10 July 2020

John 6:60-71

“It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (v. 63)

Psalm: Psalm 73:1-14


Here we read that Jesus’ disciples (the twelve and a larger group) say bluntly that all that Jesus has been saying is ‘difficult stuff'. I think we can agree with that. But we need to go further and ask in what way Jesus’ words are hard and demanding. It is not just that at times the words are metaphorical and abstract and make one’s brain ache to make sense of them. They are also demanding because they ask for believers to participate in Jesus’ sufferings and death. Jesus’ words had made a huge hole in many of the crowds’ worldview – they were not the words or the ideas they had expected of a Messiah. Their response was just not to think about what he was saying anymore. It was all too much.

Here we have a point of division in Jesus’ followers – many refused to go with him any longer, some hung uncomfortably around the fringes and the twelve (or should we say eleven?) continued with him.

Verses 62 and 63 are key to understanding all of what Jesus has said. It is the Spirit that will give eyesight to enable people to perceive what Jesus is talking about.

This passage shows that the reality of unbelief has to be taken seriously – Jesus lost a lot of his followers after this and he was to lose Judas in a more dramatic way.


To Ponder:

  • Predestination (the idea that God chooses who will be saved and who not) was a hot topic for the Wesleys and a real issue of division between them and Whitefield. Do you think that parts of this passage support the concept of predestination?
  • In this passage we see that the reality of unbelief has to be taken seriously – not just ‘out there’ but within the community of Jesus’ followers. Where would we place ourselves in this narrative?

Bible notes author

The Revd Jennifer Potter

The Revd Jennifer Potter is a Supernumerary minister in the Croydon Circuit and a part-time chaplain at Hall Grange Methodist Home for the Aged (MHA).

Share this