Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

John 6:48-63
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 6:48-51
vs48-51: After addressing His opponents Jesus returned to the subject of manna. He said, “I am the bread of life.” This gathering in the synagogue took place just before Passover (Jn 6:4) so after comparing Himself to “the bread which comes down out of heaven” He switched to the image of the Passover meal. Now He compared Himself to a different form of bread, not manna but the unleavened bread eaten during the Passover ceremony. The ceremony itself changed over the centuries from the one we read about in Exodus 12. It’s uncertain as to which elements were present during Jesus’ time, but if the three wafers of unleavened bread were used then, as they are now, the middle wafer called the “Afikoman,” represented the Passover lamb (Susan Marcus, Enter His Gates, T-Land Ltd. Allon Center, Kibbutz Ginosar 14980 Israel, p48). Jesus said, “And indeed the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world” (v51, literal).

Monday: John 6:48-51
vs48-51 (continued): He reminded His listeners that those who ate manna in the wilderness still died because even though it miraculously came from heaven, it was only ordinary bread. But during the Exodus, God also gave Israel another form of bread which delivered them from death. A lamb sacrificed on Passover night caused the angel of death to pass over their homes. So Jesus also compared Himself to the bread which represented that lamb. Like manna He had come from heaven, but like the Passover lamb He would die. The unleavened bread of that meal symbolically represented the flesh of the lamb, and the lamb prophetically represented His death on the cross (1Co 5:7-8).

Tuesday: John 6:52-53
v52: His words ignited angry emotions in the religious leaders. They began to openly fight against what He was saying by loudly asking one another, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” It’s hard to imagine that they genuinely thought He was speaking literally. Human sacrifice and cannibalism were abhorrent to Judaism. But, at least, they pretended to take Him literally and tried to use that suggestion to alienate the crowd from Him. They portrayed His statement as grotesque, if not insane. v53: So, you would expect Jesus to try to calm matters down by quickly explaining that He didn’t mean it that way, but instead He moved forward with His illustration unfazed. It was more important to Him that those in the synagogue hear the truth that the Passover ceremony spoke of Him. Eating the lamb was a way of partaking by faith in the protection the flesh of the lamb provided, and drinking the cup of red wine was a way of partaking by faith in the protective power of the blood on the doorway.

Wednesday: John 6:53-58
vs53-58: So He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven, not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever” (vs53-58). To invite that congregation to believe in Him, Jesus rolled two great Old Testament images into one. Like manna, He said He had been sent from heaven to feed them, and like the Passover lamb, it would be necessary for Him to die violently to rescue them. His body would be crucified and His blood poured out so they could escape from death.

Thursday: John 6:53-58
vs53-58 (continued): During a Passover meal in an upper room in Jerusalem the following year (Jn 13), Jesus made this same comparison between Himself and the Passover lamb, only this time there could be no confusion over what He meant. He held up a portion of the unleavened bread which is used in the meal and said, “This is My body which is given for you, do this in remembrance of Me” (Lk 22:19). Later in the meal He held up the cup of wine, which is called the “cup of redemption,” and said, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood” (Lk 22:20). By eating the bread and drinking the cup which He passed to them, these disciples were saying to Him, “I believe in You. You will give your body in death. Your life’s blood will be poured out. By eating and drinking I receive by faith what You will do for me on the cross. Like manna You came from heaven to give us life, and like the Passover lamb You will die to deliver us from death.”

Friday: John 6:59-62
vs59-62: No one that day understood what He meant, neither His declaration that He had come from heaven nor that He was the true Passover Lamb. There were many people, beyond the Twelve, who followed Him as disciples, and even many of those said, “This is a hard word, who can listen to (accept) it?” (literal). They didn’t challenge Him openly after the synagogue service dismissed, but Jesus knew what they were whispering to each other. So He said, “Does this cause you to stumble in your faith in Me? Will you still doubt when you watch the Son of Man ascend back into heaven to where He was at first?” (paraphrase). Looking forward to the day when He would physically ascend into heaven, with hundreds watching (Lk 24:50-51; Ac 1:9-11), He warned them that the day would come when they would see proof of His claims with their own eyes. They would watch the Son of Man (Da 7:13-14) rise into the air and return home.

Saturday: John 6:63
v63: Then Jesus explained why it was impossible for Him to have meant that people should literally eat His flesh or drink His blood. He said, “The spirit is the thing which makes us alive, the flesh does not profit anything” (literal). In other words, under no circumstances can a physical ritual bring spiritual life to anyone. Spiritual life comes only from transactions made in the spiritual realm. Physical ceremonies may reflect and express our deep spiritual decisions, but something acted out in the material world can never by itself bring an encounter with God. Spiritual life comes only when the human spirit meets God and responds to Him by faith. Literally eating Jesus’ flesh or drinking His blood would save no one, but trusting His death on the cross by partaking of symbols which represent that death will save anyone.  

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