Summary: The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. John 6 verse 51.
A PERPETUAL PROMISE AND THE BROKEN BREAD.
Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst’ (John 6:35).
“I AM” is, of course, the name of God (Exodus 3:14). Jesus identifies Himself with God, and proclaims Himself to be the all-sufficient Saviour bringing life to mankind. Bread is for all, and as bread Jesus satisfies the fundamental needs of our hearts.
The reaction to this statement was one of antagonism. Jesus’ listeners “then murmured at Him, because He said, I am the bread which came down from heaven” (John 6:41).
1. Their unbelief did not catch Jesus by surprise (cf. John 6:36). They could not, they would not believe Him (cf. John 8:47; John 10:26). Without Christ, man is only able to operate within the limitations of his own predisposition and propensity to sin, and will not call upon the LORD (Isaiah 64:6-7), and cannot serve Him (Joshua 24:19). Left to himself, man is totally unable to choose anything spiritually good for himself: and “No-one can come to Jesus except the Father draws him” (John 6:44).
2. Believers, on the other hand, find that they have already been “given” to the Son (John 6:37). They are ‘chosen in Christ from the foundation of the world’ (Ephesians 1:3-4). Our salvation was not of our own doing, and neither did we deserve it more than any other person, but it is the free gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-10).
This fact is full of consolations for the believer: we are given, we come to Him, we are not cast out (John 6:37). We have eternal life (John 6:40; John 6:47). Jesus re-emphasises, ‘No-one can come to me, except it was given to him by my Father’ (John 6:65).
3. Jesus teaches the efficiency and efficaciousness of His sacrifice for His people: “all”, every one of them, “shall come” (John 6:37). Those who thus “come” to Jesus are only those whom “the Father gives” Him (John 6:37).
In His great high priestly prayer, Jesus recognises these as distinct from ‘the world’ (John 17:6; John 17:9). They are ‘the Church’ whom Christ loved ‘and gave Himself for’ (Ephesians 5:25). They are ‘the many’ for whom the blood of Christ’s covenant is shed (Matthew 26:28), for whom the Son of Man came ‘to give His life as a ransom’ (Mark 10:45).
4. There is a certainty, an inevitability, about their coming to Him: “they shall come to me” (John 6:37). We thank the Lord that there are those in every generation who have been ‘born again’ of the Spirit of God (John 1:13), or else no-one would be saved. Jesus says, “Everyone that has heard, and learned of the Father, comes to me” (John 6:45).
5. Believers in Christ Jesus also have a perpetual promise of preservation by God. “I will in no wise cast them out” (John 6:37); “I will lose nothing” (John 6:39); “I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:39; John 6:40; John 6:44).
This teaching informs us of the keeping power of God (Philippians 1:6). It calls us to gratitude, and the grateful outworking of our salvation in the full knowledge that God already has it in hand (Philippians 2:12-13). It reassures us that, in the final analysis, nothing shall “separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
6. Everlasting life is not a thing that is earned: it is a free gift of God. All that is required is that we put our trust wholly and entirely in Jesus (John 6:28-29). Jesus says quite categorically that whoever believes in Him has everlasting life (John 6:47).
Jesus emphasized again that He is the bread of life (John 6:48). Unlike the manna which was eaten by men that are now dead (John 6:49; John 6:58), Jesus is the living bread which when a man “eats” it, i.e. puts his whole trust in Jesus, causes him to live for ever (John 6:50-51). This is made possible because of the sacrifice which Jesus was going to make: “the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).