After miraculously feeding thousands of people with some bread and fish, Jesus slipped away from the pressing crowd. When the multitude again came seeking—for more food, for signs and wonders, and with a desire to know how they could earn God’s favor—Jesus spoke plainly to their real need: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). But his spiritually minded words did not satiate those who pursued tangible things. What Jesus offered them next was provocative, hard to understand, even argument inducing—and not easily palatable.
- When have you found God’s words or ways hard to understand?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 6:51-60 (ESV)
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.”
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 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. 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.
60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- How did Jesus describe himself in verse 51? Where did Jesus come from, and who is his source of life (vss. 51, 57-58)?
- Jesus repeatedly made known what will happen to anyone who partakes of “the living bread” (vss. 51, 54, 56-58). What is the promise found in his words?
- Jesus spoke of the consumption of flesh and blood as a metaphor for what he had already plainly stated to the crowd. If eating/drinking symbolizes belief, then what does it mean that Jesus is life for anyone who partakes of him?
- What was Jesus leading the people to understand through his final discourse on being the bread of life? What do we learn about the gospel message from this passage (vs. 51)?
- The Jews disputed Jesus’ words; the disciples wrestled with them. What is your own reaction?
RESPOND TO GOD
Jesus figuratively communicated what he had already directly declared several times in his longer discourse on being the bread of life: believe in me and you will have eternal life. To consume “the living bread” is to believe that God the Father sent Jesus, and that Jesus willingly gave his life for all (vs. 51). To partake of him—to believe—produces life now and eternally (vss. 54, 56) because he is the source of life, both now and forevermore. Jesus’ provocative words are the essence of the gospel message. So, eat, drink … believe!
- Confess to Jesus that he is your sustenance. Thank him for laying down his life for you and for his promise of eternal life.