The Bread of Life
(John chapter 6, verses 51 through 69)
In the verses below, Jesus uses an illustration to explain that eternal life can only be obtained through receiving him as Saviour. Among the multitude who heard him that day, few understood the things that he spoke. This is because their heart was set upon earthly things and they were insensitive to the things of God.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
I Corinthians 2:14
This is still the case today. There are many religious people but few who understand their need for the Saviour and who have received the Bread of Life.
51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
Jesus had presented a great spiritual truth but it was misunderstood. These religious people "strove among themselves" rather than asking Christ to help them understand. Many people today strive among themselves over God's words and yet will not go to the Author of the Book to gain understanding.
53. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
58. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
59. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
60. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
61. When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
Jesus is not speaking of physical eating but of spiritual. To put it bluntly, if we were to eat his physical body, this would be cannibalism. To "eat" Jesus spiritually is to receive him into ourselves in a complete and personal way based upon his work of giving his flesh and blood upon the cross.
63. It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Again, he makes a distinction between those things of the flesh and those things of the spirit. Many of the multitude who heard Jesus' saying that day had recently seen the miracle of the loaves and fishes and were following him only because of the things of the flesh that he could provide for them. They had no sincere desire for the things of the spirit.
64. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
65. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
66. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
It is childlike faith that allows us to understand the things of God and receive him as our Saviour. Those who refuse to place their trust in Christ as Saviour will eventually walk away from him.
67. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68. Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
Praise God for those who have placed their faith in him, who receive the things of the Spirit of God, and who continue to walk with him!