John – “But Who Do You Say That I Am?” – John 6:41-59

Quick…what is the topic that sells the most books? You’ll be very surprised at the answer! It isn’t anti-Trump propaganda or any other Democrat Socialist propaganda. It isn’t sports, automobiles, science, romance, or even sex. It’s cooking! It’s true! There are more cook books published, sold, and read than any other books. Not only that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the largest category of establishments in America are eateries. Eateries…restaurants, bistros, fast food joints etcetera. Given our society of today, I would have thought that adult bookstores and adult video joints would be the most. Apparently though, we love eating more than anything else!

Which is perhaps why the Lord Jesus Christ used food analogies so much when talking to people and we find so many of them in The Bible. It was something that they, and we, can relate to. We are in the middle of looking at just one of those…”I am the bread of life” passage. One of the other most famous “food” passages can be found in Revelation in Chapter 3 down in verse 20 where Jesus says…

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. … Revelation 3:20 NKJV

Yes, Jesus knows that we love to eat and probably, so does He since that He loved to talk about it so much! LOL!

Anyway, this next part of Jesus’s sermon to the people reinforces the verses that we looked at in the previous post so this post will be an “altar call” post. It will be the first of quite a few that I will be doing as I move along in this study of John’s Gospel. An, “altar call” post is where I give you, the reader, a chance for you to accept Christ if you haven’t done so already and I hope and pray that you will take the opportunity to do so if you haven’t already. Since most of this passage that we’re going to look at this time was covered in the last post, I’ll be summarizing and zeroing in on only a few verses so let’s get started! As always, the link for text for the entire chapter as well as the audio is included so you can follow along. Before we get started though, let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

We thank You for Your Word and the truths found in it. Father, we come before You with open hearts, open minds, and open hands to mold us as a potter does with clay to make us more and more into the image of Your Son Jesus Christ. Father help us to think the way He thought and feel the way He felt and do what He did. Help us open up Your Word to a nation and a people and a generation that for the most part doesn’t want to hear it. Too many of us, Your people Lord, look at this country through rose colored glasses and say, “We’re okay”, “our country’s okay” when nothing could be further from the truth. We’re not okay…our country, America, is not okay. It is failing and it is failing because Your church has failed You! We are not walking with You in our daily lives and we are not doing what You have commanded us to do. Help us change that Lord. Help us to become more like You. Lord we pray for the victims of the recent storms and tornadoes. Be with them and strengthen them as they try to put their lives and homes back together in the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen!

John 6

Let’s look at the passage for this post. It is quite long but like I said most of it will be summarized. …

(41) The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” (42) And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” (43) Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. (44) No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (45) It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT BY GOD.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. (46) Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. (47) Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. (48) I am the bread of life. (49) Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. (50) This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. (51) I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (52) The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” (53) Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. (54) Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (55) For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. (56) He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. (57) As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. (58) This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” (59) These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. … John 6:41-59 NKJV

What we are looking at here in this passage is the first of many serious objections to what Jesus is telling people and His response to them. It’s not that they didn’t understand what Jesus was telling them. They were slowly beginning to get it. It was conviction and resentment towards Jesus and what He was telling them. We see this starting in verse 41…the Jews complained about Him. They were saying amongst themselves, “Hey! We know this guy! We know his parents Joseph and Mary! We know that he was born in Bethlehem! He didn’t come from heaven! We know this guy!”. Here is an interesting fact that you may or may not know about Bethlehem by the way. The name, Bethlehem, is Hebrew for “house of bread” or “place of bread”. Bethlehem was the breadbasket of the world back then. It’s where grain was grown and where the wheat fields were. How ironic is it that Jesus, “the bread of life”, was born in Bethlehem…”the place of bread”! All part of God’s plan! Too bad the crowd couldn’t grasp the significance of it!

Again in verse 43, Jesus reiterates to the people no one comes to Him unless the Father chooses him. We looked at this in the last post. Two doctrines or concepts are being presented here…election and choice. It is called prevenient grace. I didn’t cover this phrase in the last post but what it basically means is that before man can seek God, God must seek him. God draws people and enables them to make their own choice and believe in Him. Even today, this frustrates people and many use it as an excuse not to turn to Jesus. The argument is “What if God didn’t choose me?”. How do you know that if you don’t make that move and accept Him? To put an end to this argument and to make this concept easy for you to understand is that God chooses EVERYONE! It is your choice, your freewill, though to choose Him or not! Here’s a very important point and you need to let this sink in if you are an unbeliever…light rejected is light denied! The more you turn away from Jesus, the more He will harden your heart towards Him and His teachings and at some point, it will be impossible for you to come to Him! A lot of people think that they can come to Christ on their deathbed but the fact is, is that many of them don’t get that chance! The more you turn away and scoff at the Good News of the Gospel, the harder it will be for you to understand. This is basically what is happening to this crowd. They are scoffing at what Jesus is telling them. If they can’t understand the simplest things that Jesus is telling them now, the harder it is going to be for them to grasp and accept the meanings of more difficult things that He will expound to them later and we are going to see this more and more as we go along in this study. This was prophesied in Isaiah. If you turn back to that book and to Chapter 6 down to verse 9, it says….

(9) And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ (10) “Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed.”

This was true back then and it still holds true today. The more you turn away, the more likely you will never turn back! Let’s go to verse 45 and look at verses 45 and 46 a bit closer. …

vv 45-46 – (45) It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT BY GOD.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. (46) Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.

Having stated that no one can come to Him unless God draws them to Him, Jesus now explains on how that is accomplished. Jesus starts by quoting another passage from Isaiah…

(13) All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children. … Isaiah 54:13 NKJV

God draws people to Jesus through His Word. He reaches people’s hearts with it. Quick without thinking what is the most valuable and treasured possession that you have? Your car? Your home? Maybe it’s a person. Perhaps your children? Your wife or husband? Your parents? If you are a believer, you should have answered The Bible. Why? Because at some point in your life, you heard or read something in it that made you realize that you needed Jesus Christ in your life! God drew you to Him! Not only that, it should be what you turn to, to bring comfort and reassurance in troubling times. This verse in Isaiah brings up this point. God’s Word will bring peace to you, your family, and God’s Word will bring peace and healing to America!

In verse 46, Jesus points out that just because man is taught by God doesn’t mean that they have seen Him. No one has seen God the Father except The Son. Jesus is the only one who has seen Him because He came from God. What the crowd was totally oblivious to is that they were actually seeing God in the person of Jesus Christ! What a thrilling time it must have been to have the Creator right there in their midst! To verse 47 and a look at the next two verses…

vv 47-48 – (47) Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. (48) I am the bread of life.

Verse 47 is the shortest, clearest explanation of the Gospel and the way to salvation that there is in The Bible. Salvation has nothing to do with church membership, how good you may think you are, how much money you give to charities, what your family’s religious history is, whether or not you were baptized as an infant or whether or not you are circumcised or uncircumcised. The only thing that matters is belief. A true and honest belief in Jesus Christ. Salvation is not based on what we do. It’s not about works because the truth is we are so flawed as human beings that there is nothing that we could possibly do to earn salvation. That is not a popular message these days but it’s a stone cold fact. Salvation is a gift from God but it requires for you to take that first step and accept and believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus uses the phrase most assuredly. In the King Jimmie, it is translated as verily, verily. In the NIV, I believe it translates as truly, truly. Whatever version you like to read, it means it’s fact that you can count on it. What Jesus is telling the crowd, and us, is that if we believe in Him, we are guaranteed eternal life. There is no doubt about it! In verse 48, Jesus again says I am the bread of life.

Jesus then talks about manna again, the physical bread, that God provided their forefathers in the wilderness. He points out to the crowd that even though they ate it, they eventually died. The manna only sustained life physically not spiritually. Jesus, the true bread of life provided that. Now we look at verse 51…

v 51 – (51) I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

Jesus now gives a much more cryptic message to the crowd. What is Jesus talking about in this verse? He is making a statement regarding His death on the cross. This is the first time in John’s Gospel where Jesus mentions His ultimate mission in coming to the earth…His death on the cross to save mankind from sin. This is not the Messiah that the people were expecting. They were expecting a king or a warrior. They were expecting someone that would save them from Roman oppression not someone who would save them from the oppression of sin. Even today, people want to think of Jesus as the sweet infant in the cradle in Bethlehem not a Savior who went to the cross for them, shed His blood for them, all of it so we could be saved from our greatest need…sin! That is mankind’s greatest need but people didn’t want to hear that back then and they still don’t want to hear about it today! It can’t even be talked about anymore in the church. A look at one more verse. …

v 54 – (54) Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

This is part of Jesus’s response to yet another argument from the crowd. They were arguing amongst themselves asking, How can this Man give us His flesh to eat not realizing Jesus was referring to His death on the cross to save them from sin. However, it does not mean what the Catholics believe. There is a doctrine taught in the Catholic church called transubstantiation. The word means to change substance. This is where it is believed at Communion, the bread and the wine are literally transformed from one substance to another that they literally become Christ’s flesh and blood at the Eucharist. This totally goes against what The Bible teaches though. For one thing when Jesus says what He says in verse 54, the Last Supper hadn’t even occurred yet. It would also mean that communion would be the way to salvation. Again that’s contradicting Jesus when He says several times in The New Testament that all you have to do is accept Him and believe in Him to be saved. It would mean salvation through works which defies Biblical doctrine of grace through faith. What Jesus means by this statement is to believe on Him. If you compare verse 47 to this saying in verse 54, this is definitely what Jesus meant. In verse 47, Jesus says he who believes in Me has everlasting life. Now here in verse 54, Jesus says whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has everlasting life. There is absolutely no argument what Jesus meant. He meant believe on Him…case closed! 

So now in closing and before I get to the part of this post where I give you, the reader, the chance to accept Christ into your life if you haven’t already, what does that mean? To believe on Him? It means to believe in Jesus with all your heart, body, mind, and soul! We don’t just pull out Jesus when it is convenient for us. Too many of us Christians are what I like to call “Out of the box Christians”. We pull Jesus “out of the box” on Sundays and maybe the occasional Wednesday. We pull Jesus “out of the box” on Christmas and Easter. We pull Jesus “out of the box” when times are hard. In other words, we pull Jesus “out of the box” when it is convenient for us and we don’t live with Him in our hearts every single day of our lives. We also only read and believe the parts of God’s Word that only suit our purposes and shy away from the parts that don’t suit our purposes and convicts us. Most Christians won’t even read The Old Testament saying that it doesn’t apply anymore. While it is true that we are under a new covenant and the old covenant is no longer in effect, ALL of The Bible applies especially the Books of the Prophets. Most Christians can’t handle Jesus being anything more than cute, cuddly, child in a manger. Jesus hanging on a cross, bleeding, and dying for mankind’s sin and Jesus as the avenger in Revelation, Christians can’t handle that and those messages are being lost in today’s churches much like it was with this crowd that Jesus addresses here. To accept, believe, and trust in all aspects of Jesus is eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ so take Him all in!

Without Jesus Christ, we have reason to be worried. Without Jesus Christ, we should be fretting. Without Him, we have no hope, no future, no forgiveness, no eternal life. But when we come to the cross of Calvary where Jesus died for our sins, when we ask for forgiveness on the basis of his blood shed there, when we pray to him, asking him to become our Savior and Lord, He saves us and sets us free. He gives us peace. Have you received him as your Savior? Are you living in His peace? Today is the best day you’ve ever had to give your life to Him and to cast on Him your every care. You have the chance to do it now! Just pray this simple short prayer. Remember it really doesn’t matter what you say. What matters is that what you say comes from your heart!…

“Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you. Amen.”

If you’ve prayed the above prayer with a sincere heart, then you are saved. The next step is to start going to church, getting baptized to publicly profess your faith, and reading the Bible and learning God’s Word. I pray with all of my heart that you prayed the above prayer! Please let me know if you need any help with your new “walk” with Christ!