John 6:1-10 Large crowds mostly followed Jesus for His miracles. Passover was at hand, so Jesus tested Philip by asking how they were going to feed the crowd. Philip and Andrew were both looking at the material of how instead of the spiritual of how.
John 6:1-13 Jesus fed about five thousand men, not including women and children from the two loaves. He did the same with fish. This was a miracle. Twelve baskets held all the leftovers.
John 6:14-15 Jesus knew the crowd would take him by force and make Him King (because of the miracles), so He withdrew alone to the mountain to prevent the people from jeopardizing God’s will (Jesus’ sacrifice for sin).
Notes: Jesus did not want to be pushed into the middle of an unruly mob that would march to begin a futile uprising against the Roman authorities. The people did not understand that Jesus’ kingship at his first coming was spiritual. Apparently, no recognition existed for the need of spiritual repentance and preparation for the kingdom. They wanted an earthly, political Messiah to meet all their needs and to deliver them from Roman oppression. Their reaction typifies many who want a “Christ” who makes no demands of them, but of whom they can make their selfish personal requests.
John 6:16-21 Later that night, the disciples crossed over the lake by boat to Capernaum to find Jesus. A storm came about that tossed the boat by the strong wind. They saw Jesus walking on water and were frightened. Jesus reassured them it was He, so they took Him on the boat and IMMEDIATELY they landed on shore. These miracles (walking on water and immediately landing on shore) was not frivolous on Jesus’ part, for it constituted a dramatic object lesson to the disciples of Jesus’ true identity as the sovereign Lord of all creation.
John 6:22-25 The crowd the next morning noted how there was only one boat (The one that the disciples entered the night before without Jesus), so they went looking for Jesus. When they found Jesus on the other side of the sea (in Capernaum), they were baffled how Jesus got there (He walked on water). If they understood who Jesus was, it would have come as no surprise how.
John 6:26-27 Jesus knew that that they were dull of understanding and rebuked them for only wanting to fill their bellies. Jesus told them to eat the Word of God unto Eternal Life, not for food that will perish. The ‘Signs’ Jesus mentions should have brought them to the realization that Jesus was the Messiah, not just some magician that satisfies only human needs.
John 6:28-31 Still not understanding, the crowd asked Jesus what work God required of them. Jesus said the work is to believe in Him whom God sent. Believe here means to listen, to obey, and to follow. They then perceived that Jesus was talking about Himself as the one God sent, so they wanted proof. They wanted a miracle or sign. Huh? Did not Jesus already give them signs? In their eyes, feeding five thousand was not a good enough sign compared to Moses who fed the millions of Hebrews in the wilderness for forty years.
John 6:32-36 Jesus reminded them that it was the Father and not Moses that provided the bread. Jesus tells them that the true ‘Bread’ is the One God sends from heaven which gives spiritual life. Again, they did not understand and asked Jesus for this physical bread (like the woman at the well in regards to the water (Holy Spirit). Jesus speaks plainly and says He is the Bread, and all who hunger and thirst for Him shall be satisfied. He also tells them that He knows that they don’t believe Him.
Notes: The true bread from heaven would be something that nourishes people eternally and spiritually and thus is infinitely superior to the manna given to Israel in OT times, which was able to meet only temporal, physical needs. Jesus identifies himself as this “true bread”. Jesus is the “bread of life” in the sense that he nourishes people spiritually and satisfies the deep spiritual longings of their souls. In that sense, those who trust in him shall not hunger; that is, their spiritual longing to know God will be satisfied. Jesus thus fulfills the symbolism related to God’s provision of manna to Israel in the wilderness through Moses.
John 6:37-40 The Father draws those who learn from Him to His Son for salvation. Jesus will not cast you out, for it is the Father’s will that you be saved and resurrected on the last day.
John 6:41-42 They argued, “How could man come DOWN from heaven?”
John 6:43-51 Jesus basically says if you knew and understood the Old Testament scriptures, then you would understand how a man (God/Man) could come down from Heaven. Since they were not of the Father (intimate with God), they can’t be drawn to Jesus for they would not be able to recognize that Jesus is His Son.
Jesus empathized that though the Hebrews ate the manna (bread from heaven) in the wilderness, they all physically died. Jesus says that the bread He offers (Spiritual Food) is He and the nourishment He provides leads to eternal life. How is this done? Jesus offers His own flesh as a sacrifice on the cross. When we eat of that sacrifice (feed upon), we thus have eternal life.
John 6:52-59 Again, the crowd failed to see Jesus’ spiritual meaning and thought He meant giving them His actual flesh to eat, like cannibalism. Jesus then goes on to say that they must not only eat His flesh, but drink His blood also, confusing them even more.
Notes: The Mosaic law prohibited the drinking of blood or the eating of meat with blood still in it. The Jews, unable to go beyond the mere physical perspective, were perplexed and angered. Here, to “eat” Jesus’ flesh has the spiritual meaning of trusting or believing in him, especially in his death for the sins of mankind. Similarly, to “drink his blood” means to trust in his atoning death, which is represented by the shedding of his blood.
John 6:60-54 Jesus explains that it is the Spirit, not the flesh (us) that gives real life. Physical food is really just symbolic of the true food, which is from Heaven that nourishes you to live eternally. If you don’t eat physical food, you will die physically. If you don’t eat spiritual food, you die spiritually. We all have to die physically, but we all don’t have to die spiritually. Spiritual death is destruction in Hell. To be spiritually alive is spending eternity with God.
No matter what Jesus said, they simply did not believe His words. Their spiritual understanding was shut down. All they saw was the physical world and material things, but there is also a great spiritual world all around us, but it must be seen through spiritual eyes. Everything in the material (physical) world is symbolic of something in the spiritual world. The ability to see the spiritual world was cut off as soon as Adam and Eve sinned. Jesus is offering us the opportunity by His mercy and His grace to receive that spiritual sight again through faith in Him. Like Jesus said to Nicodemus, you can’t even SEE the Kingdom of God unless you are born again (spiritually).
John 6:65 Jesus sums up their unbelief: The Father has not drawn them to Jesus for they have not learned the Truth from the Father. Their beliefs about God were in their own makings. You must come to God on His terms or not at all. If your heart is made ready from learning and accepting the truths from Father, the Father will draw you to His Son, Whom you would immediately recognize as the One who will give you this Eternal Life.
John 6:66-69 Many of Jesus’ disciples (more than just the twelve – also called Apostles), stopped following Jesus at this point. Jesus wanted to know if the twelve wanted to abandon Him also. Peter said, “No!” for he was convicted that Jesus was the Holy One of God.
John 6:70-71 Jesus chose His twelve personally and one day would send them out to preach (Apostles), even Judas who would one day betray Him.