The Words of Eternal Life (John 6:60–71)
This week we will study John 6:60–71. So let’s read the passage, “When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.”
In John 6:60–71, we see that His disciples were grumbling because what Jesus said was hard to hear. Many think they were only talking about the parable of eating His flesh, but I think they were also grumbling about Jesus’ entire discussion in John 6 at Capernaum. Because for many of Jesus’ disciples, the flesh parable was a lot easier to hear and understand, than understanding the fact that Jesus descended from Heaven and is the Son of God. I think that what many miss when reading this passage is the thing that is hard for them to hear, is not only the parable, but also the fact that Jesus is proclaiming to be God and to be greater than Moses. They did not voice their grumblings to Jesus, but rather Jesus knew this within Himself. This is another example of God’s omniscience, as well as Him knowing His disciples, better than they knew themselves. Knowing they were grumbling, He responded to them by saying, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?” One of the reasons Jesus spoke in parables was because, if everyone understood what He meant, the Jews would have called Him crazy, and would have sent Him to the cross before His three years were up. Jesus could have stopped them from crucifying Him, but it was God’s plan for redemption (John 19:11, John 16:25–33).
The Spirit’s Calling
Jesus continues by saying that the Spirit is the One who gives life and the flesh is no help at all. The purpose of parables are so that all will hear, but not all will perceive (Matthew 13:13). The parables allow the Spirit to draw them and enable them to understand. When coming to life in Jesus the flesh is no help at all, the Bible later tells us that the things of the Spirit are foolishness to the flesh (1 Corinthians 2:14). This is Jesus saying again, that no man comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). The words that Jesus speaks are words of Spirit and life. This is still true today, Jesus’ words are just as alive today, as when He spoke them over two thousand years ago (Hebrews 4:12). His words are still changing lives today and they can change yours too. Today, Jesus wants to be Lord and Savior of your life. Jesus did not come just to teach us to live a moral life, no, He came to set us free from sin and death, He did this by dying on the cross (1 Peter 2:24, Hebrews 9:22). Maybe you are thinking, you did not know that you needed to be set free from sin or could be set free from death. The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and sin leads to death (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, James 1:15). Now, does this mean that if you come to Jesus you will never die? Well, yes and no you will likely die the first death, which is the temporary death of your physical body, the Bible sometimes refers to this as sleeping (1 Thessalonians 4:13–15, John 11:11). But, if you trust Jesus as Lord and Savior, you will never die the second death, which is to be separated from God forever in hell. That is what Jesus came to give us, eternal life with Him (Romans 6:23). If you would like to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins (repent means turn away), believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and God raised Him from the dead, then confess Him as Lord and Savior of your life (Romans 10:9).
Back to the World
Jesus said that there were some among those who followed Him that did not believe. He later calls one of the twelve the devil, because Judas would be indwelled by the devil when he betrayed Jesus (Luke 22:3). This is another one of those times when Jesus shows His omniscience, it says that He knew who would betray Him, and who would believe. But, this does not mean that Jesus did not call Judas, or treated him differently, because Jesus knew what Judas would do. Jesus told them that they can only come to Him, if the Father gives them to Him. Verse sixty-six is a very sad verse; it says that, “After this many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him”. This was likely part of the seventy-two, and many from the crowd that was at the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus does not force Himself upon anyone, He does not want robots that are programmed to love and worship Him (Matthew 10:14, Galatians 5:13). No, He loves you and wants you to love Him back, He wants to have a relationship with you (Revelation 3:20). But, there will be chances to turn back to the things of this world, and away from Jesus, because He loves you enough to allow you to choose.
The Words of Eternal Life
When these followers had left, Jesus turned to the twelve, and asked them if they wanted to leave as well. Peter, the one who says what the disciples were thinking, said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” That is what everyone, who was thinking about turning away from Jesus, should have considered, because there is no one else that has the words of eternal life. Jesus is the only way to live forever, that is a fact, not just my belief. Peter says that we have believed, and have come to know that Jesus is the Holy One of God. This is another piece of evidence against what many claim about Jesus, that He was a good man with moral teachings. No, that is not who Jesus is, He is the Messiah and the Son of God. He is the only One that has the words of eternal life. If you go and seek everything the world has to offer, you will always be chasing something, and when you catch it, there will always be something new to chase. Each time you catch it, it moves and you are never happy where you are; this most certainly will not give you eternal life and will make this life miserable. The disciples who went away, likely returned to the Temple, seeking God, when they had just been with the incarnate God on earth, and they most certainly felt lacking. Don’t turn away when you come to something in the Bible you do not understand, or that is hard to believe, instead lean in, because it will build your trust and relationship with Him. So this week, know that Jesus is the only way to live forever. Also, know that Jesus wants to have a deeper relationship with you, so get in the Word of God and pray, this is how to have a deeper relationship with Him.
Check out the other blogs in this series A Study through the Gospel of John