|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
23 however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks
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.
1. (verses 22-24) Why did Jesus sneak away? Why did the people follow him to Capernaum?
Apparently, Christ crept down the mountain away from the crowds to meet the disciples on the sea. He did not want the crowds flocking around him. He had work to accomplish. But the people would not give up. They sensed that he must have somehow made his way to Capernaum, and so they traveled across the sea of Tiberias to find him.
25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You come here?"
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.
2. (verse 26) What do you think Jesus means by the phrase "you seek me not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled"? What is the main reason you became interested in Christianity?
These people were even worse than sign-seekers. They were only interested in another free meal! What is the reason you seek Christ? We need to come to Christ because of who he is the son of God, the Savior of the world, and the one who cares for us.
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."
3. (verse 27) Do you spend more time laboring for the food which perishes or the food which endures to everlasting life? Why do we do that?
Im afraid the focus of our life is too often on the things of this world instead of on spiritual blessings. We need to allow the Lord to minister to us, and not be distracted by the things of the world.
28 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"
4. (verse 28) What specific works do you think they want to do?
It seems to me they were interested in doing miracles like Jesus did. Even if they were not, their emphasis was on the wrong thing. They said "what shall we do." They wanted to earn favor with God by doing good works. We can never earn favor with God. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. What we can do is allow the Holy Spirit to use us in doing Gods work. Then, its not what shall we do, but what would God want me to do.
29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
5. (verse 29) According to this verse, how difficult is it to please God?
Isnt this an easy thing that Jesus tells the people to do? All you have to do is believe in Christ whom God sent. Its not that difficult to please God, is it?
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?
31 "Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
6. (verses 30-31) After the miracle of the loaves and fish, why would the people ask for another sign? If you were Jesus, wouldnt you have been upset with them for asking for more signs?
This is almost unbelievable. These people had just experienced the miracle of the loaves and fish, and now theyre asking for another sign. If we were Christ, this would have been about the time that we would send lightening down from heaven upon them. But fortunately for them, Jesus was very patient with them. There may be times when we react to God in the same faithless way. Just as Christ was patient with these people, he will also be patient with us.
McGee comments, "May I say that this reveals the hardness of the human heart. Here are the men who had been fed miraculously by our Lord when He fed the five thousand.... In other words, they did not want to believe at all. And they take their conversation right back to the dinner table."
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.
33 "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
34 Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always."
7. (verses 32-34) Why didnt Jesus rebuke them? Does this conversation in these verses remind you of another conversation Jesus had? Where is it found?
Jesus does not rebuke them. He loves them and wants to see them saved. This conversation reminds me of the similar words he spoke to the Samaritan woman in John 4:13-15, "Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. The woman said to him, Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water. "
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.
8. (verse 35) What do you think Jesus meant by saying he is the bread of life?
Again we see similarities to what Jesus told the Samaritan woman. To her he was the living water, to these people he was the bread of life. To her, she would never thirst again; to these, they would never hunger.
The New Bible Dictionary points out, "Bread was the all-important commodity of the Ancient East.... That a commodity of such vital importance should leave its mark on language and symbolism is not surprising. ... Our Lord referred to Himself as the bread of God and as the bread of life, and He chose the bread of the Passover to be the symbolic memorial of His broken body."
36 "But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.
9. (verse 36) Why wouldnt the people believe in him? Have you seen others turn their back on God after experiencing his miracles? Why would anyone do this?
The children of Israel after being delivered from Pharaohs pursuing army later murmured against God. The people with Saul on the road to Damascus after hearing the voice of God later said it only thundered. Demas, after ministering with Paul, left for the pleasures of the world. Why do people so easily turn their back on God? Let us be careful that we dont become like one of them.
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.
38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
10. (verses 37) Can anyone be too sinful or too unworthy to come to God?
We receive salvation because of God's grace, not because of any good works that we can do. When we sin, God's grace doesn't suddenly stop. If we could save ourselves in our own strength, we wouldn't need God's mercy. But since we can't, God's mercy is ever extended to us, even when we fail him. David could write about mercy because he had experienced it. At one time David committed adultery and murder and then unknowingly pronounced sentence upon himself when the prophet Nathan came to him for a ruling about a "man in the kingdom." After David pronounced the sentence for this unknown man, Nathan pointed his finger to David and said, "You are the man." David could have become very angry with Nathan, or he could have felt devastated and lost from God's presence. Instead, he came to the Lord. His prayer is recorded in Psalm 51. Under Old Testament law there was no further appeal for the sins he had committed. The King was the final court of appeal, and he had condemned himself. But instead of feeling lost and hopeless, David appealed to God's mercy. In Psalm 51:9-12 he wrote,
And God did forgive David as he will forgive us. We can never get so far as to be outside of God's mercy. He is always there for us reaching to us, strengthening us, guiding us, and helping us along the way.
McGee writes, "There is a theological argument that rages today on election or free will. ... If you had met me the year that I entered seminary, or the year I graduated, I could have reconciled them for you. I never have been as smart as I was my first year and my last year in seminary. ... Election and free will are both in this verse. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me states a truth, and that is election. But wait a minute! And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out is also true, and him that cometh to me is free will. I dont know how to reconcile them, but they are both true."
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.
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."
11. (verses 39-40) How safe are we in Christ? What must we do to have eternal life?
Verse 39 promises that we are safe in Christ. Notice Jesus says, "of all he has give me I should lose nothing." None of us will be lost as long as we stay under his protecting arm. And we dont have to do anything fancy to be saved. All we have to do is believe in Christ and we will have everlasting life.
This study on John 6:22-40 © 1998 by David Humpal. All rights reserved.
Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, vol. 4, pg. 404 © 1983, Thomas Nelson Publishers
John 4:13-15 from the New International Version © 1984, Zondervan Bibles
The New Bible Dictionary pg. 165 © 1962, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Psalm 51:9-12 from the King James Version
Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, vol. 4, pg. 405 © 1983, Thomas Nelson Publishers