This chapter is quite lengthy at 71 verses. Jesus feeds the five thousand, walks on water and teaches that He is the bread of life. Towards the end, many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him.
I’m going to break down the section where Jesus teaches that He is the bread of life, what this means, and why this teaching caused many to turn away.
Perishable Food vs Eternal Life
Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.John 6:26
This verse comes in context after Jesus feeds the five thousand, retreats away, and the crowds eventually find Him again.
Jesus basically accuses the crowd for wanting His food. After experiencing the miracle of feeding five thousand with just five loaves and two fish, the thing the crowds remember is eating their fill. Not the miracle of feeding a massive crowd.
Philip said not even 200 denarii, which translates to $14,500, would barely feed that many people. So Jesus multiplies the bread and the fish. Jesus violated some fundamental laws in physics, namely the Law of Conservation of Energy and the Law of Conservation of Matter. Scientists should be wowed!
I mean, I’m sure Jesus doesn’t mind feeding people since He totally has the power to do so. But Jesus wants to offer us even more than food that perishes. He wants to offer us eternal life.
Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.John 6:27
This is similar to the flesh vs spirit analogy and the store up your treasures in heaven lesson.
Things of this world are only temporary, but the things that are not of this world are eternal. We must be forward-looking beyond this world and invest our time and efforts there.
Jesus Endorses Cannibalism?
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. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood is true drink.John 6:53-56
This would make a great premise for a vampire movie.
Jokes aside, I’m pretty sure when the Jews heard this for the first time, their jaws dropped. Here was this miracle worker and great teacher that they had heard so much about, and now he’s officially crazy.
Jesus Is Better Than Manna
Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.John 6:49
Ouch. Jesus just dealt a huge blow to the Jews.
I mean, these Jews gave the utmost respect for their predecessors and looked up to Moses’s generation that left Egypt and were fed manna from the heavens by God. They viewed Moses like a celebrity and would give anything to eat of the manna.
And Jesus claims that being fed manna wasn’t that great.
Of course, Jesus means no disrespect to the generation of Moses at all. He is simply using hyperbole to express how much better He is.
Which of course, offends the Jews.
Are You Offended?
Let’s recount all the offensive things Jesus said.
- You only want my food.
- I am bread.
- You have eyes but do not see. You are blind.
- I endorse cannibalism. Eat my flesh and drink me.
- Your ancestors had manna, but that’s not even that great.
- I’m better than your ancestors.
What sane Jew would not be offended by these sayings? You would need to be crazy in order to believe what Jesus is saying.
Let’s bring this to present-day. How would Jesus offend us today?
- You are lazy.
- What you are doing is wrong.
- You are working too hard for something meaningless.
- There is no middle ground. You are either for me or against me. If you are part of the world, you are against me.
- You are greedy.
- If you don’t believe in me, you will go to hell.
Need more? I’m sure there are plenty of other offensive things Jesus said.
The truth is a tough pill to swallow. We don’t like hearing it. No one does.
But the truth also redeems. It sets us free so that we no longer need to have any shame.
That’s the beauty of it.
Every weekend I write about some thoughts, life lessons, and interesting things I came by for the week. I'd love for you to join.