With scripture, we absolutely prove (100%) that Jesus was “not” speaking symbolically in the Bread of Life Discourse – John Chapter 6:22-71
TABLE OF CONTENT
- Setting the stage – 10 key points
- Old Testament foreshadow; Passover and the Manna in the desert
- New teachings from Jesus; disciples never heard Jesus speak this way before
- Many disciples gave up their “way of life” to follow Jesus
- Something big happened during the Bread of Life Discourse that shook the faith of many disciples
- Disturbing and incomprehensible teachings are “hard to believe”
- The truth about verse 63; “the spirit” vs. “the flesh,” taught many times in the New Testament
- Jesus allowed many disciples to leave him; no compromise
- Supernatural faith vs. natural faith
- Many people seek to be right, and as a result, they fail to seek the truth
SETTING THE STAGE – 10 KEY POINTS
1. This is about eternal life!
Jesus referred to eternal life 13 times in the Bread of Life Discourse, more than any other chapter in the New Testament.
2. According to the Holy Bible, these were “disciples” that left Jesus and returned to their former way of life, no longer accompanying him. John 6:66
3. Jesus connected this apostasy to Judas’ betrayal.
4. Holy Scripture’s definition of “disciple” is a “believer and follower of Jesus.” Scripture defines the “crowd” as non-believers. 30,36
5. There were three groups of people that traveled to Capernaum; non-disciples (the crowd); disciples; and the 12 disciples / apostles.
6. Before the discourse, Jesus had already taught the disciples the requirement to obtain eternal life, which is to believe in him and obey his commands. There are several verses. Here are a couple verses from the Gospel of John 3:15,16,36; 5:24.
7. Just hours before the Bread of Life Discourse, Jesus performed two miracles. The multiplication of loaves (Jesus can multiply) and walking on water. These were supernatural events; humanly impossible to comprehend “how” these events happened.
8. Something “big” happened during the Bread of Life Discourse that made many disciples stop believing in Jesus, abandoning the way to eternal life.
9. The Bread of Life Discourse took place roughly one year before the Last Supper.
10. Prior to this discourse, Jesus never referred to himself as bread.
OLD TESTAMENT FORESHADOW
The Passover was near (John 6:4). The Israelites not only had to sacrifice the lamb, but had to eat the flesh of the lamb to be in covenant with God. Exodus 12
In the Book of Exodus, three main commands were given by God to the Israelites in order for firstborn children to be saved:
First: Sacrifice the lamb, Second: Apply the blood, Third: Eat the flesh
If the Israelites sacrificed the lamb but “did not” eat the flesh and apply blood on the doorposts, death “would have” entered the house. Exodus 12
Christ, our Paschal Lamb, has been sacrificed. 1 Cor 5:7
Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. John 1:29
God commanded the Passover Sacrifice to be practiced by every generation, forever. Exodus 12
Old Manna vs. New Manna
The bread was “not” symbolic. It was “supernatural” bread and miraculous gifts from God to feed the Israelites in the desert. Exodus 16
The Old Exodus set free the Israelites from slavery; 12 Tribes of Israel were led by Moses to the promised land.
Directly from heaven, “Manna” in the morning and “Flesh” in the evening. 8
The Jews complained, murmured.
The old manna was eaten and sustained physical life.
Manna was placed in a golden vessel in the tabernacle. 33; Heb 9:4
Jesus is referred to as the “New Moses” in the Gospels of the New Testament.
The New Exodus sets free humanity from slavery; sin and death. 12 apostles were led by Jesus to the promised land.
The Jews referred to the manna in the desert and requested something greater.
The Jews complained, murmured.
Directly from heaven, “eat” of the new manna and you will not die:
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may “eat” it and not die. John 6:49,50
New manna is supernatural and miraculous gifts from God:
The bread is his flesh. (51) This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” 58
The new manna is eaten and sustains life forever.
Jesus “begins” and “ends” his new teachings referencing the manna in the desert. 49, 58
If the old manna was miraculous supernatural bread from heaven rained down daily from God for 40 years to sustain life, the new manna is just a symbol?
If the “Bread of Life” is symbolic, that would make the old manna “greater” than the new manna, for a symbol is not supernatural and a symbol is not from heaven. The reference of bread would just be a symbol of Jesus, not supernatural and literally from heaven like the old manna.
Heavenly supernatural food sustains life
It was the nourishment of the heavenly supernatural food that was eaten daily which allowed the Israelites to “sustain life” during their journey to the promised land.
Jesus provides a “greater” nourishment of supernatural food from heaven that sustains “life forever” as we journey to the promised land.
New teachings from Jesus in the Bread of Life Discourse
- Jesus referred to himself as bread 10 times in the Bread of Life Discourse.
- Jesus is the “Bread of Life” (John 6:35,48). This bread gives life to the world. 33
- Ancestors ate manna in the desert, but died. Eat this bread and you will not die. 49,50
- The bread is his flesh. 51
- If you don’t eat his flesh and drink his blood, you will not have life. 53
- Whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood has eternal life. 54
- His flesh is true food and blood, true drink. 55
- The one who feeds on him will have life because of him. 57
- Unlike ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever. 58
- Whoever eats this bread will live forever. 50, 51, 58
The disciples never heard Jesus speak this way before
He wants us to eat his flesh and drink his blood, and somehow bread becomes his flesh???
Four times scripture reveals “lack of faith” in the new teachings:
1. How can this man “give us” his flesh to eat? 52
2. This saying is hard; who can accept it? 60
3. Jesus said, “but there are some of you who do not believe.” 64
4. As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. 66
Jesus would “not” reject or lose them, if they believed
God is “all knowing;” omniscient. Jesus knew that many disciples would leave him that day. So, before the new teachings, Jesus explained to the “crowd” of “non-believers” that he would not reject or lose anyone that comes to him unless they were not granted by his Father’s will. 37-39.
Jesus then explained the Father’s will in verse 40:
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and “believes” in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.
If Jesus lost or rejected a disciple that “believed in him,” he would not have obeyed the Father’s will.
WAY OF LIFE
Several times in scripture, Jesus told people to “follow” him if they wanted to be his disciple. In Greek, the word “Akoloutheitō” was used for follow which means to accompany, to join and attend, to literally walk with him.
There were “many” disciples that followed Jesus, according to scripture. 66
Following Jesus did not just mean, walking with him and learning. Jesus was “preparing” his disciples for missionary work as we can see from Luke Chapter 10. Shortly after this discourse, Jesus assigned missionary work to 72 faithful disciples, which included traveling from town to town preaching, driving out demons, healing the sick, etc.
Whoever listened to these disciples, listened to the Lord. Whoever rejected these disciples, rejected the Lord. Luke 10:16
Upon returning from their mission rejoicing, Jesus said to his disciples, I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. 18
Jesus gave these disciples “full power over the enemy.” Their names are written in heaven. 19,20
Conditions of Discipleship
Jesus commanded his disciples to renounce their possessions, deny themselves, pick up their cross daily and follow him. Matt 10:38, Luke 9:23; Luke 14:25-33
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. Matt 10:39
Commitment and Belief
The Conditions of Discipleship were mandates for all disciples, not just the twelve.
The Gospels of the New Testament clearly define the playbook of discipleship, and it was not easy back then! You could not just Uber or GPS it over to Jesus for Sunday church service. And Jesus did not stay in one location.
It is estimated that Jesus traveled over three thousand miles during his earthly ministry, and he called on his disciples to follow him daily.
Many disciples gave up their way of life to follow Jesus.
With Jesus roughly two years into his earthly ministry, it is estimated that some disciples had followed the Lord for months and some for years. Imagine you giving up your life to “literally” follow another person for weeks, months or years!
To follow his way of life was (is) not easy. It involved suffering, persecution, rejection, living minimally, etc. His way was against this world and our fleshly desires.
The disciples did have the luxury of speaking to and learning directly from Jesus, and witnessed miracles to help strengthen their faith.
Strengthening of Faith
In front of his disciples, just hours before the discourse, Jesus performed an unbelievable supernatural miracle of creating bread and fish “out of nothing” to feed over 5,000 people!
This definitely strengthened the disciples’ faith even more!
Just imagine that supernatural event for a moment! You’ve given up your way of life to follow and accompany Jesus, and then he performs this miracle. Talk about encouragement and a strengthening of faith that day!
Jesus was preparing the disciples for very difficult supernatural teachings that would be taught the next day.
SOMETHING BIG HAPPENED!
Whoever “believes” in the Son has eternal life (John 3:36).
The disciples accompanied and followed Jesus over a promise of eternal life, if they believed. Believe means to “accept as truth.” Difficult and disturbing “new teachings” however took place that shook the faith of many disciples.
Jesus “surprised” his disciples with new strange teachings that were not only disturbing, but forbidden, like drinking blood.
Angry arguments broke out at the Bread of Life Discourse.
Over a metaphor or symbolism? No way!
The Jews quarreled (heated arguments) among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” John 6:52
The verb used in Greek for quarreled is Ἐμάχοντο, which is used to describe fights, war, battle, etc. This was not a casual argument.
Many people were very upset and disturbed.
Jesus gave a forbidden ultimatum
While many were “upset” during the discourse, instead of “rectifying a misunderstanding,” Jesus “raised the bar” even higher by giving an ultimatum that included drinking his blood:
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. 53
Jesus then intensified his vivid “literal” imagery
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever. 54-58
The word “eat” in Greek graphically intensified
After the Jews expressed anger, Jesus graphically intensified the word “eat” from phago (to eat, consume; verse 51) to trogo – chew on, gnaw on, rip apart. 54,56,58
HARD TO BELIEVE
Then many disciples that were listening said, this saying is hard; who can accept it? (60)
Is a symbolic teaching hard to accept? No!
After giving up their way of life to follow Jesus, many disciples chose to not believe.
Does this shock you?
Verses 61: Jesus had another opportunity to correct a “misunderstanding.” Instead Jesus said, “does this shock (offend) you?
Is there “anything” shocking or offensive about a symbolic teaching? No!
What was shocking, difficult, disturbing to the human mind, and incomprehensible was Jesus speaking literally!
Fly to Heaven
Even after the miracles Jesus performed, many disciples were in such “disbelief” that Jesus had to make a statement to legitimize himself that he is the Son of God and can do anything, like ascend to heaven.
Verse 62: What if you see the son of man ascend to where he was before?
Is ascending to heaven incomprehensible, supernatural? YES
So is bread becoming literal flesh!
It is of the miraculous; it’s supernatural.
Jesus is saying, these new teachings are incomprehensible and difficult for the human mind. It requires 100% faith!
THE TRUTH ABOUT VERSE 63
After Jesus finished telling everyone “several times” to eat his flesh and drink his blood, some believe Jesus “renounced” all that he said with verse 63?!
Is that the work of a great teacher? Confusion? Misleading, about eternal life?
Does the word “spirit” indicate a symbolic teaching?
Some believe the word “spirit” in verse 63 proves that Jesus was speaking symbolically. They also believe Jesus was referring to “his flesh” when he said, “the flesh is of no avail” – no help or benefit. Let’s analyze the verse…
Verse 63: It is “the spirit” that gives life, while “the flesh” is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
Separated from or united with God’s grace
Many times in the New Testament the term “the flesh” is used to describe human nature separated from God’s grace and the term “the spirit” describes a soul united with God’s grace. There are several verses; here’s a couple…
The Spirit vs. The Flesh
Jesus said, “the spirit” is willing, but “the flesh” is weak. Matt 26:41
The concern of “the flesh” is death, but the concern of “the spirit” is life and peace. For the concern of “the flesh” is hostility toward God; it does not submit to the law of God, nor can it; and those who are in “the flesh” cannot please God. Rom 8:5-8
Now the works of “the flesh” are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds,… Gal 5:19-21
Because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from “the flesh,” but the one who sows for “the spirit” will reap eternal life from “the spirit.” Gal 6:8…
What does “no avail” mean? It means “no help or benefit.”
Did Jesus say “my” flesh is of no avail? No, he said “the flesh” is of no avail.
Was his flesh on the cross of no help or benefit?
Jesus is referring to “our” sinful flesh that is separated from God’s grace
Obviously not his!!!
The Lord is divine, perfect and sinless. His flesh is holy and pure. His flesh and spirit rose from the dead. Jesus is clearly referring to “our” sinful flesh, which is of “no help or benefit.” Our sinful flesh withers away and then dies. It is your spirit that gives life, your flesh is of “no help or benefit.”
The words (verses 48-58) I have spoken to you are spirit and life. Jesus “feeds” our spirit, which gives life.
Consuming his “heavenly resurrected” flesh and blood feeds our spirit (soul) which gives life, not our sinful flesh which is of no avail. We transform into the Body of Christ by spiritually being fed, so we too rise from the dead.
The “manna in the desert” was eaten and nourished “the flesh” but not the spirit. The “Bread of Life” is eaten and nourishes “the spirit” which gives eternal life, not the flesh.
THEY LEFT HIM
Jesus allowed many disciples that accompanied and followed him, that ate and drank with him, that traveled day and night with him, to leave him because they did not “believe” in these new teachings. 60,64,66
He obeyed the Father’s will (40) and let them go because they did not believe in his new teachings.
Jesus did not call them back
He ”did not” call them back. Scripture says, they returned to their former “way of life” and “no longer” accompanied him. 66
For Jesus to allow many of his disciples to leave him, after they gave up their own way of life to follow him, shows you how “important” these teachings are to Jesus in the Bread of Life Discourse and that there was no compromise.
This took place roughly one year before the Last Supper.
Jesus put years of ministry work “on the line” for these new teachings
He then asked if the 12 apostles were going to leave!
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” 67
Over a symbolic teaching?! NO WAY!
Have faith in God and his plan
Very little detail of how, when and why were given to the disciples at the Bread of Life Discourse.
Do you think St. Peter had all the details and could comprehend how bread can become flesh? No!
But he had “faith” in Jesus. He did not leave him:
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God. 68, 69
St. Peter highlighted the “lack of faith” of those disciples that left
To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe!
Supernatural faith means to believe beyond scientific understanding and laws of nature; of the miraculous similar to the “manna in the desert,” the Lord’s supernatural birth and the multiplying of bread and fish. Having “complete” faith and trust in Jesus requires you to believe in God beyond what you can comprehend.
These new teachings required the disciples to believe in Jesus beyond what they could comprehend. Instead of “fully trusting” Jesus like St. Peter did, many disciples leaned on their “human comprehension,” rather than faith in God, which led to their disbelief and their difficult and disturbing thoughts.
Many disciples had natural faith which is of “the flesh” and not of “the spirit.” You need to see to believe. You can’t believe in God beyond what you can comprehend. Your faith is of “the flesh” and of this world, not of “the spirit” which only God can see and feed. This faith is weak and lacks trust in God. Our goal in life as Christians is to move from natural faith to supernatural faith.
Faith and Patience
As time went on, Jesus revealed more and more details to those who followed him and believed.
What was disturbing and difficult then for many disciples, with faith and patience in Jesus, would reveal over time the connective mysteries with the Last Supper, the New Passover, the Sacrificial Crucifixion and the Lord’s Redemption for humanity by rising from the dead.
It’s just like life! God reveals the details of your life a little at a time. We want to know everything now, but he requires “strong faith” and patience.
Many seek to be right, and as a result, they fail to seek the truth! Many people seek to be “right” rather than seeking for biblical “truth.”
We all at times try to justify and convince our minds that something is right when in fact it is wrong. Truth Campaign is about helping people seek truth in one of the most important teachings in the Holy Bible, the Bread of Life Discourse in the Gospel of John chapter 6.
Based on scripture, the Bread of Life Discourse teachings are clearly “not” symbolic.
This chapter is about eternal life! Do your research with an open heart!
God Bless you on your journey!
Is drinking the blood of Jesus forbidden? No!
Biblically, this is why it is not forbidden and why Jesus wants us to do this! Click here!
God the Father chose to not “draw” the disciples and that is why they left Jesus? No! Click here!
Disciples left Jesus because they thought he was teaching cannibalism? Click here!
Jesus was “not” speaking metaphorically. Click here!
Why the disciples “did not” leave Jesus due to lack of free bread, click here!