In the first 5 chapters of the Book of John we focussed on the deity – or divinity, of Christ. We will now turn to an important teaching of Jesus: we were saved to live a life for God, we were not saved to be a part of this world. Jesus said that we should be in the world, but not of this world. We can be in the world, but we don’t belong to it. We belong to Jesus.
In verse 5 Jesus saw that there were many people who were following Him. He felt compassion for them. He knew that they were hungry and he wanted to feed them. Jesus asked one of his disciples: “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”
In verse 9 there is a boy “with five barley loaves and two fish.” In verse 11 we read: “Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people.” There were at least 15,000 people following Jesus and Jesus fed them all with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. In order to do this Jesus had to create something out of nothing. He created food of out nothing. Only God could do this.
Then the people said in verse 14: “Surely this is the prophet we have been expecting!” When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself.” The people wanted Jesus to be their king because he made food out of nothing. The people thought if they followed Jesus they would have food for life and wouldn’t have to work.
Jesus knew what the people were thinking, so he said in verse 26: “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you.” What did Jesus mean when He said that they did not understand the miraculous signs? Jesus was referring to the time the Israelites were in the desert and when God sent bread or manna from heaven to feed them. Jesus was saying that He was the one who sent that bread in the desert.
John is telling us that we as Christians should not follow Jesus because we think we will get food for free. Jesus wants us to follow Him so that we can use our energy to serve Him and other people.
Jesus says in verse 33: “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jesus is talking about spiritual life, not earthly life. This chapter focusses on the spiritual life we can have with Jesus.
Jesus says in verse 35: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
In verse 41 we read about a misunderstanding that many people had about Him, and that many people have about Him today. “Then the people began to murmur in disagreemnt because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven,” They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven?”
This is a paradox. A paradox is something that sounds like it is a contradiction, but it is not. For example, a virgin who gives birth to a child sounds like a paradox. But Mary did give birth to a son without ever having sex with anyone. The paradox the Jews were talking about was how could a man be God? It sounds like a paradox, like a contradiction. But God can do anything. Just because we cannot understand it, doesn’t mean it is not true.
John tells us in verse 1 that it is ok to avoid those people who want to kill you because of the Gospel. We read: “After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death.”
Jesus’ disciples wanted Jesus to become famous in verse 4: “You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!”
Jesus knew there was work to do and that His time to die had not yet come. So He continued to do His work or preaching the word and healing the sick.
At this point the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus. The whole reason that the religious leaders wanted Jesus dead is that He said He was God, and they didn’t believe Him. They thought He was committing blasphemy, or shirk.
Much of chapter 7 teaches us that those who did not believe that Jesus was the Saviour were very confused people. They didn’t understand Jesus, they did not believe in Him, and they wanted Him dead.
Even though Jesus knew that the religious leaders wanted to kill Him, He was not afraid of them. Starting in verse 37 we read: “On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”
The people were divided. Some believed Jesus was the Messiah, others didn’t. Most of the religious leaders did not believe in Jesus. But one did, the same man we saw in chapter 3 – Nicodemus. In verse 50 we read that Nicodemus is now openly supporting Jesus, we read: “Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked.”
The other leaders made fun of Nicodemus, but we see here, that if we really believe and love Jesus, it is very hard not to talk about Him to others.
This ends my teaching on the Book of John – chapters 6 and 7.