Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


John 6:64-71
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 6:64
v64: Apparently many of those who had begun to follow Jesus changed their opinion of Him after they heard Him describe Himself as manna from heaven and the Passover lamb. It’s not clear whether they stumbled because they took His challenge to “eat My flesh” and “drink My blood” literally, rather than symbolically, or because they rejected His claim that the Passover lamb was a prophetic symbol of His death on their behalf. But whichever it was, they heard Him ask them to believe something they were unwilling to believe. So a large percentage of the crowd that had been pursuing Him went home.

Monday: John 6:64
v64 (continued): John tells us that Jesus was not surprised when this happened. He knew instantly, when someone started following Him, whether or not that person had genuine faith or was pursuing Him for other motives. John also observed that Jesus even knew which of His disciples would betray Him, meaning of course, Judas Iscariot (v71). It seems odd that one of the twelve men Jesus hand picked to be a disciple became so disloyal that in time he betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders in Jerusalem. John wrote these statements about Judas long after that betrayal took place, but he wants us to know that Jesus was never deceived by Judas. He knew the future, and He knew what Judas would do. Yet up until the evening when He was arrested Jesus never disclosed this information to anyone. He always treated Judas with the same kindness that He showed toward the rest of the twelve. But He did on that day issue a warning which only Judas would understand. He said, “But there are some among you who do not believe” (literal).

Tuesday: John 6:65
v65: Then He explained why it was possible for someone who had seen such miracles to not believe in Him. He said the root cause wasn’t that they didn’t understand what He was saying but arose from the lack of revelation. The Father did not reveal to such people that what they were hearing was true. And as we saw earlier (vs43-45), the reason the Father didn’t give them this revelation was because they previously refused to allow Him to expose their sins and show them their need of a Savior (Jn 3:19-21). When God tried to convict them they hardened themselves and refused to acknowledge their sinfulness, so naturally they felt no need for such a Savior. When Jesus announced that He would soon die for them they moved away from Him, repulsed or confused by His words rather than drawn to Him.

Wednesday: John 6:66-67
v66: Jesus’ blunt words about coming from heaven like manna and dying as our substitute like the Passover lamb caused many to abandon Him. They loved following a miracle-worker; they loved following a liberator who would set them free from Rome, but they refused to follow a dying Savior who had come from heaven to rescue them from God’s judgment. And once it became clear that Jesus was determined to keep on talking about sin and judgment, their sin and judgment, most of the crowd decided to go home. v67: In fact so many left Him that He turned to the twelve and asked, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Obviously since He knew from the beginning who did and didn’t believe, and even the future actions of Judas, it’s certain that He already knew the answer to His question. He knew that all but Judas would remain loyal for the rest of their lives, but in that dangerous moment outside the synagogue in Capernaum, in that atmosphere filled with unbelief and grumbling, He also knew it was important to give His disciples the opportunity to refuse to follow the crowd and to choose to believe in Him afresh.

Thursday: John 6:68-70
vs68-69: As was so often the case, it was Peter who answered His question, who spoke openly what the others were thinking secretly. Having been asked if he wanted to cease being Jesus’ disciple, Peter answered with a question of his own. He said, “To whom shall we go? You have words (sayings, teachings) of eternal life. And we have believed and have known that You are the Holy One of God” (literal). By identifying Jesus as “the Holy One of God” Peter meant that He was the promised Messiah (Ps 16:10; Ac 13:35-37; Mt 16:13-16, 20; Mk 8:27-29; Lk 9:18-20). v70: In answering Jesus, he said, “We have believed,” but the truth was not all of them did believe. One of the twelve not only didn’t believe, but in the future would betray Jesus to His executioners. That man’s unbelief ran so deep that in the future it would make it possible for Satan himself to enter him and take control of his actions (Jn 13:27; 17:12; Lk 22:3-6).

Friday: John 6:70-71
v70 (continued): By saying, “One among you is a devil” Jesus was warning Judas to repent. He was showing him what was going to happen to him in the future: he would become demon-possessed; he would become a helpless victim in the deadly grip of the devil. We shouldn’t miss the fact that even though Jesus knew Judas wouldn’t repent, He lovingly warned him anyway. v71: None of the disciples, with the exception of Judas himself, knew at the time to whom Jesus was speaking, but looking back on that betrayal long after it took place, John names him. He called him “Judas [the son] of Simon Iscariot.” It was the custom in Judaism at that time to identify someone as “the son of” their particular father. But here instead of calling Judas, “Judas ben Simon,” John replaced the words “ben Simon” with “Iscariot” which is actually a strange title of uncertain derivation.

Saturday: John 6:71
v71 (continued): And whatever that title means, it applied to Judas’ father as well. John called him, “Simon Iscariot.” A common assumption is that the name “Iscariot” is an attempt to put the Hebrew words “Ish Kiryat” or “man from the town of…” into Greek. The Hebrew word Kiryat simply means “town” and it is normally joined to the name of a specific town like Kiryat-Jearim, which means “a town of forests.” That community is located about eight miles west of Jerusalem (Isa 6:21; 7:1-2). It’s possible that John is telling us Judas was not a Galilean as were the rest of the disciples, but instead he was a Judean (Jn 3:22). But it’s hard to see why we would need to know that information unless we assume that John was suggesting that the reason Judas betrayed Jesus was because he was a Judean rather than a Galilean. But that attributes to John a prejudice toward Judeans we can be certain he didn’t have. Another possible meaning for the title “Iscariot” is that it was the Aramaic name of a violent group of zealots called “Sicaris” or “dagger-men” (Ralph P. Martin, “Judas Iscariot,” The New Bible Dictionary. Eerdmans, 1971, p.673). These radical Jews carried daggers hidden in their robes and would attack a victim suddenly and then disappear into the crowd (Ac 13:38) (Josephus, Antiquities, 20.8.6; Wars, 2.13.3). If so it would mean that Judas had previously been a zealot who left that violent group to become a disciple of Jesus. Certain towns in Galilee were centers for such zealotry, and Jesus may have preached in Judas’ synagogue and invited him to forsake violence and become His disciple. If so, it appears that Judas continued to see Jesus as a potential liberator and was waiting for Him to free the nation from its bondage to Rome. So Jesus’ refusal to rise up as Israel’s king (Jn 6:15) must have been a bitter disappointment to him. 


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