“Dine and Dash” – John 6:60-71

May 17th, 2020

“Dine and Dash”

John 6:60-71

Call to Worship: Psalm 111

Aux. text: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6


Service Orientation:  You must choose.  Jesus says, “King me or kill me”.  Either fish or cut bait.


Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.  — Matthew 6:24


Background Information:

  • Verses 60-71 describe the reactions of those two groups (the false disciples and the true disciples) to the Bread of Life Discourse. (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 268)
  • (v. 61) Stumble {NIV – offend} translates a form of the verb skandalizō, which can mean either “to take offense” (e.g., Mt 13:57; 15:12) or “to give up believing” (e.g., 13:21; 24:10). Both meanings are appropriate here; the false disciples took offense at Jesus’ teaching, and that caused them to abandon their superficial faith in Him.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 270)
  • (v. 61) The Greek word skandalizo {NIV- offend} means “to ensnare, to trap, to cause to stumble”; it is often used in the NT to indicate a falling away into unbelief. See, for example, Mt 13:21; 24:10; Mk 6:3; Rom 14:20-21.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 141)
  • (vss. 61-62) Jesus told them that there might be many things He would say that would offend them, but those “offenses” would all be forgotten when they saw His perfection made manifest before their eyes. In short, Jesus sought to restore their perspective.  (R.C. Sproul, John: An Expositional Commentary, 114)
  • (v. 62) Jesus had repeatedly said he was the Son of Man, who had come from heaven. Would they believe more readily if he ascended into heaven?  (Gary P. Baumler, The People’s Bible: John, 106-7)
  • (v. 62) The mention of the ascension of the son of man (as in 3:13) is designed to say: maybe you need to come to terms with the fact that the one you are now dealing with is equally at home in heaven and on earth.  He is a citizen of both.  He is, after all, the Word made flesh.  (N. T. Wright, John for Everyone, Part One, 91)
  • (v. 62) This reference to the Ascension is one of several in the Gospel, though the act itself is not recorded (3:13; 8:21; 16:10; 17:11; 20:17).  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 79)
  • (v. 62) The mean and despicable condition of Christ which they saw before their eyes, while, clothed with flesh, he was not at all different from other men, prevented them from submitting to his Divine power; but now–by withdrawing, as it were, the veil–he calls them to behold His heavenly glory, as if he had said, “Because I converse among men without honor, I am despised by you, and you recognize in me nothing that is Divine; but ere long God will adorn me with splendid power, and, withdrawing me from the contemptible state of mortal life, will raise me above the heavens.” For, in the resurrection of Christ, so great was the power displayed by the Holy Spirit, that it plainly showed Christ to be the son of God, as Paul also shows, (Rom 1:4).  (Calvin’s Commentary on the Gospel of John, 272)
  • (v. 63) Human beings live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Dt 8:3). The identical claim is now made for the words of Jesus, precisely because he is the Word incarnate (1:1-18; cf. 5:19-30).  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 302)
  • (v. 63) Jesus is really saying, “My words are the incarnation and communication of the Spirit; it is the Spirit who dwells in them and acts through them; and for this reason they communicate life.” (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 140)
  • (vss 64-65) Verses 64 and 65 maintain the tension between divine sovereignty and human responsibility found throughout scripture. On the one hand, unbelievers are condemned for their unbelief (v. 64); on the other hand, they are lost because the Father did not draw them (v. 65).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 271-2)
  • (v. 67) The question is asked more for their sake than his. They need to articulate a response more than he needs to hear it.  One might guess from the flow of the narrative that the defection has been so substantial on this occasion that not many more than the Twelve actually remain.  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 303)
  • (v. 68) The wondrous miracles had attracted the others, but the teaching of Christ had repelled them. It was the very opposite with the apostles, for whom, as usual, Peter acted as spokesman.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 361)
  • (v. 69) Peter’s confession of faith is also interesting because of two words Peter used to indicate how he came to know this truth about Jesus. They are “believing” and “know.”  The most important thing about them is their order:  first belief, then certainty.  It is the divine order for true understanding in spiritual things.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John, Vol. 2, 542)
  • (v. 69) He was more than the prophet like Moses; he was the Holy One of God. Their earliest impression, formed when they first met him by the banks of Jordan, had not been mistaken:  Andrew had been more right than he could have realized at the time when he found his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah!” (Jn 1:41).  This was in truth the one “of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets wrote” (Jn 1:45).  (F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, 166)
  • (v. 69) “The Holy One of God” is an unusual description of Jesus; in fact, it is applied to him on only one other occasion in the NT, when the demon-possessed man addressed him in the synagogue in Capernaum (Mk 1:24; Lk 4:34). It is rare in the OT (used of Aaron in Ps 106:16, and cf. “your Holy One,” Ps 16:10), but it does remind us of the frequently occurring “the Holy One of Israel.”  There can be not the slightest doubt that the title is meant to assign to Jesus the highest possible place.  It sets him with God and not man.  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 345)
  • (v. 69) He uses the plural, showing that he was the spokesman for all, though not in reality the spokesman for Judas. (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: John, 248)
  • (v. 70) One of them was a diabolos: the word in common Greek means “slanderer” or “false accuser,” but in the NT it always refers, when it is a substantive, to Satan, the prince of darkness (e.g. 8:44; 13:2; cf. 13:27).  Indeed the Greek should probably not be rendered one of you is a devil but “one of you is the devil.”  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 304)
  • (v. 71) It is worth noticing that none of the Evangelists indulges in invective when they speak of Judas’ act of treachery. They simply record the fact and let it speak for itself.  At most, as here, they mention that he was one of the inner circle, but even then they let their readers work out for themselves how that adds to the enormity of his crime.  All four Evangelists speak of Judas as the traitor when they first mention him (Mt 10:4; Mk 3:19; Lk 6:16).  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 346)
  • I notice that a prejudice against taking John historically seems to go very closely with moves within Western culture to think of religion as a purely spiritual thing. It doesn’t matter, we’re told, if these things happened or not, whether they were said or not; what matters is the spiritual truth that they are teaching.  That sounds fine (a bit too fine, actually); but it can’t be what John was meaning.  This whole discourse, and indeed the whole gospel, are about the Word becoming flesh:  not the Word becoming an idea, a spirituality, a feeling, or an experience.  John may be writing something like history or he may not; but part of what he is trying to tell us is that history–the actual story of Jesus–matters.  (N. T. Wright, John for Everyone, Part One, 90-1)
  • What they wanted, he would not give; what he offered, they would not receive. So, like many of his Jerusalem followers earlier (Jn 2:23-25), many of his Galilean followers now failed to stand the test of unreserved allegiance.  (F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, 164)


The question to be answered is . . . What is going on here with Jesus’s hard teaching?


Answer: Jesus is forcing people to choose.  Will you submit to Jesus’ way or are you going your own way?


Words are by nature spiritual.  You can’t see them or feel them except with your spirit.  Words are digested in a man’s spirit (heart and mind), just as food is digested in his stomach.  God has chosen to reveal Himself by means of them, with Jesus Himself as the WORD (form of communication) and the VOICE of God.    (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on John, 120)


While large crowds followed Jesus (cf. Mt 4:25; 8:1; 19:2; Mk 4:1; Lk 12:1), especially early in His ministry, most of them were fascinated by the sensational miracles He performed–especially healing their diseases and, on at least two occasions, feeding them.  But they were thrill seekers, not truth seekers.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 268)


You have a “turn” every time you have an opportunity to choose.  But most of us see only a tiny fraction of the choices we have.  One of the best exercises for playing the game wisely is to be conscious of making decisions.  The more you become aware of how many choices are up to you, the more eagerly you embrace your turn.  You can practice this today.  What will you feed your mind?  What thoughts will you dwell on?  Whom will you have conversations with?  Where will you direct your desires?  How will you take care of your body?  What acts of service will you engage in?  When will you choose to be interrupted, and when will you choose to stay on task?  What will you eat?  How will you spend your time?  All of these are calls you will make, and when you add them up, they create your life.  No one else can take your turn.  (John Ortberg, When the Game is Over It All Goes Back in the Box, 72)


Man is free to act in freedom and free to forfeit freedom.  In choosing evil he surrenders his attachment to the Spirit and forgoes the opportunity to let freedom happen.  Thus we may be free in employing or in ignoring freedom; we are not free in having freedom.  We are free to choose between good and evil; we are not free in having to choose.  We are in fact compelled to choose.  Thus all freedom is a situation of God’s waiting for man to choose.  (Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man, 412)


The principles of responsibility and accountability are but the flip side of dignity and freedom.  For a person to be free to choose, she or he must accept responsibility and be judged for the choices she or he makes.  (Vishal Mangalwadi, The Book That Made Your World, 382)


As a matter of fact, there is really no such thing as the will out of relation to the other aspects of the person.  What we call the will is just the whole person making choices.  (J. Gresham Machen, The Christian View of Man, 29)


The Word for the Day is . . . Choose


Often, when professing Christians criticize a true servant of God, one who is really giving out God’s truth, and complain that his teachings are “hard,” the real cause is not the difficulty of the doctrine but rather the unwillingness of the people involved to accept what they hear.  Perhaps it conflicts with their own views.  Perhaps it is different from the traditions of their fathers.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John, Vol. 2, 530)


What is Jesus doing here with this hard teaching?:


  1. Choose Jesus’ way of the Spirit or your own way of the flesh. (Jn 6:61-63, 67; see also: Dt 29:19; 30:19; Josh 24:15; Prv 1:29; 3:5-6; 8:10; 14:12; 16:16, 25; 22:15; 29:15; Isa 53:6; 56:11; Jn 2:23-25; 3:19; Rom 3:9-23; 7:18; 8:1-17; 1 Cor 1:20-2:16; Gal 5:16-26; Phil 3:3; 1 Pt 2:25)


True disciples surrender to hard sayings.


Are you in too deep with Jesus that no matter what is said you could never leave Him?


Most of us do not WANT to believe in Christ.  We do not want to give up allegiance to ourselves.  (Sally Monroe at Bible study 3-29-06)


Purity of heart is to will one thing.  — Søren Kierkegaard


Depravity is man’s own way. (Chuck Swindoll James Series “How Fights Are Started and Stopped”, JAM – 9A)


Their reaction is typical of false disciples:  as long as they perceived Jesus to be a source of healing, free food, and deliverance from enemy oppression, the self-serving disciples flocked to Him.  But when He demanded that they acknowledge their spiritual bankruptcy, confess their sin, and commit themselves to Him as the only source of salvation, they became offended and left.  Like countless other false disciples throughout the history of the church, they followed Jesus for what they thought they could get from Him.  True disciples, on the other hand, come to Christ poor in spirit (Mt 5:3), mourning over their sin (5:4), and hungering and thirsting for the righteousness that only He can supply (5:6).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 269)


In the last analysis Christianity is not a philosophy which we accept, nor a theory to which we give allegiance.  It is a personal response to Jesus Christ.  It is the allegiance and the love which a man gives because his heart will not allow him to do anything else.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 230)


In the Middle Ages, people believed in the authority of their religion, no matter what.  Today, we believe in the authority of our science, no matter what.  (Neil Postman; Technopoly, 57)


One of the most impressive qualities of a Christian visionary is his or her total abandonment of self in favor of complete subjugation to the purposes of God.  This goes far beyond the commitment to Christ for salvation and reflects the absolute surrender to the will of God.  Only then is the person truly usable by Him. (George Barna; Turning Vision, 36)


If you obey only those orders that you agree with or consent to; then you are not really obeying.  You are merely deciding to act upon those orders that you have determined are worth following.  You have made yourself the one in authority; not the one giving the orders.  So, if you pick and choose what commands of God/Jesus you are going to follow, you by definition are not a disciple or follower of Jesus.  You are merely going your own way and leaving the rest for someone else.  — PK with conceptual credit to Tim Keller


We tend to follow Jesus until it is uncomfortable.  But, if that is the case, we are not following Jesus.  We are following ourselves and as long as Jesus’ agenda conforms to ours we are with Him.  But, the minute He asks us to do something we don’t like, we’re outa here.  We need to make Jesus king or kill him.


If the Bible is true, then God has provided each of us with the opportunity to make an eternal choice to either accept him or reject him.  And in order to ensure that our choice is truly free, he puts us in an environment that is filled with evidence of his existence, but without his direct presence–a presence so powerful that it could overwhelm our freedom and thus negate our ability to reject him.  In other words, God has provided enough evidence in this life to convince anyone willing to believe, yet he has also left some ambiguity so as not to compel the unwilling.  (Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, 31)


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, 75-6)


The flesh has no part in the works of God.  All fleshly activities amount to nothing where the regeneration of dead sinners is concerned.  Neither the logical arguments advanced by the mind, hypnotic powers brought to bear upon the will, touching appeals made to the emotions, beautiful music and hearty singing to catch the ear, nor sensuous trappings to draw the eye–none of these are of the slightest avail in stirring dead sinners.  It is not the choir, nor the preacher, but “the Spirit that quickeneth.”  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 356-7)


Eating material food cannot impart spiritual life; that much was evident from the fact that the Israelites who ate the manna died nevertheless.  The distinction between spirit and flesh is as sharp here as it is in the conversation with Nicodemus (Jn 3:5-12).  (F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, 163)


Anything which increases the authority of the body over the mind is an evil thing.


Our Lord says, “The flesh profiteth nothing.”  By this He means that neither His flesh nor any other flesh, literally eaten, can do good to the soul.  Spiritual benefit is not to be had through the mouth, but through the heart.  The soul is not a material thing, and cannot therefore be nourished by material food.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 411)


They found fault with Christ’s sayings, whereas the fault was in themselves; it is only to sensual minds that spiritual things are senseless and sapless, spiritual minds relish them; see 1 Cor 2:14, 15.  (Matthew Henry’s Commentary: Vol. V, 958)


Unless there is within us that which is above us, we will soon yield to that which is around us.


But it is promised in the most positive and persuasive language:  “Ask and it shall be given to you” (Mt 7:7).  “But may I claim this?”  Yes; though you have grieved the Spirit a thousand times.  It is added:  “For every one that asketh receiveth.”  Here the only condition is to ask, there is not the slightest doubt but that God will give you His Blessed Spirit.  It will work in you, but not at first as you expect.  As he moves you, if he would lead you to make a confession, do not attempt to exhort or reprove others. Make a confession in all humility.  There are two ways of increasing the power of falling water:  rise the dam.  Or lower the channel.  So you will always find that the lower you humble yourself, the more power you will have with God and men.  Obey the Spirit, and more of the Spirit will be given you.  “And we are his witnesses of these things and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him” (Acts 5:32).  To those that obey the drawings of the Spirit, the fullness is given.  (B.T. Roberts; Fishers Of Men, 62)


Jesus had used similar terms in defining the new birth to Nicodemus, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (3:6), making the point in both places that effort that begins with the desires and objectives of human wisdom cannot arrive at the kind of life that the “Spirit gives.”  Jesus’ very words are spirit (pneuma) and life (zoe); therefore, we must depend on the life-giving Spirit to appropriate Jesus’ words.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 142)


In the past 8 hours they have seen staggering things–masses healed, multitudes fed, Jesus walking on the water, with their spirits flexed from terror to wonder.  Normally “faith cometh by hearing” (Rom 10:17), but in their case, faith has come by experience, producing a solid conviction.  The Greek indicates a completed action within them, a permanent result.  Jesus’ disciples respond to His Words, whereas the crowd was attracted to His miracles.  Instead of being offended, they acknowledge them to contain eternal life.  (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on John, 122)


As Jesus speaks, His hearers feel the witness of heaven, so that a man can know that God is addressing him directly.  Let a man respond to God’s Word as he should, and he has eternal life.  Thus Jesus is saying: “Even if you did eat My flesh, it would do nothing for you.  It is physical.  Things received into the stomach cannot be substituted for that which must be received by a man’s spirit.  (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on John, 120)


It is not as if the flesh is of no significance:  after all, the Word became flesh (1:14).  But when all the focus of attention is on the flesh, then the real significance of Jesus is missed, and the kinds of objections raised both by “the Jews” and by ostensible disciples quickly surface.

But if flesh does not give life, what does?  One of the clearest characteristics of the spirit in the OT is the giving of life (e.g. Gn 1:2; Ezk 37:1 ff.; cf. Barrett, HSGT, 18-23).  In this Gospel we have already been introduced to the Spirit’s role in the new birth (Jn 3); there the contrast between flesh and spirit is no less sharp.  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 301)


  1. This is a harsh saying. On the contrary, it was in their hearts, and not in the saying, that the harshness lay.  But out of the word of God the reprobate are thus accustomed to form stones to dash themselves upon, and when, by their hardened obstinacy, they rush against Christ, they complain that his saying is harsh, which ought rather to have softened them.  For whoever shall submit with true humility to the doctrine of Christ will find nothing in it harsh or disagreeable; but to unbelievers, who oppose themselves with obstinacy, it will be a hammer which breaketh the rocks in pieces, as the Prophet calls it (Jer 23:29).  But since the same hardness is natural to us all, if we judge the doctrine of Christ according to our feelings, his words will be just so many strange and incredible statements.  All that remains for us, therefore, is, that every one commit himself to the guidance of the Spirit, that he may inscribe on our hearts what otherwise would never have even entered into our ears.  (Calvin’s Commentary on the Gospel of John, 270-1)


The Spirit imparts life to the believer; it is not transmitted by the process of physical eating.  Jesus was saddened by the dullness of some of his disciples that prevented their believing in the sense that they did not appropriate him.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 79)


  1. God alone enables His way. (Jn 6:65; see also: Mt 11:27; 16:16-17; Jn 1:12-13; 6:44-45; 15:16; Jam 1:18; 1 Pt 1:23; 2 Pt 1:4; )


To the Father they must turn; from Him they must seek that drawing power, without which they would never come to Christ and be saved.  Not only “would not” but could not.  The language of Christ is unequivocal.  It is not “no man will,” but “no man can come unto me, except it were given him of my Father.”  The will of the natural man has nothing to do with it.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 358-9)


Unbelief is to be expected apart from a divine miracle.  It is impossible for anyone to come to Christ unless the Father gives the grace to do so.  Left to themselves, sinners prefer their sin.  Conversion is always a work of grace.  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 342)


That all men do not seek Christ may be explained from two view points.  From the human side the reason is that, men are so depraved they love the darkness and hate the light.  From the Divine side, that any do seek Christ, is because God in His sovereign grace has put forth a power in them which overcomes the resistance of depravity.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 359)


When He said it required a supernatural work of God for people to believe in Him, it was too much.  The crowd turns away.  Besides, His talk of self-sacrifice didn’t square with their estimate of Messiah.  His miracles indeed attracted them, but His Words repelled them, becoming a disgusting offense.  (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on John, 121)


Jesus had said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (v. 44).  He had said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me” (v. 37).  Nothing is more calculated to arouse the ire and rebellion of the human heart than this teaching.  But it is true.  Christ did not hesitate to proclaim it.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John, Vol. 2, 531)


What is urgently needed today is not mesmeric experts who have made a study of how to produce a religious “atmosphere,” nor religious showmen to make people laugh one minute and weep the next, but faithful preaching of God’s Word, with the saints on their faces before God, humbly praying that He may be pleased to send His quickening Spirit into their midst.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 357)


First, He told them who did the quickening–“the Spirit”; now He states what the Spirit uses to bring about that quickening–the “words” of God.  The Spirit is the Divine Agent; the Word is the Divine instrument.  God begets “with the word of truth” (Jam 1:18).  We are born again of incorruptible seed, “by the word of God” (1 Pt 1:23).  We are made partakers of the Divine nature by God’s “exceeding great and precious promises” (2 Pt 1:4).  And here in Jn 6:63 Christ explains how this is:  the words of God are “spirit, and they are life.”  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 357)


Humility is the frame of mind which we should labor and pray for, if we would not be offended.  If we find any of Christ’s sayings hard to understand, we should humbly remember our present ignorance, and believe that we shall know more by and bye.  If we find any of His sayings difficult to obey, we should humbly recollect that he will never require of us impossibilities, and that what He bids us do, He will give us grace to perform.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 410)


III.  There is no other way to life.  (Jn 6:67-69; see also: Prv 3:5-6; Jn 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tm 2:5; 6:19)


Should I go to Mohammed and join the jihad?  I’m not going to find words of eternal life there.  I won’t find them with Immanuel Kant or Jean-Paul Sartre.  I won’t find them in the lyrics of contemporary music.  If I want the words of eternal life, there’s only one place I can go to get them–to the One who gave His life that we might live.  (R.C. Sproul, John: An Expositional Commentary, 116)


Can I still be happy and keep control of my life?  And the answer of the ages is, “NO!”

You can either abandon your self will or you can abandon your hope.   But you can’t hold onto them both.  (Tim Keller; Discipleship:  True & False)


Would you go back to your former way of live?  You know what your way of life was before you came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  It may have been characterized by a great emptiness or lack of meaning and purpose.  God filled you and gave your life meaning.  Would you go back to your emptiness?  Your former life may have been filled with the excesses of sin.  It may have been drunkenness, drugs, sexual licenses, or other things.  You were ruining yourself by your sins.  Will you turn back to those?  The past may have been characterized by worldliness, in the sense of assuming the world’s values.  You may have been on a great ego trip from which you have been delivered by the Lord Jesus Christ.  Would you go back to that?  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John, Vol. 2, 537)


Peter, with the help of the Spirit, gives you (what one person has said) is a great irreducible minimum of what it means to be a Christian.  See, Jesus turns to Peter and says, “Peter, everybody else is leaving.  Are you staying or not?  And why are you?”

So see what Jesus is asking Peter for is, why are you a disciple?  Everybody else has been choking . . . on this.  They wanted a lot of things from Jesus and when He demanded absolute authority, they split.  Just like all of us.  We want relevance, we want fulfillment, we don’t want surrender to the truth.  And so, Jesus turns to Peter and says, “Why are you staying?”

And what does Peter say to Jesus?  With the help of the Spirit he gives you a great irreducible minimum of what it means to be a Christian.  He says, “Lord, to whom shall we go.  You have the words of eternal life.”  (Tim Keller; Discipleship:  True & False)


How does the Spirit make us alive?  He does it through the Word of God.  The Spirit comes with the Word.  He uses the Word to pierce our hearts, to change the disposition of our souls.  It was by the Word of God that the universe was brought out of nothing.  It is at the Word of God that you and I are rescued from spiritual nothingness and made alive to the things of God.  (R.C. Sproul, John: An Expositional Commentary, 115)


This is why so many moderns have no kingdom power.  You cannot enjoy a kingdom unless you are submitted to the king.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Luke, Vol. One, 158)


Peter knows that the words of Jesus are full of spirit and life, means unto salvation, means of grace (on everlasting life see 3:16; cf. 1:4).  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: John, 248)


Life takes its value from its purpose and its goal.  Christ alone can give us true purpose in life, and the power to work out that purpose against the constant opposition that comes from without and within.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 228)


Whoever heard of believing in order to be sure?  Man wants to make sure first before he is ready to believe.  But God always reverses man’s order of things.  It is impossible, utterly impossible, to be sure of Divine truth, or of any part thereof, until we have believed it.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 361)


When a child learns to run, he begins to learn before he can really do it, and he learns in the midst of his effort.  When a man wishes to learn how to swim, he goes into the water while he cannot yet swim, because he knows that once he begins he will learn to do it in time.  This law of nature has an even more glorious application in grace.  God gives us commands for which we previously have no power, yet He requires obedience to them.  He has every right to do so.  He has told us that when we submit and set ourselves toward obedience, strength will be given when we begin.  This is the spirit in which we are to believe.  (Andrew Murray, How to Strengthen Your Faith, 26)


What Jesus meant was this:  “My flesh as such cannot benefit you; stop thinking that I was asking you literally to eat my body or literally to drink my blood.  It is my spirit, my person, in the act of giving my body to be broken and my blood to be shed, that bestows and sustains life, even everlasting life.”  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: John, 247)


We want to test out a person before we trust him.  God reverses the order.  Take these examples.  David declared, “I am confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Ps 27:13).  Jesus said to Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (Jn 11:40).  In Hebrews we are told, “By faith we understand” (Heb 11:3).  There is a reason for this, of course.  Quite simply it is because divine truth is beyond us.  God’s ways are not our ways.  So we will begin to know and understand God’s ways only as we begin to know and (in part) understand God.  And we can begin to know God only through trusting him.  Assurance, insight, knowledge–these are the fruit of believing.  Certainty that Jesus is the Son of God comes, therefore, not by listening to the arguments of professors or by reading the latest of theological books or articles, but rather by believing what God has said about his Son in the Scriptures.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John, Vol. 2, 542)


If you are resting on the strength of our righteousness, you’ve missed what our Lord taught here.  In your flesh dwells no good thing (Rom 7:18a); your flesh cannot get you into the kingdom of God.  It is the Spirit who brings life, who raises us from spiritual death.  (R.C. Sproul, John: An Expositional Commentary, 115)


Did your past hold the secular ideology of maximum human freedom?  This philosophy billboards all forms of control or any type of restriction as an enemy and believes wholeheartedly that all will be well if only men and women are released to do their own thing.  We have seen this philosophy at work in education and in other areas.  But it is like saying that a garden will produce the most beauty if it is left to itself.  Does it?  I suppose there are some who might consider weeds beautiful and desirable–just as they consider crippling nationwide strikes, abortion on demand, open homosexuality, and anarchy beautiful and desirable–but for most sane men and women these are still weeds.  They do not compare with the beauty that results from careful control and cultivation.  Was freedom apart from Christ so wonderful?  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John, Vol. 2, 538)


Worship Point: Worship the Holy One of God as He reveals Himself in His Word.  Don’t worship what you can get out of Him.


There is no subtler perversion of the Christian Faith than to treat it as a mere means to a worldly end, however admirable that end in itself may be.  The Christian Faith is important because it is true.  What it happens to achieve, in ourselves or in others, is another and, strictly speaking, secondary matter.  For the Christian Faith will remain true whether we who profess it turn into heroic saints or into even more miserable sinners.  We must insist that we worship God because he is God, not because we want something out of him.  What a mean blasphemy it would be, to go through magnificent acts of public worship always with the dominant intention at the back of the mind — “This is really going to make a better chap of me!”  What arrogance and presumption, to treat eternal God, throned in glory, as a visual aid to moral self-improvement. (Harry Blamires; The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think?, 110)


. . .obedience is the foundation of true worship.  (John Calvin; Calvin’s Commentaries: Vol XVII, 234)


Here is one of the greatest values of praise:  It decentralizes self.  The worship and praise of God demands a shift of center from self to God.  One cannot praise without relinquishing occupation with self.  When praise becomes a way of life, the infinitely lovely God–rather than the bankrupt self–becomes the center of worship.  Thus the personality becomes properly integrated and destructive stresses and strains disappear.  This results in mental wholeness.  Praise produces forgetfulness of self–and forgetfulness of self is health.  (Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne, 118)


We live in a world of glandular Christianity.   We do it, we worship, we obey, we follow only  IF IT FEELS GOOD!


Both {Peter & Judas} were with Jesus.  Both gave evidences of a genuine interest in religion.  But with one it was real; he was there because of Jesus.  The other was there only for himself, or for what he could derive from the relationship.  May I make it even more personal?  What are you into Christianity for?  Is it for Jesus?  Or is it for yourself?  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John, Vol. 2, 546)


Trusting in anything but God will twist you.  It is possible to trust in the Lord for certain things that are your real trusts.   It is possible to go to church and pray and obey the 10 commandments and do all the religious stuff, because you’re saying, “Oh Lord, I’m trusting you in all these things.”  So you will give me a spouse.  So you will give me health.   So you will give me a good career.  This country is littered with people who say, “I trusted in the Lord and He let me down.”

You know what they mean?   I am trusting in the Lord for something that was my REAL trust and when I didn’t get it, I abandoned Him.   Well that proves He wasn’t your trust.  It is possible to trust in the Lord and not have the Lord be your trust.  (Tim Keller, “The Necessity of Belief”)


Christianity has become an adjective and not a noun.  How Jesus can give you greater self-esteem; how he can make you happy, how He can put your marriages back together.   Not that there is not Biblical wisdom, but to trivialize the heart of Christianity is to set the things that are central aside and to bring those things to the fore, how can we . . . where is God for me?  Where is God for me on the freeway at 5:00 PM.  That is what I need to know.  And if you are not completely satisfied, simply return the unused portion for a full refund. (Michael Horton; “Christless Christianity:  The Church Crisis” from a John MacArthur seminar)


False disciples do not follow Christ because of who He is, but because of what they want from Him.  They have no problem viewing Him as a baby in the manger at Christmas; a social reformer with a broad message of love and tolerance; the ideal human everyone should emulate; or a source of health, wealth, and worldly happiness.  But they are unwilling to embrace the biblical Jesus–the God-man who fearlessly rebuked sinners and warned them of eternal hell, and that salvation from that hell comes only through believing His words (Jn 5:24).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 269-70)


In these closing moments of this age, the Lord will have a people whose purpose for living is to please God with their lives.  In them, God finds His own reward for creating man.  They are His worshipers.  They are on earth only to please God, and when He is pleased, they also are pleased.

The Lord takes them farther and through more pain and conflicts than other men.  Outwardly, they often seem “smitten of God, and afflicted” (Is 53:4).  Yet to God, they are His beloved.  When they are crushed, like the petals of a flower, they exude a worship, the fragrance of which is so beautiful and rare that angels weep in quiet awe at their surrender.  They are the Lord’s purpose for creation.

One would think that God would protect them, guarding them in such a way that they would not be marred.  Instead, they are marred more than others.  Indeed, the Lord seems pleased to crush them, putting them to grief.  For in the midst of their physical and emotional pain, their loyalty to Christ grows pure and perfect.  And in the face of persecutions, their love and worship toward God become all-consuming.

Would that all Christ’s servants were so perfectly surrendered.   (Francis Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds, 93-4)


True biblical worship so satisfies our total personality that we don’t have to shop around for man-made substitutes. William Temple made this clear in his masterful definition of worship:  For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose—and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin. (Warren W. Wiersbe; The Integrity Crisis, 119)


To worship God is also to bow before his absolute, ultimate authority.  We adore not only his power, but also his holy word.  Psalm 19 praises God first for revealing himself in his mighty acts of creation and providence (vv. 1-6) and then for the perfection of his law (vv. 7-11).  When we enter his presence, overwhelmed by his majesty and power, how can we ignore what he is saying to us?  So, in worship we hear the reading and exposition of the Scriptures (see Acts 15:21; 1 Tm 4:13; Col 4:16; 1 Thess 5:27; Acts 20:7; 2 Tm 4:2).  God wants us to be doers of that word, not hearers only (Rom 2:13; Jam 1:22-25; 4:11).  (John M. Frame, Worship in Spirit and Truth, 4)


Gospel Application:  Only Jesus can save you from yourself.  He chose to be what you’ve failed to be.  He chose the life you were supposed to live and died the death you deserved to die.  Choose Jesus as your King over all else . . . especially yourself.  (Mt 10:38; 16:24; Mk 8:34; Lk 9:23; 14:27; 1 Cor 6:19)


If the disciples find Jesus’ claims, authority and even his language offensive, what will they think when they see Jesus on the cross, his way of “ascending” to the place where he was before?  That is the supreme scandal.  However offensive the linguistic expression “eating flesh and drinking blood” may be, how much more offensive is the crucifixion of an alleged Messiah!  The very idea is outrageous, bordering on blasphemous obscenity, “a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Cor 1:23).  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 301)


The moment of Jesus’ greatest degradation and shame is the moment of his glorification, the path of his return to the glory he had with the Father before the world began (17:5).  The hour when the Servant of the Lord is despised and rejected by men, when he is pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (Isa 53:3-5) is the very portal to the time when “he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted” (Isa 52:13).  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 301)


Jesus declared that religion won’t do it.  Church attendance won’t do it.  Good works in and of themselves won’t do it.  The only thing that gets us into the kingdom of God, by which we participate in the gift of eternal life, is union with Christ Jesus.  To emphasize this, our Lord said, “You have to take all of Me, as if you were ingesting Me.”  (R.C. Sproul, John: An Expositional Commentary, 114)


Unfortunately we now need God’s help in order to do something which God, in His own nature, never does at all–to surrender, to suffer, to submit, to die.  Nothing in God’s nature corresponds to this process at all.  So that the one road for which we now need God’s leadership most of all is a road God, in His own nature, has never walked.  God can share only what He has:  this thing, in His own nature, He has not.

But supposing God became a man–suppose our human nature which can suffer and die was amalgamated with God’s nature in one person–then that person could help us.  He could surrender His will, and suffer and die, because He was man; and He could do it perfectly because He was God…But we cannot share God’s dying unless God dies; and He cannot die except by being a man.  That is the sense in which He pays our debt, and suffers for us what He Himself need not suffer at all. (C. S. Lewis; Mere Christianity, 60)


He could not but be the Holy One if he was to deal effectively with “the sin of the world” (1:29).  Doubtless Peter and the other members of the Twelve entertained at that time a significantly muddier conception of what the expression meant than they did after Jesus’ resurrection and exaltation.  It was enough that their first messianic hopes (1:41, 45) were being confirmed, that they saw in Jesus one who was greater than a prophet, greater than Moses, none less than “the Holy One of God.”  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 304)


Our pleasure and our duty, though opposite before,

Since we have seen His beauty, are joined to part no more

To see the Law by Christ fulfilled, and hear His pardon voice,

Transforms a slave into a child and duty into choice


Spiritual Challenge:  Jesus’ way is counter-natural . . . counter-flesh.  The Church exists to show Jesus’ way of salvation.   Make sure that mission is never eclipsed by any ministry, teaching or personality.  (Prv 3:5-6; Isa 29:14; 30:11-12; 55:8-9; Jer 9:23-24; Mt 10:34-39; 11:6; 21:44; Lk 8:21; Rom 1:18-25;  1 Cor 1:18-2:16; 1 Jn 2:3-5)


The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting.  It has been found difficult, and left untried.  –G. K. Chesterton


A man is absent from church Sunday morning.  Where is he?  If he is in a hospital having his appendix removed his absence tells us nothing about him except that he is ill; but if he is out on the golf course, that tells us a lot.  To go to the hospital is compulsory; to go to the golf course, voluntary.  The man is free to choose and he chooses to play instead of to pray.  His choice reveals what kind of man he is.  Choices always do.  (A.W. Tozer, Man: The Dwelling Place of God, 158-59)


The fact is that while we may be able to market the church, we cannot market Christ, the gospel,  Christian character, or meaning in life.   The church can offer handy child care to weary parents, intellectual stimulation to the restless video generation, a feeling of family to the lonely and dispossessed—and, indeed, lots of people come to churches for these reasons.  But neither Christ nor his truth can be marketed by appealing to consumer interest, because the premise of all marketing is that the consumer need is sovereign, that the customer is always right, and this is precisely what the gospel insists cannot be the case.   (David Wells; God in the Wasteland, 82)


Are we, then, to fold our arms and act as though we had no obligations at all?  Far from it.  Christ guards against this by saying, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”  This was addressed to human responsibility.  These “words” are given to be believed; and we are under direct obligation to set to our seal that God is true.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 358)


If the process of becoming “all things to all people” is to remain faithful to Christ, it has to climax in clear persuasion and genuine conversion.  Joining people where they are is only the first step in the process, not the last.  Unless it resists this danger, the church-growth movement will prove to be a gigantic exercise in cultural adjustment and surrender.  (Os Guinness; No God but God, 157)


The words of Eleanor Roosevelt ring true:  One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes.  In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves.  The process never ends until we die.  And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.  (Tim Kimmel; Little House on the Freeway, 143)


Spiritual Challenge Questions:

  1. What caused many of Jesus’ disciples to turn back and no longer follow Him? Why was this offensive to them?
  2. What Jesus said and meant should deeply offend the natural man. Does Jesus offend you?  Are you sure?  
  3. What kinds of things does Jesus say that should cause us to either fish or cut bait? Does it?  


So What?: Do you believe Jesus’ teaching?   He could only say those things if He were truly God or insane.  Your choice about Jesus is a matter of eternal life or death. (Mt 5:11; 7:21-27; 9:2-6; 10:32-38; 18:19-20; 19:28-29; 23:34-36; 24:4-5; 26:27-29; Mk 8:37-38; Lk 6:46-49; 7:48; 9:24; 12:8-10; 14:26, 33; 24:44; Jn 4:10, 13, 25-26; 5:24, 39-40, 46; 6:35, 38, 40-43, 50-51, 54-58; 7:37-38; 8:12, 42, 58; 10:11, 28; 11:25-26; 12:46; 14:6; 15:5-7; 16:33; 17:8, 11, 20-21; 18:37)


The motive behind Jesus’ harsh words is not difficult to see–he wanted people to count the cost of following him (Lk 14:25-33).  His words shocked and challenged.  They were not comfortable half-truths, but hard-edged truth.  Those who follow Jesus in hopes of feeling good always will be disappointed sooner or later.  Only those who find in Jesus the rock-solid truth will be able to weather the difficulties of living in this fallen world.  If our central motive for following Jesus isn’t because he is the Truth, we too will be disappointed.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 141)


I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:  ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a Great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God:  or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit on Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to. (C. S. Lewis;  Mere Christianity, 55-6)


By demanding that He be acknowledged as the Bread of Life (vv. 33, 35, 48, 50, 51) and insisting that eternal life is found only in fully committing to Him (vv. 51, 53-58), Jesus required more than they were willing to give.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 268-9)


We have been made for relationship with God.  Therefore it is not surprising that we long to meet and know God.  But the God we seek is the God we want, not the God who is.  We fashion a god who blesses without obligation, who lets us feel his presence without living his life, who stands with us and never against us, who gives us what we want, when we want it.  We worship a god of consumer satisfaction, hoping the talismans of guitars and candles or organs and liturgy will put us in touch with God as we want him to be.  (Mark Labberton, The Dangerous Act of Worship, 65-6)


Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, used to say, “you are going to be what you are now becoming.”  And what you are now becoming is dependent on the choices you make.  So commit yourself to making the right choices, and then look to the Holy Spirit to work in you “to will and to act” (Phil 2:13) in carrying out that commitment.  (Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace, 188)


To expose the condition of their hearts, He is asking:  “If you saw Me in My glory would it make any difference?  Would you still be offended with My Words if I addressed you as the God of Israel?”  Whether Jesus speaks as a Rabbi walking among them, or as the sound which thundered at Sinai, the words would be the same, the voice the same.  But is it a question of His exalted state versus His humble state?  No.  It is a matter of the hardness of their hearts.  The truth is changeless no matter how it reaches one’s ears.  It is a question of responding to the truth, not the status of the speaker.  (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on John, 120)


The Christian life is a broad road of happiness, joy, peace, blessing, success, significance, and contentment, which is ironically gained by choosing the narrow road of surrender, obedience, self-denial, self-sacrifice, truth, worship and service. (Patrick Morely; Ten Secrets for the Man in the Mirror, 185)


They rejected His words as objectionable and offensive.  Like those who dismissed Jesus’ teaching outright, they were scandalized by His claim to have come down from heaven (vv. 33, 38, 41-43, 50-51), His contention that He was the only answer to mankind’s spiritual need (vv. 33, 35, 40), and His call for them to eat His flesh and drink His blood (51-57).  In reality, however, what shut them out of the kingdom was not Jesus’ teaching being unacceptable, but rather their being unbelieving and unaccepting.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 269)


The question is:  Are we willing to change our opinions to conform to the teachings of Christ?  Or will we persevere in error?  Obviously, we need to have our discipleship corrected by Christ’s doctrine, and to learn not to evaluate spiritual matters by the measure of our own understanding.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John, Vol. 2, 531)


Your either going to follow God, His Laws and righteousness or you will follow your self-centered, worldly, addictions and fall victim to this world and die here in this world not knowing what you truly could have had had you died to self and lived through God Who gave you everything you had along with so much more.  Choice?   Simply.  Choose life. Choose God!  —Charles Midgett (2-23-20)


Feelings have become so central to personal identity across our culture, even in religion, that to suggest the Bible, God, the Church, or any other authority has a right to questions those feelings is tantamount to heresy. (John Stonestreet, The False God of Feelings: Mayor Buttigieg’s Pro-Gay Christianity; Breakpoint Daily 04/22/19)


The thinkers of the Enlightenment spoke of their age as the age of reason, and by reason they meant essentially those analytical and mathematical powers by which human beings could attain (at least in principle) to a complete understanding of, and thus a full mastery of, nature–of reality in all its forms.  Reason, so understood, is sovereign in this enterprise.  It cannot bow before any authority other than what it calls the facts.  No alleged divine revelation, no tradition however ancient, and no dogma however hallowed has the right to veto its exercise.  (Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks, 25)




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