At Capernaum, after He walked on the water and calmed the storm, Jesus delivered a discourse by praising God for His divine will, and also by reminding the Jews that He was the bread of life, the promised Messiah who came to fulfill prophecy and to deliver believers from the wages of sin.
“60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”” (John 6:60)
Jesus had just delivered His “Bread of Life” sermon when many among the crowd became confused as their Master told them they needed to eat His flesh and drink His blood to receive eternal life. Many imagined He was literally speaking, and a among those who did, some went away and parted with Jesus.
“61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?” (John 6:61)
Then, Jesus felt His disciples were troubled by the same sermon, and even though He know the men were concerned, the Lord started His sermon with a question rather than make a statement. In doing so, Jesus created a bridge between Himself and His disciples, then He used the newly created gateway to further enlighten His audience.
“62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?” (John 6:62)
Here, Jesus foretells His own ascension to Heaven where He will rejoice with God, forever! The place where Jesus is going is the same glorious kingdom He is bound to return to when His work on Earth is complete. When He does, who will believe then?
“63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)
God is spiritual, and He created us to be both spiritual (soul) and physical (flesh). Here, Jesus tells His audience He is addressing them as a spiritual being, and calls the words He is called to use as “life.”
“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 would betray Him.” (John 6:64)
Next, Jesus calls out the hypocrites among the crowd, those opportunists who would soon turn against Him, and seek to have Him put to death on the cross. The Lord knew about them, and He also knew the important role each one played in God’s perfect plan to take the Son of Man from a virgin womb to a cross, a tomb and eventually, back to Heaven to be praised for all time.
“65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” (John 6:65)
Because God knows all His creation, He was already aware who will believe and who will not. Although it is ultimately up to God to decide who will rejoice with Him in His Kingdom, He leaves it up to us to answer the call to join Him.
“66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”” (John 6:66-67)
Jesus’ Bread of Life discourse confused many of His followers, those in the crowd who were there for the spectacular aspect of the journey, not the spiritual experience which leads to salvation. Because they did not understand what Jesus was saying, figuratively, they missed out on eternal life in Heaven.
When He noticed many were leaving because they did not understand the meaning of the Bread of Life sermon, Jesus asked twelve disciples about their position on the matter.
The twelve mentioned by John were:
Simon Peter, son of Jonas, a fisherman from Bethsaida and Capernaum. Peter’s Greek name was Simon, his Aramaic name was Cephas which both mean “rock.”
James, the fisherman also from Bethsaida and Capernaum was the son of Zebedee and Salome and the brother of John, who was also a fisherman.
Andrew was another fisherman from the same region, the brother of Peter and a son of Jonas. Before the Lord, Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist.
Philip was also a fisherman from Bethsaida, and one of the first disciples to be called upon to follow Jesus. Thomas, from whom little is known, lived in Galilee. He would be the one chosen by Christ to touch and testify the wounds on the flesh of the risen Lord.
Bartholomew was a noble believer from Galilee, a scholar in the law and the prophets. Matthew, or Levi, the son of Alphaeus, was a tax collector from Capernaum.
James, the “lesser” or younger, was from Galilee, the son of Mary and Alphaeus. He was the brother of the apostle Jude.
Simon the Zealot was a Canaanite from Galilee. Jude, Thaddeus, the brother of Yeshua, Jesus, was also the brother of James the lesser and the son of Mary and Alpheus.
“68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68-69)
Peter knew Jesus was God, and so did the other eleven disciples. They had placed their trust in Him who promised those who believe in Him the gift of eternal life, which Jesus was set to pay for on the cross. The minds of the twelve were set on Jesus.
“70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.” (John 6:70-71)
Lastly, Jesus completed His address to the twelve by revealing the fact one of them was a traitor, a viper named Judas Iscariot who would later deliver his Master for thirty pieces of Silver, at the time enough currency to purchase a small plot of land…
Have you ever found yourself in a similar position, at a point in your spiritual walk when you feel like taking a break from the narrow path? Following Jesus was never meant to be easy. The Christian life is a noble affair, but it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. What’s important to remember is, the prize beyond the finish line, that promise God made us when He created us, that all those who believe and place their trust in His Son will live and thrive in peace forever… Let’s pray.
We thank you for your blessings in our lives,
We praise you Lord for the wisdom found through the gospel of John,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to live out the apostle’s writings
As we continue to learn more about you through your word.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through the truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of Christian faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and our place with you in Heaven
According to your ways, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre