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?