December 13th, 2006
Back in the time of the Exodus from Egypt, when the Israelites were walking through the wilderness with nothing to eat, God had miraculously provided each day a special type of bread, manna from heaven. Jesus claimed to be offering a new type of bread from heaven, the true bread from heaven, the Bread of Life. So if you’ve ever experienced a spiritual hunger, a feeling of emptiness, a feeling that there must be more to life than this, that there must be some purpose, some way of making sense of it all, then that’s the sort of hunger which Jesus claimed to be able to satisfy in such a way that you will never feel hungry or thirsty again.
John’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 6
6:1 After this, Jesus went to the other side of the sea of Galilee, which is also called the Sea of Tiberias. 6:2 A crowd followed him, because they saw his miracles in healing people who were sick. 6:3 Jesus climbed the mountain, and sat there with his disciples. 6:4 It was almost time for the Passover, the feast of the Jews. 6:5 Jesus looked around and saw a large crowd gathering, and asked Philip, “Where can we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6:6 He said this to test him, because he already knew what he would do. 6:7 Philip answered, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not enough for everyone to get a little.” 6:8 One of the disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, 6:9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what good are they for so many people?”
6:10 Jesus said, “Get the people to sit down.” There was plenty of grass nearby. So the people sat down, about five thousand in all. 6:11 Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them to the disciples, who distributed them to those who were sitting down. They also handed everyone as much of the fish as they desired. 6:12 When the people were full, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” 6:13 They gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. 6:14 When the people saw the miracle which Jesus had done, they said, “This really is the prophet who was predicted to come into the world.” 6:15 Jesus, seeing that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, withdrew to the mountain by himself.
6:16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 6:17 and got into a boat to cross the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not arrived. 6:18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 6:19 When they had rowed about five or six kilometres, they saw Jesus walking on the sea, approaching the boat, and they were terrified. 6:20 But he said to them, “It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” 6:21 So they were willing to let him get into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
6:22 The next day, the crowd on the other side of the sea knew that there had been no boat there other than the one in which his disciples had travelled, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, and his disciples had gone away without him. 6:23 Then some boats from Tiberias arrived near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 6:24 So when the crowd saw that Jesus and his disciples were no longer around, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 6:25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”
6:26 Jesus answered them, “You aren’t really looking for me because you saw signs, but because you ate the loaves until you were full. 6:27 Don’t work for perishable food. Instead work for the food which remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. God the Father has given his approval to him.” 6:28 So they asked him, “What must we do to act the way God wants?” 6:29 Jesus answered, “The action God wants is that you believe in the one whom he has sent.” 6:30 So they asked, “What miraculous sign will you do for us to see, so that we will believe you? What will you do? 6:31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness. As it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'”
6:32 Jesus said, “I can guarantee that it wasn’t Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 6:33 The bread of God is the one who comes from heaven and gives life to the world.” 6:34 They said, “Lord, give us this bread always.” 6:35 Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will not be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 6:36 But as I told you, you have seen me but you don’t believe. 6:37 Whoever the Father gives me will come to me. I will not cast aside anyone who comes to me. 6:38 I have not come from heaven to do my own will, but to do the will of the one who sent me. 6:39 The will of my Father who sent me is that I should lose none of all he has given to me, but should raise them up on the last day. 6:40 The will of the one who sent me is that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day.”
6:41 The Jews murmured about him because he said, “I am the bread which came from heaven.” 6:42 They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he say, ‘I have come from heaven?'” 6:43 Jesus answered, “Don’t murmur amongst yourselves. 6:44 No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise that person up on the last day. 6:45 The prophets predicted, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns comes to me. 6:46 No one has seen the Father, except the one who comes from God. He has seen the Father. 6:47 I can guarantee that anyone who believes in me has eternal life. 6:48 I am the bread of life. 6:49 Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and they died. 6:50 Anyone can eat the bread which comes from heaven, and not die. 6:51 I am the living bread which came from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever. The bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
6:52 The Jews argued with each other, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 6:53 Jesus said, “I can guarantee that unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you won’t have life in yourselves. 6:54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person up on the last day. 6:55 My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 6:56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I in them. 6:57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, in the same way someone who feeds on me will live because of me. 6:58 This is the bread which came from heaven, not like the way our fathers ate the manna and died. A person who eats this bread will live forever.” 6:59 He said these things in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
6:60 Many of his disciples when they heard this said, “This is a difficult concept! Who can accept it?” 6:61 But Jesus could see that his disciples were complaining, and said, “Does this cause you to stumble? 6:62 What if you could see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 6:63 It is the spirit that gives life. Flesh accomplishes nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life. 6:64 But some of you don’t believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and who it was that would betray him. 6:65 He said, “This is the reason I have told you that no one can come to me, unless it is enabled by my Father.”
6:66 At this point many of his disciples turned away, and stopped following him. 6:67 Jesus asked the twelve, “You don’t want to leave too, do you?” 6:68 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who would we go to? You have the words of eternal life. 6:69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
6:70 Jesus answered, “Didn’t I choose you, the twelve, but one of you is a devil?” 6:71 He was speaking about Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, one of the twelve, because he was the one who would betray him.