Focal Passage: John
Our text for today thrusts
us into the middle of a conversation between Jesus and the people who
experienced the miraculous feeding of the 5,000. They had followed Jesus to the
other side of the Sea of Galilee, and He exposed their motives by accusing them
of only wanting another free meal.
The people were seeking a
Moses figure that would feed them every day. In response, Jesus told them that
they should desire spiritual food that lasts rather than food that is consumed
This passage begins with the
people grumbling about Jesus’ statement: “I am the bread that came down from
heaven” (John 6:41). They knew His parents, and questioned how Jesus could say
that He came down from heaven.
Jesus does not try to
clarify His statement, but instead responds with a clear command: “Stop
grumbling among yourselves” (John 6:43). There is an obvious parallel in this
passage with the Jews in the wilderness that grumbled against Moses (Exodus
16:2; Numbers 11:4-6).
In this text, the grumbling
refers specifically to what Jesus has said, but it also has a general
application. Every church could benefit from a “No Grumbling” sign prominently
Jesus further upsets the
crowd when He says, “I tell you the truth, 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”
The people question, “How
can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (John 6:52). In the book of John we
often see people taking Jesus’ analogies in a literal sense.
Nicodemus was confused when
Jesus told him to be born again (John 3:4) and the woman at the well wondered
about the water that would keep her from thirsting again (John 4:15).
Like the people in John’s
gospel, there are those who interpret Jesus’ words literally. They believe
that, in communion, the bread actually becomes the body of Jesus and the wine
becomes His blood (transubstantiation). Baptists understand Jesus’ words to be
The prophets spoke of eating
the word of God (Jeremiah 15:16; Ezekiel 3:3). Eating the word symbolized
receiving the word into their lives.
To have Jesus in one’s life
is to find ultimate satisfaction. Our deepest hunger is met. Our deepest thirst
is satisfied. In Him we have sustaining food that satisfies all our needs!