John 6:41-51 - The Way A Person Partakes of the Bread of Life

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the Jews asked Jesus: “how one may do the work of God and Jesus said”, (6:29, 35, 40, 47). 

     So here & throughout the Gospel of John, everlasting life is directly related to your believing in Jesus Christ.  Four times in this chapter Jesus relates everlasting life to believing in Him.  The word “believe” is used around 99 times in the Gospel of John.  Most definitely there can be no question as to the fact that the Bible teaches that our salvation is dependent upon our believing in Jesus Christ.  But when Jesus said that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day,” The Jews then murmured against Him, because He said,  “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 

     Now remember these are the same people that Jesus fed with the 5 loaves & 2 small fish & afterward they wanted to make Him their king by force.  Then they sought for Him the next day because they were hungry.  But Jesus sought to take them from the material real to the spiritual realm.  From the bread that they had eaten to the true bread which God has given man, that if a man eats he will never hunger again (v.35).  And he tried to being them over to the spiritual realm to receive the gift of God, the gift of eternal life that came from the bread that God has sent from heaven which Jesus said “I am” that bread from heaven (v.35,48,51). 

1.    The Jews Rebelled Against The Claims Of Jesus (41-43).

a)        The Jews Then Murmured Against Him (v.41).

1)        Murmur refers to “griping, complaining, grumbling”. 

               This word is derived from the sound made when murmuring or muttering in a low and indistinct voice with the idea of complaint. A private conversation, in a sort of whisper or low voice with differences of opinions and disputes about those opinions.  Numbers 11:1 says, “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD… and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them. 

(a)      John 7:12-13 says “there was much complaining among the people concerning Jesus. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” 

(b)      Many complained of Jesus when He healed a blind man on the Sabbath.  They said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath” (John 9:16). 

(c)      Others said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?” (John 10:20).

(d)      The Pharisees complained against Jesus because He, not only received sinners, but also ate with sinners (Luke 5:27-31; 15:1-2; 18:41).

(e)      Jesus reached out & touched those whom no one else would (Mark 1:40-41)

2)        The radically disagreed with Jesus’ claim that He had come “down from heaven.”  The basis of their problem was the fact that they knew His father & mother (v.42) 

b)        Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know (v.42)?

1)        There Was A Similar Statement Made In Matthews Gospel (Matt.13:54-58):

When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?  Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?  And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?”  So they were offended at Him… and He did not do many mighty works there …  except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief (Mark 6:5-6).

2)        Making Judgments On Incomplete Information. 

(a)      This Is Something That We Are All Guilty Of At Sometime Of Another.  We say things like: “well it looks like it” “well it sure appears to be” “well I’m almost positive.”  It is a tragic mistake to misjudge a person because you don’t have all the facts.  That is exactly what was happening with Jesus (v.42). 

(b)      He Was Not The Son Of Joseph (Matthew 1:18-25).  

1.         Jesus Is Never Called The Son Of Joseph, & Joseph Is Never Called Jesus’ Father.  Joseph is not mentioned in Mary’s song of praise (Luke 1:46-55), & Joseph is called the husband of Mary (Matt.1:16). 

2.         Had Jesus been conceived by the act of a man, whether Joseph or anyone else, He could not have been divine and could not have been the Savior. His own claims about Himself would have been lies, and His resurrection and ascension would have been hoaxes. And mankind would forever remain lost and damned.  

3.         Matthew 1:20 - Emphasizes The Supernatural Character Of The Whole Event.  The angel addressed Joseph as son of David. Even though Jesus was not the real son of Joseph, Jesus was his legal son. His Father, in actuality, was God, who conceived Him by the Holy Spirit. But His royal right in the Davidic line came by Joseph.

4.         As if to reinforce the truth of Jesus’ divine conception, the angel tells Joseph that she will bear a Son (v.21). Joseph would act as Jesus’ earthly father, but he would only be a foster father. Luke’s genealogy of Jesus through Mary’s line accurately says He was “supposedly the son of Joseph” (3:23, emphasis added).

5.         For Christ to become man was humbling enough. For Him not to be recognized as the Messiah must have been even more humbling. He performed miracles and taught authoritatively, yet these were typical responses that He had:
“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’ ?”  (John 6:42).  Because their minds were darkened by their sin, & they did not have all the facts, they were judging by only what they knew.  They treated the King of kings not only like a man, but also like the worst of men—a common criminal.

3)        Many Today Still Judge Jesus Christ Without Having All The Facts. 

(a)      The only facts some people have are the facts that are told to them by the enemies of Jesus.  They have not examined all the evidence for themselves, they only repeat what someone else had said about the Bible.  (John 20:24-29)    

(b)      Other people have made wrong judgments because those who say they know Jesus didn’t act in a Christ like way.

(c)      But there is not excuse for bad judgments, its up to you to determine what are the facts about Jesus Christ & the only way you can do that intelligently is to study the Bible. 

(d)      They were ignorant of the incarnation (Rom.1:3-4; 9:5; Gal.4:4). 

c)         Jesus appealed to the crowd & said, “do not murmur among yourselves” (v.43).

1)        The Lord knows when we are complaining, there is nothing hidden from His sight (Heb.4:13).   What a lesson for us all: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 45:15). 

2.    A Person Must Be Drawn By God (44-46).

a)        No one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him (v.44)

1)        God Draws All Men To Himself, But Not All Will Come.

(a)      The World (John 1:29; 3:17; 1 Tim.1:15; 1 John 2:2)… Whoever, whosoever (John 3:16; Rom.10:9-13; Rev.22:17)… All (Matt.11:28-30; Rom.5:18; 8:32; 2Cor.5:14-15; 1Tim2:4,6; 2Pet.3:9), & Everyone (John 10:16; 11:52; Heb.2:9; 5:7,9; Rev.14:6-7)

(b)      Man’s resistance is seen in the word draw. The word “draw” has the idea of both initiative and rebellion, of constraint and resistance.

1.         For example: the pulling in of a net loaded with fish involves both actions of pulling and resistance (John 21:6); a person being dragged to court encounters both actions of pulling and resistance (Acts 16:19). 

2.         The Holy Spirit can be resisted (Acts 7:51; Neh.9:30-31), grieved (Is.63:10; Eph.4:30), and quenched (1Thess.5:19)

3.         It takes both the drawing of God & the responding of man in order to be saved. No man can come unless the father draws him, & no man is saved unless he comes.

2)        Jesus Said He Will Draw All To Himself (John 12:32).

(a)      He did not mean everybody will be saved because some will be lost (John 5:28-29).

(b)      How Does Jesus Draw All To Himself?  Jesus puts the emphasis on His redemptive death (John 12:33). His death will draw all men unto Him. Those who believe will be saved. Those who reject Him will be lost.

1.         By His death, He was able to go to the Father & send the Holy Spirit (John 16:5-11).

2.         His prayer “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34) did not go unanswered.

a.         One of the thieves who had been jeering Christ turned to faith in Him (23:43).

b.         The men who had beaten and crucified Christ turned to Him (Matt.27:54).

3.         The love of Christ Compels us (2Cor.5:14).  Jesus  attracts people, not by force but by His grace and love. Love woos, love wins; it never forces anybody to follow it. 

3)        The Exaltation of Jesus Is Our Mission.

(a)      Your purpose as a Christian on this earth is to raise up Jesus, who said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:14–15). He also said, “I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32).

(b)      Jesus was prophesying His death on the cross, but the fact is, when you call people’s attention to the cross and to the sacrifice that Jesus made there, He draws sinners to Himself as their Savior through the proclamation of the Gospel. Your purpose is to do the exalting of Jesus.

b)        I will raise him up at the last day (v.44 cf.39,40,54; 5:29; 11:24)

1 Corinthians 15:35; 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 — the Bible teaches that the “real you” is spirit.


c)         And they shall all be taught by God (v.45).

1)        How God Draws A Man Is Clearly Stated—By Teaching (john 6:45).

(a)      The teaching may come from the voice of a preacher, the observation of nature, the reading of Scripture or from a countless of other sources. But one thing is always common: the movement of God’s Spirit upon the human heart, teaching the need for God and drawing the heart toward God for salvation.

2)        God Speaks To All Men In A Universal Language Of Nature (Psalm 19:1-4). 

(a)      Not All Men Hear The Voice Of God (Romans 1:21-25) because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.  Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

(b)      Some Have Closed Their Eyes Deliberately Because They Love Darkness (John 3:19-20).

(c)      God commands all men everywhere to repent but not all head the call of God (Act 17:30).

d)        Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God (v.46)

1)        Your Physical Body Just Could Not Handle Seeing The Face Of God.

(a)      It'd be like trying to stand in the sun; you'd be consumed (Moses Exodus 33:18-23)

John 14:8-10 – Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us."   Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, `Show us the Father'?   "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

3.    A Person Must Believe On Christ (47-51).

a)        He who believes in Me has everlasting life (v.47-49).

1)        The Person Who Believes In Jesus Christ Has Eternal Life.

(a)      Jesus Is The Bread Of Life (v.48); The living Bread (v.51).  In Him was life and the life was the light of men (John 1:4)… I have come that they may have life (John 10:10)… As You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:2-3)

b)        That one may eat of it and not die (v.50).

1)        The One Who Eats And Partakes Of Him Will Never Die (Heb.9:27). 

(a)      The Bible speaks of three deaths:

1.                 Physical death: the separation of a man’s spirit or life from the body. This is what men commonly call death. It is when a person ceases to exist on this earth and is buried (1 Cor.15:21-22; Hebrews 9:27).

2.         Spiritual death: the separation of man’s spirit from God while he is still living and walking upon earth. This death is the natural state of a man on earth without Christ. Man is seen as still in his sins and dead to God (Ephes. 2:1; Ephes. 4:18; 1 John 5:12).  Spiritual death speaks of a person who is dead while he still lives (1 Tim. 5:6). He is a natural man living in this present world, but he is said to be dead to the Lord Jesus Christ and to God and to spiritual matters.

3.         Eternal death: the separation of man from God’s presence forever. This is the second death, an eternal state of being dead to God (1 Cor. 6:9-10; 2 Thes. 1:9). It is spiritual death, separation from God, that is prolonged beyond the death of the body. It is called the “second death” or eternal death.

c)         If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever (v.51)

1)        The Offer Of Eternal Life Is Conditional, “If” Anyone Eats Of This Bread.

“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed” (6:53-55).

“Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death” (8:51)

“And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (11:26)

d)        The bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world (v.51)

1)        Jesus Christ came in the flesh (1Tim.3:16; 1John 4:2-3)

2)        Jesus Christ gave His flesh (life) for the life of the world.

Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.  Only in this way could he deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying (Heb.2:14-15).

               The law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God destroyed sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins (Romans 8:3).

               He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.  You have been healed by his wounds!  (1Pet.2:24)

               Christ also suffered when he died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners that he might bring us safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit (1Peter 3:18)

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