The Jews Displeased With Jesus’ Teachings
Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
John 6:41 (NLT)
The Greek word GOGGUZO, which was translated “murmured,” means, “to grumble.”
This is saying they were displeased with Jesus’ teaching, no doubt because Jesus was proclaiming Himself to be more than just a mere man. (John 6:38), disturbed the religious leaders, for they knew it was a claim of deity. They thought they knew Jesus, who He was and where He came from (see Matt. 13:53-58; John 7:40-43). Jesus, of course, was the legal son of Joseph but not his natural son, for He was born of a virgin (Luke 1:34-38). The leaders identified Jesus with Nazareth in Galilee, not Bethlehem in Judea; and they thought that Joseph was His natural father. Had they investigated the matter, they would have learned who Jesus really is.
They were willing to elevate Him higher than others and make Him a king, but they weren’t going as far as to say He was God. But Jesus can’t be received as just an exceptional man. He has to be worshiped as God or rejected as an impostor (Mark 10:18). There is no middle ground.
The main issue was,
“Where did He come from?”
Crowd: Isn’t Jesus the son of Joseph? We know His parents! We know where He came from, so how can He claim to have “come down from heaven”?
John 6:42 (The Voice)
This confirms the point I made earlier. They said Joseph and Mary were Jesus’ parents. They were not willing to accept Him as God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). This was a logical conclusion but a wrong one. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh; they just didn’t know it. They didn’t know about His supernatural birth.
Why didn’t He tell them?
Certainly, one of the reasons was because without faith, it is impossible to please the Lord. The Lord doesn’t explain everything to us. There is always faith involved in our relationship with Him.
These Jews assumed that Jesus was the son of Joseph. Jesus never said that. It was their own supposition. If their supposition were accepted as true, then their conclusion would also be true. Their reasoning wasn’t flawed, but the “facts” on which their reasoning was based were wrong.
Likewise today, we have accepted many religious prejudices as being true that are not, and that leads us to wrong interpretations of God’s Word. We have to make a conscious effort to make sure that the foundations of our faith are anchored firmly in God’s Word and not on the traditions of man (Matthew 7:24-27).
So Jesus answered them, Stop grumbling and saying things against Me to one another. No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me, and [then] I will raise him up [from the dead] at the last day.
John 6:43-44 (AMP)
No one seeks after God on their own. Anyone who desires God and His benefits in his life is doing so under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if the Holy Spirit stops wooing a person, he or she cannot be saved. This is what happens when the Lord gives a person over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:28). That person is eternally damned because he or she will not come to the Lord without the influence of the Holy Spirit. People who still desire to be in right relationship with God, regardless of how bad they think their sins are, are still demonstrating that the Holy Spirit is dealing with them.
This is one of the great truths of the Bible. Mankind is so destitute that we can’t even seek God on our own. God has to draw us to Himself through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11). This is why Isaiah admonished us to “Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near.” (Isaiah 55:6).
We can’t come to God when we get ready. We have to come while He is drawing us. This is why blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unpardonable. Once the Holy Spirit quits dealing with us, we have no hope of repentance or remorse.
Jesus further explained how the sinner could come to God: it is through the truth of the Word.
As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.) “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.
John 6:45 (NLT)
The Father draws the sinner by His Word. Jesus quoted Isaiah 54:13 (or perhaps Jer. 31:33-34) to prove His point: “And they shall all be taught of God.” It is through the teaching of the Word that God draws people to the Savior. The sinner hears, learns, and comes as the Father draws him.
A mystery? Yes! A blessed reality? Yes!
This was basically the same message He gave after He had healed the paralytic (see John 5:37-40). The crowd wanted to see something, but their real need was to learn something. It is by the Word that we “see” God and receive the faith to come to Christ and trust Him (Rom. 10:17).
I am the bread that gives life. Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and they died, as you know. But there is another bread that comes from heaven; if you eat this bread, you will not die.
John 6:48-50 (VOICE)
When Jesus called Himself “the Living Bread,” He was not claiming to be exactly like the manna. He was claiming to be even greater! The manna only sustained life for the Jews, but Jesus gives life to the whole world. The Jews ate the daily manna and eventually died; but when you receive Jesus Christ within, you live forever. When God gave the manna, He gave only a gift; but when Jesus came, He gave Himself. There was no cost to God in sending the manna each day, but He gave His Son at great cost. The Jews had to eat the manna every day, but the sinner who trusts Christ once is given eternal life.
It is not difficult to see in the manna a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. The manna was a mysterious thing to the Jews; in fact, the word manna means, “What is it?” (See Ex. 16:15) Jesus was a mystery to those who saw Him. The manna came at night from heaven, and Jesus came to this earth when sinners were in moral and spiritual darkness. The manna was small (His humility), round (His eternality), and white (His purity). It was sweet to the taste (Ps. 34:8) and it met the needs of the people adequately.
The manna was given to a rebellious people; it was the gracious gift of God. All they had to do was stoop and pick it up. If they failed to pick it up, they walked on it. The Lord is not far from any sinner. All the sinner has to do is humble himself and take the gift that God offers.
Jesus closed this part of His message by referring to His flesh, a word that will be used six more times before the dialogue is concluded.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”
John 6:51 (NLT)
John 6:51 is a declaration that the Son of God will give Himself as a sacrifice “for the life of the world.” The substitutionary death of Jesus Christ is a key doctrine in John’s Gospel. Jesus would die:
- For the world (John 3:16; 6:51),
- For His sheep (John 10:11, 15),
- For the nation (John 11:50-52),
- And for His friends (John 15:12).
Paul made it personal, and so should we: “Who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). We must not limit the work of Christ on the cross. He is the sacrifice not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).
DECLARATION OF FAITH
I am taught of God. He is my personal mentor, instructor, and overseer. As my Guide in life, He has led me to Jesus and made me realize my dependence upon Him.
In Jesus, I have eternal life. He is the very Bread of Life to me. The bread that He has given me is His own body, which He gave for my life. I now have the certainty that I will live forever with my Lord in heaven, and there isn’t a thing that the devil can do about it.