22.  On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone–

These were the same people whom the Lord had avoided because they wanted to make Him a king by force (verse 15.)  Now, they are on the eastern shore of the sea, and the Lord has gone to the western shore.  They are looking for Him, no doubt to carry out their purpose of making Him a king, and find that He is not there.  They discover that there was no other boat there except the one the disciples entered.  The Greek word is different from that in verse 17, and indicates the dinghy belonging to a fishing vessel that was used to row out to the bigger boat.  Now that boat is gone along with the disciples, but they realize that Jesus had not gone with the disciples.  How then did He leave and rejoin His disciples?  This is a mystery that they cannot fathom.

23.  however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks–

Tiberias was a town on the shore of the sea of Galilee.  Now dinghies came from there, allowing the people to enter into ships to follow the Lord and His disciples.  But these did not come until after they discovered the Lord was gone, so they did not understand how He had escaped.

24.  when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

Although they did not know how He could have left, this crowd that wanted to make Him king somehow sensed that He would have returned to the city where He lived, and so they entered into boats as well and went to Capernaum searching for Him.

25.  And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”

When they arrived on the western shore, they found Him there as they suspected.  Their first question to Him was to try to figure out how He had escaped them the night before.  This was an irrelevant question, but a typical question for human beings, who, when they are puzzled by circumstances they do not understand, often seek an explanation simply out of curiosity whether or not they actually need to know it.  Thus, they demand this explanation from Him.

26.  Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

The Lord does not bother to answer their demand for knowledge.  Instead, He accuses them with what is in their hearts.  If they had responded correctly to the signs He had showed them, they would have sought Him because of the signs and what the signs revealed: that His was the power of God Himself.  However, they did not seek Him for this noble reason.  Rather, they sought Him because He had filled their bellies!  It is easy for us in the United States, where an exotic feast of every kind of food imaginable is as far away as the nearest grocery store, to condemn these people for their concern with their appetites.  Yet remember that these people lived in a society where just getting enough food to eat day-by-day was a constant struggle.  To have food provided for them would have been a great boon indeed.  Thus, they were greatly excited by the prospect of the Lord feeding them.  It was not wrong of them to desire to be fed.  What was wrong was that they were dominated by their appetites and responded to their desires rather than to the truth that God was trying to reveal to them.  If they had actually thought about what God was communicating with them they would have realized the truth about Jesus Christ and then could have received the gift of grace that comes only through faith.  Instead, all they saw was a way to never go hungry again.  And because of their mixed-up priorities, they ended up getting neither.

27.  “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

These people were working hard, chasing after the Lord to satisfy the appetites of their perishing bodies.  They should have instead sought the food that God provides which endures to eonian or outflowing life.  This is the food that Christ could have given them, but they were not interested, being focused instead on feeding their bodies.  The Lord says He is able to give them this food because God the Father has set His seal on Him.  The rabbis of the day taught that the seal of God is truth.  In our day, we know that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13 & 4:30.)  Certainly the Lord was sealed by both.

28.  Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”

They realized that the Lord was unhappy with them, and thus they sought to pacify Him by feigning interest in what He would have them to do.  Whether or not they are actually interested in obeying His answer we will see later on.  He has told them that they are working for the wrong thing.  Thus they ask Him this obvious question.  Whether or not the answer did them any good, we can be most glad today that they did ask this question, for this is one of the most important questions that can ever be asked by an individual.  They want to know what they should do that they may work the works of God?  Many people struggle to find the answer to this today.  Many different good works are suggested by different groups of people as being the answer to this question.  Some would set forth the ten commandments as the works that men should do to work the works of God.  Others set forth church laws or other things.  But those for whom the Bible holds the answer to all such questions will find the final and definitive answer here.

29.  Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He sent.”

Their previous question the Lord refused to answer.  Yet this time, whether or not it was from the right motives, these people had asked the right question, and so the Lord answered their question.  And we can be very glad that He did!  So what is the answer?  He tells them, not what to do to work the works of God.  Rather, He tells them what THE work of God is.  It is to believe in Him Whom He sent.  Who did He send?  The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, of course.  This is THE work of God.  There is no other work that can make a substitute for this work.  There is no other work that can please God like this one can.  This is the work that God requires.  If men want salvation by works, the answer is given right here.  You CANNOT be saved by WORKS, but you MUST be saved by THE WORK of believing in Jesus Christ.  This is the work that John is trying to get all men to do by writing this book.  I pray that all who read this message have worked and continue to work this work in their lives.

30.  Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You?  What work will You do?

Although their last question was very good, now we see the real motivation for it.  They had already seen a great sign proving that the Lord was the One Whom God had sent.  No other sign did they need to prove this to them.  Why then did they ask for a sign?  Because this was their real objective!  They weren’t really interested in working the work of God.  Rather, they wanted to get fed again!  Thus, they selfishly tried to bargain with the Lord, claiming that they would give Him their faith if He would just work another miracle for them.  This is an example of what God condemns when He says, “You shall not tempt the LORD your God.”  (Deuteronomy 6:16, where “tempt” means “to put to the test.”)  This was an entirely wrong attitude, and the Lord would not honor their request.

31.  “Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

Notice the sign that they suggest He should perform!  They want the Lord to give them bread from heaven like God had given the Israelites manna in the wilderness.  Probably they figured that if they could get the Lord to do this for them, they would never have to go hungry again.  All their desire is placed on this goal, and they have no interest in the eternal blessing that Christ could have offered them.

32.  Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.

The Lord reminds them Who had given them the bread from heaven.  Although Moses was God’s spokesman at that time, the power that had given them bread had not been Moses’, but God’s.  Now, what they really needed was not physical bread from heaven, but the true bread from heaven: Jesus Christ Himself.

33.  “For the bread of God is He Who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Bread as symbolic for all foods symbolizes the power to give life.  In a country where we have plenty of food, we do not see this as much, but in a country where starvation was an issue, they truly understood the life-giving qualities of food.  The bread of God, then, our Lord reveals, is He Who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.  This world is currently dead in sins.  Yet remember from John 3:16 that Christ died for this world.  Thus, we know that someday this world will be made alive again when God takes control of the earth’s government and makes this world what He always meant it to be at last.  Then Christ will be the food that brings life to the world.  And that One Who brings life was standing before them and was available to them if they only would have asked Him for it!

34.  Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

They are still fixated on physical bread!  They hear about bread coming down from heaven, and ignore the part about He Who is that bread of God.  Thus, they ask Him to give them this bread always, thinking that then they will receive manna from heaven and will never have to go hungry again.  This is what they wanted to get out of the Lord all along, and this is the only thing they are really interested in receiving.

35.  And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

The Lord reveals to them what He is truly talking about so clearly that they cannot mishear Him as much as they would like to.  He is the bread of life.  Coming to Him means never hungering or thirsting again, yet this does not speak of our physical appetites.  Rather, this is the appetite of the spirit, the longing in the heart.  It is this hunger that He satisfies, and this is far more important than the satisfaction that any physical bread could bring!

36.  “But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.

They had seen Him in the sense that they had truly perceived Who He was.  Yet they did not believe!  This is an example of the fact that merely understanding the truth is not enough.  These people understood it, and yet were uninterested in it.  All they cared about was their own selfish desires.  If the Lord was not willing to meet those desires, then they were not interested in what He had to offer.

37.  “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

The Father doesn’t give Him anything that He does not receive.  Nothing that He gives to Christ will ever get “lost in the mail” or any other way.  Then He reveals what the Father gives Him…the people who come to Him!  And He promises that He will by no means cast out one who comes to Him.  “By no means” is a combination of the two Greek words for “no” or “not,” ou and me.  When used together, they form the strongest possible negative.  There is no chance whatsoever that He will ever cast out one who comes to Him!  This is eternal security indeed.

38.  “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him Who sent Me.

This is the truth about the Lord’s purpose while on earth.  It was not to satisfy His Own will, but the will of Him Who sent Him.  It was not to please Himself, but to please the Father Who gave Him this mission on earth.  Yet we must imagine that pleasing His Father did indeed please our Lord very much!

“Sent” here is the word for a simple sending, pempo, not the word for sending or commissioning with authority, apostello.
 
39.  “This is the will of the Father Who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

In the previous verse, the Lord said He came to do His Father’s will.  Now He tells us what His Father’s will is.  It is that of all He gave Jesus Christ He should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.  People tend to mix this verse in with the following verse and make it to be talking about the people whom He will raise up at the last day.  Yet this verse is not talking about people, but things.  What things need to be raised up?  Well, for example, the Father gave the Son the nations to rule over.  Some of those nations have ceased to exist.  An example is the nation of Israel, which although it has been re-created by order of the United Nations, does not exist in the form that God originally created it in.  The temple of God likewise no longer exists.  These are things that the Lord will raise up at the last day.

40.  “And this is the will of Him Who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

This again is the Father’s will, but this time it is in regards to the people whom He will raise up, not the things He will raise up.  What people will He raise up?  Those who see the Son and believe in Him.  The people of that day could literally see the Son standing before them.  Yet today we too can “see” Him through the record given of Him right here in the book of John.  And seeing Him, we can believe, and then, He guarantees, we will have everlasting (eonian) life.  Note again that those who believe will be raised up “at the last day.”  “Last” here does not indicate the last day ever.  Rather, it means “the resultant day” or the day that comes about as a result of all that has gone before.  The “last day” here is the day that results from all the great work God has done to redeem mankind.  In the day when the results of that work all come to fruition at last, then those who saw and believed in the Son will be raised up.

41.  The Jews then murmured against Him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.”

Remember, this argument started out with the people whom He had fed with the five loaves and two fish who now hoped that the Lord would provide them with physical bread from heaven.  Now He had refused to do so, and instead offered Himself as the true bread from heaven.  This is not what these people wanted to hear, and so we can understand why they were not eager to accept what the Lord had said.  Now, the Jews or the rich class people in the crowd take the lead in murmuring against the words He has said to them.  This does not mean that the people questioning Him were just Jews.  Remember, a whole crowd of people had come to find Him here.  But we also read that this conversation took place in the synagogue in Capernaum (verse 59,) where some Jews would doubtless have been gathered, whether or not they were part of the original crowd that followed Him.  It should not surprise us if the Jews, being considered the leaders of Israel and thus no doubt being used to taking charge, would have been the ones to be bold enough to express their opposition to what the Lord was saying here.  The crowd in general was unhappy with His words, but it was the Jews who were bold enough to express this.

42.  And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

They thought they knew His father and mother, and thus could not believe that He had actually come down from heaven.  Of course, they did not know that Joseph was not in fact His father at all, but that His real Father was indeed God Himself.  But since they did not know this, they proceeded on the knowledge they thought they had, and so judged that the Lord was saying something that was not true.

43.  Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves.

They should not have thus been murmuring among themselves.  The miracle that they had seen of the feeding of the five thousand should have been enough to tell them that the Lord had been sent by God, and so, if He said He came down from heaven, they should believe Him.  Yet they had not truly thought about what the sign meant, but only that it was an opportunity for them to never go hungry again.  Thus they did not consider the meaning of the sign and did not believe.

44.  “No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

This is a favorite verse of those who want to prove that only those whom God chooses are saved.  Yet that is not what this verse is telling us.  John 12:32 says, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”  If “draw” means that they are brought to be saved, then this verse would teach universal salvation (as the Universal Salvationists teach that it does.)  Yet this is not the meaning of “draw” in either verse.  “Draw” here is in the same sense as one would “draw” a glass of water.  When one “draws” it, one allows the water to flow into the glass.  In the same way, when the Father draws men to the Lord Jesus, He allows them to come.  This does not mean that He forces them to come, but only that He opens the channel for them to come if they choose to do so.

45.  “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’  Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

This is written in Isaiah 54:13 (and compare Jeremiah 31:33-34) of the future time of God’s Kingdom.  That is the time when God will teach everyone the truth Himself.  Yet even today it is true that men can learn from God.  This is why the Lord could apply these verses to that day.  These people could have learned from the Father and so have realized their need to come to Him.  They had not done so, however, and so were rejecting Him.

46.  “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He Who is from God; He has seen the Father.

The Lord wants to make it clear that this does not mean that the Father literally appeared to them and taught them.  No one has actually seen the Father with his eyes except He Who is from God, Jesus Christ Himself.  Thus, the Father’s teaching here He had not done by physically teaching them, but rather by impressing the truth upon their hearts.

47.  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

The Lord most solemnly confirms this statement with one of His favorite figures of speech, “Truly, truly,” here interpreted as “most assuredly.”  What He affirms with this phrase is that he who believes in Him has everlasting (eonian) life.  This is not something that is in themselves, of course, or they would never die.  Rather this is something that comes to them through faith, and will be given to them after He raises them up, as He said in verses 40 and 44.

48.  “I am the bread of life.

The Lord solemnly and plainly repeats the truth that they were rejecting.  He was the bread of life.  This means that one who partakes of Him will receive life; not this temporary life, but life eonian.

49.  “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

This was physical bread, and thus bestowed temporary physical blessings.

50.  “This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.

The bread that comes down from heaven, the Lord Jesus, is not physical bread, but rather the bread of life, and thus one who eats of it receives more than mere physical blessings.  He receives life without dying!  A great blessing indeed, and a bread most worth eating!

51.  “I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

The Lord again identifies Himself as the living bread that came down from heaven.  Notice that He did not at all try to avoid the issue that was offending those who heard Him and that they were murmuring against.  We might imagine that many speakers of our day, if people started murmuring at their teaching, might start emphasizing something else, or trying to soften what they had previously said to make it more palatable to the hearers.  Yet our Lord would do none of that here.  Rather, He repeats what He said and emphasizes it and makes it even more clear and, as a result, even harder for those who listened to Him to accept.

He tells them again that anyone who eats of this bread (Himself) will live forever.  “Forever” here is “into the eon,” and speaks of their resurrection immediately preceding the Kingdom of God, the time of God’s great flow of blessing and government to the earth.  They will be raised to enter into that great eon or flow of God.  Then He explains that the bread that He gives is His flesh which He gives for the life of the world (Greek kosmos, or English “system” or “order.”)  By this He refers to His sacrifice on the cross.  Those who partake in that sacrifice by faith could be said to be “eating” the bread of life.  Yet calling His flesh bread like this offended His hearers even further!

52.  The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”

This saying caused a quarrel among the Jews who heard Him.  The idea of eating someone’s flesh would have been repulsive to the Israelites, for whom cannibalism was a sign of the most terrible judgment of God (Leviticus 26:29 and Deuteronomy 28:53-57.)  They often used the figure of speech of “eating” something as partaking of it or enjoying it.  Yet they never used this figure of speech of eating a human being, and so they argued about whether or not this is what the Lord meant by His statements here.

53.  Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.

Far from making it easier for them, the Lord states His point even more emphatically.  One who does not eat His flesh and drink His blood does not have life in him.  Catholics like to use this to support their idea of transubstantiation (or that the elements of wine and bread in the Eucharist turn into the actual flesh and blood of Christ when they are blessed by the priest before they are eaten.)  Yet to take this statement of Christ’s as literal is most foolish.  This is a clear use of the figure of speech “Synecdoche” or “Transfer” where the flesh and blood are put for the whole person.  Christ meant one has to partake in and enjoy Him in order to receive life.  This is done not by literally eating Him, but by believing in Him.  This is a figure of speech we should recognize, and that they should have recognized back then.

54.  “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

One who thus partakes of Him has eternal (eonian) life, and will receive it when he is raised up at the last day.  This is the blessing that comes to us by faith!  Yet all His hearers could think of was the grossness of the suggestion that they literally eat Him.  They were, after all, only interested in physical bread, not the salvation that He wanted them to receive.

55.  “For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.

The Lord pulls no punches in emphasizing the figure that He is using.  His flesh and blood are food indeed, for He is the only thing there is that one can partake of and receive outflowing life.  No other food can sustain one for eternal life.  The food we eat lasts a few hours and is gone.  But He is the food that sustains forever!

56.  “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

If one needed any proof that He is speaking figuratively, it is provided here, for when one eats something it abides in him; he does not abide in it!  Yet those who partake of the Lord Jesus Christ find in Him a place to abide where the condemnation of sin and death cannot be brought against them.  And the Lord abides in them also as their constant companion and counselor.  What a blessed truth this is!  Yet His hearers found it to be nothing but odious.

57.  “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.

The Father here is described as “the living Father.”  He is the One Who is truly “living,” for He has always been alive and is the source of life itself.  The fact that Christ says He lives “because of” the Father does not mean that He was created.  He is the logos or expression of God, as we learned in the first chapter of John.  As He lives to express the Father, He therefore lives because of the Father, for one could not be the expression of someone if that person did not exist.  Thus our Lord lives, not because the Father created Him, but merely because the Father does exist.  In the same way, he who partakes of the Lord Jesus will live because of Him.  That is because, as a partaker of the Lord, he is now identified with the Lord, and will live because He lives.

58.  “This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead.  He who eats this bread will live forever.”

The Lord sums up His teaching and emphasizes it once again in this verse.  Again He speaks of Himself when He says, “This is.”  He calls Himself the bread that came down from heaven.  Their fathers (for they were all Israelites) ate the manna, and though it sustained them for a time, they are now dead.  Yet he who partakes of the living bread, the Lord Himself, will live for the eon or God’s future flow of things on earth.

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

This then is where they found Him in verse 25.  He had returned to His home city and gone to the synagogue.

60.  Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”

This argument had started out with the people (verse 24,) moved to the Jews (verse 41,) and now ends up affecting even the disciples!  The Lord’s emphatic teaching on this issue that many Israelites found offensive had affected even those who had formerly made a choice to become His followers.  They complain that this saying (logos) is hard, and they express doubt that anyone can hear (and accept) it.
 
61.  When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?

The Lord knew in Himself what His disciples were doing, even though they might have tried to hide it from Him.  He was God Himself, and had no lack of knowledge about what was going on in their hearts.  Thus He questions them.  Has this offended them?  And He emphasizes the word “you,” indicating that He knew it would offend the Jews, but now even THEY were offended by it.  The word for “offend” means “cause to stumble” in the Greek.  This saying was making these disciples stumble, and soon they would fall (verse 66.)

62.  “What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?

If the Lord indicating that partaking of Him is the only way to achieve life for God’s future outflow caused them to stumble, what would happen if they saw Him ascend up to heaven as the one-hundred and twenty saw in Luke 24:51?  If they could not accept a man being God Himself, then surely this would offend them even more!

63.  “It is the Spirit Who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.  The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

It is the Holy Spirit Who gives life.  How does He do so?  Through words!  How through words?  By producing faith in those words!  These men through their flesh had adhered to the law.  Yet this was not enough to save them.  The words Christ was speaking to them were produced by the power of the Spirit, and they could give life to the hearers if they would only believe them.  Yet these men, yes, even these disciples were rejecting the words that could have brought them 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 would betray Him.

The Lord well knew that there were some there who did not truly believe in Him.  These people were His disciples!  They had left all behind, their jobs and homes and families, and had chosen to follow Him.  Yet when it came right down to it they could not truly believe that He was the Son of God.  They may have chosen to follow Him because of the powerful miracles and signs that He worked.  They may have followed Him because of the popularity of His movement and the prestige it could garner for them.  Or they may have chosen to follow Him as something to do to get away from the routine of their lives.  But whatever the reason, it was not the reason God was looking for.  In the same way there are many who represent themselves as “Christians” in our day.  Some have one reason and some another, but there are many whose reason is not the reason that God desires, and, when it comes right down to it, they do not really believe in Jesus Christ.  We should never be fooled by appearances, and never assume that those who say they are followers of Christ truly are.  The true litmus test is faith, and that was something that these disciples simply did not have.

When it says that the Lord knew “from the beginning” who did not believe, this means from the beginning of His ministry.  He was not fooled by their pretended loyalty, for He knew what was in their hearts.  And what was more He knew who would be faithful to Him and who would betray Him.  Judas Iscariot was not necessarily the only one.  Many of these disciples who were offended here would no doubt have betrayed Him as well.  Yet these left at this point, whereas Judas stayed to do the work that the Scriptures had predicted He would do.

65.  And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

Does this mean that these men were predestined not to believe in the Lord?  Not at all!  They were complaining that the Lord’s words were a “hard saying” that they simply could not hear.  His reply to them is that no one can come to Him unless it has been granted to him by His Father.  It didn’t matter how hard the saying was.  With the Father’s help, they could have accepted it!  Yet they refused to.  Thus, this statement of Christ’s does not remove them from responsibility.  Rather, it makes their responsibility all the greater, for they were able to hear His saying, they were just not willing to do it!

66.  From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

This is the sad conclusion to this argument with the Lord.  Not only do the people go away unhappy, and not only are the Jews offended, but many of His Own disciples abandon Him as well!  Why was it that they were so offended by this teaching?  I cannot believe that these men all thought that the Lord literally wanted them to come and take a bite out of Him.  They were not so foolish as to believe this.  They probably even understood that He was using this as an illustration, and that what He really meant was that they needed to partake of Him to receive life for the eon.  Yet to them the illustration was so abominable that it didn’t matter to them that He did not mean it literally.  It would be like if I would try to teach you something using an illustration that was so disgusting that it totally changed your opinion of me.  Even though you understood that I was just using it as an illustration, you might just conclude that if I was so degraded as to use an illustration like that, you simply did not want to listen to me anymore.  You might even understand my point, and yet to you it didn’t matter compared to the fact that I would use such an illustration in the first place.  This is how these people were.  The word of God offended their sensibilities, and so they chose to reject it.  Others may simply have been unwilling to accept the fact that a man like Jesus could have the ultimate power of eternal life.  They could believe in God, but to believe in Jesus Christ offended them.  Thus these disciples refused to believe, and turned away.

We need to remember the purpose of John here.  Up until now, all the illustrations John has been giving us have been of people who believed in the Lord, and he has been encouraging us to do likewise.  Now he gives us the opposite sort of illustration, showing us people who did not believe in the Lord and why they did not believe.  Now the question is: will we be like these men?  Will the Lord’s words offend us too, and will we too turn away from Him in disgust?  There are men who are offended by God’s words in this way.  Many look at the genocidal wars against the Canaanites in the Old Testament and view this as a terrible thing, and so look on God with disgust.  Others are offended by God’s standards of living and righteousness, finding them “politically incorrect” and unacceptable.  Still others find the idea of God in the form of a man as being ludicrous and beyond what they can believe.  And so we must ask ourselves: will we be like them?  Will we be unwilling to accept God’s words if they offend our sensibilities?  Will be reject them if they do not present to us the picture of God that we want to see?  These are serious questions, and must be answered by each of us for himself.  For if this is our reaction to God’s words, then we can never attain to the purpose of this book: to be believers in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God.

67.  Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

Now that many of His disciples have abandoned Him, our Lord turns to His closest disciples, the twelve, and asks them this question.  Will they also desire to go away?  It is easy for us, when studying the dispassionate style of the Scriptures, to see no emotion in statements like this.  Yet I cannot believe that the Lord was unaffected by what had just taken place.  He had known these people did not truly believe in Him, and yet to be rejected and have them turn their backs on Him like this must surely have caused Him great sorrow.  Thus He turns to these men He is closest to and asks them this question as a challenge.  Will they too be unfaithful?  The Greek answers rhetorical questions, and the way Christ phrases this question indicates that He does not believe that they will.  And Peter rises to the occasion and answers the Lord’s challenge.

68.  Then Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.

Peter seems to have been the disciple most likely to speak up and give his opinion in emotionally charged situations.  Often his words were rash and got him into trouble.  Yet we can never doubt that his heart was in the right place, and this time we cannot help but be proud of him.  He wants to assure his Lord that they at least will never abandon Him, and he does so eloquently.  He asks who else they would go to?  For they knew the Lord had the words of eternal (eonian) life.  And he was right in saying this.  No one else on earth had the words of eternal life at that time.  Now we have the New Testament Scriptures, filled with the words of God through the gospels and the apostle Paul that can give one eternal life.  Yet at that time they had no such words written down.  Indeed, the only Person on earth at that time Who could speak the words that could give one outflowing life was the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thus Peter declares his own belief in what the Lord has said.  The Lord has testified that only by partaking in Him can men receive eternal life.  And now Peter acknowledges his belief in what He had said.  Peter knows that He spoke the truth, and that no one else can offer him eternal life but the Master he has chosen.  His loyalty and his faith warm our hearts.  And notice that he spoke for the twelve, so we can be assured that the rest of them (excepting Judas) thought the same way.

69.  “Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

This is Peter’s statement of what he knows and believes.  He believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And this is what the author of this book, John, desires us to believe as well.  Peter’s faith here contrasts vividly with the lack of faith displayed by the disciples who abandoned Him.  The Lord seems to be asking us here: which kind of person will you be?  Will you refuse to accept the Lord and turn your back on Him as those disciples did?  Or will you be like Peter, believing the truth about Him?  That is a choice we each must make!

70.  Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”

The Lord had indeed chosen the twelve Himself.  Yet He knew that one of them only pretended to agree with Peter’s words.  Judas agreed with those who abandoned the Lord, yet he did not leave with the rest.  The reason, as we will learn later, is that he was the disciples’ treasurer, and was embezzling money from their funds.  Yet the Lord well knows the heart of the one who will betray Him, and so He makes this statement here.  It may be that this was the occasion when Judas’ heart was truly revealed to himself and he realized that he really didn’t believe in the Lord.  Yet he keeps silent, and the Lord does as well, allowing Judas to continue on in the role God had for him to do.

71.  He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.

The Lord identifies to us here who the Lord was speaking of so we cannot mistake what He was saying.  He was speaking of Judas Iscariot.  “Iscariot” means “a man of Kerioth.”  Kerioth was a city in Judah, and was probably the place that is now called Khan Kureitin.  Thus, Judas was the only one of the twelve not from Galilee, but rather from the southern country of Judah.  This, combined with his name “Judas” (which is the Greek form of “Judah,”) may indicate that he was actually of the Lord’s Own tribe of Judah.  Certainly not the disciple you would have expected to be the betrayer!  He was also the son of Simon.  This was not Simon Peter, as he was a Galilean, but some other Simon of whom we know nothing else.

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