8 July 2020

John 6:41-51

'I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread, which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.' (v. 51)

Psalm: Psalm 71:17-24


Interestingly, this passage states it is not ‘the crowds’ who are Jesus’ conversation partners but ‘the Jews'. Here we begin to see why they rejected Jesus and, in rejecting him, rejected his teaching as well. They were judging things by human values and by external standards. For those present, the fact that Jesus was a person whose name and address they knew meant that he could not possibly have come down from heaven. Their response to Jesus was blocked by common-sense logic. There was no openness to divine revelation. 

Jesus’ response to their murmuring and complaining is telling. He does not engage in an argument with them but just asks them to stop. He makes it clear that it is the action of God that will draw people to himself through Jesus.

The last verse of this section introduces another pivotal concept, "the bread which I shall give for the life of the world, is my flesh". The feeding promised by Jesus is by no means ‘a free lunch’ but rather a costly giving up of life to gain life.


To Ponder:

  • Jesus’ interchange with the people in this passage challenges us about the task of evangelism. People operating within closed and fixed systems of thought cannot be argued into believing in who Jesus was and is for us today. People need to be open to being ‘drawn’ to God. What are the implications of this for our evangelism and apologetics today?
  • Do we find it difficult to hear the word of God from people whose ‘name and address’ we know?

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).

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