In a pre-election newspaper column, a man posed the question, “what do you do when the candidate you support takes a position you don’t like, or when the candidate you oppose takes a stand that you admire?”
You would normally switch sides of allegiance. Jesus gets down to business as he thins the crowd of people who are following him for the wrong reasons. It’s another reminder to us that the gospel is offensive. We are about to witness the fastest shrinking church in history.
Last week I talked you into surrendering your life to the lord. This week, I want you to reconsider your decision with a question: “do you really want Him?”
John 6:60, “therefore, when many of his disciples heard this, they said, “this teaching is hard! Who can accept it” Jesus, knowing in himself that His disciples were complaining about this, asked them, “does this offend you?”
The Cost of Being a Disciple
Jesus reveals his true identity to the people. He is the new Moses. The one who will deliver the people from bondage and into the promised land. Notice the similarities. Jesus feeds the multitude, just like those wandering in the desert with Moses.
Both groups feasted on heavenly bread. Moses goes up to the mountain to receive the words of God. Jesus goes up to the mountain to teach.
John 6 is a parallel of Numbers 11.
11:1 The people are grumbling 6:41, 43
11:7–9 Description of the manna 6:31
11:13 Give us meat to eat 6:51.
11:22 “Would they have enough if all 6:9 (fish); 12 the fish (opos) in the sea were caught for them?”
The connections are astonishing. Moses called upon God to send bread. Jesus not only provides “bread from Beaven” but is himself “the bread of Life” (6:35).
Further proof that Jesus is the bread they have been waiting for is where he was born: Bethlehem.
The amount of bread that was left over came to 12 baskets. How many Jewish tribes are there? Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Another parallel is found in what happens next. Jesus walks on water over the sea of Galilee. Moses walks through the Red Sea. When Jesus arrived at the boat, He identifies himself with a term that sent chills down the spine of the disciples who knew the Old Testament well: “it is I. Don’t be afraid.” it is two words in the original language: “I am.”
The verb to be has no predicate. He doesn’t say, “I am Jesus.” just I am. Thus reflecting God’s divine name that was given to Moses in the burning bush.
Jesus fulfills the role as shepherd—feeding, protecting, rescuing, and guiding his followers, but the people don’t want a shepherd. They want him as a King and a conqueror.
As the chapter unfolds, doubt, suspicion and hostility are mounting against Jesus.
What changed? Jesus told them the truth and they couldn’t handle it! Notice his claims:
- He is the way of salvation – v. 29
- He is the son of God – v. 32
- He is superior to Moses and the manna – v. 35; 49–58
- Salvation was a matter of faith alone – v. 35–40; 63
- Apart from God’s working, one cannot believe – v. 44; 65
If you want to follow me, you will chew My flesh and drink My blood. This would have grossed the Jew out. Jesus is not talking about the eucharist or a wafer.
What is he talking about? Remember, we cannot hijack verses out of their context and alter them to say anything we want. We can’t put words into Jesus’ mouth. A text without a context is a pretext for a prooftext. Jesus has been giving us answers all along.
He has said that men and women must “believe” in Him (vv. 29, 35, 47). They must “come” to Him (v. 35). They must “look at” Him (v. 40). They must “listen” and “learn from” him (v. 45). All these terms—believe, come, listen, learn—are others ways of describing faith.
The most convincing evidence to prove Jesus didn’t envision us eating his flesh during the eucharist each week is found in verse: 63, “the flesh doesn’t help at all.”
He’s using figurative and spiritual language, not literal language. The new testament has nothing good to say about “the flesh.”
Romans 7:18, “there is nothing good in my flesh.” Paul said in Phil 3:3, “put no confidence in the flesh.” so why would I chew on something that is bad for me?
So how do we eat “his flesh and drink his blood”? Through the word. “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). “and the word became flesh” (John 1:14). It was hard for them to accept. “Hard” or “difficult” does not mean “hard to understand,” but “offensive”; note the parallel expression “does this offend you?” in the following verse. Accept is more than listening. it carries with it the intent of obedience. To be a disciple is to be teachable. Instead of coming to Jesus and saying, “we don’t understand what you’re talking about. Can you explain it.” they turned in disbelief.
They had trouble with Jesus’s message. Here is a truth you need to know: You can’t profess faith in Christ and reject his words. You can’t believe in Jesus and not accept his teaching. D. A. Carson adds, “one cannot feed on Christ without feeding on Christ’s words, for truly believing Jesus cannot be separated from truly believing Jesus’ words (5:46–47).” The cost is high, but the reward is great. To accept Jesus’ teachings means to trust and obey.
The cowering of so-called disciples
Verse 61, “Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were complaining about this, asked them, “does this offend you? 62 then what if you were to observe the son of man ascending to where he was before? 63 the spirit is the one who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 but there are some among you who don’t believe.” (for Jesus knew from the beginning those who would not believe and the one who would betray him.) 65 he said, “this is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by the father.”
The term offend is the word skandalizei, where we get the english word scandalous. It is used synonymously with apostasy in 2 places in the Bible. When Jesus says, “the spirit is the one who gives life, the flesh profits nothing. He is saying, “you don’t have the spirit, therefore, you don’t have life. To have the spirit is to be born again.” Complaining is an allusion to the grumbling of the israelites in the wilderness. Verse 66, “from that moment many of his disciples turned back and no longer accompanied him.” “turned back and no longer accompanied him” is the idea of going back to what you left behind and no longer following him.
This is a hebraic expression to mean they went back to their old lives. Why would they do this? They followed Jesus for the wrong reasons. They created a Jesus of their imagination which is not the real Jesus. They wanted a king and a warrior. So when Jesus taught contrary to what they envisioned, they left. These so called disciples followed Jesus when the catfish poboys we’re being handed out. But when Jesus attached a cost to following Him, they cowered.
The difference between the modern church and the church of Jesus’ day is that today you can turn your back on Christ and still come to a building called church. One of the problems with the American church is that we have reduced our relationship with God to a building and a time slot each week. If Jesus’ teachings offend you, it may be because you are lost. Jesus says, “I’m not adjusting myself to your life plan. I’m calling you into my life.”
Verse 65, “he said, “this is why I told you that no one can come [or have faith] to me unless it is granted to him by the father.”
Granted is the word for enabled.
God not only calls us, but gives us the faith to believe. Ephesians 2:8–9, “for by grace…” Jesus then paints a picture of the sovereignty of God in salvation. For someone to be born again, 2 spiritual parents must be present: spirit and word. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by Word of God. A dead man cannot discern spiritual things, which is why you cannot disciple an unbeliever. Salvation from start to finish is a work of the spirit. A further indication of the sovereignty of God was Jesus’ understanding of who would believe and who wouldn’t.
In the previous verses, each time Jesus states this truth, it’s in response to unbelief or skepticism. In 6:36, he tells his critics, “you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.” Then Ge immediately adds 6:37, “all that the Father has given Me will come to Me.”
In 6:43, Jesus confronts their grumbling about him and then adds 6:44, “no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” Here, Jesus again confronts their unbelief (6:64) and then adds (6:65), “for this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” He closes with a demonstration of his sovereignty by revealing that Judas is the devil in verse 70, proving that even though Judas with seemingly thwart the plans of God, he knew it before he called him and will use it for His glory.
God chooses us, calls us, births us, keeps us, and receives the glory for all of it. However, man must respond. Why is Jesus talking about this? For us to debate who’s elect and who’s not. Who’s chosen and who’s not? No. To give us assurance in the midst of trials. When His disciples are attacked, as He knew they would be, He didn’t want them surprised by the testing. Since He called them, He will protect them. You did not chose me, I chose you. That’s comforting.
The debate is not over whether He calls you or doesn’t call you. The million dollar question is “will you come when He does call you?” He is calling some today. He does the calling, not me. When I extend an invitation to respond to the gospel, it’s as if Jesus is calling you Himself.The dividing line for God is never riches, race, or religion. It’s our response to Jesus.
The Commitment of True Disciples
Verse 67, “therefore Jesus said to the twelve, “you don’t want to go away too, do you? ” 68 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life. 69 we have come to believe and know that you are the Holy one of God! ”, 70 Jesus replied to them, “didn’t I choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is the devil! ” 71 he was referring to Judas, Simon iscariot’s son, one of the twelve, because he was going to betray him.”
Jesus moves his focus from the large group to the 12. By asking this question, He doesn’t expect them to leave. He is testing their faith. It’s a rhetorical question. As usual, Simon Peter, as the representative of the 12, speaks up. Peter is answering for the 12 when he responds. Jesus asks the question not for confusion but certainty. Some would say, never question someone’s faith.
Jesus always did.
The rich young ruler didn’t want to sell everything. Please. Jesus could have funded his ministry with this man’s money. Paul always did that. Phil. 3:10, “work out your own salvation.” “test yourself to see if you’re in the faith.”Do you want him? Do you really want Jesus?
At the beginning of John, Jesus has 20,000 people praising him. By the end, he has 12. He is not interested in winning friends, but creating followers. He doesn’t want consumers, but co-workers.
Why did Judas fall?
Judas was purposed by God in eternity past to be the catalyst for the death of Christ. John 17:12 tells us that, for it says, “while I was with them, I was protecting them by your name that you have given me.I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the scripture may be fulfilled.”
Jesus explains his sovereignty over the situation by saying that he knew that Judas was the devil. What he is doing is preparing the disciples for what is going to happen. When Judas falls away, don’t let that surprise you. God is still in control. I chose him to carry out my plans. What does it mean for us? When things don’t go our way, don’t be surprised. God is in control. Jesus is preparing believers for impending attacks.
Judas is a warning to those who are playing church. You may hear Jesus’s teaching, observe his miracles, experience changed lives around you and still be far from him because you aren’t born again. Judas is a solemn reminder that you can walk close to Jesus for years and still spend eternity in hell.
In 3 verses, 2 men are brought together: Peter and Judas.
Both men were chosen by Jesus. Both witnessed His miracles, both saw Him walk on water, both gathered bushels of bread after He fed the 5,000, both heard His sermons, both were sent out to cast out demons and heal the sick, both were at the last supper together,
–both denied Jesus: peter by the campfire, and Judas by turning Jesus into the religious leaders.
–both felt remorseful over sin.
–but peter confessed his sin, Judas committed suicide.
Suicide is not the unpardonable sin. Why? Because you are not saved by works and can’t be unsaved by bad works. Judas was still calling the shots. He was still in control of his life.
To follow Jesus means to surrender all you have and all you are to him. He is not an addition to our life. He is our treasure.
Here is the question I want you to ponder: Does Jesus own you? Or have you prostituted yourself out to the world?
As we have seen, Jesus is the new Moses. The one sent by God to redeem His people from bondage and lead them to the promised land. However, Jesus did something Moses couldn’t do. He finished the task. Moses died in the desert. Jesus descended into hades and then rose from the dead. We have hope in a savior that has defeated death, sin, and the grave.
Do you really want him?