The blessed Jesus Christ did many miracles and this chapter starts out with the feeding of the five thousand and then goes directly into His walking on the water. There were a lot of followers of Jesus at that time who saw or participated in the feeding of the many thousands of people on the hillside. Other people joined Jesus and the disciples after they searched hard for them and finally found them at the synagogue in Capernaum. (It was amazing to stand on the spot Jesus may have stood to preach this message. Yes, it was probably three feet below the present surface of the floor where Jesus actually stood in the old synagogue, but we stood in the one that was built later in the next century or so. To be in the city of Capernaum was exciting knowing all the things Jesus did there. Thinking about it now makes me so thankful that I have had the privilege to go and walk in the areas where Jesus walked.) Jesus begins to teach those who gathered around Him the deep truths and they are having a hard time understanding and accepting what He teaches them.
Jesus talks of the “Bread of Life” which the Father has given to those who believe. He wants them to seek for the food that does not spoil but “endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Verse 28-29 gives us a question and answer, 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.” Jesus then speaks of that true bread of heaven that the Father gives so that Life may come to the world. His message is that Jesus is the bread of life and that He has come down from the Father to save those the Father gives Him, saying in verse 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.” Jesus used the example which they were very familiar with and that is the manna in the desert. The people were given manna, for a day, then the next day He gave it to them again. Jesus came down from heaven, like the manna, but He came as the real manna, bread from heaven, but the life He gives is not for a day but forever.
One of the problems the Jews leaders and others who are following Jesus is believing that He “came down from heaven.” They still see Him as the son of Joseph and Mary, the carpenter. Jesus continually reminds them that they need to be called and the Father will be the one to draw them. But He says that those who do believe in Him will have everlasting life! In all of this Jesus speaks figuratively, when He talks of His flesh and His blood. If one eats of his flesh He will give them life. If they drink of His blood they will have eternal life.
Wow! They are appalled at what He is saying about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, that is cannibalism. Of course Jesus doesn’t mean that literally but that it will be His flesh and blood that is the vehicle for all men to have eternal life. His death and broken body and the shedding of His blood will be real and when we believe in that which He did on the cross then we can have life through His flesh and blood! But they can’t get past this and the fact that He says He has come from the God they worship.
This is where the Bible says those following Him, called “His disciples” say, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Even though Jesus knows everything He asks those grumbling, “Does this offend you?” and then He recounts what He has said ending with this statement, “Yet there are some of you who do not believe!” Jesus speaks the truth to them when He says, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled him?”
The Bible says, “From this time many of His disciples turned their back and no longer followed Him.” Can you imaging that, they turned their backs on Him and walked away! Jesus’ heart must have broken to see that happen. And then He says to those twelve who have been following Him “closely”, 67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” And, we hear the heart of the disciples, which comes from Peter wouldn’t you know, 68 “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.” What a statement of Faith! Can you make that statement? Will you?