The Gospel of John
“The Words of the Holy One of God”

J. Deering,

The Gospel of John – Text Based Studies

Words to the People Following Him,
Words to the Jews Persecuting Him
Words to the Grumbling Disciples,
Words of Peter’s Confession of Faith

The Bread of Heaven 6:26-58
Words to the People, John 6:26-40
Jesus is the True Manna from heaven

26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.

The preceding paragraph [6:22-25] ended with the crowd that witnessed their miraculous feeding of the loaves and fishes. Later that same evening they had sought Jesus to see more miracles. Just earlier the disciples had embarked in their boat for the row back to Capernaum on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus met them in the middle of the Sea, calmed a storm, and allowed Peter to walk on water. The crowd looked and did not find neither the disciples nor Jesus, however, some had seen the disciples depart – without Jesus. Many then took boats across the Sea and many began the 8 mile walk around the Sea to seek Jesus on the other side. When they found Him they were asking Him this question:

“Rabbi, when did You get here?”

Jesus does not bother to answer their question, instead he begins a series of dialogues concerning who He is. Each of the dialogues takes the form of spiritual statements that define Him as “Food which endures to eternal life”, “Son of Man,” “Him whom God has sent,” “The True bread of heaven,” one who “comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world,” “I am the bread of life,” and much more. He clearly sets down Himself as the fulfillment of the parameters for, “What must I do to gain eternal life?”

In verse 26 Jesus begins His dialogues with a direct address to this crowds of witnesses. “You just want to see the miracles.” His tone seems harsh, however this passage is just the first of many where Jesus begins to make clear that His purpose for coming is to winnow the multitudes for the separation of the “wheat and the tares” [Matthew 13:24-30]. This is the gradual separation of “those who have ears, let them hear,” from those who do not. Spiritual truth is now delivered in a form that is designed to bring understanding to those who are seeking Spiritual truth and hidden from those who are not. This is Jesus’ purpose when He taught in parables. Then later in His ministry He explains His ultimate purpose, and even then His Spiritual truth is not comprehended.

“Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, 33 and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.” 34 But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said” [Luke 18:31-34].

Why hide the truth? I believe it has to do with the process of salvation. Because of the Fall man is dead to spiritual things. In order to understand that which is spiritual – one has to be alive spiritually. So the question then becomes, “How does one become spiritually alive while dead to the spirit from the Fall? The answer comes through the person of the Holy Spirit of God. When an individual is faced with Spiritual Truth that will add to the evidence of the truth that Jesus is The Son of God, and that believing Him brings Eternal Life, then the Holy Spirit of God enters into that individual and reveals the truth which brings conviction and the demand for a “Yes” or “No” to that truth. If the individual, by his own will, ascents to the ultimate “Yes” answer – then the Holy Spirit of God becomes “resident” in the body of the new believer. If the ultimate answer is “No,” then the Holy Spirit of God is free to leave that body awaiting another opportunity. That process is as true today as it was then.

28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

Their words reflect the attitude of the unsaved. “I need to DO something in order to be saved.” “What can I DO to enter into the Kingdom of God?” The importance of self is deeply ingrained in our humanity. Being designed and made in the image and likeness of God has given us a self-importance that was distorted by the Fall. What was once glorious has now become wicked arrogance and pride. We can now do without gifts from God – we’re right up there with Him. How sad. The Glorious God of all wants to give us salvation and eternal life. He wants us to join Him as members of His Holy family – but without the help of God’s Holy Spirit, have none of it. “I’ll do it myself, anything but God!”

The only work that a man can do that is acceptable to God is to believe in Christ [cp., 1Jn 3:23 – And this is His command: “to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us.”]

 30 So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’”

 Amazingly the crowd responds that Jesus should continue to feed them and fulfill their appetites, and – they also term what Jesus does is a “work,” doing something in order to get something. Jesus gave them one meal and now they feel entitled. “Jesus, Do this, do that, give us, give us, give us look what Moses did for us every day!”

 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.

Jesus’ response is instructional. Moses didn’t do this! My Father did this. Then he adds a statement concerning what His Father is doing at that very moment, “It is My Father who gives YOU the True bread out of heaven, for the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

The crowd, once again, has no understanding of what Jesus is saying [he who has ears…]. All they want is a continuous supply of free bread.

 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet [you] do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

 Verse 35 gives us the first of the many great “I AM” statements made by Jesus in the book of John.


John 6:35

“I AM the bread of life”


John 8:12

“I AM the light of the world”


John 10:7

“I AM the door of the sheep”


John 10:9

“I AM the door”


John 10:11

“I AM the good shepherd”


John 11:25

“I AM the resurrection and the life”


John 14:6

“I AM the way, the truth, and the life”


John 15:1

“I AM the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser”


John 15:5

“I AM the vine, you are the branches”

More spiritual truth, this time there is a qualification in His statement, “He who comes to Me.” He continues “You have seen Me [and my miracles attesting that I AM the Messiah] and yet you do not believe.”

Their hearts and minds are closed off from spiritual truth. They want the things that Jesus has offered, but will have nothing to do with things of The Spirit.

Jesus even offers a great promise, “The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” An eternal relationship with God and The Son of God, through The Holy Spirit… just for belief. How? Through the promise of the first part of that verse [37] “All [persons] that the Father gives me will come to Me.”

One point of theology that comes about by statements of Jesus, Paul, and other writers concerns the working of salvation and how it comes about. Jesus teaches in this verse that those who come to belief do so as the Father gives them to the Son.

Back during the mid-1500’s and the Reformation, one of the epicenters of debate was between Jacob Hermann, known by the Latin derivation of his name as Arminius, and John Calvin in the matter of human free will.

Arminius believed [condensed here] that man’s will is “free” to choose either the Word of God or the word of Satan, thus salvation would be dependent upon man’s work of faith.

Calvin believed [again condensed] that the unregenerate man is in absolute bondage to Satan, and wholly incapable of exercising his own will freely to trust in Christ. Salvation, therefore, is dependent upon the work of God who must will to give man life before he can believe in Christ.

There’s a lot more to the argument of both theologians, however, we’re only looking at this one feature – that of man and his free will to believe.

Most conservative protestants will find agreement with the tenants of John Calvin (held in a moderate view), and most Liberals will side with Arminius. Thus there is a pretty big division between conservative thought and liberal.

As a conservative (fundamental, evangelical, pre-millennial, pre-tribulational, dispensationalist) I side with John Calvin on this issue, but only moderately. Calvin extremists would leave out any part to be played by man in the question of salvation.

So, I see in verse 37, a pretty clear presentation that God the Father plays an active role in the giving of the individual and a causal relationship that brings forth the one given into the presence of His Son, and then that individual, once given will not be cast out. John 14:6 adds “… no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Which indicates a single route of salvation. And then John 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved….” Brings with it a level of human responsibility for belief. A final ingredient would be John 16:8, whereby God’s Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin, “When He comes, He will convict the world of sin….”

What I see in this process is that an individual is given, By The Father, to The Son of God which, at some point brings the individual into contact with The Truth of God. The Holy Spirit of God brings conviction of the Truth of God and, again at some point, both head and heart conviction of both the need of a savior, and the identity of the Savior as Jesus, The Son of God, and a “Yes” answer to the call of God, thus belief unto salvation. The whole Trinity of God is involved in the process.

The plight of the “not given,” “not called,” “not chosen,” seems to be always in the realm of “I wasn’t,” “I can’t,” “I won’t,” “anything but” and in the realm of John 14:6, “no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

For me, this process does not exclude anyone from the possibility of salvation. Where the heart is willing – He will be found. God is not willing that any should perish [2 Peter 3:9] so, for me, perishing requires an absolute “I will not” heart. All of creation, and revelation proclaims God’s plan and program of salvation. And yet, it seems that this moment of choice rests upon the shoulders of each and every individual.

 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, ‘that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

 Jesus explains that He is the great “servant.” He has come down from His exalted position as The Son of God, the second member of a Trinitarian Godhead to do only what His Father has asked Him to do while on earth. John Chapter 17 explains this relationship in detail. He willingly comes to be the example for every believer to become God the Father’s servants, the very adopted brothers and sisters of His Son, Jesus.

Jesus says that All He [the Father] has given Him will not be lost, everyone who beholds the Son and Believes in Him with have eternal life and be raised up on the last day. What a promise.

 Words to the Jews, John 6:41-58
“He who eats of Me, he will also live because of Me”

41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” 42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?”

43 Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.

Larger issues are now raised by the Jews who are incensed for His characterization of Himself as “The bread that came down out of heaven.” They point to His humanity and they basically say “How dare you say… you came down out of heaven.”

Further, he quotes scripture to them as proof of His fulfillment of prophecy Isaiah 54:13, that The Lord will come down out of heaven and teach them as little children.

He then tells them that He has been with the Father and that He alone has “seen” Him.

 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

 52 Then the Jews began to argue with one another, 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 yourselves. 54 He who eats 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 He who eats 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 he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

They listen but they have no ears to hear. Jesus talks of deeply spiritual truths and all they hear is both meaningless and utter confusion. Jesus is saying that every part of you must come under the control and in agreement of the Word of God and receptive to the gift of God which is Jesus The Christ. If one “eats” of Him they will not die.

They can only question, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” How can we drink the blood of this man.”

 Words to the Disciples, John 6:59-65

59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

The conversation lingers over the next hours and perhaps days. We next meet Jesus in a synagogue with the 12 disciples and a larger number of groupie “disciples.” They are still questioning Him as to his words from the preceding paragraph. “I am the bread of Life – He who believes has eternal life, I came down out of heaven, I will raise you in the last day, you will live forever….”

60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? 62 What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65 And He was saying,

For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

All the important issues are Spiritual. It is the Spirit who gives life – the flesh profits nothing! My words are Spirit and Life, But some of you do not believe me.

Jesus knew “from the beginning” who they [plural] were who did not believe, and who [singular] it was that would betray Him.

As a study on your own go to Ephesians Chapter 1:3-14, and wrestle with what Paul has to say, by the Holy Spirit of God, concerning the order and ingredients of belief and faith.

Peter’s Confession of Faith, John 6:66-71

66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.

All of His followers, those who came to the synagogue with Him, except the 12 depart together. Only these remain faithful to Him.

 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. 69 We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”

 Hard words are spoken to them by Jesus, as He continues to test them. Peter alone speaks to Jesus’ question. “Lord, to whom shall we go?” This is a pretty clear indication that the disciples are beginning to think in spiritual terms and seeing Jesus for who He really is – The Son of God in human form, come to offer Spiritual Salvation. There is still some doubt, however they are not willing to leave Him now.

Peter’s confession statement, while deep and sincere, still did not contain the essential elements of believing upon Jesus as their Savior. Both at the end of the Walking on Water and Immediate Transportation miracles earlier in this chapter and after His remarkable words now at the end, they still are not truly believing.

 The Mystery of God’s Choices
70 Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” 71 Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.

 Jesus speaks to their answer, and their continued unbelief – “Did not I Myself choose you?

And then there is the one who is called out as “a devil.” Judas Iscariot. We’re still in the early part of Jesus’ ministry – still in Galilee, and Judas has been unveiled at a devil amongst the 12. John has shown us these words of Jesus so that we will be paying attention to Judas over the next 2 years of Jesus’ life and ministry where we’ll find out just how much of a devil he is.