“Living Bread For Life Eternal” – John 6:41-59

Sunday, May 10, 2020

John 6:41-59

“Living Bread For Life Eternal”

 

Service Orientation: There is no real life apart from Jesus, because whatever life you think you have has an expiration date. The bread Jesus offers is himself and brings life both now and forever.

 

Memory Verse for the Week: “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”  Romans 5:10

 

Background Information:

  • 41 “The Jews” in John usually represent those who are opposed to Jesus, not simply a group of Jewish origin. (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 76)
  • By repeating his promise to raise the believer at the last day Jesus is claiming to be the one who fulfills the promises of resurrection in the age to come. This future hope is combined in this discourse with a present fulfillment, for Jesus will shortly say that those who eat the bread of heaven will not die but will live forever. Jesus confirms and explains his teaching about the role of the Father with a quote from Is. 54:13—It is written in the Prophets: “They will all be taught by God” (v45). Is. 54 speaks of God’s future restoration of Jerusalem to intimacy with himself. By applying this text to his own ministry, Jesus is claiming that the eschatological blessings of the last day are already being experienced in his ministry; God’s promise to Jerusalem is being fulfilled now. (Rodney Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 164)
  • Our Lord’s statement “For I came down from heaven” John 6:38) disturbed the religious leaders, for they knew it was a claim of deity. They thought they knew Jesus, who He was and where He came from (see Matt. 13:53–58; John 7:40–43). (Warren Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, 250)
  • Let us first consider carefully, what these verses do NOT mean. The “eating and drinking” of which Christ speaks do not mean any literal eating and drinking. Above all, the words were not spoken with any reference to the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. We may eat the Lord’s Supper, and yet not eat and drink Christ’s body and blood. We may eat and drink Christ’s body and blood, and yet not eat the Lord’s Supper. (J.C. Ryle, John Vol.1, 276)
  • What they concluded was logical: “If we know this man’s parents, how can he be from heaven?” But they didn’t know Jesus’ parentage. They missed what their own Scriptures had prophesied in Is. 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Bruce Barton, Life Application Com. John, 133-4)

The question to be answered is…

What can we glean from this exchange between Jesus and those grumbling against him?

 

Answer…

Apart from Jesus, there is no real life. The abundant life only comes when we regularly partake in the life and sacrifice of Christ.

 

The word of the day is… Life

 

What does this passage reveal about the Father’s work and call to those who believe?

 

  1. Those who come, are drawn. (v.44)

(John 6:37, 44; 12:32; Acts 17:30; Phil. 2:13; 1 Thes. 5:9; 1 Tim. 4:10; Heb. 4:16; James 4:8)

 

It is, therefore, by Divine “drawing” that any one comes to Christ. What is this “drawing”? We answer, It is the power of the Holy Spirit overcoming the self-righteousness of the sinner, and convicting him of his lost condition. It is the Holy Spirit awakening within him a sense of need. It is the power of the Holy Spirit overcoming the pride of the natural man, so that he is ready to come to Christ as an empty-handed beggar. It is the Holy Spirit creating within him an hunger for the bread of life. (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 339)

 

Christ having checked their murmuring, continues what he was saying, ver. 40. No man comes to me, unless my Father draw him – No man can believe in Christ, unless God give him power: he draws us first, by good desires. Not by compulsion, not by laying the will under any necessity; but by the strong and sweet, yet still resistible, motions of his heavenly grace. (John Wesley, Wesley’s Notes on the New Testament, 158)

 

  1. Those drawn, are taught. (v.45)
    (Ps. 71:17; 119:102; Is. 54:13; Jer. 32:33; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 2:13; Gal. 1:12; 1 John 2:27)

 

Jesus further explained how the sinner can come to God: it is through the truth of the Word (John 6:44–45). The Father draws the sinner by His Word. Jesus quoted Isaiah 54:13 (or perhaps Jer. 31:33–34) to prove His point: “And they shall all be taught of God.” It is through the teaching of the Word that God draws people to the Savior. (Note John 5:24 and its emphasis on hearing the Word.) The sinner hears, learns, and comes as the Father draws him. A mystery? Yes! A blessed reality? Yes! (Warren Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, 250)

 

Only those who have been “taught by God” are drawn and sent to the Son. The everlasting, patient Teacher is God Himself (Ps. 71;17, Ps. 119:102, Isa. 54:3, Jer. 32:33). It is only the humble, teachable ones who hear and understand what the Father says. (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 134)

  1. Those taught, believe. (v.47)

(Gen. 15:6; Num. 14:11; John 1:12; 3:16; 6:35; 8:24; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:10; Heb. 11:6)

 

A person cannot come to Jesus if he has not been drawn by the Father, taught by the Father, heard from the Father, and learned from the Father. God, not the person, plays the most active role in salvation. When someone chooses to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, he or she does so only in response to the urging of God’s Holy Spirit. Thus no one can believe in Jesus without God’s help. If a person comes, the Father has drawn him or her. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 135)

 

The “eating and drinking,” without which there is no life in us, means that reception of Christ’s sacrifice which takes place when a man believes on Christ crucified for salvation. It is an inward and spiritual act of the heart, and has nothing to do with the body. Whenever a man, feeling his own guilt and sinfulness, lays hold on Christ, and trusts in the atonement made for him by Christ’s death, at once he “eats the flesh of the Son of man, and drinks His blood.” His soul feeds on Christ’s sacrifice, by faith, just as his body would feed on bread. Believing, he is said to “eat.” Believing, he is said to “drink.” And the special thing that he eats, and drinks, and gets benefit from, is the atonement made for his sins by Christ’s death for him on Calvary. (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John Vol.1, 277-8)

 

  1. Those who believe, partake. (v.56)

(John 15:4; Rom. 7:4; 12:5; 1 Cor. 3:16; 10:16-17; 12:12; 2 Cor. 4:10; Eph. 2:22; 3:17)

 

The eating and the drinking has to do with shared life, mutual indwelling. In the physical realm one of the most powerful examples of shared life is eating and drinking—the laying down of life by a plant or animal and the interpenetration of life as molecules are transferred, thereby nourishing life. So once again Jesus’ mystifying words are referring to something that could not be understood until after his death, resurrection and ascension and the coming of the Spirit. His death will be the ultimate laying down of life; his resurrection, ascension and sending the Spirit bring onto the human scene the new possibility of actually sharing in the life of God (cf. 17:21-23) as he, the incarnate one, has shared in our life.  (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 167-8)

 

It is not a dead Christ which the sinner is to feed upon, but on the death of One who is now alive forever more. His death is mine, when appropriated by faith; and thus appropriated, it becomes life in me. The figure of “eating” looks back, perhaps, to Gen. 3. Man died (spiritually) by “eating” (of the forbidden fruit) and he is made alive (spiritually) by an act of eating! (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 347)

 

Indeed, faith itself includes receptive openness to God. Thus, the drawing by God and the reception of the person are intimately interwoven. (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 165)

 

 

  1. Those who partake, live. (v.57)

(John 3:16; 8:12; 10:10; 11:25-26; Rom. 5:10; 6:23; 8:13; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 2:20)

 

Our utter neediness is seen clearly when set against the greatness of his offer: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day (v. 54). Jesus is promising a new quality of life now and resurrection in the future. (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 167)

 

Conclusion: How can we partake in the life Jesus offers?

 

A. Believe Jesus and receive His sacrifice as yours.

 

The manna was given to a rebellious people; it was the gracious gift of God. All they had to do was stoop and pick it up. If they failed to pick it up, they walked on it. The Lord is not far from any sinner. All the sinner has to do is humble himself and take the gift that God offers. (Warren Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, 251)

 

B. Rejoice in the drawing, pursue the saving.

 

Jesus’ claim that everyone who listens and learns from God will come to him is both a comfort and a challenge. It is comforting because it says no one who is really open to God will be left out. But it is also a challenge because it is another one of Jesus’ claims to unique, supreme authority. (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 165)

 

C. Continue living by continually feeding.

 

No one can eat and drink for us, and no one, in like manner, can believe for us. We need food every day, and not once a week or once a month–and, in like manner, we need to employ faith every day. (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John Vol.1, 278)

 

In the first place, eating is a necessary act if I am to derive that advantage from bread which it is intended to convey, namely, bodily nourishment. I may look at bread and admire it; I may philosophize about bread and analyze it; I may talk about bread and eulogize its quality; I may handle bread and be assured of its excellency but unless I eat it, I shall not be nourished by it. All of this is equally true with the spiritual bread, Christ. Knowing the truth, speculating about it, talking about it, contending for it, will do me no good. I must receive it into my heart. (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 343)

 

Worship Point…

Jesus is worthy of our worship because in Him is real life. Our mortal bodies expire, but the life Jesus offers is eternal.

 

The striking aspect of all this process is that it centers in Jesus Christ. It is to Him the Father draws men, of Him the Father teaches men; to Him sinners come, in Him sinners believe; and through Him men have eternal life. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 94)

 

Gospel Application…

Jesus has offered the greatest exchange imaginable; His life for yours. Believe, receive, and live.  

 

The communion service is not an end in itself, but is a fingerpost, pointing to the same spiritual reality spoken of by our Lord in the words now before us. We do not have to go far afield for an explanation of this mystical language. Eating is to satisfy hunger, and drinking is to quench thirst. The meat which Jesus offers is His flesh, the drink He provides is His blood. How do we eat of His flesh and drink of His blood? He has Himself told us in this chapter: “He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35 italics added). If the coming to Him is the end of our hunger, and the believing on Him the end of our thirst, then the coming and the believing are the eating and the drinking. But it is a coming to Him and a believing on Him as the sacrificed One, the crucified One, the One who in His death accomplished all that the ancient altar taught of substitution, atonement, reconciliation. That same sacrifice we recall at every partaking of the simple communion feast, and there we renew our faith and love. (J.C. Macaulay, Expository Commentary on John, 95)

 

Spiritual Challenge Questions…

Reflect on these questions in your time with the Lord this week, or discuss with a Christian family member or life group.

  • When Jesus says we must eat his flesh and drink his blood (vv. 53-58), what do you think he means? Is it just about taking communion?
  • Does this passage change your understanding of what it means to take communion? If so, how?
  • When you hear Jesus say that no one comes to him unless the Father has drawn him or her (vv. 44, 65), does it affect the way you think about sharing your faith? Do you think it’s still important for us to do? Why or why not?
  • Has Jesus used you to help call others to Him in the past? If so, how? If you can’t think of any particular instance, what are some ways Jesus could use you?

 

QUOTES TO NOTE:

It is difficult to reconstruct precisely their underlying expectation of how heavenly bread would appear on earth. Did they expect such bread literally to descend from the sky? Did they expect this bread (Jesus) to arise from a lineage other than Joseph’s? Did they expect a public manifestation more dramatic than Jesus’ appearance as teacher and healer? Whatever their underlying expectations, they were unable to reconcile Jesus’ earthly heritage with His claims of heavenly origin. Here again the difference between human expectations and the redemptive plan comes to the fore, stressing how radical one’s repentance and realignment must be in order to receive eternal life. (Joseph Dongell, John: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 101)

 

The next several verses (47-51) repeat the basic claim of Jesus to be living bread from heaven who gives life to the world. But this restatement contains a specific advance in Jesus’ teaching, an advance which deeply divided His hearers. This bread, Jesus declared, is my flesh (6:51). But, the people wondered, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (6:52). As if Jesus intended to heighten, rather than reduce their consternation, He further required that they drink his blood (6:53). Refusal to partake of this bizarre meal would guarantee that you have no life in you. (Joseph Dongell, John: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 102)

 

The uproar over Jesus’ teaching might be traceable to different causes. Perhaps some understood His language in purely physical terms, as requiring a form of cannibalism. Some may have understood the symbolic value of Jesus language, but found even the imagery of cannibalism (and particularly the drinking of blood) to be thoroughly offensive. Others may have been put off by the exclusive nature of Jesus claim that no life at all was available apart from such a meal (whether symbolic or physical). (Joseph Dongell, John: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, 102)

 

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)

 

Murmuring Rather than Being Taught (vv. 41-47). It is the “Jews,” the term used for those who constantly oppose Jesus, who now murmur against Him. It is the same noise of unbelief their fathers made in the wilderness. This crowd is becoming more and more aware of the staggering implications of what Jesus has been saying. How can this nondescript, ordinary appearing Man make the absurd claim that He is “bread from heaven”? What blasphemy! Why, this is only the “son of Joseph.” The miracle of Jesus’ birth is unknown to the general populace. His ”father and mother” are small-town laboring folks seen at the religious feast days or at family gatherings. How can this man then make such a ridiculous statement? The vast, incredible humanity of God is here revealed again. Jesus puts Himself at their mercy. (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 134)

 

What an indictment that the very people who assume they know what God has said, because they have pored over the Scriptures, discussing every jot and tittle, have not been taught by God! Their rejection of the One whom He has sent means they have read, but never understood. (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 134)

 

The contrast with all physical bread, particularly the manna given their fathers in the wilderness, is sharply drawn. That bread, Jesus says, they ate and are dead. But Jesus is “the bread” which comes down from heaven. His coming is once for all. (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 135)

 

And this “living bread” is flesh that is given, not just for those to whom He speaks, but for the whole world. This is his vast, far-flung mission. The final giving of His flesh will be His sacrifice on the cross where He offers Himself as the Victim. He is the unique Paschal Lamb, who will be slain that the world might be given life; He is the only true food, which brings life when it is eaten. Here is the new Passover for the entire human race. (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 135-6)

 

The primary purpose of these verses is to teach us how to feed on the Son of Man, to take Him into our innermost being by faith. But surely an important secondary teaching here is the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. Is there not a particular sense in which Christ’s presence is made real among His people when we eat the bread and drink the wine? (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 138)

 

We cannot redo what Jesus has accomplished for our salvation once for all, nor can we say that Jesus is the wine and bread. But surely we are nourished by Him in a unique way when we partake of this physical food. And as that crowd of five thousand became a family community. We do not eat and drink as isolated individuals. (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 138)

 

This bread that is eaten and the blood that is drunk are separate realities, signs of Jesus’ life and death. It was through His flesh that Jesus lived out a life of holy obedience. In eating His flesh we partake of this life of surrender and begin to manifest His life in all those fleshly places into which we are thrown or called—at sales conventions, on used car lots, laundering our clothes, making love and bearing children, watching TV and going to church. It is in our temptations and defeats, our joys and our victories, that we are to bear in our bodies the marks of the Lord Jesus (Gal. 6:17). But we are also to drink His blood. How abhorrent this was to the Jews who had been forbidden by law to partake of blood. But in this act we appropriate, or take into ourselves, His life sacrificed, His expiation, and His atonement. In accepting His life poured out we are reconciled to God and live in grace as forgiven sinners. The Son of Man, the One who has identified Himself with us, offers us this incredible feast of life. We shall become like Him as we continue to feed on Him. (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 137)

 

51 The key to a genuine experience with God lies in the sequence of statements in this verse. It is vested in the person of Christ, who descended from heaven to provide for man what his nature requires. To eat of this bread means to appropriate Christ as one’s life. It is a figure of belief, for no one will eat what he cannot trust to be edible. To eat a meal implies that it is wholesome, nourishing, and real. This verse introduces the concept of Jesus’ vicarious death, the sacrifice of his body for the sins of the world. (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 77)

 

52 The last reaction of Jesus’ opponents was prompted by the apparent impossibility of his statement. They took literally the figure of eating his flesh. Unless one has spiritual perception, spiritual truth makes no sense whatsoever. Nicodemus could not comprehend the new birth; so, too, now the Jews considered the Lord’s words to be utter nonsense. It hardly seems possible that they misunderstood what he said, for they responded, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 77)

 

The Word that became flesh (1:14) now says he will give his flesh for the life of the world, so that the world may have life. Giving of life to the world (v. 33) requires that he give his flesh. This giving is in the future, so it refers to more than his teaching. (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 166)

 

When Jesus mentions his flesh, the tension in the crowd increases. The people are not just grumbling (v. 41); they are arguing sharply with one another (v. 52). Once again we see people who come to Jesus as a rabbi, who even wanted to make him king, but who are far from treating him as either a king or a rabbi. (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 166)

 

The Eucharist is a point of contact with divine reality; it is a means of grace, a means of God’s power and life in our lives. But it is not a way to manipulate God, nor does it make this spiritual contact by magic, apart from God’s own gracious activity and a person’s response of faith. (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 170)

 

The New Testament knows nothing of a Christianity apart from the church. The New Testament is very concrete. It points to this man Jesus and says he is the Son of God. And it points to this community and says, Here is the body of Christ, the center of divine life on earth in its fullest expression. The necessity of the Eucharist is a part of the necessity of the church. It is a part of God’s dealing with us as material and relational beings. (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 170)

 

Here, then, is some of the deepest New Testament teaching about the Eucharist. The focus of this teaching is on sacrifice and shared life. These are inseparable since there is no sharing of life without the laying down of life. (Rodney A. Whitacre, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: John, 170-1)

 

Men despise and reject the Saviour because they feel not their deep need of Him. (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 335)

 

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (6:44). These words of Christ make manifest the depths of human depravity. They expose the inveterate stubbornness of the human will. They explain the “murmuring” of these Jews. In answering them thus, the obvious meaning of the Saviour’s words was this: By your murmuring you make it evident that you have not come to Me, that you are not disposed to come to Me; and with your present self-righteousness, you never will come to Me. Before you come to Me you must be converted and become as little children. And before that can take place, you must be the subjects of Divine operation. One has only to reflect on the condition of the natural man in order to see the indubitable truth of this. Salvation is most exactly suited to the sinner’s needs, but it is not at all suited to his natural inclinations. The Gospel is too spiritual for his carnal mind: too humbling for his pride: too exacting for his rebellious will: too lofty for his darkened understanding: too holy for his earth-bound desires. (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 336)

 

How can one who has a high conceit of himself and his religious performances admit that all his righteousnesses are as filthy rags? How can one who prides himself on his morality and his religiousness, own himself as lost, undone, and justly condemned? How can one who sees so little amiss in himself, who is blind to the fact that from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot there is no soundness in him (Isa. 1:6), earnestly seek the great Physician? No man with an unchanged heart and mind will ever embrace God’s salvation. (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 337)

 

The only satisfactory answer to the questions, Why is not Christ cordially received by all to whom He is presented? Why do the majority of men despise and reject Him? is – man is a fallen creature, a depraved being who loves sin and hates holiness. So, too, the only satisfactory answer which can be given to the questions, Why is the Gospel cordially received by any man? Why is it not obstinately rejected by all? is, In the case of those who believe, God has, by His supernatural influence, counteracted against the human depravity; in other words, the Father has “drawn” to the Son. (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 337)

 

“For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” (6:55). The connection between this and the previous verse is obvious. It is brought in, no doubt, to prevent a false inference being drawn from the preceding words. Christ had thrown the emphasis on the “eating.” Except a man ate His flesh, he had no life in him. But now our Lord brings out the truth that there is nothing meritorious in the act of eating; that is to say, there is no mystical power in faith itself. The nourishing power is in the food eaten; and the potency of faith lies in its Object. (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 348)

 

Even in the days of Moses, the Jews were known for their murmuring (Ex. 15:24; 17:3; Num. 14:2). Perhaps the leaders and some of the crowd had now moved into the synagogue to continue the discussion. The main issue was, “Where did He come from?” Five times Jesus used the phrase “came down from heaven,” but they would not accept it. (Warren Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, 250)

 

There are thousands around us who loathe the distinctive doctrines of the Gospel on account of their humbling character. They cannot tolerate the atonement, and the sacrifice, and the substitution of Christ. His moral teaching they approve. His example and self-denial they admire. But speak to them of Christ’s blood–of Christ being made sin for us–of Christ’s death being the corner-stone of our hope–of Christ’s poverty being our riches–and you will find they hate these things with a deadly hatred. Truly the offence of the cross is not yet ceased! (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John Vol.1, 267)

 

The plain truth is, there is a melancholic anxiety in fallen man to put a carnal sense on Scriptural expressions, wherever he possibly can. He struggles hard to make religion a matter of forms and ceremonies–of doing and performing–of sacraments and ordinances–of sense and of sight. He secretly dislikes that system of Christianity which makes the state of the heart the principal thing, and labors to keep sacraments and ordinances in the second place. Happy is that Christian who remembers these things, and stands on his guard! (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John Vol.1, 277)

 

Many of the crowd in Capernaum that day could not believe their ears. They knew this man’s family, yet he claimed to be the Son of God. To them, Jesus’ delusion seemed obvious. In their minds, Jesus was a local product with interesting powers and unusual authority, but was audacious when it came to speaking about himself. Jesus responded with uncompromising directness. He required then, as he requires now, an unconditional acceptance of his lordship. Any attempt to soften his claim amounts to rejection of his central message. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 133)

 

When John says Jews, he is referring to the Jewish leaders who were hostile to Jesus, not to Jews in general, John himself was a Jew, and so was Jesus. The Jews in Jesus’ audience hardly heard a word he said about selection, protection, and resurrection, for they were offended by his claim to be the bread that came down from heaven. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 133)

 

If we listen carefully, we will hear people admiring Jesus in some way while refusing to submit to him. They might say, “He’s a great teacher, but I don’t believe he’s God.” Some so-called Christians or a respected leader or minister may have let them down or even abused them in some way. Perhaps a parent modeled a contradictory message of religious superficiality alongside violent behavior. Pain creates very real obstacles. We must not deny the pain in ourselves or in others, but pain and disappointment must not keep people from Jesus. Beyond whatever obstacles come between us and Jesus, we must honestly ask, Is what happened an excuse to reject Jesus or a reason to run to him? (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 135)

 

Jesus answered the murmuring with another statement packed full of gospel truth. First, He showed the process of the work of grace. The Father does a twofold work. He draws (v. 44), and He teaches (v. 45). The sinner gives a twofold response. He comes (v. 45), and he believes (v. 47). Whoever then will give this appropriate response to the divine plea “hath eternal life” (v. 47, ASV). The striking aspect of all this process is that it centers in Jesus Christ. It is to Him the Father draws men, of Him the Father teaches men; to Him sinners come, in Him sinners believe; and through Him men have eternal life. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 94)

 

The question pressingly arises. What does it mean to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man? One will suggest that we do this at the Holy Communion, the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, in instituting which our Lord said of the bread and the wine, “This is my body” (Matt 26:26), and “This is my blood” (v. 28). While indeed these phrases suggest the ordinance, I am persuaded that they do not refer to it, but that both refer to a common third which is the fulfillment of both. The communion service is not an end in itself, but is a fingerpost, pointing to the same spiritual reality spoken of by our Lord in the words now before us. We do not have to go far afield for an explanation of this mystical language. Eating is to satisfy hunger, and drinking is to quench thirst. The meat which Jesus offers is His flesh, the drink He provides is His blood. How do we eat of His flesh and drink of His blood? He has Himself told us in this chapter: “He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35 italics added). If the coming to Him is the end of our hunger, and the believing on Him the end of our thirst, then the coming and the believing are the eating and the drinking. But it is a coming to Him and a believing on Him as the sacrificed One, the crucified One, the One who in His death accomplished all that the ancient altar taught of substitution, atonement, reconciliation. That same sacrifice we recall at every partaking of the simple communion feast, and there we renew our faith and love. (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 95)

 

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