John Message #19 “Discourse on the Bread of Life” Ed Miller, April 17, 2024

Listen to the audio above while following allow in the transcript below which is also available for download at

I’d like to share a verse before we go to prayer.  Actually, it’s two verses from Ephesians 5:13&14, “All things become visible when they’re exposed to the light.  For this reason, awake sleeper, arise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.”  The interesting word in the original “arise from the dead” is “arise from the dead ones”.  It’s actually talking about people who do not want to see Jesus.  It said, “Arise from them and Christ will dawn on you.”  That’s the Greek.  Let’s trust the Lord to dawn on us.  When we’re sleeping and wake up there’s a new day.  He said, “Awake, sleeper, and Christ will dawn on you.”  It’s a new day, so let’s trust Him.

Father, thank You for Your precious promise to dawn Christ on us.  Lord, we’ve come to behold Him and we thank You for the indwelling Holy Spirit who always turns the eyes of our faith unto Jesus.  So, Lord, we commit our little session unto You and just ask that You would unveil Yourself according to our capacities and Your high purpose in our lives.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Welcome again.  We’re meditating in the gospel of John and we’re coming to the end of chapter 6.  Our focus is still to behold the revelation of the Lord.  As long as I live and have a sound mind that will always be our focus.  We want to see Jesus.  We don’t want to depart from the purpose that John gave when he said, “The Holy Spirit led him to write this book.”  John 20:31, “These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that believing you may have life in His name.”  We broke that into three principles.  John wrote so that we would know the Lord.  John wrote so that we would trust the Lord.  John wrote that we would experience life and enjoy the Lord.  So, that’s been our focus.

When we came to chapter 6, we divided it into four sections.  The first fifteen verses, the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand men plus women and children.  And then in verse 16-21 the storm; they went out on the sea to test the reality of that miracle.  Then after that was all over in verses 22-59 He gave a great discourse where He explains the miracle of the loaves.  That’s what that discourse is about; it’s on Jesus, the Bread of Life.  Then finally at the end, He deals with His disciples; some had a little problem with some of the things He said, so the chapter ends with Him speaking to them.

I’m not going to review everything we said about the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand or the storm because we spent a couple of weeks on that, and if you missed that, of course, that’s available for you either online or the CD’s.  I’d like to wrap up the first two sections, in other words the feeding of the five thousand and the storm, and then we’ll begin the third section which is the great discourse, verse 22-59. 

I want to make two observations as we wrap up the miracle and the storm.  The first is this.  When you read the Old Testament, you’re seeing truth in seed form; it’s not developed yet.  It’s all there.  They had everything you have.  You have it in fully developed form and they had it in seed form.  When you read the Old Testament you have the truth in seed form.  When you read the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you have the truth in bud form.  It’s still not fully developed until you come to the epistles.  We have the truth in fully developed form. 

My first observation is to remember that when we study chapter 6, that was before the cross, before the resurrection, before the ascension, before the sending of the Holy Spirit.  It’s the truth and it’s all there, but it’s in bud form, but because it wasn’t fully developed, the Holy Spirit broke it up into scenes.  So, we had Jesus on the mountain, and then we saw Jesus walking by on the water, and then we saw Jesus in the boat.  It’s the truth and those three messages all say the same thing, “Trust Jesus on the mountain, and trust Jesus as He’s walking by giving a word of assurance, and trust Jesus when He’s in the boat with you working miracles and accommodating His greatness to your weakness.”  They had it broken up because it was bud form, but we have the same experience but it’s fully developed.  Since we live on the other side of Pentecost, since the Holy Spirit, the Life of God is in you, and the Life of God is in me, we have the reality of what they had in bud form.  Because He’s our ascended High Priest, listen to Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore, He’s able, also, to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”  For you, because you are on the other side of Pentecost, Jesus is on the mountain praying, and He’s praying twenty-four hours a day for you.  He’s always on the mountain.

Having said that, when we struggle at the oars, He is always walking on the water passing by.  We don’t have it in segments.  It’s not either this or this or this.  We have it all.  Listen to John 6:20, “He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.”  So, because Christ is in your heart, sometimes He walks by and He gives a word of assurance, and you know it’s Him, and there’s nothing to be afraid of, and He’s in control of the storm and everything is under His feet.  Remember, when they looked out, they thought it was a ghost. Well, it is; it’s the Holy Ghost.  Exactly right!  Sometimes in your life you’re just going to rest and know that He’s on the mountain praying and He’s my High Priest, and sometimes in your life you’re going to know that He’s passing by with a word in season, to let you know that it’s Him and to take away your fear and to give you peace, and to let you know that it’s the word of God by the  Spirit of God.  And sometimes, because He lives in your heart, and you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, He’s in the boat with you, and He has to be because He’s in your heart.  You don’t have it in stages.  For me, He’s on the mountain praying.  For me, He’s passing by giving me a word of comfort and assurance.  For me, He’s in the boat.  You see, I’m in the boat, and He’s in me, so He’s in the boat, and He’s always in the boat.  So, we have all of those experiences as one.  They had it in seed form, and it was either this or this or this, but we have all three.  We have Christ on the mountain, we have Christ walking by in the Holy Spirit giving us a word in season, and we have Christ in the boat accommodating His greatness to our weakness, meeting us where we are and working miracles for us. 

My second observation to wrap everything up is from Mark 6:52, “They had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves; their heart was hardened.”  I want to just focus again on the fact that they didn’t get it.  Even after the storm you would think that they learned their lesson.  No, they didn’t learn their lesson.  The lesson, of course, was that Christ is with them.  He’s all I need for the miracle of obedience, “You feed them.”  He’s all I need to minister to the hungry, “You feed them.”  He’s all I need to weather the storm.  He’s all I need for everything, and to satisfy my hunger, He’s the bread of Life.  They didn’t have insight; they didn’t get it.

There’s a story in Mark 8 which is interesting because it refers back to the miracle of the five thousand, the one we studied.  They didn’t get after the miracle, and they didn’t get it down the road, and Peter didn’t get it until after the resurrection of Christ.  So, sometimes we’re slow on getting it.  This illustration, I think, is wonderful.  It’s Mark 8:1-9.  I want to look just for a moment at the feeding of the four thousand and how it relates to the feeding of the five thousand.  Mark 8:1-3, “In those days there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, and Jesus called His disciples and said to them, ‘I feel compassion for the people because they’ve remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat.  If I send them away hungry to their homes, they’ll faint on the way.  Some of them have come from a great distance.”  By the way, you might want to see all the principles in that verse.  You talk about an indispensable principle.  Jesus wants to feed us.  If He send us away hungry we’re going to faint on the way, and He knows all about your life and some of you have come a great distance.  So, He will feed those who are hungry. 

Anyway, the disciples at this time seemed to forget that He had already worked a miracle and fed five thousand men plus women and children, and they respond to Jesus in verse 4, “His disciples answered Him, ‘Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?’”  They didn’t get it.  They didn’t remember.  They are just, “Oh, what are we going to do?  Look at all the people!”  After the miracle of the feeding of the four thousand, our Lord Jesus said to His disciples, verse 15, “He was giving orders to them saying, ‘Watch out; beware of the leaven of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.’”  But they’re thinking on the level of earth, so when they thought “leaven”, they thought bread, and then all of a sudden they became nervous.  Verse 16, “They began to discuss one another the fact that they had no bread.”  When He said, “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees,” He was talking about teaching and doctrine; He doesn’t want error.  Once again, though, they’re blind and they had no insight to spiritual reality.  Verse 17, “Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ‘Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread?  Do you not yet see or understand?  Do you have a hardened heart?  Are you still blind after all I showed you?”  And then He brings up the other miracle, the miracle of the five thousand.  John 8:18, “’Having eyes, do you not see?  Having ears, do you not hear?  Do you not remember when I broke the five loaves for five thousand?  How many baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?’  And they said, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?’  And they said, ‘Seven,’ and He was saying to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’”

Now, He has a couple of points here.  One of the points is very, very powerful.  He asks, in effect, by remembering the five thousand, “What was the supply when I fed five thousand plus?”  The answer is five loaves and two fish; that was the supply.  It was rather meager, a small supply.  What was the need?  Well, five thousand people plus, and it was maybe ten thousand.  So, there’s a small supply and there’s a great need.  How did it work out?  He met with a small supply a great need.  Mark 8:19, “’When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketsful of broken pieces did you pick up?’  And they said, ‘Twelve.’”  That was the great miracle; a little supply, a great need, and great abundance besides. 

Then He asked about the present miracle.  What’s the need?  The answer is four thousand, and it doesn’t say plus women and children.  I don’t know if it’s just four thousand, but I’m not a great mathematician but four thousand is less than five thousand, so the need is not as great.  What was the supply?  Mark 8:5, “He was asking them, ‘How many loaves do you have?’ They said, ‘Seven.’”  Then in verse 7, “They also had a few small fish.”  It’s a silly question to ask, but are seven loaves more than five loaves?  I think so.  Are a few fish more than two fish.  I think absolutely, just as five thousand is greater than four thousand and the supply is different, the point is this.  The Greek word for basket for the five thousand is a wicker basket.  It’s something you could carry in your hand when they handed out the food.  But in the second, Mark 8:8, “They ate and were satisfied, and they picked up seven large baskets.”  Why did he call the “large baskets”?  You may say that twelve baskets is more than seven baskets, but that depends on the size of the basket.  The word is used, listen to Acts 9:25, “His disciples took him by night,” that’s the Apostle Paul, “And let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.”  That is the same word.  So, the seven baskets were large enough to put a man in it.  So, seven baskets is actually more than the twelve baskets.  It ends with this word in verse 21, “He was saying to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’” 

That comparison of the five thousand and four thousand is very convicting for my own heart, and I’ll tell you why, because sometimes I think these disciples were a lot sharper than I am.  I’m pretty dull and it takes a long time for some things to sink in.  For sixty-six years, since I’ve know the Lord, He has been faithful to me.  I remember we didn’t even have five loaves and two fish.  We had nothing; we had no money, we had no job, we had no food.  We sat around the table and gave thanks to the Lord around empty plates.  We had food in the cupboard or in the refrigerator, and while we were praying, Lillian is a testimony, there was a knock at the door and there was somebody with groceries had come to our door.  How faithful was the Lord in the feeding of the five thousand.  No supply and then a great miracle!

The reason I bring that up is because now we don’t have that problem.  We have three freezers and they’re all full.  We have abundance now, and yet if there’s a need, I get worried.  I say, “How come, Lord?”  He says, “Don’t you remember when you had nothing and I did a great miracle?  Now you have something, and it’s a little miracle, and you’re doubting Me, and holding Me in question?”  Oh, shame on me, and shame on Lillian, because she sometimes gets into that, too. 

This section ends; He doesn’t call attention to the supply; He calls attention to the surplus and what was left over.  Mark 6:42, “They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up twelve full baskets of broken pieces and also fish.”  Mark 8:8, “They ate and were satisfied, and picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces.”  This abundance pictured by the baskets is bigger than bread, and bigger than fish, and we’re going to learn in the discourse that Jesus is the Bread of Life.  The surplus is picturing the Lord and all that is found in Him.  It includes other things like health and groceries and shelter and rent and all of that, and transportation and mental stability.  It includes all of that.  Listen to Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not with Him freely give us all things.?”  Thank the Lord for Lex.  Lex gave a wonderful message this past Lord’s Day.  I couldn’t make it but I heard it online, and it’s on the “all things” that we have in Christ Jesus.  It’s pictured by all that leftover, the baskets full of leftovers.

In this discourse He’s going to make a big difference between Himself, “I’m the Bread of Life”, and the fish and the loaves, what He gives, who He is and what He gives.  So many times we run after what He gives rather than who He is.  We run after peace, we run after rest, we run after deliverance, we run after victory, we run after fruit, we run after the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit and we run after those things.  Those are by-products.  If you look to Christ, you have those things.  If you run after a by-product, you are going to lose the goal and the by-product.  We’ve got to run after Christ Himself.

Let me just illustrate it, and then we’ll move on to the discourse.  Isaiah 12:2, this particular verse is quoted three times in different places, “God is my salvation.  I will trust and not be afraid.  The Lord God is my strength and song and has become salvation.”  The Lord IS my strength and IS my song and IS my salvation.  We also know that He is the Giver of strength, He’s the Giver of joy, He’s the Giver of deliverance.  What’s the difference between God gives strength and God IS my strength?  What’s the difference between God gives peace and God IS my peace and my song?  What’s the difference between God IS, gives deliverance and the Lord becomes my salvation?  Are we running after what He gives or who He is?  This miracle calls attention to this surplus.  He’s the Bread of Life and we’re to run after Him.

Let me try to picture it for you.  Let’s say there’s a Christian, and I’ll use myself because I’m often there, and desperately needs help from the Lord.  So, I come to the Lord and say, “Lord, I sure need strength.  I need to confront somebody about an issue, and I need help in this.  I’m weak and I’m going through a test and trial; give me strength, give me patience.  I’m not ready to face this thing.  Lord, I just got a doctor’s report and it’s terrifying.  I need Your help.”  When God gives strength, here’s what it looks like.  I prayed, “Lord, I’m messed up and I need help.”  Then, I rise from my knees.  When I knelt down I was chicken hearted and I was fearful and I was weak, but because God is faithful and He gives strength, now I feel like the Lord is going to take care of it and I’m a little more courageous and I don’t know how it’s going to work out, but I know He’s going to be with me and He’s going to supply what I need, and now I’m more brave than I was, and more determined, and so on.   Hebrews 4:16, “Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Is God a Giver of help?  Yes; that’s what the throne of grace is all about.

The same is true when I need peace.  Let’s say I get on my knees, and I say, “Lord, I’m feeling gloomy and depressed and discouraged.  Things haven’t been going right, and I’m just sad.  I need joy.  Lord, please give me joy.”  Because I’ve prayed and because He’s faithful, I rise and I’m relieved and refreshed and I have joy in my heart.  I know He’s in charge and in control.”  John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you and My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you.”  Does He give peace?  Absolutely, He’s a faithful God.   He’s going to give you strength if you need strength.  He’s going to give you peace if you need peace, and it’s also true we’ll all face the abiding corruption that seems to be in our heart, no matter how much we love the Lord and how often we’ve walked with Him, we’ve got that struggle and we incline to sin.  Psalm 44:4, “You are my king, oh God; command victories for Jacob.”  Does He command victory?  He does.  Psalm 68:20, “God is to us a God of deliverances.”  I can’t tell you how many times He’s given me deliverance.  I’ve cried out for victory so many times.  It actually frustrates me.  After all these years, I should be further along.  Why am having these thought?  How come I keep falling?  It just frustrates me, and I come to the Lord, and I don’t want to constantly sin and constantly doubt, and I cry for deliverance, and I rise again more hopeful and more assured, and God is going to set me free.  Sometimes He closes the door or something like that.  So, He’s a Giver; He gives strength, He gives peace, He gives deliverance.

I quoted Romans 8:32, “With Him He freely give us all things,” and I quote Isaiah 12:2, “He is my strength, He is my song and He has become my salvation.”  So, what’s the difference when God gives you that and when He becomes that?  Let me go back to the same illustration.  1 Corinthians 1:30, “By His doing you are in Christ who became to us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”  Here is what it looks like; same me, same person, fall on my knees, I say, “Lord, I need strength. I’m still chicken hearted, I’ve got to face that person, and it’s not going to be easy, I’m a bruised reed, I’m smoking flax, I’m weak and I need strength.”  I rise from my prayer, and here is the difference.  I’m still chicken hearted and I’m still weak and I’m still afraid, but because God IS my strength, I go forward anyway.  That’s the difference; I go forward trusting that the Lord will be there in time and do it, and I haven’t received anything different, but the worm thrashes the mountain, and I go forward in my weakness because He IS my strength.  The same thing is true.  When I call out for peace, I say, “Lord, I’m anxious and I’m nervous and I’m fretting and I don’t want to fret.  Please give me peace,” and then I rise and I’m still fretting, and I’m still anxious.  So what?  I go forth anyway because He IS my peace; the Lord IS my song, and I’m trusting Him now, and that feeling that I wanted, that peace for Him to remove that, it doesn’t matter because I live by faith in the Son of God, and I’m trusting Him.  He IS my peace.  And just so, He becomes my salvation.  I have victory, not as a thing, but as a Person.  I’m trusting the One who delivers, not the One who gives deliverance.  It’s true; He gives it and if you need it, He’ll give it, but if you can go on trusting Him as your strength, as your peace, as your song, as your salvation, that’s what He wants.  That pleases Him.

All of this was a lengthy illustration about that surplus, because we have it all in Him, that twelve baskets and the seven large baskets.  I think you are familiar with the title of the Lord, El Shaddai.  Oh my, what a title!  He’s enough!  Actually, He’s the God who is more than enough!  Christ is convertible.  It’s like money.  You have a million dollars, you have shoes.  If you have a million dollars you have groceries.  If you have a million dollars, you have transportation. If you take that, it becomes that.  If you have Christ, you have peace, if you have Christ, you have victory, if you have Christ, you have strength, if you have Christ you are going to bear fruit.  This is the wonder, and He’s going to explain it in the discourse on verses 22-59. 

So, now, having wrapped up the storm and the feeding, I’d like to move to the discourse.  We call it a discourse.  I didn’t choose that; the commentators called it a discourse.  It’s not a sermon; He’s not standing behind a pulpit here with a bunch of notes.  It’s more of a discussion.  There’s back and forth, and it’s not even more of a discussion.  As I read it, it’s more of a debate, and there is going back and forth, and there are enemies.  He says something and they say something, and it’s back and forth.  So, we’re going to call it a discourse, but you know what it is here.

The debate begins with one group of people, but it doesn’t end with the same group.  Even though it’s a running commentary, it doesn’t end the same way.  I’ll show you.  The first group are those who had been fed the day before.  Listen to verse 24, “When the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into small boats and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus.”   This was the crowd that yesterday was fed and now they come to Him.  It didn’t end there.  It looks like around verse 40 there’s a break, because look at verse 41, “Therefore, the Jews were grumbling about Him because He said, ‘I’m the bread that came down out of heaven.’”  It seems like those Jews are a different group and it seems like they’re walking as they’re talking because look at verse 59, “These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.”  So, it begins on the shore with the people from yesterday, and it ends in the synagogue.  Evidently, they’re walking along and when these Jews came in, then He went to the synagogue and continued this discourse.

Before we look at the discourse of Jesus on the Bread of Life, we need to study it as the explanation for the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand.  I want to mention just before we begin, two ways this chapter has been taken out of context.  By that I mean that it’s not applied to the miracle of the loaves.  This chapter has been taken out context because of certain statements that are in it and it’s just become for many who think they are theologians a treasury of proof texts.  Some of the things that Jesus said here prove the doctrine that theologians call “election”, the chapter they run to prove their idea of election, the hyper-Calvinists especially because predestination and election are mention here.  I can see why.  Listen to these verses.  John 6:37, “All the Father gives Me will come to Me.  The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”  Verse 44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws Him, and I’ll raise him up on the last day.”  Verse 45, “It is written in the prophets, ‘They shall all be taught of God, everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.’”  Now, because the hyper-Calvinists, the theologian, has taken this chapter out of context, we need to address that.  I plan to do that.

The second way this chapter has been taken out of context is by saying that some of Jesus’ comments refer to what is called the Eucharist or the Lord’s Table or the Lord’s Supper or Communion.  You know what I’m talking about.  They especially quote verse 54-56, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life.  I’ll raise him up on the last day.  My flesh is true food and My blood is true drink; he who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him.”  I’m telling you right out, there is no reference whatsoever to the Lord’s Table in those comments.  There’s no reference to the Eucharist.  The fact is that the Lord’s Table hadn’t even been instituted at the time that He had given this, but because there is the mention of bread and because there is the mention of the fruit of the vine, or wine or grape juice, and because in the Lord’s Table there is bread and there’s also the wine or the grape juice, they say it must refer to the same thing.  It would actually be another year before Jesus would institute that ceremony that we celebrate.  Those who apply this to bread breaking I don’t think they’ve thought it through because of what Jesus said here.  He said, “If you don’t do this, you don’t eat My flesh and drink My blood, you’re lost; you’re going to hell.  You have no life in you.  You can’t abide in Me.”  This is necessary for salvation, eating His flesh and drinking His blood.  Taking communion is not necessary for salvation.  In some churches they have what they call their first communion.  What if somebody died before their first communion?  They were in big trouble.  How about people who are shut in who can’t get out who haven’t heard of this bread breaking?  How about the thief on the cross.  They haven’t thought in through.  There’s no reference here to that. 

Because they took everything literal, on the level of earth, they’re looking at things with these eyes and not with these eyes.  When He said, “You’ve got to eat My flesh and drink My blood,” their heads almost exploded, “What, I’ve got to be a cannibal?  I have to be a vampire?  What does it mean to eat His flesh and drink His blood?”  That’s why we read verse 60, “This is a difficult statement.  Who can listen to it?”  The word “difficult” doesn’t mean obscure, “This is hard to understand.”   The word “difficult” is the Greek word “offensive”, “This is offensive.  What are You saying?”  Jesus knew that the strong language that He used when He said those things would in the future generation be interpreted with evil connotations and He used it anyway, and I think there is a reason.  We won’t get into that right now.

He actually explained “eat My flesh and drink My blood” before He mentioned that.  He explained it in this discourse what He meant, and that’s in verse 35, “He said, ‘I’m the bread of life.’”  Now, bread, eating and hunger all seem to be talking about the same thing, wouldn’t you agree?   Bread, eat, hunger, that’s all talking about the same thing.  Drinking and thirst goes together, right?  So, what’s eating His flesh?  He said, “He who comes to Me will never hunger.”  That’s what it means to eat His flesh, it means to come to Him.   What does it mean to drink His blood?  “He that believes in Me will never thirst.”  Every time you come to Jesus and every time you believe in Him, you are feeding on Christ and you’re eating His flesh and drinking His blood.  That’s what it means, but that’s not how they took it. 

Those are the two things that are taken out of context, applying the statement to the Eucharist or a twisted caricature of a precious doctrine called election.  Now, because it brought up and because it’s been abused and it’s been widely misinterpreted, I believe the Lord would have us look, really, at that doctrine of election.  In the light of this chapter and in the light of the balance of scripture, I’m not going to do it today, but Lord willing next week I’d like to address that whole subject.  I would ask please pray for me as I make final preparations for that lesson. 

For now, I want to stand back and just get a drift of this discourse.  What is it all about and how does it explain the miracle of the loaves?  I want to begin by showing you the great contrast that goes all through this discourse.  It starts when He is talking to the crowd from having been fed, and it continues when He talks to the Jews and ends up in the synagogue.  It begins with Mark 6:52, “They had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves; their heart was hardened.”  We’re going to be talking about sight and insight; that’s the contrast.  We’re going to be talking about these eyes, the natural eye, seeing things on the level of earth, and we’re going to be talking about these eyes, the eyes of the heart and seeing spiritual truth, because He gives spiritual truth, they interpret it on the level earth.  He gives another spiritual truth, and they interpret it, and they are constantly looking with these eyes and He’s trying to get them to see with these eyes.  That contrast goes all the way.  I want to illustrate that.

Chapter 6:14, “When the people saw the sign which He had performed, then they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king.  He withdrew to the mountain by Himself alone.”  Why did they want to make Him king?  They saw them multiply loaves and feed thousands and they said, “This is the kind of Messiah we want.  We want a king like this.  If we can have a king, we can get rid of all of our doctors, and if we can have a king like that we don’t need grocers, if we had a king like that we don’t need a weather man.  He can control the weather.  If we had a king like that we could close down the hospitals and the old age homes and we could close down the morgue.  We want Him as king,” and He knew that.  When they showed up the next day, He said as much.  John 6:26, “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, you seek Me not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.  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 the Father God has set His seal.’”  They were looking with these eyes on food that perishes and He said, “You need a different set of eyes.

When they first arrived, they were scratching their heads saying, “How in the world did Jesus get here?”  Verse 22, “The next day the crowd that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other small boat there except one, and Jesus had not entered with his disciples into the boat; his disciples had gone away alone.”  Verse 25, “When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, ‘Rabbi, when did you get here?  You didn’t get in the boat with your disciples.’”  “Surely, you did not walk on water, ha, ha, ha.”  They wouldn’t have thought that.  They would have probably thought that He got another boat somewhere or He walked around or something like that.  They wanted a human explanation; that’s the point.  Everything is on the level of earth, and they want a sign.  Listen to verse 30, “They said, ‘What then do You do for a sign, that we may see and believe.’”  Of course, notice the order—see and believe.  The spiritual order is believe and see.  They got the order wrong.

They saw the wonder of the miracle, but they did not see the sign.  The sign is the message.  They missed the message altogether.  Notice in verse 31, “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness as it is written.  He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.”  Here is their argument basically, “Jesus, we know You are trying to claim that You are Messiah.  You fed five thousand plus one meal, and You want us to believe that You are Messiah.  Moses in the Old Testament fed millions and for forty years, and he’s not Messiah.  How do you want us to believe that You are Messiah because you fed five thousand in one meal and Moses did millions for forty years, and he’s not Messiah?”  All the way through they’re arguing on the level earth with these eyes.  When Jesus said He was sent out of heaven from the Father, listen to how they responded.  Verse 41, “Therefore, the Jews were grumbling about Him because He said, ‘I’m the bread come down out of heaven.’  They were saying, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph whose father and mother we know?  How does He say, “I’ve come out of heaven?”’”  He’s claiming to be the Son of God.  They say, “That’s ridiculous; we know His family.  They live down the street.  We know Mary, we know Joseph.”  Again, with these eyes they’re looking.

Just as an aside, some people think that Joseph had died very early and that he wasn’t even alive when Jesus turned the water into wine, but I think this comment they made at least makes me think he’s still alive. “We know your mother and your father,” so I think he’s still alive, but that’s not important.

It comes to a climax, of course, in verse 51 and 52, “’I’m the bread that comes down out of heaven.  If anyone eats this bread, he’ll live forever.  The bread, also, which I give for the life of the world is My flesh.’  Then they began to argue with one another saying, ‘How can this man give us His flesh to eat?’”  Do you see how they’re hearing it?  “You’ve got to eat My flesh and drink My blood.”  On the level of earth, “How can we eat His flesh?”  That’s all through this thing, and then there’s that great contrast.  They don’t have insight; they want a physical king, “How did You get here?   There’s got to be a way.  We’re not laboring for the food that perishes.  Give us some sign.  Do something greater than Moses did.  We know Your family.”  Everything is on the level of earth, “How can we eat Your flesh?  That’s not possible.”  Even when they said in verse 34, “Lord, always give us this bread,” don’t think that they were hungry for the Lord.  It was like the woman at the well.  Jesus said, “I’ve got Living Water for you,” and she said, “Well, give me some water like that so I don’t have to come back here anymore.”  Now they’re saying the same thing, “You’ve got bread that will make us live forever, a fountain of youth?  Give it to us; we’ll take it,” but they weren’t thinking of the Lord, they weren’t thinking spiritually.

Here’s the contrast.  They’re seeing with these eyes, but they need to see with the eyes of the heart and spiritual discernment.  Here is what Jesus was offering.  I’m first going to read these verses.  Verse 27, “Do not work for the food which perishes but the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you,” a food that endures to eternal life has got to be spiritually discerned.”  Verse 32, “Jesus said, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, it’s not Moses who has given you bread out of heaven; it’s My Father who gives you true bread out of heaven.’”  They can’t see that with the natural eye; that has to be spiritually discerned.  Verse 50, “The bread which comes out of heaven, so that one may eat and not die,” that’s the spiritual truth, and for that they need insight.  Verse 51, “I’m the living bread that comes out of heaven; if anyone eats this bread, he’ll live forever, and the bread which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”  There is so much in that statement, just that!  The whole incarnation, “The word was made flesh,” and, “I’m going to give My flesh for the life of the world.”  There’s no way they can get that without the Lord opening their eyes.  None of that makes sense to the natural eye.

I want to show you a couple of verses about seeing with these eyes and seeing with these eyes.  Alright, 1 Corinthians 2:14, “The natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; they are foolishness to him; he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised.”  It’s not only that he does not, but it’s that he can’t; it’s not possible.  That’s why Jesus told Nicodemus, “Unless you are born again you can’t see and you can’t understand, and you can’t comprehend.”  John 6:45, “It’s written in the prophets, ‘They shall all be taught of God.’”  You’ve got to be taught of God.  1 Corinthians 2:13, “Not in words taught by human wisdom, but those taught by the Spirit.”   That’s what they couldn’t understand; that’s what they couldn’t comprehend, and they had no insight.  “How can there be food that comes out of heaven?  How can there be bread that I eat and I’ll not die?  How can there be bread that will make me live forever?”  They had no clue, verse 35, “Jesus said, ‘I AM the bread of life.  He who comes to Me will not hunger.  He who believes in Me will not thirst.’”  Verse 29, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”  Verse 37, “All the Father gives Me will come to Me.”  Verse 40, “This is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life.”  Verse 47, “I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.” 

Now, the contrast that we’ve seen between these eyes, the natural eye, and the spiritual eye, to see spiritual truth and understand spiritual truth, that’s where all this talk about election and predestination comes in because unless God opens the eyes, you can’t see spiritual truth.  So, the question comes, is He going to open everybody’s eyes, or are some born to stay blind forever?  Whose eyes get open and when do they get open, and does He open everybody’s eyes?  We know that unless God opens our eyes, we’re in big trouble.  Romans 9:16, “It does not depend on a man who wills or the man who runs but on God who chose mercy.”  Philippians 2:13, “It is the Lord who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  John 1:13, “Who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  We’re hopelessly blind.  2 Corinthians 4:6, “God who said, ‘Life shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 

So, we come to this question.  The sinner can’t see with these eyes unless God does some kind of a miracle.  They’re arguing and they’re debating and they’re not getting it, and they can’t get it unless they’re drawn, unless God opens their eyes.  Listen to this verse and we’ll sort of get ready to close, Isaiah 55:1&2, Jesus invites everyone who thirsts to come to the waters,  “You who have no money, come, buy and eat, come.  Buy wine and milk without money, without cost.  Why do you spend money for that which is not bread?  Why do you spend wages on what does not satisfy?  Listen carefully to Me.  Eat what is good.  Delight yourself in abundance, incline your ear, and come to Me.  Listen, that you may live.”  He’s inviting the hungry; He’s inviting the thirsty; He’s inviting the blind, those who can’t see, to come.  How?  Next week, and I ask for your prayers, Lord willing, we’re going to discuss, “What does it mean that no one can come unless the Father draws him?  What is involved in that?  Who is drawn?  How does He draw?  Whose eyes are open?  How can I hunger?  How can I thirst?  Who are the elect?  What makes them elect?”  So, pray for me.  This is not the first time that subject has come up in church history. 

Father, thank You for this wonderful chapter, this discourse.  Lord, we know that the natural man can’t understand.  We know how necessary it is to have spiritual eyes, and we know You’ve addressed it in this discourse, not only addressed it, but You’ve explained it.  Lord, we pray that You prepare our hearts for Your explanation, not man, not my idea, but just what is absolutely certain and true.  We just commit this lesson to You and the one to come.  We thank You, Lord, that You’ve opened our eyes.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.