18 July 2014

John 6:60-71

“It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (v. 63)


In John's Gospel a small number of miracles are seen as signs that point to truths about Jesus. The significance of the sign is opened up in a discourse given by Jesus. This passage is part of a lengthy discourse following the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-14).

Some of the wider group of followers are finding Jesus words difficult to accept. Jesus offers an explanation - all that he has said about being the bread of life must be viewed in the light of the Ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit (verses 62-63) (see Acts 1-2). His message is to be understood in the light of his death, Resurrection and Ascension.

The message is too hard for many and they leave, whereupon Jesus challenges the twelve as to whether they too wish to leave (verse 67). Simon Peter speaks up and pledges continuing allegiance to following Jesus. Jesus, however, is quick to point to the fact that he first chose them so their following is to be seen by way of response to Jesus initiative toward them.

The final verses reference Jesus' betrayal by Judas Iscariot.

These verses mark the conclusion of Jesus' ministry in Galilee and have strong echoes of incidents recounted in the other Gospels (Peter's confession at Caesarea Philippi for instance - Mark 8:27-30).

To Ponder

  • What are the 'hard words' that you struggle with in being a Christian today?
  • How do you see Judas' role in Jesus' ministry?

Bible notes author

The Revd Will Morrey

Will Morrey is a Methodist minister (presbyter) currently serving as Faith Communities Adviser for Action for Children, the children's charity of the Methodist Church. After appointments in Devon and Yorkshire, most of his ministry has been in Wales including university and RAF chaplaincies.