John 6:48-52 – Lesson #69

There can be no greater discussion than one which involves eternal life. When Jesus was discussing eternal life with the Jews, He approached the topic from multiple directions so they would not only know of the need to believe, but also the importance of belief and why they must believe in Him.

John 6:48-52
“‘I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 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.’ The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?'”

Jesus already said He was the bread of life; “He who comes to Me shall never hunger” (v 35). But the Jews were looking for a prophet like Moses who would lead them out from under Gentile rule. With this view, they would always think of bread from heaven in terms of the manna given to the Israelites in the desert, the manna which the Psalmist referred to as “Angels’ food” (Psalm 78:25). So Jesus continued the discussion by reminding the Jews that all the Israelites who ate the manna eventually died. But He was the bread from Heaven who would give true life – eternal life – to anyone who would eat.

By using the analogy of eating Jesus spoke of a very personal action. We can take food to someone day after day, but if they do not eat they will not be nourished. And we understand that when we eat, food is digested and distributed to cells in every portion of our body. Taking bread in our hands does not nourish; neither does reading or talking about bread, singing songs or bowing down to bread; we can study bread, smell bread, recite bread and hold bread “high and lifted up,” but until we eat the bread and move it into every part of our innermost being, we remain hungry…and dead.

Notice how Jesus begins to shift the focus of the discussion: He IS the living bread, but He begins to talk about the bread He “shall give.” This is future tense and begins to point toward the cross where He “shall give” His flesh for the “life of the world.” John began his gospel with “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), and here Jesus spoke about this same flesh being given for the life of the world, for those who would eat. This is also a beautiful reference to the way Jesus was first announced: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb who would give His life to take away the sin of all who would personally receive Him, consume Him, believe in Him.

But there were those, as there are today, who say How can this be? They will quarrel, debate, deny, and run…and all the while remain hungry. There is no discussion more important, or meal more necessary, than the bread offered at the cross. Let’s sit at His table today. Let’s receive Him in by faith, and eat!

Have a Great Day!

Steve Troxel
God’s Daily Word Ministries