell
in you produce the same results, they are one in the same. This is further
substantiated by our Lord’s words in John 6:63 where the Lord stated, the “words”
He spoke are “Spirit” and are “life.”
Sometimes in Scripture the importance of the Spirit’s role in fellowship is
emphasized and sometimes the importance of the Word’s role in fellowship is
emphasized.
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In our Lord’s “Bread of life” discourse, John 6:63 emphasizes the importance
of both the Word of Christ and the Spirit’s role in relation to eternal life and
fellowship are emphasized.
The apostle Paul states in Philippians 2:14-16 that the believer demonstrates
that he is a student of God the Holy Spirit by exhibiting the Word of life.
Philippians 2:14-16, “Continue performing all activities without murmurs
resulting from doubts so that you might demonstrate yourselves to be
uncensurable and uncontaminated, students of God (the Holy Spirit), virtuous
in the midst of a corrupt and depraved generation. Among whom you
yourselves continue appearing as luminaries in the cosmos by all of you
continuing to exhibit the Word of life as a boast for me on the day of Christ.”
In the same way that the Word of Christ cannot be separated from the Person of
Christ so the Spirit of Christ cannot be separated from the Person of Christ or the
Word of Christ since the Word of Christ is an extension of the Person of Christ.
The believer must obey the Spirit who reveals the Father’s will to the believer
through the communication of the Word of God in order to take advantage of his
eternal relationship with the Triune God and thus to enjoy and experience
fellowship with God.
Gal 6:8, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap
corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal
life.”
Rom 8:1-17, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in
Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free
from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it
was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful
flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the
requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to
the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh
set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the
Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the
mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is
hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not
even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However,
you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in
you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to
Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit
is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus
from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will
also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So
then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to
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the flesh — for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by
the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all
who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have
not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a
spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit
Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. and if children,
heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with
Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
John 6:54-56, “The one who at the present moment is eating My flesh and
is drinking My blood as an eternal spiritual truth, possesses eternal life, and I
will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is
true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in
him.’”
John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the
words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
So if we compare John 6:54-56 with John 6:63, eating the Lord’s flesh and
drinking His blood is tantamount to eating His words, which are but an extension
of His Person.
Matt 4:4, “It is written, “MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE,
BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF
GOD.’”
John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes
Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has
passed out of death into life.”
John 6:57-60, “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the
Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread
which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats
this bread will live forever.’” These things He said in the synagogue as He
taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this
said, ‘This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?’”
The Jews stumbled at this statement because of the prohibition to not eat human
flesh (Gen. 9:3-4; Lev. 17:10-16; 19:26) but they failed to discern that He was
using figurative language to convey spiritual realities.
The reason why they failed to understand that the Lord was speaking in
figurative language was because the mind of the crowd was on physical food and
were occupied with earthly things and filling their stomachs rather than heavenly
matters.
Matt 6:31-34, “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What
will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly
seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these
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things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things
will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care
for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
John 6:64, “But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew
from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that
would betray Him. And He was saying, ‘For this reason I have said to you,
that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.’
As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with
Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away also,
do you?’ Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have
words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are
the Holy One of God.’”
So here we have the rejection of our Lord’s teaching because He did not fulfill
their expectations and conception of the Messiah. They were looking for their
physical needs to be satisfied and they were looking for a political ruler to throw
off the yoke of Rome.
They also were preoccupied with materialism. The crowd’s concept of life was
that it consisted in an abundance of food, shelter and clothing rather than a
relationship and fellowship with God.
They failed to see that the Messiah was to be God in human flesh, therefore,
they were taken back by our Lord’s statement that He came down from out of
heaven. His miracles, which were many, attested to the fact that His words were
true that He indeed came down from out of heaven, but the crowd and the Jewish
leaders rejected Him anyway.
The crowd listened to the lies of Satan and his cosmic system rather than the
truth. The Lord taught a parable to His disciples regarding this rejection of the
Word of God in the parable of the Seed and the Sower or more accurately, the
parable of Seed and the Soils.
Luke 8:4-15, “When a large crowd was coming together, and those from
the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: The
sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road,
and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed
fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had
no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it
and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and
produced a crop a hundred times as great.’ As He said these things, He would
call out, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ His disciples began
questioning Him as to what this parable meant. And He said, ‘To you it has
been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is
in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY
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MAY NOT UNDERSTAND. Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of
God. Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes
and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be
saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the
word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in
time of temptation fall away. The seed, which fell among the thorns, these are
the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with
worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an
honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.’”
The “bread of life” discourse in John 6:22-69 teaches the importance of
obeying the Word of God in order to enjoy and experience fellowship with God.
Since the Word of God is food for the soul and sustains and prospers the soul. True
life does not consist in an abundance of “things” but rather a relationship and
fellowship with the Triune God.