John 6:52-59 – Believe and You Have Eaten

Jesus finishes the Bread of Life discourse and he does so with what appears to be some outrageous remarks.
• His words seem almost purposely antagonistic toward the unbelieving Jews.
• And the title of our lesson comes from Augustine’s characterization of the words Jesus spoke – “feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood”.

Jesus has spent chapter 6 speaking with a crowd of Jews about the nature and need of salvation.
• And the more he talks, the more he ratchets up the “narrow gate” nature of salvation.
• In our text today, he continues to do so; causing a dispute among the Jews.


John 6:52 (ESV) — 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

Last week we saw how Jesus described Himself as the bread of life.
• He went on to say in verse 51 that His flesh (sarx) is the bread.
• The Jews are perplexed, like Nicodemus, about the literal implications of Jesus’ words.
• We are told that they “disputed among themselves”.
• This is a heated quarrel just short of physical violence – BDAG.

Jesus is now faced with a crowd that is extremely agitated with Him, His message and probably with each other at this point.
• We are told in verse 59 that they are standing in the synagogue, a place set apart for learning about and worshiping God.
• One would think that at this point, Jesus would say something to diffuse the situation.


John 6:53 (ESV) — 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

So Jesus, faced with the choice of bringing peace or bringing purity, chose purity of doctrine.
• Why? – because even though the teaching of “strong doctrine will inevitably produce discord”, Jesus did not seek “peace at the expense of doctrine” – Boice.
• In fact Kostenberger suggests that Jesus’ words serve “to intensify, rather than remove or diminish, people’s hardening toward Jesus and his message”.
• D.A. Carson sums up Jesus words in vs. 51 and His response to the Jews dispute this way – “the Jews had found Jesus’ statement in v. 51c impenetrable at best, blatantly offensive at worst, but in this expansion Jesus in their view is even more offensive.”

Why would His words “intensify” the crowd’s “hardening toward Jesus and his message” and be offensive?
• Simply because God made it quite clear in the Law of Moses that blood was never to be eaten.

Scriptural examples of this prohibition:
Genesis 9:4 (ESV) — 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
Deuteronomy 12:16 (ESV) — 16 Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it out on the earth like water.
• So when Jesus suggests that eternal life is to be found in the eating of His flesh and blood, we see that this is a scandalous assault on the Jewish senses given the Law of Moses.

And yet, as we have suggested, Jesus’ aim was not to upset the Jews, but to teach them the truth no matter how offensive it may be.
• We can look again to the Law of Moses and see the point Jesus was making; the truth He was teaching.
• Here we see again the prohibition, but we see why there is the prohibition.
• Leviticus 17:10–11 (ESV) — 10 “If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.
    o Jesus is the why.

Jesus has set a bold example for us with respect to advocating for His truth.
• James Boice sums up our discussion thus far rather well when he says:
• “It is interesting as an insight into the problems of our own times that in answering those who were in conflict over his teaching Jesus did not try to tone down the teaching to make it more palatable. If anything, he did the opposite. It would seem, then…that, according to Jesus, truth concerning doctrine…, rather than peace at the expense of doctrine, was to prevail.

Paul, like Jesus, has also set the example for us with respect to purity of doctrine.
• He recognizes that the Gospel and the doctrine that goes with it can be offensive and so there is a temptation to corrupt it.
• 1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV) — 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing…
• 1 Corinthians 1:23 (ESV) — 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
• 2 Corinthians 2:15–16 (ESV) — 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life…
• 2 Timothy 4:3–4 (ESV) — 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
• 1 Timothy 6:3–5 (ESV) — 3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing…
    o Paul goes on to tell us these people are “depraved in mind and deprived of the truth”.

Yet he warns us plainly not to accommodate unsound doctrine.
• 2 Timothy 1:13–14 (ESV) — 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
• 1 Timothy 4:6 (ESV) — 6 If you put these things [sound teaching] before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.
• Titus 2:1 (ESV) — 1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

But now we need to look deeper into the truth that Jesus is advocating in such an offensive way.


John 6:54–59 (ESV) — 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

(1) Once again, He brings it back to the Father (vs. 57):
We have discussed thoroughly God’s role in our salvation as Jesus has taught in John 6.
• We have seen that the Father draws and gives us to Jesus.
• We have also seen in John 5 that Jesus attributes His authority and His purpose to the Father.
• So it comes as no surprise here that Jesus, once again, attributes the life He has and gives to those who “feed(s) on my flesh and drink(s) my blood” as originating in and coming from the Father.
• Jesus “makes clear that the basis for believers’ union with Jesus is Jesus’ union with the Father” – Kostenberger.

(2) Yet another description of belief (vss. 54 & 56):
And this brings us back to our title – “Believe and You Have Eaten”.
What is it to have eaten the blood and flesh of Jesus?

We need only go back to near the beginning of the Bread of Life discourse.
• John 6:37 (ESV) — 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
• It is simply coming to Jesus in belief in response to the work of the Father.
• And as Jesus taught in verse 40 about the “coming” and repeats in our verses today about the “feeding”, “whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life”.
• And very plainly, Christ makes clear in John 6:53, that unless you do this, unless you “come”, “feed” and “drink” “you have no life in you”.
    o There is both a present and future dimension of this life.

(3) Once again, Jesus confirms belief in the Father’s Jesus not the World’s Jesus:
When Jesus speaks of both His flesh and His blood he is using a “Hebrew idiom referring to the whole person” – Kostenberger.
• Jesus must be consumed in His entirety as the Father has made Him known.
• In other words, it is the Father who is the arbiter of all that Jesus does, the truth He speaks and who He is, not the world.

(4) Moses’ manna falls short
It is also interesting to point out that Jesus finished on the topic that was originally issued as a challenge by the Jews – manna.
• We spoke in detail about this last week.
• But Jesus challenges the claim that the manna they mistakenly attributed to Moses was as spectacular as they suggested.
• Quite simply because those who ate it died; it did not impart eternal life.
• The bread that Jesus offers, his flesh and blood, does.

Lesson for Us:
• Jesus is controversial.
• The Gospel is controversial.
• Sound doctrine is controversial.
• Jesus did not compromise the truth for those who opposed Him.
• The Father does the drawing and giving, Jesus was simply to be faithful and obedient to the mission appointed to Him by the Father.
• Jesus’ example is worth following!


John 6:48-51 - The Bread of Life and Manna

Jesus chose to symbolically associate Himself with the manna of the Old Testament.
• And He does so not merely just to describe a function of His ministry.
• But, He makes this association to actually describe for us who He is (ontologically – nature of being).
• And for the Jew, who God is was the primary way they spoke of God – Richard Bauckham.
• In our lesson today we will explore what Jesus’ was trying to convey.

In order to fully appreciate this association, we need to do some background work.


The Need for Food:
Exodus 16:2–3 (ESV) — 2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, 3 and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
• Typical of the congregation, we see here one instance of many where they actually imply that because of their circumstances they would rather be back in Egypt.
• However, it is true that they were experiencing hunger.
• And, in fact, we will see that God was the reason for this.

God’s Provision of Food:
Exodus 16:9–12 (ESV) — 9 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, ‘Come near before the LORD, for he has heard your grumbling.’ ” 10 And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. 11 And the LORD said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.’ ”
• God supplied food to satisfy their hunger, a legitimate need.
• He did not supply the food because he appreciated and approved of their grumbling.
• He actually saw their grumbling as wickedness – Numbers 14:27.
• In fact, at one point He threatened to wipe out the congregation of Hebrews because of it – Numbers 17:10.
• Moreover, God’s provision served not only to feed them but to test their willingness to obey Him (vs. 4).
• The manna was given on His terms!
• He did this by stipulating (vs. 16-30) exactly how they were to use the manna.

God’s Provision of Food – What Is It?
Exodus 16:15 (ESV) — 15 When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.”
Exodus 16:31 (ESV) — 31 Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
• Manna literally means “What is it”.
• What it was, clearly, was an act of Grace on God’s part.

POI – It is striking that when speaking of Jesus the following is said.
• John 12:34 (ESV) — 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?

Remember God’s Provision of Food:
Deuteronomy 8:2–3 (ESV) — 2 And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
• We mentioned earlier that God let the Hebrews hunger on purpose.
• It is here that this startling fact is revealed.
• And we are told that He did this to humble them.
• This, along with the provision, was also an act of grace.
• And this hunger, this act of grace, was to teach them “that man does not live by bread alone, but limes by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”.

So we have learned of 2 acts of grace associated with the manna.
• (1) The hunger that humbled and pointed to the word of God.
• (2) The manna provided by the word of God that satiated the hunger.

And we are told in Deut 8:2 that God clearly wanted them to remember these acts of Grace.
• In fact, in Exodus 16:32, God commands Moses to “Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.
Why was it so important to remember?

Jesus certainly understood the importance during his temptation by Satan.
• Matthew 4:2–4 (ESV) — 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”


John 6:48–51 (ESV) — 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

With our text today, we can see the ultimate fulfillment of the 2 acts of grace displayed in the manna.
• But before we do that, we also need to briefly revisit John 6:30-31.

We need to remember that in John 6:30-31 the Jews raised the issue of the manna.
• They challenged Jesus to outperform this provision of Moses.
• We see in their association of Moses with the manna that they had already forgotten!
• Jesus told them in John 6:32 what they should have known already – the Father provides the provision (the “function” alluded to earlier).
• And not only that, but God in Christ IS the provision (the “who” alluded to earlier).
• He claims to actually be “the bread of life” – an ontological statement about who he is.
• Jesus, in this first of his seven “I am” statements is inserting himself into the Godhead not as simply one who is sent to “make a way” (function) but one who “is the way” as only God can be (ontology).

So in our text today, Jesus repeats that He is “the bread of life”.
• He contrasts the bread He IS with the bread that was provided in the wilderness.
• The bread that IS God (ontology) gives everlasting life, but the bread that God provided did not.
• Jesus is repeating that He is the bread and therefore He is God.
• This is because, for the Jew, only God can provide eternal life.
• Jesus even alludes to the sacrifice He will have to make.

Now, how does all this relate to the 2 acts of grace we have already discussed?

(1) Hunger that humbles and points to the word of God.
• How are we humbled and made hungry for Christ?
    o (A) Common Grace – is given to everyone.
    o It tests our hearts and reveals that we suppress the truth – Romans 1.
    o We are made hungry but we resort to idolatry not Jesus for fulfillment.
    o And for the Jews specifically, remember that many in the crowd were part of the feeding of the 5,000 and had been blessed with knowing the “absence” of Jesus.
    o Plus they had the omer of manna to remind them – Deut 16:32.
    o And in Deuteronomy 31:19, Moses’ Song was given to Israel by God as “a witness for me against the people of Israel” and to “confront them as a witness” (vs. 21).
    o (B) Saving Grace – is given to the elect.
    o In its presence we see our need for Christ and surrender to Him – John 6.
    o See the rest of John 6 lessons for further info.

(2) Jesus is the “manna” that satiates the hunger not only as a provision but as God incarnate.
• Jesus said that one need only “eat of this bread” and salvation is theirs.
• Like the manna, this grace is given to us on God’s terms.
    o Specific instructions were given to the Hebrews concerning the manna.
    o Exodus 16:16 (ESV) — 16 This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.’ ”
• “Eating” the “World’s Jesus” on the world’s terms will not cut it.
• We must “eat” the “Father’s Jesus” as discussed last week.

So when reflect on Deuteronomy 8:3, we see that God’s intention with the manna was to humble them in order to “make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
• God acted throughout the history of His people to point them and lead them to His Word, Jesus Christ, and away from rebellion, wickedness and idolatry.
• When Christ stood before them claiming to be the “Bread of Life” it was the culmination of the grace of God that He had extended to the Israelites throughout their entire existence.
• God had always sought to prepare them for the fact that He wanted to give them so much more than mere provision.
• He wanted to give Himself through Jesus Christ!
• And to this day, God wants to give all people more than just the common grace He extends to all.
• Yet, as He points us all to Christ, we suppress the truth and reject Him.
• Until God, yet again, extends His Saving Grace to the elect and unites us through faith to Christ.


John 6:41-47 – Salvation is Taught?

Our Diving Deeper lesson title comes from Jesus’ words in verse 45.
• In verses 35-40 Jesus explained why the crowd does not believe in Him in spite of the fact of who He is, what He has done and under whose authority He is operating.
• And in our text today, the crowd not only doesn’t believe in Jesus, but they don’t believe His claims in verse 38 of having come down from heaven.
• Jesus seems to say that the reason that they don’t believe he came down from heaven is because they haven’t “heard and learned from the Father”.

We will explore this as we unpack our text today.


John 6:41–42 (ESV) — 41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

As we discussed in our lesson on Jesus’ Apologetic from John 5, John gives us a portrait of two Jesus’.
• There is the Father’s Jesus as described by Christ in His apologetic.
• And there is the World’s Jesus as revealed by the Jews’ perception of and rejection of Jesus.

In spite of all Jesus has done thus far and in spite of all Jesus’ teaching, in their hearts and minds He is only a miracle worker from Nazareth.
• And in spite of Jesus’ testimony to the contrary, His father is simply a man named Joseph.

More examples of their inability to see anything other than the World’s Jesus:
• John 6:15 (ESV) — 15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
• John 7:27 (ESV) — 27 But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.”
• Matthew 13:55 (ESV) — 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?

We see in our text that the unbeliever’s moral and spiritual deficiencies are a barrier to seeing the Father’s Jesus.
• The hard hearted are incapable of diving deeper.
• John 3:10 (ESV) — 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?
• John 4:10 (ESV) — 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
• John 6:26 (ESV) — 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.

In spite of all that Jesus reveals, they can only respond to their “World’s Jesus” by wanting more evidence.
• John 6:30 (ESV) — 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?

So it is no surprise that they are grumbling.
But why are they grumbling?
• Grumble in our text is referring to “the idea is that a supposedly legitimate claim is not met” – TDNT.
• In other words, they clearly think Jesus’ claim about being from heaven is bogus.
But why do they think His claim is bogus; why are they hard hearted?


John 6:43–44 (ESV) — 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

Jesus didn’t argue with them.
• He simply told them the truth.
• He made it clear why they were grumbling.
• And, not surprisingly, it is related to the reason for their unbelief in vs. 37.

This is a remarkable exchange.
• There is no groveling by Jesus; there is no further apologetic.
• He simply tells them they are not coming to Him because they haven’t been drawn!
• The Father has not performed a work in their lives.
• We covered this concept in detail in our prior 2 lessons.
• It really doesn’t seem to be a great way to evangelize the lost.

But Jesus doesn’t stop there.


John 6:45-47 (ESV) — 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

Jesus, once again, takes it up a notch.
• He tells them that you haven’t “learned from the Father”.
• And this is on top of telling them that they haven’t been “given” (vs. 37) or “drawn” (vs. 44) by the Father.
• He tells them He knows this to be the case because if they did they would come to Jesus.

“Learn” in our text means “to gain knowledge [of Christ] by instruction [of the Father]” – BDAG.
• The Father is the source of knowledge for who Jesus is.
• The implication is that they grumble because they don’t have this knowledge.
• And they don’t have it because they don’t have the special salvationally related instruction from the Father.
• It appears that the teaching and learning are conditional.

The conditionality of this kind of “learning” is also expressed in Revelation.
• Revelation 14:3 (ESV) — 3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
• It appears that only those who have been “redeemed” (given, drawn and taught by the Father) can “learn” this song.

Verse 45 also gives us insight into the intellectual component of salvation.
• We explored this briefly in our “Heart and Mind of Belief” lesson.
• Recognizing who Jesus is takes place in both the Heart and the Mind and the Will.
• But here also, Jesus reveals that the drawing is more than just a heart thing.
• The Father’s drawing “is by an insight, a teaching, an illumination implanted within the individual, in fulfilment of the Old Testament promise, ‘They will all be taught by God’” – D.A. Carson.
• “Those who come to saving faith do so because they are supernaturally instructed by God. Drawing and teaching are merely different aspects of God’s sovereign call to salvation; it is through the truth of His Word that God draws people to embrace His Son” – John MacArthur.

It’s as if the new heart promised in Ezekiel 36:24-36/John 3 is the fertile ground for belief that has plowed up our hard hearts.
• The supernatural instruction by God promised in Isaiah 54:13 and in our text are the seed.
• The belief in Jesus, coming to Him, is the beautiful fruit made possible by these works of the Father.
• And Jesus receiving us, His giving us eternal life, is the harvest.

So as Jesus expands on belief in His bread of life discourse, He is telling us that to be “given” (vs. 37) and “drawn” (vs. 44), is also to “learn” or “gain knowledge” of Himself from the Father.

And these (3) actions of the Father lead to the following unalterable results:
• Vs. 37 – “will come to me
• Vs. 45 – “comes to me
• Vs. 37 – “I will never cast out”; Vs. 39 “lose nothing”; Vs. 40, 47 “have eternal life”; Vs. 40, 44 “raise him up”; etc.

Yet, in spite of the Father’s role in our salvation, Jesus has also taught us that the Father does not bear the blame for unbelief.
• John 5:39–40 (ESV) — 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
• Mankind refuses to come and is held accountable for not coming!
• Yet if God Gave/Drew/Taught them in the way Jesus is teaching us then they would most certainly come.
So why some and not all?
    o As discussed last week this is a mystery.
    o If Arminian in persuasion – the mystery is with mankind.
    o If Reformed in persuasion – the mystery is with God.
    o Where do you prefer to have your mystery reside?


John 6:35-40 - The Work of God

Today's lesson dives deeper into the work of God in our salvation.
• Taking our cues from Jesus we will seek to understand just how necessary the Father's work is.
• We will also try and understand how Jesus views his role in light of the Father's work.


Jesus’ bread:
John 6:35 (ESV) — 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

It must be pointed out that is the first of seven of the “I am” statements of Jesus.
• “I am the bread of life” – John 6:35
• “I am the light of the world” – John 8:12
• “I am the door” – John 10:7
• “I am the good shepherd” – John 10:11
• “I am the resurrection and the life” – John 11:25
• “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” – John 14:6
• “I am the true vine” – John 15:1

And like the living water offered to the woman at the well, the “bread of life” he offers is eternally satisfying.
• John 4:14 (ESV) — 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.”
• This is in stark contrast to the manna the crowd mentioned in John 6:31 when suggesting that Jesus’ work was not equal to the work of Moses.
• Jesus says as much in John 6:58 (ESV) — 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.

Moving on, we must notice that Jesus once again mentions the “whoevers”; a topic he addressed in John 3:16-21.

We learned from John 3 the following about the first “whoevers”:
• They believe
• They come to light
• They are not condemned
• They do truth
• These are the people described to Nicodemus as the born again in John 3:1-8 and thus have saving faith.
• They shall not hunger – from today’s text
• They shall not thirst – from today’s text

And in John 3 we also learned of the second “whoevers”:
• They don’t believe
• They hate the light
• They are condemned
• They do wickedness
• These are the people John tells us about in John 2:23-25; they have no saving faith

Obviously, in verse 35, Jesus is referring to the 1st “whoevers”.
• And we must remember that no third “whoever” exists – all of humanity is either one or the other.

Jesus makes clear in our text that access to the “bread of life” He offers is conditional.
• His bread is enjoyed only by the first “whoevers”.
• Which in our text are described as those that “come” (erchomai) and “believe” (pisteuo).

Jesus then makes an obvious yet remarkable confession.

John 6:36 (ESV) — 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
• Jesus has many, but this has got to be one of the most profound statements He ever makes.
• Considering the claims that He, John the Gospel writer and John the Baptist make about Him, it seems remarkable that any creature could be in His presence and not bow down in awe and wonder with every step He takes or every word He utters.

In just 6 chapters Jesus has been described as:
• The Word (1:1), God (1:1), Creator (1:3), The Light (1:4), The Lamb of God (1:36), the one whom Moses and Prophets wrote (1:45), Son of God (1:49), King of Israel (1:49), Source of Living Water (4:10), Messiah (1:41; 4:26), Savior of the World (4:42), Equal with God (5:18), Giver of Life (5:21), The Judge (5:22), Honored as the Father (5:26), Borne Witness to by the Father (5:37), Prophet (6:14), King (6:15), Rabbi (6:25).

He has, under the Father’s authority, expressed his divine power by:
• Omniscience (1:48), Turning water into wine (2:9), Healing a child (4:50), Healing an invalid (5:8), Feeding the 5,000 (6:11), Walking on Water (6:19), “Teleporting” the boat to its destination (6:21).

How is it then, that Jesus, who is and does all these things, can be rejected and not even recognized by so many?
• This fact seems to speak volumes about either the claims of Jesus or the capacity of humanity.
    o Interestingly Mark 6:6 tells us that even Jesus, when confronted with the rejection of His home town, “marveled because of their unbelief”.
• We have already seen that part of the answer lies in the “whoevers”.
But why, no matter the spiritual condition of man, do not all become the believing “whoevers” when confronted by the Jesus who is and does all these things?

And just to remind us of the depth of this paradox, John speaks of it elsewhere:
• John 5:43 (ESV) — 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me.
• John 12:37 (ESV) — 37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him,
• John 15:24 (ESV) — 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.

It would appear that the only reasonable conclusion that one could arrive at is that either Jesus is mistaken about who He is, or He is failing in His work to reconcile the Jews and Gentiles to God.
• Even Paul acknowledges this paradox when speaking of the Jews rejection of Jesus in Romans 9:6–13 (ESV) — 6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel…

But Jesus has something to say about this paradox.

The Father Gives:
John 6:37 (ESV) — 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

Look closely at what Jesus is saying here, and will reiterate later in this discourse.
• The crowd does NOT believe in Jesus because He is bogus or unconvincing, or because He has failed in his mission.
• Jesus doesn’t even attribute their unbelief to their fallen and sinful nature which is certainly a reason.
• Jesus says that the crowd does NOT believe because they have not been given to Him by the Father.

Moreover, Jesus knows they have not been given to Him because all those given to Him will come to Him!
• And Jesus can be sure of this, not based on anything man does, but due to the work of the Father.

We must pay particular attention to the words Jesus uses in this verse to really flesh out their meaning.

Jesus gives us a dynamic concept – Father Gives/We Come/Jesus Receives
• And in verse 44, Jesus fleshes out this concept even more by giving the converse statement of John 6:37.
• There the Father gives and we come and in John 6:44 one can’t come unless drawn.
• John 6:44 (ESV) — 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.
• We then see that – Father Draws/Father Gives/We Come/Jesus Receives.
• This is a great deal of action by the Creator and much less by the created.

So what do all these words signify?
(1) “Draws” refers to an act of the Father within a person that orientates or instills within them “a powerful impulse” “in the direction of” Jesus Christ – BDAG & TDNT.
• It is believed by many that this is the new birth from John 3.
• “The new birth is something that happens in us when the Holy Spirit takes our dead hearts and unites us to Christ by faith so that his life becomes our life” – John Piper.
• And this is why D.A. Carson says, “even the faith that we must exercise is the fruit of God’s activity”.
    o That activity is of course the drawing, the new birth.
• John 12:32 (ESV) — 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
    o And fortunately for us, the Father will draw both Jew and Gentile without distinction!
(2) “Gives” means “to entrust someone to another’s care” – BDAG.
• John 17:9 (ESV) — 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
• The Father has entrusted those He has drawn to Christ so Christ can see to it that the drawn may “never be cast out”.
(3) “Come” literally means “the coming of a worshiper to a deity” – BDAG.
• Those that are drawn and given will worship/believe/“get” Jesus.
• In other words, the Father will entrust those to Christ who worship Him as Lord and Savior!

An implication here is that unlike Jesus’ relationship with mankind as revealed in John 2:24 where Jesus is said to “not entrust Himself to them”.
• Here we see that those entrusted to Christ can be entrusted in by Christ based on the drawing and giving of the Father and the coming of the drawn and given.

POI – An important rabbit trail here is the “coming” of the disciples.
• We know that during their time with Christ they were called hard hearted, Satan, and seemed incapable of “getting” so much of what Christ was teaching them.
• In other words, they were very similar to unbelievers.
• However, we also see that they were the picture of “the coming of a worshiper to a deity”.
• John 1:49 (ESV) — 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
• Matthew 14:33 (ESV) — 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
• Luke 5:8 (ESV) — 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

(4) “Receives” is fleshed out in the bread of life discourse with statements such as:
• “I will never cast out” – John 6:37
• “I should lose nothing” – John 6:39
• “Raise it up on the last day” – John 6:39
• “Have eternal life” – John 6:40
• “Raise him up on the last day” – John 6:40
• We will talk more of this shortly.

Paul also illustrates this dynamic between the action of the Father and the coming of the believer.
• Romans 8:29–30 (ESV) — 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
• Ephesians 1:4–6 (ESV) — 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

And this dynamic is why Christ can say things like:
• Luke 16:31 (ESV) — 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’
    o If they aren’t drawn and given by the Father, there is no convincing so there will be no coming.
• Matthew 13:13–15 (ESV) — 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’”
    o The drawn and given are those that will “hear”/“understand” and “see”/“perceive” – COME.
    o The drawn and given are those that Christ will “heal” – RECEIVE.

So, not only has Jesus not failed in His ministry, but He has not failed because ultimately it is the Father who draws those that come.
• In His grace and by His Spirit, the Father makes us new and in that act we choose to come to Christ.
• Because of this Jesus can know that He will leave none behind – there are no what if’s.
o What if Jesus spoke one more sentence?
o What if Jesus gave one more sign?
o What if Jesus revealed Himself one more time?
o What if Jesus used one more metaphor?
o What if Jesus spoke one more parable?

BTW – this should also free us to speak the Gospel.
• We have not failed if no one believes!
• We have succeeded in that we have been obedient to the call and command of our Lord.


John 6:38–40 (ESV) — 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Pertaining to the Father Draws/Father Gives/We Come/Jesus Receives dynamic, Jesus explains what His “receiving” entails.
• Notice, first however, that again Jesus’ receiving is conditional to “everyone who looks on the Son and believes”.
    o In other words, His receiving is only for those who come.
    o And, as just learned, those who come are those that were drawn and given by the Father.
• Three times he states that it is the Father’s will that He receives those the Father gives Him.
• Jesus’ apparently defines the reason for His 3+ years on this planet as, in effect, completing the Father’s work.
For the believer, how awesome and humbling is that?
• You are a reason Jesus was made flesh.
• He came, in part, to receive you!
And then Jesus describes this “receiving” as:
• Losing nothing
• Raising it up
• Having eternal life
• Raising him up

For the believer, Jesus’ words are a great assurance of the believer’s eternal security.
• We will not be lost, we will be raised, and we will have eternal life.
• And our supreme confidence can rest in the fact that this is not due to anything we have done.
• But it can be attributed to the gracious drawing and giving of the Father that enabled us to come to Jesus and be received by Him.

Questions to consider for our upcoming lesson:
• Does the Father draw all of mankind?
• For the Gospel offer to be fair, must not everyone have the moral ability to respond in the affirmative?
• If all men possess an autonomous, libertarian free will and from this footing can either decide to be one “whoever” or the other, then doesn’t that mean that Jesus HAS failed in convincing unbelievers and has lost out to the power of Satan?
• Can someone who has come in response to being drawn, given and received simply decide later to reject the work of the Father and Christ and become an unbeliever again?