John 6:22-71

Author: Norm Clothier

22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.


Jesus the Bread of Life

25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”


26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”


28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”


29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”


30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[a]”


32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”


34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”


35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”


41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”


43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[b] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”


52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”


53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.


Many Disciples Desert Jesus

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”


61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[c] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”


66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.


67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.


68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”


70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)


Key Verse

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”


Jesus taught the disciples an important lesson on the spiritual component of the Kingdom, one which was neither well understood nor well received by His followers.


This is a long section, full of incredible teachings by Jesus! I’d recommend you read through it at least twice to get the feel of the events and the lessons.

On first look, if you have a “red letter edition” of your New Testament, you will see that most of this passage is in red - the very words of Jesus Christ!  Note, too, that crowds of people went in search of Jesus, and that he had recently fed them miraculously (John 6:1-15). These disciples were the thousands following after Him at this time, not just the Twelve plus a few others.

Although the people were seeking Jesus, He knew they didn’t fully understand (v. 26,27). Rather than seeking literal bread for the moment, Jesus taught them to look for eternal sustenance through belief in Him (v. 29).

An interesting section follows. Remember that the Jewish people knew their history very well, and that Moses was a great hero to them. Jesus pointed out that they should realize that it was God who provided for them with bread from heaven, or manna, for the many years in the desert. This leads to a huge, startling declaration: that Jesus Himself is the Bread of Life! This was such a different teaching for a people that were accustomed to centuries of physical sacrifices to reach toward God, that I can only imagine they had no idea of what to make of this! This new teaching was highly abstract, no longer involving physical sacrifice, but rather a spiritual experience. He spoke of His Father, being the Son, giving eternal life, and coming down from heaven so that we can be raised up! Imagine trying to assimilate this into your own belief system, knowing this same Jesus had just performed a miracle in front of your own eyes. Jesus obviously had a great presence among the people to give this teaching - teaching like never before!

The people were familiar with Jesus, knowing Joseph and Mary. They wondered how Jesus could make these claims, and He knew they were grumbling. Twice more, He declared Himself to be the Bread of life, culminating in what must have been a shocking statement to the people: the bread is His flesh, and we shall eat of it!

This really made some uncomfortable, and Jesus went on to say we would also drink His blood! We have the ability to study this with the knowledge of the Last Supper, and the communion ceremony, but this teaching by Jesus came before that.  No wonder many said, “This is a hard teaching.” Many either couldn’t understand or didn’t believe and turned back and no longer followed Him (v. 66). Perhaps they really were only looking for bread for the stomach and not for the Bread of Life! Whatever the reason, Jesus fed 5,000 men, and likely thousands more there, at the beginning of chapter 6. By the end of chapter 6, it was down to essentially the Twelve again. One, Peter, expressed belief! One, Judas, was called a devil, the betrayer known only to Jesus at this time.

The teaching of Jesus as the Bread of Life was very pivotal in the ministry of Jesus, and highly valuable in our walk by faith in the truth of our salvation in Him.

Discussion Questions:

1.  If you were Jewish, how do you think you would feel about the teachings of Jesus in John 6?  What would you think about eating His flesh and drinking His blood?

2.  Notice the comments about Jesus knowing their thoughts. Does He know yours?

3.  Are you seeking a physical comfort or a spiritual feast?

4.  For the family/children: What do you know about manna? How does Jesus compare to manna? How is He different (v. 48-50)?

Call to Action

Seek Jesus, be filled with His will. Seek out someone who is hungry and help that person be fed by the Bread of Life.





Norm Clothier

Norm is a devoted friend, husband, father, grandfather, and physician who enjoys reading, coffee, and spending time with his family. He is well-known for his sense of humor and his deep love for the Word of God. Norm, his wife, Jeanette, and their eight children have worshipped at Saturn Road for 26 years.