John 6:22–40—Jesus is the Bread of Life
22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the far shore saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them. 23 Several boats from Tiberias landed near place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten. 24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him. 25 They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? 31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”
35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. 37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
Points of Interest
- ‘went across to Capernaum to look for him’—they aren’t giving up on this idea of making him king. They commandeer some boats and follow him.
- ‘not because you understood the miraculous signs’—it might look an awful lot like they understood the sign, seeing how energetically they follow him; but they don’t really. If I understand the sign correctly, it’s rather like the message he gave the Samaritan woman. To the woman, he said, ‘Don’t settle for water that will just leave you thirsty again. Ask me, and I’ll give you a new kind of water that truly satisfies.’ To this crowd, I think his point is, ‘Bread is too easy. I can make that for you out of nothing anytime. Look to me for eternal life instead.’ They do indeed keep following after him, but Jesus has the suspicion that they’re still just hungering for things that will make them hungry again.
- ‘What can you do?’—well, he has just fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread, and walked across a lake. They’re just addicted to free bread and spectacle. They only want the signs, not the things they point to.
- ‘those the Father has given me will come to me’—Jesus knows that he can’t force anyone to read the signs. Whoever does in fact read the signs, that’s who he is talking to.
- ‘I will raise them up at the last day’—the last day is the end of the world. I think that for each of us ‘the last day,’ effectively speaking, is also the last day of our lives. Whenever these people and the world part ways, either because the world ends or because their lives do, things only get better for them; they get lifted higher, rather than falling down.
Taking It Home
- For you: Jesus seems to make a big deal about people’s responses to him. It doesn’t seem like he cares about much more than, “Do you believe me?” and “Do you trust me?” Tell Jesus how you feel about him. If you trust Jesus, tell him so. If you have questions, ask him those as well. Try picturing yourself with Jesus. How do you picture him? How do you respond to him? Look for ways during your day to remind yourself about Jesus.
- For your 6: It’s clear the crowds have some interest in who Jesus actually is. He’s like a popular author who they’ll trek around the city to hear speak. However, they still kind of want to keep him at arm’s distance. Ask God to bless whatever interest your 6 have in him. Pray that they wouldn’t keep Jesus at an arm’s distance but would embrace him.
- For our church: Even though the crowds in the end don’t entirely get what Jesus is about, there are still CROWDS of people who are coming from every corner to see Jesus for themselves. Ask God to make our church a place that attracts crowds and crowds to come and experience Jesus with us. Pray that there would be a buzz that draws people from all different backgrounds to our church to connect with Jesus.