“Life Full – Life Eternal” John 6:22-40

May 3rd, 2020

“Life Full – Life Eternal”

John 6:22-40

Call to Worship: Psalm 107:1-22, 43

Aux. text: Eccl 2:1-11


Service Orientation: We are too easily satisfied.  Seek the life that is truly life.


Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. — John 6:35                                                     


Background Information:

  • These verses form the beginning of one of the most remarkable passages in the Gospels. None, perhaps, of our Lord’s discourses has occasioned more controversy, and been more misunderstood, than that which we find in the sixth chapter of John.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 357-8)
  • The disciples may have been impressed that so many people stayed through a storm in order to seek their Master, but Jesus was not impressed. He knows the human heart.  He knew that the people originally followed Him because of His miracles (Jn 6:2), but now their motive was to get fed!  Even if they were attracted only by the miracles, at least there was still a possibility they might be saved.  (Warren W. Wiersby, Be Alive, 98)

(v. 23) Perhaps the owners of the boats had heard of the miraculous feeding and had come to investigate.  Or they may have come to pick up their friends and loved ones, or to act as water taxis, seeking to cash in on the large numbers of people in need of transportation.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 235)

  • (v. 25) Had he told them the nature of his crossing, doubtless they would have been impressed; but what follows shows that mere miracles can be corrosive of genuine faith. Instead, Jesus questions their motives in looking for him.  Jesus’ charge is that their pursuit was not because they saw miraculous signs, but for crasser motives.  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 283)
  • (v. 26) Jesus drives this home by using the coarse word, “fodder” or “hay”; they were satisfied like the ox when his belly is full of fodder. (R.C. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel, 450)
  • (v. 27) It is blessed to know that we, too, have been “sealed”: Eph 1:13.  Believers are “sealed” as those who are approved of God.  But observe, carefully, that it is in Christ we are thus distinguished.  “In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.”  Christ was “sealed” because of His own intrinsic perfections; we, because of our identification and union with Him!  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 314)
  • (v. 27) When a document is sealed it possesses the authority of a warrant. Hence the meaning here is that the Father has authorized the Son of man to be the giver of eternal life.  (R.V. G. Tasker, Tyndale NT Commentaries: John, 99)
  • (v. 27) The affixing of a seal was common in antiquity as a mark of ownership. In an age when many were illiterate the seal attested ownership as a written label could not.  But a seal could also authenticate a document or the like; the seal showed that the seal’s owner approved.  This is the meaning here.  The Father has set the seal of his approval on the Son.  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 318)
  • (v. 28) The sinner wants to do something to earn it. It was thus with the woman at the well:  until Divine grace completed its work within her, she knew not the gift of God” (Jn 4:10).  It was the same with the rich young ruler:  “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Lk 18:18).  It was the same with the stricken Jews on the day of Pentecost:  “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).  It was the same with the Philippian jailer:  “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).  So it was with the prodigal son–“Make me as one of thy hired servants” (one who works for what he receives) was his thought (Lk 15:19).  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 320)
  • (v. 29) The phrase “works of God,” which may reflect Zealot parlance, refers in Jewish literature normally to works done by God, not those required by him (cf. 3:21; 9:3-4). Similar terminology is found in the Qumran scrolls:  “I shall open your eyes so that you can see and understand the deeds of God” (CD 2:14).  (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Ill. Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Vol. 2, 68)
  • (v. 30) The word, “Thou,” in this sentence is emphatic in the Greek. It is as though the Jews said, “who art THOU indeed to talk in this way?  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 364)
  • (v. 30) They were always deceiving themselves with the idea that they wanted more evidence, and pretending that if they had this evidence they would believe. Thousands in every age do just the same.  They live on waiting for something to convince them, and fancying that if they were convinced they would be different men in religion.  The plain truth is that it is want of heart, not want of evidence, that keeps people back from Christ.  The Jews had signs, and evidences, and proofs of Christ’s Messiahship in abundance, but they would not see them.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 364-5)
  • (v. 30) Surely if Moses could feed the people with heavenly food, Jesus must do likewise if He were to have a place of authority equal to that of Moses. (Merrill C. Tenney, John:  The Gospel of Belief, 118)
  • (v. 31) The rabbis taught that, when Messiah came, He would duplicate the miracle of the manna (see Ex 16). If Jesus was truly sent by God (see Jn 6:29, 38, 57), then let Him prove it by causing manna to fall from heaven.  They wanted to “see and believe.”  But faith that is based on signs alone, and not on the truth of the Word, can lead a person astray, for even Satan is able to perform “lying wonders” (2 Thess 2:8-10).  Note also Jn 2:18-25; 4:48.  .  (Warren W. Wiersby, Be Alive, 98-9)
  • (v. 31) There are some indications that this idea was current in the first Christian century (cf. The reference to “the hidden manna” in Rv 2:17). (F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, 151)
  • (v. 31) “It appears that the controlling term is not bread but the phrase from heaven” (Michaels). Add to this a Jewish expectation that when the Messiah came he would give people manna once more, and we see that there was much that might arouse speculation.  Jesus had done something wonderful in supplying bread.  But could he go on from there and produce manna?  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 321)
  • (v. 31) They were attempting to evaluate him by the ministry of Moses, who had provided manna for their forefathers in the wilderness. (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 75)
  • (v. 31) True, that manna spoiled with time. But that means, for the crowd, that if Jesus is promising to provide something better, then he had better be prepared to display an even more dramatic miracle than the miracle of the manna itself.  If Jesus is superior to Moses, as his tone and claims suggest, then should not his followers be privileged to witness mightier works than those seen by the disciples of Moses?  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 285-6)
  • (v. 32) Jesus is persuaded that far too much attention has been lavished on Moses, and far too little on God himself, the ultimate supplier of the bread from heaven. In the last clause, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven, the shift to the present tense may be significant.  Present tenses, especially in John, are often past-referring (the so-called “historic present”), but if this one is present-referring, then Jesus is not only saying that his Father has been ignored while Moses has gained center stage in the thought of his opponents, but that the true bread is in any case not the manna in the wilderness but what the Father is now giving.  This paves the way for v. 33.  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 286)
  • (v. 32) Jesus informed the people that Moses did not give them the real spiritual bread. (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 75)
  • (v. 32) Jesus’ purpose in pointing out that the manna really came from “my Father” was to set Moses in proper perspective. (George Allen Turner, The Evangelical Commentary: John, 161)  
  • (v. 35) God revealed Himself to Moses by the name I AM (Jehovah) (Ex 3:14). God is the self-existent One who “is, and. . . was, and . . . is to come” (Rv 1:8).  When Jesus used the name “I am,” He was definitely claiming to be God.    (Warren W. Wiersby, Be Alive, 100)
  • (v. 35) The assertion “I am the bread of life” is the first in a series of such declarations that are peculiar to this Gospel (8:12; 10:7, 11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1). Each represents a particular relationship of Jesus to the spiritual needs of men.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 76)
  • (v. 35) What a statement! “I am the bread of life.”  It is no coincidence that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, “the house of bread,” as prophesied hundreds of years earlier by Micah (5:2).  The Word became flesh, and we broke it.  There is no coincidence about that either.  It was all planned by the Lord, for our redemption.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: John, 206)
  • (v. 38) Six times in this immediate context Jesus says that he “came down from heaven” (6:33, 38, 41, 50, 51, 58). His claim to heavenly origin is unmistakable.  Jesus also repeatedly affirmed that he had come to do his Father’s will.  That will is made clear here.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 76)
  • (v. 38) In this whole work of salvation Jesus is in the most perfect harmony with the Father.  He came down from heaven specifically to do the will of the Father (see on 4:34).  The thought of his coming down from heaven is repeated seven times in this chapter (vv. 33, 38, 41, 42, 50, 51, and 58).  In this verse we have the characteristic statement of a proposition in both its negative and positive forms.  The perfect unity with the Father ensures that Christ will accept all that the Father gives.  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 325)
  • (v. 38) The expression, “I came down from heaven,” is a strong proof of the pre-existence of Christ.  It could not possibly be said of any prophet or apostle, that He “came down from heaven.”  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 378)
  • (v. 38) By thus putting himself back of the Father, Jesus makes plain to these Galileans that their unbelief is really opposition to the Father and to that Father’s gracious will which Jesus is carrying out in his work with them; and that faith in Jesus alone makes them true to the Father. The stress is on the unity of the Father and Jesus as his Son.  (R.C. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel, 466)
  • (v. 39) Here Jesus repeats the statement of the resurrection. In the first part of the verse He gives assurance that He will lose no part of the whole, no part of the body.  The entire body is the gift of the Father to the Son.  In the last part of the verse, each individual has eternal life because that individual put his faith in the Son.  (Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel According to John, Vol. 1, 359)
  • (v. 39) It is not our feeble hold on Christ that is our assurance of salvation, but His sure grip on those who believe. (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 134)
  • In grace, our Lord fed the hungry people, but in truth, He gave them the Word of God. They wanted the food, but they did not want the truth; and, in the end, most of them abandoned Jesus and refused to walk with Him.  He lost His crowd with one sermon!  (Warren W. Wiersby, Be Alive, 97)
  • According to the Synoptic narrative, even the twelve “did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened” (Mk 6:52; cf. Mk 8:14-21), so it was not surprising that the crowd failed to grasp the message. But while the Synoptic narrative simply leaves us with the feeling that beneath the surface of the miraculous feeding there was more than met the eye, John proceeds to bring that hidden meaning to light, by recording Jesus’ discourse about the bread of life, delivered in the synagogue at Capernaum (cf. V. 59).  (F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, 150)
  • It is a striking fact that the only thing which our Lord is said to have “marveled” at during His earthly ministry, was man’s “unbelief” (Mk 6:6). (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 358)


The question to be answered is . . . What does this passage reveal about Jesus’ teaching on life?


Answer: Life is a gift from God that comes by believing in Jesus.  Practical atheists’ and materialists’ visions are obscured from being able to see their need for the spiritual life that Jesus brings.


Everything has been figured out, except how to live  — Jean-Paul Sartre


The central neurosis of our time is emptiness. — Carl Jung


Clinics are crowded with people suffering from a new kind of neurosis, a sense of total and ultimate meaninglessness of life. — Viktor Frankl


To give life meaning, one must have a purpose larger than one’s self. — Will Durant.


More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.  —Woody Allen


I’m thinking of having a cookie for breakfast.  Is my life over or just beginning.  —  Michael Finch


The emptiest moment in life is when you have just accomplished what you thought would deliver the ultimate and it has let you down.  (Tullian Tevidgjian; Life Without God – Pt 6)


Could it be that discouraged and depressed people (living under the sun – without God) are the most sane?   Could it be that they alone see life under the sun . . .  As it really is?  — Pastor Keith


(From 8-1-10 HFM message) The question to be answered is . . . What does the Pentateuch mean by life?

Answer: The Pentateuch describes LIFE as being in harmony with the will and purposes of God.  It means living in Shalom.  It means living in obedience to the Law and will of God.  It means enjoying a life of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.  It means living a life filled with meaning, significance and hope.  It is a life that is Spirit led and “in Christ”.


The Word for the Day is . . . Life


Greek 2 words for our English word “life”.   Bios = physical life & Zoe = soul of life


What is life?  In all its various levels and types, life is power to act and respond in specific kinds of relations.  For example, a cabbage has certain powers of action and response and a corresponding level of life.  There is a big difference between a cabbage that is alive and one that is dead, though the dead one still exists.  This can also be said of a snail or a kitten.

But a live cabbage can make no response to, say, a ball of string.  That is precisely because of the kind of life that is in it.  Though alive as a cabbage, it is dead to the realm of play.  Similarly, a kitten playing with the string can make no response to numbers or poetry, and in that sense the kitten is dead to the realms of arithmetic and literature.  A live cabbage, though dead to one realm (that of play) is yet alive in another–that of the soil, the sun and the rain.  The situation is similar with the kitten.

Human beings were once alive to God. They were created to be responsive to and interactive with him.  Adam and Eve lived in a conversational relationship with their Creator, daily renewed.  When they mistrusted God and disobeyed him, that cut them off from the realm of the Spirit.  Thus they became dead in relation to the realm of the Spirit–much as a kitten is dead to arithmetic.  God had said of the forbidden tree, “in the day you eat of it you shall die” (Gn 2:17).  And they did.  (Dallas Willard, Hearing God, 192-3)


They have seen Him and what He has done, but only with physical eyes.  So they have failed to understand even the meaning of His invitation.  (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 133)


How churches became non-essential in our cultural imagination is quite a long story, but the primary fault is our own.  If we think and talk of our faith as if it’s grounded in personal experience only instead of universal truths about the world, if Christianity is described within our own walls as an alternative self-help therapy, then we haven’t done such a great job of catechizing our own people as to why the Church is “essential”.   (John Stonestreet; BREAKPOINT DAILY: The Non-Essential Church, Mon, April 20. 2020)


What does this passage reveal about Jesus’ teaching on life?:

  1. Essential life is a special gift from God. (Jn 6:27, 32-33; see also: Jn 4:10-14; 5:21; 6:51; 10:28; 17:2-3; Acts 17:25; Rom 2:7; 6:23; Eph 2:8-9; 1 Jn 5:16)


You are not alive to really see life until you hear and see from the Author of Life (God in Jesus).  — PK


Notice the present tense of the verb here.  Jesus did not say, “My Father WILL give you the true bread,” or “My Father HAS GIVEN you the true bread.”  In the Greek, “giveth you” actually means “is offering you.”  God, in Christ, was at that very moment offering the living bread to these unbelieving Jews, bread that could and would satisfy spirit and soul if they would only believe.  (Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel According to John, Vol. 1, 351)


The teaching of Christ as recorded in the Fourth Gospel, including chapter 6, leaves no room for doubt that salvation is entirely by grace.  It is the work of God and of his Christ; it is a gift; 1:13, 17, 29; 3:3, 5, 16; 4:10, 14, 36, 42, 5:21; 6:27, 33, 37, 39, 44, 51, 55, 65; 8:12, 36; 10:7-9, 28, 29; 11:25, 51, 52; 14:2, 3, 6; 15:5; 17:2, 6, 9, 12, 24; and 18:9.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: John, 232)


Jesus had been speaking of a gift, but they had not grasped his meaning.  Instead, they replied as the natural human mind, which is against God, always does; they replied that they wanted to do something to earn it.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 470)


The roots of a tall oak perform a well-nigh unbelievable amount of work in drawing water and minerals from the soil to serve as nourishment for the tree.  Nevertheless, these roots do not themselves produce these necessities but receive them as a gift.  Similarly, the work of faith is the work of receiving the gift of God.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: John, 232)


Salvation “does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy” (Rom 9:16).  Both repentance (Acts 11:18; 2 Tm 2:25) and faith (Eph 2:8-9; Phil 1:29; cf. Acts 16:14) are granted by God.  Otherwise no one would ever come to Him, since “there is none who seeks for God” (Rom 3:11; cf. 8:7-8; 1 Cor 2:15; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:1-3).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 247)


It was God, not Moses, who gave the manna, so they must take their eyes off Moses and focus them on God.  Also, God gave the manna in the past, but the father is now giving the true bread in the person of Jesus Christ.  The past event is finished, but the present spiritual experience goes on!  (Warren W. Wiersby, Be Alive, 99)


They display no doubt about their intrinsic ability to meet any challenge God may set them; they evince no sensitivity to the fact that eternal life is first and foremost a gift within the purview of the Son of Man (v. 27).  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 285)


They think that the “giving” of which Jesus speaks is like the bestowal of wages for such works.  Thus these people completely lose sight of the meaning of the miracle of the past day when Jesus gave them a free gift, which was to signify a still greater free gift to be received by them through faith.  Jesus speaks of grace; they think only of work-righteousness.  (R.C. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel, 454-5)


When hearts grow hard in unbelief, no miracle is enough to change that condition.  These people had just seen Jesus multiply bread and fish to feed them, yet the next morning they asked him to give them a sign that would move them to believe.  (Gary P. Baumler, The People’s Bible: John, 98)


The American people have achieved a standard of living unimagined fifty years ago.  We have seen extraordinary advances in medicine, science, and technology.  Life expectancy has increased more than twenty years during the last six decades.  Opportunity and equality have been extended to those who were once denied them.  And of course America prevailed in our “long, twilight struggle” against communism.  Impressive achievements all.  Yet even-with all of this, the conventional analysis is still that this nation’s major challenges have to do with getting more of the same:  achieving greater economic growth, job creation, increased trade, health care, or more federal programs.  Some of these things are desirable (greater economic growth and increased trade); some of them are not (more federal programs).  But to look to any or all of them as the solution to what ails us is akin to assigning names to images and shadows, it so widely misses the mark.  If we have full employment and greater economic growth-if we have cities of gold and alabaster-but our children have not learned how to walk in goodness, justice, and mercy, then the American experiment, no matter how gifted, will have failed.  (William J. Bennett; Getting Used to Decadence: The Spirit of Democracy in Modern America: December 7, 1993, The Heritage Foundation)


  1. Essential life is believing in Jesus. Not material or earthly things.  (Jn 6:27-29, 35 see also: Jn 3:15-16, 36; 4:10-14; 6:51-68; 17:3; Rom 5:21; 6:23; 1 Tm 1:16; 1 Jn 5:11-13)


Man is first and foremost a spiritual creature.  What makes him distinctively human is the spirit breathed into him by God.  What separates us from all other mammals is our ability to reason, create, and express love, loyalty, patience, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, grace, etc.  Mankind is most healthy (bios – life) when our spirit is healthy (zoe – life).   But almost no one today recognizes this.   — PK


Divorce, hatred, rejection, abuse, loss, sorrow, heartache, lack of forgiveness and guilt have nothing directly to do with the bios-life (physical) as they are spiritual issues.   But, if left unattended, and if the spirit of an individual suffering from these spiritual issues is not healthy enough to overcome them, these spiritual issues will more than likely have an effect on the physical health of that individual.  It is called psychosomatic illness.  Jesus came to empower you to be an overcomer of such spiritually destructive forces. — PK


Our medical experts & governmental authorities are making decisions for humanity that are mono-focused on our bios-life and have little or no regard for our zoe-life.  No wonder we are seeing a steady increase in suicides, mental health issues and a spirit of hopelessness and dissatisfaction with life.  Without Jesus, our spirits are malnourished and atrophied.  — PK


The man who believes he was created to enjoy fleshly pleasures will devote himself to pleasure seeking; and if by a combination of favorable circumstances he manages to get a lot of fun out of life, his pleasures will all turn to ashes in his mouth at the last.  He will find out too late that God made him too noble to be satisfied with those tawdry pleasures he had devoted his life to here under the sun.  (A.W. Tozer, Man: The Dwelling Place of God, 94)


This is something which is so subtle that many of us miss it completely at the present time.  Some of us are violent opponents of what we speak of as “atheistic materialism.”  But lest we may feel too happy about ourselves because we are opponents of that, let us realize that the Bible tells us that all materialism is atheistic.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon; it is impossible.  So if a materialistic outlook is really controlling us, we are godless, whatever we may say.  There are many atheists who speak religious language; but our Lord tells us here {Mt 6:22-24} that even worse than atheistic materialism is a materialism that thinks it is godly–“if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”  The man who thinks he is godly because he talks about God, and says he believes in God, and goes to a place of worship occasionally, but is really living for certain earthly things–how great is that man’s darkness.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 365-6)


If your meaning for life is to maximize comfort and pleasure now; then suffering will destroy you because it destroys your meaning for life.  — Tim Keller


The gospel is a matter of life and death.  John puts this in unmistakable terms when he says, “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 Jn 5:11, 12).  It is a choice between life and death, between salvation and damnation.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 624-5)


According to Solzhenitsyn, the West has pursued physical well-being and the acquiring of material goods to the exclusion of almost everything spiritual.” (James Montgomery Boice;  Mind Renewal in a Mindless Age, 105)


It is not our possessions that are wrong but our single minded possession of our possessions.  Do you seek for things?  Or do you seek for God?  How sad it would be if those things that are destined to perish should keep you from him who is eternal.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 467)


Their continuing desire to use Jesus for their physical needs is evident from this demand and a clear indication of their superficial interest.  It still marks the shallow, temporary followers of Jesus who fill churches looking for their needs and desires to be met.  There are always churches that accommodate them.  Today they are often the places that draw the largest crowds, but have the lowest percentage of true believers.  Having first insisted that He prove Himself, they now insisted that He give them what they wanted.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 245)


Our modern consumerist age is deluded to think that life consists of meeting our animal needs:  eating, drinking, money, power, sex, and leisure.  Charles Malik, at one time undersecretary-general of the United Nations, saw how badly this missed the real human need.  In arguing for the inclusion of freedom of conscience and religion in the U.N.’s original Commission on Human Rights, he said, “All those who stress the elemental economic rights and needs of man are for the most part impressed by his sheer animal existence…This is materialism whatever else it may be called.  But unless man’s proper nature, unless his mind and spirit are brought out, set apart, protected and promoted, the struggle for human rights is a sham and a mockery.  (Charles Colson, The Good Life, 85)


The ascendance of the scientific method based solely in the physical realm over the past four hundred years presents a major problem:  we have lost touch with the deep mystery at the center of existence–our consciousness.  It was (under different names and expressed through different world-views) something known well and held close by pre-modern religions, but it was lost to our secular Western culture as we became increasingly enamored with the power of modern science and technology.

For all of the successes of Western civilization, the world has paid a dear price in terms of the most crucial component of existence–our human spirit.  The shadow side of high technology–modern warfare and thoughtless homicide and suicide, urban blight, ecological mayhem, cataclysmic climate change, polarization of economic resources–is bad enough.  Much worse, our focus on exponential progress in science and technology has left many of us relatively bereft in the realm of meaning and joy, and of knowing how our lives fit into the grand scheme of existence for all eternity.  (Eben Alexander, M.D., Proof of Heaven, 152)


They have come seeking Him, not because the gift of food has been a sign through which they have glimpsed the glory of God, but because they ate and “were filled.”  Here Jesus uses a very earthy term, literally meaning they were “satisfied with food as animals with fodder.”  (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 131)


The one who would have God’s power must lead a life of self-denial.  There are many things which are not sinful in the ordinary understanding of the word sin, but which hinder spirituality and rob men of power.  I do not believe that any man can lead a luxurious life, overindulge his natural appetites, indulge extensively in dainties, and enjoy the fullness of God’s power.  The gratification of the flesh and the fullness of the Spirit do not go hand in hand.  “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:  and these are contrary the one to the other” (Gal 5:17).  Paul wrote:  “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (1 Cor 9:27; see ASV, Greek; note also Eph 5:18).  (R. A. Torrey, The Baptism with the Holy Spirit, pp. 75-76)


Wisdom and discrimination in giving temporal relief to the poor are very necessary things in ministers, and indeed in all Christians.  Unless we take heed what we do in such matters, we do more harm than good.  To be always feeding the poor and giving money to those who make some profession of religion, is the surest way to train up a generation of hypocrites, and to inflict lasting injury on souls.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 354)


Jesus did not mean that the manna had no food value; he meant it was not the means of sustaining spiritual life.  He claimed to be the genuine and only source of spiritual nourishment.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 75)


Their real god is their belly and so far, Jesus meets their expectations.  Free food and miraculous healing match the tradition of their ancestors in the wilderness.  Now if He would oust the Romans and establish His throne in Palestine.  He would fulfill every ambition they held for Messiah.  With a miracle worker on the scene, this crowd is not interested in such things as sin and righteousness and atonement.  (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on John, 106)


People are hugely interested in the by-products of Christianity, but hardly at all in Christianity itself.  If he will be a judge and divider of material things, increasing our share in them; if he will give us loaves and fishes, better houses, shorter hours, bigger wages, gadgets to lessen work and add to our leisure–these are real things well worth the having, and we will follow him for them.  But who wants his spiritual gifts?  What would they do with them?  What difference would they make?  And so Christ’s supreme offers to us–the power to conquer selfishness and temper, and so be no longer the helpless playthings of temptation, to be masters in our own lives, putting them to high and worthy ends–are peevishly pushed aside as stupid irrelevancies and nothing to the point.  (George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol 8, 563)


Jesus, however, had no intention of gratifying the people’s materialistic whims.  For Him to have done so would have been to assume the very role of political and social Messiah that He had just rejected (6:14-15).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 243)


Discovering to their surprise that Jesus was already there, they asked him when he had arrived.  To that question Jesus simply did not reply.  This was no time to talk of things like that; life was too short for pleasant gossip about journeys.  He went straight to the heart of the matter.  “You have seen,” he said, “wonderful things.  You have seen how God’s grace enabled a crowd to be fed.  Your thoughts ought to have been turned to the God who did these things; but instead all that you are thinking about is bread.”  It is as if Jesus said: “You cannot think about your souls for thinking of your stomachs.”  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 211)


Wise missionaries know that Jesus is not essentially a materialistic Savior and are careful not to make the people dependent on their material support.  But when someone else comes along with more money, many people switch their allegiance. . . . In other words, “You are following me because of the things I have given you, because you believe I am a material Savior.”  Christ’s words have contemporary impact, as they have for 2,000 years.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: John, 178)


Blessed are those, then, who hold their earthly possessions in open palms.  Blessed are those who, if everything they own were taken from them, would be, at most, inconvenienced, because their true wealth is elsewhere.  Blessed are those who are totally dependent upon Jesus for their joy.  (Max Lucado, The Applause of Heaven, 94)


More frequently zōē {Gk for life} is used in Paul to mean something other than mere physical existence; it refers to a unique quality of life which comes through faith in and union with Christ.  (Gerald F. Hawthorne, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, 554)


I am convinced that in our day in American Christianity there is a lamentable tendency to focus on human need rather than on God himself.  I am equally convinced that this is the worst possible way to actually have the need met and to achieve a healthy Christianity. . . . What is wrong is that it is tragically possible to so focus on our needs that we are actually focusing on ourselves rather than on Jesus, and so never get to the solutions to our problems that Jesus wants to bring.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 465)


He knew himself to be the bread of God, and in accordance with this he speaks of this bread not as sent, but as coming down.  It has life.  And it gives life.  The present tense denotes continuing action, and “the world” indicates its scope.  Here is no narrow particularism but a concern for the whole human race.  This is to be interpreted against the background of the grossly materialistic way in which the messianic age was commonly understood.  Jesus did not come to bring manna or satisfy any other materialistic expectation of the people.  His discourse is a vigorous protest against unworthy views of messiahship and a strong affirmation of the essentially spiritual character of the life he came to bring.  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 322-3)


Faith that rests on the miracles is not the highest kind of faith, but it is better than no faith at all.  But these people were crass materialists.  They had not reflected on the spiritual significance of the sign they had seen.  “Instead of seeing in the bread the sign, they had seen in the sign only the bread.”  They came because their hunger had been satisfied.  They were moved not by full hearts, but by full bellies.  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 317)


Do we Americans, for example, believe that man is a spiritual being with a potential for individual nobility and moral responsibility?  Or do we believe that his ultimate fate is to be merely a soulless cog in the machine of state?  When we teach sex-education courses to teenagers, do we treat them as if they are young animals in heat?  Or do we treat them as children of God?  In terms of public policy, the failure is not so much intellectual; it is a failure of will and courage.  Right now we are playing a rhetorical game:  we say one thing and we do another.  (William J. Bennett, Spirit of Democracy in Modern America)


In a world where meaning is up to us, where life supposedly means whatever we say it does, it ultimately comes to mean nothing.  A culture that abandons any fixed reference point and instead tells its young people that truth, purpose, meaning, and morality are purely subjective, will only, in the end, rob them of any truth, purpose, meaning, or morality worth fighting for.

Churchill rallied his nation to a “righteous cause.” That sort of call requires vertical thinking, a people who embrace a transcendent sense of meaning. And what the world saw were the storms a people like that could weather. Today, Britain and so much of the Western world is discovering that a people without a transcendent sense meaning can’t even weather peacetime.  (Breakpoint Daily, 08/23/19)


Postmodernism and its dogmatic tolerance can lead only to despair, as Sayers wrote and as we witness in the lives of so many today.  Despair in turn leads to slothfulness, and slothfulness to boredom.  In spite of our great technological advances and the highest level of education and material advances any society has ever achieved, we have managed to suck all of the meaning out of life, to destroy any basis for human dignity or human rights, to undermine moral and rational discourse–to leave ourselves adrift in the cosmos.  (Charles Colson, The Good Life, 210)


I am assuming that you have some possessions.  Well, do you control them?  Or do they control you?  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 466)


This crowd has witnessed the divine revealer at work, but only their curiosity, appetites and political ambitions have been aroused, not their faith.  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 290)


In history, in our personal lives, in our lives within the body of Christ, our Lord is constantly coming to us and saying, “I want to give you myself.”  Sometimes he comes with great blessing as the kindness of God leads us to repentance.  Sometimes he comes with difficulties or trials.  But in all of life he wants to give us himself.  As we pursue our Christian calling, how wonderful it is to realize that God loves us so much that he keeps driving us beyond the material to the spiritual, so that we will partake of him, eat of his flesh, and drink of his blood.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: John, 183)


Certainly to feed the hungry and clothe the naked is a Christian act, but unless we use wisdom provided by the Lord in such matters we can do more harm than good.  Ministers in the church must use keen discrimination in giving relief to the poor and destitute.  When the church continually furnishes food and money for the poor, those who are helped sometimes make false professions of faith in order to assure the food and money continuing to come in.  There are those who will join a church and attend services simply for what they can get in temporal things–food, clothing, money to pay bills.  To follow Christ for such things is nothing short of hypocrisy.  There are times when most of us truly do need help from other believers; but an honest, sincere, able-bodied person needs such help only temporarily.  (Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel According to John, Vol. 1, 344-5)


People in every society consistently seek the wrong things.  Some look for money, fame, and power.  But these things cannot satisfy us.  As Solzhenitsyn said about his time in a Soviet gulag, “Bless you, prison.  Bless you for being in my life, for there, lying on the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity, as we are made to believe, but the maturing of the human soul.”  (Charles Colson, The Good Life, 58)


Itching for glory from other people makes faith impossible.  Why?  Because faith is being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus; and if you are bent on getting the satisfaction of your itch from the scratch of others’ acclaim, you will turn away from Jesus.  But if you would turn from self as the source of satisfaction (=repentance), and come to Jesus for the enjoyment of all that God is for us in him (=faith), then the itch would be replaced by a well of water springing up to eternal life (Jn 4:14).  (John Piper, Future Grace, 94)


  1. Jesus replaces their “works of God” with the singular “work of God.” But one thing is needful.  And this one thing, he makes plain, is faith.  They must believe on him (for the construction see 1:12; the present tense here denotes the continuing attitude, not the once-for-all decision).  In view of the controversy over faith and works reflected in the Epistle of James, it is interesting to find Jesus describing “work” as believing:  God does not require that we pile up merits to obtain a heavenly credit.  He requires that we trust him.  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 319)


They were brazenly demanding Jesus’ credentials, in response to His claim in verse 29 to be the One sent from God.  The people’s foolish demand demonstrated their thickheaded and self-centered curiosity, graphically illustrating the spiritual blindness that engulfs the unredeemed.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 243)


Accepting Jesus means giving him control of every area of life.  To believe means to yield our wills, our desires, our plans, our strengths and weaknesses to Christ’s direction and safekeeping.  It means moment-by-moment obedience.  Believing is a relationship with the one who promises to live within, trusting him to guide and direct us to do his will.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 131)


He had everything, but he possessed nothing.  There is the spiritual secret.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 467)


In the OT the “eye” denoted the direction of a person’s life.  “Good” eyes focus on God.  They are generous to others and convey the single focus of a true disciple.  They receive and fill the body with God’s light so that it can serve him wholeheartedly.  “Bad” eyes represent materialism, greed, and covetousness.  Those with “bad” eyes may see the light, but they have allowed self-serving desires, interests, and goals to block their vision.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 122)


What then is life?  The reply Jesus gives to the rich man who asks such a question is authentically scriptural (cf. Mt 19:17; Lv 18:5).  In the words of verse 16, life is loving God, walking in his ways and keeping his commands.  In the words of verses 19f., life is loving God, listening to God, and having loyalty to God.  Life, in the end, is not found in the law itself, but in the God who gave it, for ultimately, the LORD is your life.  (Christopher J. H. Wright, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Dt, 292)


Union with Christ was the heart and soul of Paul’s faith.  Jesus Christ was not simply Paul’s Savior; He was Paul’s life.  Proof of his devotion can be found throughout his writings:  “For to me, to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21); “When Christ who is our life appears” (Col 3:4); and “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).  (Ron M. Phillips, Awakened by the Spirit, 67)


Whatever you are into right now, if it won’t matter 100 years from now, stop it.  It is not worthy of your time and investment or resources. —Keith Porter paraphrase of Steve Brown


Doubtless our Lord did not mean that there is anything meritorious in believing.  Man’s faith, at the very best, is feeble and defective.  Regarded as a “work,” it cannot stand the severity of God’s judgment, deserve pardon, or purchase heaven.  But our Lord did mean that faith in Himself, as the only Savior, is the first act of the soul which God requires at a sinner’s hands.  Till a man believes on Jesus, and rests on Jesus as a lost sinner, he is nothing—our Lord did mean that faith in Himself is that act of the soul which specially pleases God.  When the Father sees a sinner casting aside his own righteousness, and simply trusting in His dear Son, He is well pleased.  Without such faith it is impossible to please God.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 359-60)


The several answers he gave to their questions are mostly corrections of their opinions.  The first is a reply to materialism:  “You are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill” (v. 26).  His reply was “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (v. 27).  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 74-5)


As Paul expressed it, Christ is our life (Col 3:4), not in the sense that He extinguishes or suppresses our life, but rather in the sense that He controls and permeates our life, conforming it to His holy nature as much as we permit Him to do so.  To share Christ’s life in the ultimate sense promised to the Christian is the heart of the believer’s hope (Ti 1:2; 3:7).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. Three, p. 133)


Earthly fears are no fears at all.  Answer the big question of eternity, and the little questions of life fall into perspective.  –Max Lucado  (John Ragsdale, How Do I Deal with Anxiety and Fear?, 104)


People who build fear, worry, discouragement, meaninglessness, and hopelessness into our zoe-spirit life are the equivalent of drug dealers and junk food distributors in the bios-life.  That is why the Bible tells us to guard your heart (Prv 4:23). — PK


III.  Essential Life is God’s will for you.  (Jn 6:39-40 see also: Mt 16:26; Mk 8:36; Lk 9:25; Jn 6:40; 2 Cor 4:7-5:10; 2 Pt 3:9)  


Let us mark what abundant comfort there is in this verse for all doubting, trembling sinners, who feel their sins and yet fancy there is no hope for them.  Let such observe that it is the will of God the Father, that “every one” who looks at Christ by faith may have everlasting life.  It would be impossible to open a wider door.  Let men look and live.  The will of God is on their side.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 381)


The Lord came to earth for one purpose:  to perfectly obey the will of the Father who sent Him.  To the disciples Jesus declared, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (4:34).  Later He added, “I can do nothing on My own initiative. . . because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (5:30; cf. Mt 26:39).  “So that the world may know that I love the Father,” He affirmed in 14:31, “I do exactly as the Father commanded Me.”  In His High Priestly Prayer Jesus said to the Father, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do” (17:4).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 249)


Have you ever thought about all that grain must pass through before it becomes bread?  It must first be planted and then grow.  When it is ripe it must be cut down, winnowed, ground into flour.  Finally, it must be subjected to the fiery heat of the oven.  Only by this process does it become able to sustain life.  This is what happened to the Lord Jesus Christ in order that he might become your bread.  He was born into this world.  He was bruised.  He was cut down by sinful men.  He passed through the fires of God’s holy wrath as he took your place in judgment.  This is his glory.  He suffered this for you.  How, then can you refuse to feed upon him?  Come to him!  Draw from his fullness, and grow strong.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 480)


It is difficult to see God’s hand of love in the adversities and heartaches of life because we persist in thinking, as the world does, that happiness is the greatest good. Thus we tend to evaluate all our circumstances in terms of whether or not they produce happiness. Holiness, however, is a greater good than happiness, so God arranges and orchestrates circumstances to produce holiness before happiness. He is more concerned about our eternal than our temporal welfare and more concerned about our spiritual than our material welfare. So all the trials and difficulties, all the heartaches, disappointments, and humiliations come from His loving hand to make us partakers of His holiness.  (Jerry Bridges; Transforming Grace; Living Confidently in God’s Unfailing Love, 183)


Those who have tasted transcendental reality can never again be convinced that this world and the society that regulates them can satisfy their needs.  Those who have tasted of the heavenly gift will always hunger because they know there is more to life, and that something more is not controlled by the system but lies beyond anything that the rulers of the system can provide.  Out of such holy discontentment new movements are born.  The sense of what is absent makes us discontented with what is present.  (Tony Campolo, Carpe Diem, Seize the Day, 144-5)


Why does He mention the last day?  If He can keep people safe until then, all danger to the soul has passed.  Beyond that point there is no danger.  See how He has submitted Himself to the Father for the task of preserving all believers.  He says He, personally, will raise them on the last day.  (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on John, 111)



Worship Point:  Worship is a human fully alive.


Irenaeus, a disciple of the apostle John, becomes our guide in his five-volume work Against the Heresy of Gnosticism.  The oft-quoted first clause of one compound sentence reads, “The glory of God is the human being fully alive.”  But the less-quoted second clause reads, “and the life of the human consists in beholding God.”  (Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust, 48)


(8-1-10) Worship point: What other response can we have but to worship when we realize that God is our life.  Everything that makes life really living is found in God through Christ.


It is as impossible for a man to live without having an object of worship as it is for a bird to fly if it is taken out of the air.  The very composition of human life, the mystery of man’s being, demands a center of worship as a necessity of existence.  All life is worship…The question is whether the life and powers of man are devoted to the worship of the true God or to that of a false one.  (G. Campbell Morgan, The Ten Commandments)


Worship is written upon the heart of man by the hand of God…In a broad sense, worship is inseparable from and is an expression of life.  It is not that man cannot live without worship, it is that he cannot fully live without worship…man was made to worship as surely as he was made to breathe.  We may restrict the expression of worship for a season, just as we may briefly hold our breath, but there is an inward craving for worship that cannot be permanently stilled.  (Judson Cornwall, The Elements of Worship 11-12)


Life is knowing what you are living for.  (Nationwise Insurance Company ad 12-29-13)


We live in time.  We live for eternity.  — R. C. Sproul


Anything which isn’t eternal is eternally out-of-date.  –C.S. Lewis  (Simon Guillebaud, Choose Life, 365 Readings for Radical Disciples, 4/15)


They supposed they had to do some work. But what works they were ignorant.  It was the old self-righteousness of the natural man, who is ever occupied with his own doings.  The carnal mind is flattered when it is consciously doing something for God.  For his doings man deems himself entitled to reward.  He imagines that salvation is due him, because he has earned it.  Thus does he reckon the reward “not of grace, but of debt.”  Man seeks to bring God into the humbling position of debtor to him.  How unbelief and pride degrade the Almighty!  How they rob Him of His glory!  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 319)


When we gather in public worship, we are ushered into the presence of Christ.  He is among us (Mt 18:20).  We do in worship what we were created to do–offer to God intelligent praise.  We become more truly human at that point than at any other of human existence.  Just as a boy is more aware of his identity as a son in the presence of his father, or as a husband is more aware of his identity as provider and protector in the presence of his wife, so we are most aware of who we are and what we were created to do as human beings at that point at which we bow in worship before our Creator and Redeemer.  We are humbled as we offer to him our praise and adoration.  We are cleansed as we confess our sins.  We are built up, torn down, and rebuilt again as we submit to instruction by his word (Eph 4:11-16).  We are fed and united to the whole body of Christ by the sacraments.  Through the bread and cup we enjoy koinonia with Christ and one another (1 Cor 10:16).  We access his strength through “all prayer and petition” (Eph 6:18) and are thereby enabled to fight the spiritual battles of life. . . . The opposite view, that we can prosper spiritually on our own–apart from the public ordinances of the church and the public gatherings of the saints–is foolhardy.  No, it is worse than that.  It is worldliness–worldly individualism, worldly pride, worldly self-sufficiency.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Give Praise to God A Vision for Reforming Worship, 330)


We are in a war between dullness and astonishment.  The most critical issue facing Christians is not abortion, pornography, the disintegration of the family, moral absolutes, MTV, drugs, racism, sexuality or school prayer.  The critical issue is dullness.  We have lost our astonishment.  The good news is no longer good news, it is okay news.  Christianity is no longer life-changing, it is life-enhancing.  Jesus doesn’t change people into wide-eyed radicals anymore; he changes them into “nice people.”  If Christianity is simply about being nice, I’m not interested.

What happened to radical Christianity, the un-nice brand of Christianity that turned the world upside down?  What happened to the kind of Christians who were filled with passion and gratitude and who every day were unable to get over the grace of God?  I’m ready for a Christianity that “ruins” my life, that captures my heart and makes me uncomfortable.  I want to be filled with an astonishment which is so captivating that I am considered wild and unpredictable and . . . well. . . dangerous.  I want a faith that is considered “dangerous” by our predictable and monotonous culture. (Robert Capon as quoted by Simon Guillebaud, Choose Life, 365 Readings for Radical Disciples, 2/18)


It is a characteristic inversion to speak of the “problem of God.”  At stake in the discussion about the problem of God is the problem of man.  Man is the problem.  His physical and mental reality is beyond dispute; his meaning, his spiritual relevance, is a question that cries for an answer.  And worship is an answer.  Unless man is capable of entering a relation to ultimate meaning, worship is an illusion.  And if worship is meaningless, human existence is an absurdity.  (Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man, 119)


Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil . . . there is no point to it.  (Sign on UMC across the street from Hanover Horton HS 4-30-08)


Gospel Application:  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.  No one can come to the Father except through Him (Jn 14:6).  Believe on Jesus for a new heart for life (time) and for life essential (quality).  (1 Sm 7:3; 1 Kgs 8:47; Jer 24:7; 31:31-34, 44; 32:39-40; Ez 11:19-20; 18:30-32; 36:26-26; Jn 3:36; 5:21-26; 11:25; 14:6; 17:2-3; Rom 2:25-29; 2 Cor 5:17-21; Gal 6:7-8; Col 2:11; Heb 8:8; 1 Jn 5:11-12)


Salvation is by grace alone (Eph 2:8-9) through faith alone (Rom 3:28) in Christ alone (Acts 4:12), “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight” (Rom 3:20; Gal 2:16).  Salvation is the gift of God (Jn 4:10; Rom 5:15; 6:23; Eph 2:8).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 238)


You change your life by changing your heart.  (Max Lucado, The Applause of Heaven, 116)


Clearly, nothing less than perfection could satisfy God.  But do you have perfect character?  Of course not!  No one is perfect.  Then, where can you get it?  The answer is:  Only from God.  God offers you the perfect character of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This will stand to your account just as the money of a rich man would stand to your account were it deposited in your account in your bank.  Moreover, God will credit your sins to Jesus, who has died for them.  God asks that you believe this, that you accept what Jesus has done.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 471)


At the end of his great act of creation the Lord said, “It is finished,” and he could rest.  On the cross at the end of his great act of redemption Jesus said, “It is finished”–and we can rest.  On the cross Jesus was saying of the work underneath your work–the thing that makes you truly weary, this need to prove yourself because who you are and what you do are never good enough–that it is finished.  He has lived the life you should have lived, he has died the death you should have died.  If you rely on Jesus’ finished work, you know that God is satisfied with you.  You can be satisfied with life.  (Timothy Keller, King’s Cross, 43)



I believe that in Christ Jesus my sins have been fully and freely forgiven, and I am a new creation.  I have died with Christ to my old identity in Adam.  I have been raised with Christ to a new life.  I am seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  God has given to me the full righteousness of Jesus Christ.  I am joined with angels, archangels, and all the saints in heaven.  God is my Father, and if He is for me, who can be against me?  Because of who I am in Christ, I am more than a conqueror.  In fact, I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.  Christ Jesus is my life!  Everything in my life here on this earth is working out for good according to the purposes of God.  Christ Jesus Himself dwells within me.  I have been called according to the purposes of God.  These things I believe and confess, because God, my Father in heaven, says they are true.  Amen! ( Don Matzat; Christ Esteem, 96)


It takes faith to have a life (Jn 4:25-26, 50; 11:23-27; 20:8-9, 27-31).


They observed only the wonders, and for some reason these did not satisfy them.  They dared to impose on God the sign they must have before they would believe.  “You” is emphatic.  They do not think for one moment that Jesus can produce the sign they demand.  “See it and believe” puts the priority on sight.  They do not understand the nature of faith.  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 320-1)


What God requires of us is that we give up trying to please him by our own efforts and instead commit ourselves into the hands of our Savior.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 471)


Spiritual Challenge: Identify what is your life.  Work to believe in Jesus (Jn 6:29, 37, 44; Eph 2:8-9; Col 2:12).  Don’t be distracted by inferior things.  Seek the life that is truly life . . . essential life!  (Ps 42:2; 63:1; 143:6; Mt 10:28; Lk 12:4; 16:9; 18:29-30; Jn 12:25; 1 Cor 6:13-16; 9:25; 1 Tm 6:19).


If two men were to come into Manchester {or Hillsdale}  tomorrow morning, and one of them were to offer material good, and the other wisdom and peace of heart, which of them, do you think, would have the larger following?  (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: John, 280)


  1. What occupies our thoughts when we have nothing else to do? What occupies our daydreams?  Is it our investments, our position?  If so, those are the things we treasure, and that is where our hearts really are.
  2. Similarly, what is it that we fret about most? Is it our home or perhaps our clothing?  If so, then we know where our treasure lies.
  3. Apart from our loved ones, what or whom do we most dread losing?
  4. What are the things that we measure others by? (This question is a very revealing mirror because we measure other people by that which we treasure.)  Do we measure others by their clothing?  By their education?  By their homes?  By their athletic prowess?  Do we measure others by their success in the business world?  If so, we know where our treasure lies.
  5. Lastly, what is it that we know we cannot be happy without? (R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount, 209)


The Chapman Rule: The rule that governs my life is this:  Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it.   — J. Wilbur Chapman


The reason physical sacrifice often results in spiritual renewal goes back to a principle Jesus taught in the gospel of Matthew.  As your treasure goes, so goes your heart.  Jesus said it this way:  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Your heart and your treasure are linked.  If you want to know what you are really committed to, look at your checkbook and credit card statements.  There is your heart, plain and simple. There is no clearer reflection of your priorities and values. The way you handle your money is an indicator of where your heart is.  (Andy Stanley; Visioneering, 138)


Bertrand Russell once said, “It is preoccupation with possession more than anything else that prevents man from living freely and nobly.”  If the object of your life is a great getting–of prestige, wealth, power–you are the victim of an ever-increasing appetite which can never be satisfied.  (Lloyd J. Ogilvie, The Communicator’s Commentary: Luke, 275)


Jesus is not against investment.  He is against bad investment—namely, setting your heart on the comforts and securities that money can afford in this world.  Money is to be invested for eternal yields in heaven—“Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven!” (John Piper; Desiring God, 165)


If everything that a man values and sets his heart upon is on earth, then he will have no interest in any world beyond this world; if all through his life a man’s eyes are on eternity, then he will evaluate lightly the things of this world.  If everything which a man counts valuable is on this earth, then he will leave this earth reluctantly and grudgingly; if a man’s thoughts have been ever in the world beyond, he will leave this world with gladness, because he goes at last to God.  Once Dr. Johnson was shown through a noble castle and its grounds; when he had seen round it he turned to his companions and said, “These are the things which make it difficult to die.”  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 242)


“Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.” (John Wooden, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court)


The Lord’s rebuke, “you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled,” laid bare their selfish, materialistic hearts.  So blinded were they by their superficial desire for food and miracles that they missed the true spiritual significance of Jesus’ person and mission.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 236-7)


People can have so much to live on that they have nothing to live for.  (Rick Warren; Session 5.1 Wide Angle)


But whatever man may say, the soul will never get spiritual food without labor.  We must “strive,” we must “run,” we must “fight,” we must throw our whole heart into our soul’s affairs.  It is “the violent” who take the kingdom (Mt 11:12).  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 350)


How are we to labor?  There is but one answer.  We must labor in the use of all appointed means.  We must read our Bibles, like men digging for hidden treasure.  We must wrestle earnestly in prayer, like men contending with a deadly enemy for life.  We must take our whole heart to the house of God, and worship and hear like those who listen to the reading of a will.  We must fight daily against sin, the world, and the devil, like those who fight for liberty, and must conquer or be slaves.  These are the ways we must walk in if we would find Christ, and be found of Him.  This is “laboring.”  This is the secret of getting on about our souls.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 349-50)


Two great enemies obtained dominion over man when Adam sinned–the world and self.  Of the world Christ says, “The Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him” (Jn 14:17).  Worldliness is the great hindrance that keeps believers from living a spiritual life.  Of self Christ said, “Let him deny himself” (Mk 8:34).  Self, in all its forms–self-will, self-pleasing, self-confidence–renders life in the power of the Spirit impossible.  (Andrew Murray, Receiving Power from God, 27)


We have all a natural desire to pursue happiness; and the consequence is, that false imaginations carry us away in every direction.  But if we were honestly and firmly convinced that our happiness is in heaven, it would be easy for us to trample upon the world, to despise earthly blessings, (by the deceitful attractions of which the greater part of men are fascinated,) and to rise towards heaven.  For this reason Paul, with the view of exciting believers to look upwards, and of exhorting them to meditate on the heavenly life, (Col 3:1), presents to them Christ, in whom alone they ought to seek perfect happiness; thus declaring, that to allow their souls to grovel on the earth would be inconsistent and unworthy of those whose treasure is in heaven.  (John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, 334)


Augustine remarks how seldom “Jesus is sought for the sake of Jesus.”  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 353)


When our Lord says, “Labor. . . for that meat (satisfying portion) which endureth unto everlasting life,” He was not inculcating salvation by works.  This is very clear from His next words–“which the Son of man shall give unto you.”  But He was affirming that which needs to be pressed on the half-hearted and those who are occupied with material things.  It is difficult to preserve the balance of truth.  On the one hand, we are so anxious to insist that salvation is by grace alone, that we are in danger of failing to uphold the sinner’s responsibility to seek the Lord with all his heart.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 313)


Jesus purposely did not answer their question.  Just the day before they had tried to make Him king by force after He miraculously fed them; telling them of another, even more spectacular miracle would only have fueled their misguided messianic fervor.  Besides, the Lord did not commit Himself to thrill-seeking false disciples (2:24; cf. Ps 25:14; Prv 3:32; Mt 13:11).  He ignored their irrelevant and superficial question and addressed the deeper issue of their sinful motives.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 236)


When Jesus bids the people at Capernaum to “work” thus, he implies that they have not as yet done so.  They, indeed, had come and had heard, but altogether superficially, with their ears not with their hearts.  They had clung to the temporal and transient, and every effort of Jesus to give them the eternal they had passed over coldly and indifferently.  (R.C. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel, 451-2)


I am convinced that one of the major steps to achieving good spiritual mental health is getting your mind off yourself entirely and on the Lord instead.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 465)


The second question, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” implies both desire and a sense of self-sufficiency.  The people seemed sure that if they wished to do so, they were capable of doing the works of God.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 75)


I say that we must talk to ourselves instead of allowing “ourselves” to talk to us!  Do you realize what that means?  I suggest that the main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self.  Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical?  Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?  Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning.  You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc.  Somebody is talking.  Who is talking to you?  Your self is talking to you.  Now [the psalmist’s] treatment was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself.  “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks.  His soul had been depressing him, crushing him.  So he stands up and says:  “Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you…Why art thou cast down?–what business have you to be disquieted?…And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do.  Then having done that, end on this great note:  defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man:  “I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”  (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, 20)


Unbelief, however, is never satisfied, no matter how much evidence is given.  Lk 16:31 says that those who reject the truth of God’s Word “will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.”  At the crucifixion the unbelieving Jewish leaders said mockingly, “Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe! (Mk 15:32).  Yet when Jesus rose from the dead–a far greater miracle than merely coming down from the cross–they still refused to believe in Him.  Rather than admit the truth, they desperately attempted to cover up the reality of His resurrection (Mt 28:11-15; Acts 4:1-3).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 243)


The work of God is not a work we do for God.  It is the work God does in us so we believe in his Son.  We believe and live.  (Gary P. Baumler, The People’s Bible: John, 97)


Your question should not be, “What should I do?” but rather, “What has he done?”  The answer to that question is simply that it has all been done.  He died for you.  The work is finished.  You need only to let go of your own attempts to earn God’s favor and fall instead into the gentle and waiting arms of the Savior.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 486)


Life, as we perceive it, is based upon the condition of our heart.  This is very important because the gifts of the Spirit must pass through our hearts before they are presented to the world around us.  In other words, if our hearts are not right, the gifts will not be right either.

When the heart has unrest it cannot hear from God.  Therefore, we must learn to mistrust our judgment when our heart is bitter, angry, ambitious or harboring strife for any reason.  The Scriptures tell us to “let the peace of Christ rule [act as arbiter] in [our] hearts” (Col 3:15).  To hear clearly from God, we must first have peace.   (Francis Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds, 81-2)


“Happiness begins where selfishness ends.” (John Wooden; Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court)


In fact, our checkbooks tell us more about our priorities than does anything else.

That’s why Jesus talked so much about money.  Sixteen of the 38 parables were concerned with how to handle money and possessions.  Indeed, Jesus Christ said more about money than about almost any other subject.  The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, fewer than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,350 verses on money and possessions.  (Howard Dayton, Your Money Counts, 8)


From the Lord’s point of view, the accumulation of wealth was a very precarious pursuit due to natural laws of deterioration and the fact that we live in a fallen world.  (R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount, 206)


Let us be real, true, and sincere in our religion, whatever else we are.  The sinfulness of hypocrisy is very great, but its folly is greater still.  It is not hard to deceive ministers, relatives, and friends.  A little decent outward profession will often go a long way.  But it is impossible to deceive Christ.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 348)


Although they had seen Him, they failed to grasp the significance of His miracles, and missed the point of His teaching.  As was the case with their forefathers in the wilderness, “The word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard” (Heb 4:2).  The miracles they had seen merely whetted their appetite for more miracles; they were intrigued by what Jesus could do to ease the difficulties of life but they were not willing to believe in Him as their Messiah and Lord.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 246)


Spiritual Challenge Questions:

  1. How does Jesus say we “get a life”? How does the world say we “get a life”?   How does your life demonstrate how you believe you “get a life”?


  1. Where we spend our money, our time and our thoughts are a clear and candid indication of where we are looking to “get a life”. What do these three indicators reveal about your values, priorities and where you expect to find life?


  1. What is the difference between bios-life and zoe-life? To which life do you give more attention?   Which is more important?  


  1. Take inventory, in your own mind: What evidence and/or support can you garner that demonstrates that submitting to Jesus brings life?  How do you know?  


So What?:  Seek getting an essential  life.  Seek Jesus!  Jesus is the only way to find eternal satisfaction for your most essential hunger and thirst.  (Dt 8:3; Ps 22:26; 23; 34:10; 37:4; 42:2; 103:5; 107:5-9; 145:16-19; Prv 9:5; 23:4-5; Isa 49:10; 55:1-8; Mt 5:6; 19:29; Mk 10:30; Lk 6:21; Jn 6:27, 35, 51-68; Rv 7:16; 21:6; 22:17)


Fear not that your life shall come to an end, but rather that it shall never have a beginning.


Our motto has gone from “Give me liberty or give me death” to “I’m afraid of death so take my liberty.”  (Tomas Ramundo in an E-mail quoting a friend of his who works for the Washington Times)


There is more to life than just breathing.  And sometimes, losing our breath means gaining life.


This is not the god the world wants.  This is the God the world needs.  (N. T. Wright, For All God’s Worth, 30)


The secularists of Jesus’ day summed up their philosophy like this:  “Eat, drink, and be merry.  For tomorrow you die.” Contrast that with Jesus’ words:  “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”  Think in terms of eternity.  Think of the long-range implications.  This touches us most directly, not simply in how we handle our bank accounts, but at the level of how we invest our lives.  Life is an investment and the question that modern man has to answer is, “Am I going to invest my life for short-term benefits or for long-term gains?  (R.C. Sproul; Lifeviews, 37)


Fear does not stop death.  It stops life.  And worry does not take away tomorrow’s troubles.  It takes away today’s peace.   (Lori Deem’s post 4-16-20)


To receive Christ meant life abundant and eternal.  To reject Him meant eternal death, eternal separation from God.  The hearers were forced to make a choice.  Jesus had presented Himself to them as the bread of life, and they must either receive Him as such or reject Him as such.  (Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel According to John, Vol. 1, 353)


Death is not the ultimate tragedy of life.  The ultimate tragedy is depersonalization—dying in an alien and sterile area, separated from the spiritual nourishment that comes from being able to reach out to a loving hand, separated from a desire to experience the things that make life worth living, separated from hope.   (Norman Cousins; Anatomy of an Illness, 133)


What He reproved was the common habit of laboring only for the things of time, and letting alone the things of eternity,–of minding only the life that now is, and disregarding the life to come.  Against this habit He delivers a solemn warning.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 349)


So don’t despise your needs.  Don’t try to extinguish the thirst of your soul or fight the emptiness of your heart.  In God, such things become sacred.  Let them instead fulfill their purpose, to bring you closer, to the Bridegroom, and to the filling up of those needs with the waters of the Spirit.  (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, Day 250)


The wise person does indeed think ahead, but far more than 30 years–30 million years ahead.  Someone once said, “He who provides for this life but takes no care for eternity is wise for a moment but a fool forever.”  Jesus said it this way, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mk 8:36).  (Crown Financial Ministries, Crown Biblical Financial Study, 144)


The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world:  but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast.  We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy.  It is not hard to see why.   The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God:  a few moments of happy love, and landscape, a symphony, have no such tendency.   Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home. (C. S. Lewis; The Problem of Pain)


But what are we to understand by “shall never hunger” and “shall never thirst”?  Does the Christian never “hunger” or “thirst”?  Surely; then, how are we to harmonize his experience with this positive declaration of the Savior?  Ah!  He speaks here according to the fullness and satisfaction there is in Himself, and not according to our imperfect apprehension and appreciation of Him.  If we are straitened it is in ourselves, not in Him.  If we do Hunger” and “thirst,” it is not because He is unable, and not because He is unwilling, to satisfy our hunger and quench our thirst, but because we are of “little faith” and fail to draw daily from His fullness.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 328)


Give me liberty or give me death.  — Patrick Henry


As He opens His heart, He invites anyone who hears to come and believe in Him, not to satisfy a physical appetite nor to assume that we can earn this bread.  That would be false pride.  We can only come as beggars, hungry and needy, if we are to accept the “true bread” which only He, the “I AM,” can give.  (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 133)


For it is in dying, we are born to eternal life. — St. Francis of Assisi


In contrast to the manna that came from God but satisfied only a day’s hunger, Jesus declares that he is himself the real spiritual bread that can satisfy the hunger of a lifetime.  (George Allen Turner, The Evangelical Commentary: John, 161)


If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.  If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud.  Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing . . . I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same. (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 119)


The fear of death follows from the fear of life.  A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. — Mark Twain


Hope is one of the Theological virtues.  This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do.  It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is.  If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.  The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven.  It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.  Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”:  aim at earth and you will get neither.  It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters.  Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you.  You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more–food, games, work, fun, open air.  In the same way, we shall never save civilization as long as civilization is our main object.  We must learn to want something else even more.  (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 118-9)


Death is not extinguishing the light from the Christian; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.


The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Men.  Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.  Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.  And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”


To hope is to risk pain.  To try is to risk failure.  But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.  The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.  He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, live, or love.  Chained by his addictions, he’s a slave.  He has forfeited his greatest trait, and that is his individual freedom.  Only the person who risks is free. —Leo Buscaglia






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