Waters of Life

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JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 2 - Light Shines in the Darkness (John 5:1 - 11:54)
B - Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:1-71)

5. The sifting out of the disciples (John 6:59-71)

JOHN 6:59-60
59 He said these things in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. 60 Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying! Who can listen to it?”

This discourse on the bread of God and the feeding on Jesus’ body was delivered on different occasions. He repeated some themes and deepened the content gradually. John, however, collected the discussions into one collection. We see Jesus in the synagogue at Capernaum teaching his audience indirectly that he is better than Moses, and that all believers should partake in his body and blood.

Such a revelation was beyond the grasp even of his loyal followers. They began to question and raise doubts. They had resolved to obey God and to serve him, but they were confused by the absurdity of body and blood being eaten and drunk. At the height of their bewilderment the Lord mercifully opened the minds of his faithful followers, to grasp the parable of the Bread of Life.

JOHN 6:61-63
61 But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? 62 Then what if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life.

Jesus perceived the disciples’ thoughts, and did not reprove their questionings. Their complaints had to do not with their perversity as with unbelievers, but was due to their misunderstanding of the parables of Christ’s mystery. But before Jesus gives them knowledge, he clears up for them the obscurity of the parable, the fullest explanation of the saving plan for the world.

He will not simply die for them to feed on his body spiritually, but will ascend to his Father also, from where he had descended. He it is who comes from heaven, but will not remain in our world. They saw him walk on the lake and realized he was superhuman. He will ascend to his Father in order to pour out his Spirit on his followers. This is the purpose of his death and the aim of his coming. His gift to them was not to but of his flesh, rather he comes into the hearts of his followers; not his material body, but his Holy Spirit enters us.

Jesus showed that the flesh profits nothing. Originally we were created whole and sound, but our thoughts and being became corrupt. In our bodies we find no power for true living, but only for sinning. His own body was prone to weakness, so that he said, "Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. The Spirit is active but the flesh is weak."

Praise God, Jesus bore in his body the Holy Spirit at all times. The presence of this Spirit in him was the secret of his being. He wished to grant us this union of Spirit and body by his death, resurrection and ascension, and the indwelling of his Holy Spirit in our feeble bodies. Earlier he had affirmed to Nicodemus that water and the Spirit enable us to enter into the Kingdom of God, referring to John’s baptizing with water, and Spirit baptism at Pentecost. In the context of the discourse on the bread of life, Christ explained to his disciples that he would come to them and upon them as they partook of the Lord’s Supper: With the condition that these emblems profit nothing, unless the Holy Spirit has come upon us. It is the Holy Spirit who revives, the flesh is of no value. Christ’s Spirit alone assures his Presence in the believers.

How does the Holy Spirit come upon us? This is the key question for all who prepare to partake in his body and blood to live in perfect union with Christ. Jesus answers simply, "Hear my words, open your hearts to the treasure of the gospel." Christ is the Word of God; he who hears his words and trusts in him is filled with the Holy Spirit. Fill your affections with God’s power, by memorizing many Scripture texts. Stand on God’s promises, hold on to his promises, you will become mightier than inventors and their discoveries. For by Christ’s saving word the Creator of the universe will come upon you, giving you his life and authority.

JOHN 6:64-65
64 But there are some of you who don’t believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who didn’t believe, and who it was who would betray him. 65 He said, “For this cause have I said to you that no one can come to me, unless it is given to him by my Father.”

Many who followed Jesus failed to grasp this vital point and left him. The discourse on eating his flesh and drinking his blood was the center of his Galilean ministry, and also the reason why many followers forsook him. So the number of the disciples diminished after this discussion. The mind of the deserters was not ready to go beyond the limits of human logic, to rely on Jesus unconditionally. They missed the truth of his divinity and did not dare to make a covenant with him on the basis of his sacrifice.

Jesus told his disciples that some of them would oppose his Spirit and shut him out. The Lord could see each of them in the emotions of his heart. He knew Judas Iscariot’s treachery who had joined the band from the start. Judas had been unwilling to open himself wholly to the Spirit of Christ’s love. Jesus knew as he spoke about his death that one of these present would betray him.

In conclusion, Jesus repeated the mystery that no one can believe in Jesus apart from the workings of the Spirit of God in his life. No one can call Jesus Lord save by the Spirit. Our faith is no mere belief, but a personal union with Jesus by the work of the Spirit. Open your soul to the attraction of the fatherly Spirit, do not oppose any of Jesus’ truths. Then you will experience his coming in you to abide forever. He is the Bread of Life prepared for you.


  1. How was the life-giving Spirit joined to Christ’s body?


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