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 6:66-67
66 At this, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, “You don’t also want to go away, do you?”

The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand created mass enthusiasm. However, Jesus showed up the deceit behind this enthusiasm, which was to lead many away from him. He does not want superficial zeal or piety or mere belief for a doubtful purpose. He desires a second birth, a sincere faith yielded to him without holding back. At the same time, spies from the High Council in Jerusalem infiltrated his followers; they threatened those loyal with expulsion from the Synagogue if they persisted in following the one they called the deceiver. Many in Capernaum had turned away so that the masses of common folk also turned against him. Even the faithful feared the authority of the Council. They felt that Jesus’ creed was extreme and only a small minority of sincere followers stayed with him. The Lord was sifting the wheat from the chaff.

Prior to this, Christ had chosen twelve apostles from among his followers reflecting the twelve tribes of his people. This number is made up of 3 x 4 representing heaven and earth, or more precisely, the Holy Trinity and the four corners of the earth. When we multiply three by four we get twelve. Thus, in his circle of disciples heaven and earth are intertwined, as well as the Holy Trinity with the four corners of the earth.

After the parting Jesus further tested his chosen ones to confirm their call and said, "Do you also want to leave me?" With this question he constrained his disciples to decide their future course. In this way he asks you and your friends in anxious times and hours of persecution, do you wish to leave him or to stick by him? Which is more vital, traditions, emotions, logic or material security on the one hand, or your relation with Jesus?

JOHN 6:68-69
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Peter demonstrated the validity of Christ’s prophecy that he was the solid rock. Speaking on behalf of the rest he replied, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone are the source of eternal life." He may not have fully grasped Jesus’ intentions, but felt deep down that the man Jesus of Nazareth was the Lord from heaven from whom proceed creative words with reviving power, not those of a mere man. Peter believed that the Lord was present. He shared in the distribution of the bread. Jesus’ hand held him up when he was about to sink. Peter’s heart was attached to Jesus; he loved his Lord more than anything else and would not leave him. Peter chose Jesus because Jesus had first chosen him.

The leader of the apostles concluded his testimony with these words: "We have believed and know". Notice, he did not say, "We knew and then believed." For it is faith that opens the hearts’ vision. It is our faith that lights up our minds. Thus Peter and his fellow disciples yielded to the attraction of God’s Spirit who had led them to faith in Jesus illumining them to know the truth. They grew in their realization of his hidden glory. All true knowledge from Jesus is directly a gracious gift of God.

What was the nature of the disciples’ faith in Jesus? What was the content of this faith? They were attached with the divine Messiah in whom the fullness of the Spirit dwelt. He united in his Person all the functions of priesthood, kingship and prophecy. Kings, high priests and prophets in the Old Testament were anointed by the Holy Spirit. In Christ all the energies and blessings of heaven are combined. He is the divine King omnipotent; at the same time he is High Priest reconciling mankind with their Creator. He is able to raise the dead and he will judge the world. By faith Peter perceived Christ’s glory.

Together the disciples believed and with Peter as spokesman they testified offering that crucial witness: That this Jesus is the Holy One of God and not an ordinary man but true God also. All God’s qualities were upon him as God’s Son. He remained sinless, and carried out his task as the Lamb of God, as the Baptist had prophesied. The disciples loved him and revered him, for they knew that his presence meant God’s presence. In the Son they saw the Father, and understood that God is love.

JOHN 6:70-71
70 Jesus answered them, “Didn’t I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 Now he spoke of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for it was he who would betray him, being one of the twelve.

Jesus welcomed this testimony with joy as indicating a growing faith. Yet he realized that one of their number was opposing him on several occasions. This man’s hard-heartedness developed to the extent that Jesus called him ‘Satan’. All the apostles were chosen, drawn by the Father to the Son, but they were not robots in God’s hands. They were free to obey the Spirit’s voice or ignore it. Judas deliberately shut his mind to God’s voice and surrendered to Satan who set up a mental link between the two of them. Judas did not leave Jesus alone as others who deserted Jesus had done, but he stayed on to accompany Jesus, a hypocrite pretending to believe. He became the son of the ‘Father of lies’ and progressed in treachery. Whereas Peter confessed Jesus’ Messianic role, Judas harbored plans to betray Christ to the High Council. Incited by hatred, he secretly mapped out his treacherous designs.

The evangelist does not conclude this important chapter with striking works on the authority given to the apostles. But gives prominence to the fact that even in the circle of the faithful, there was a traitor. Jesus did not drive him away nor did he disclose his name to the others. But he endured him patiently in case Judas would repent of the evil in his heart.

Dear Brother, examine yourself humbly. Are you a son of God or a child of Satan? Do you open yourself to the attraction of the Spirit, or do you tend towards a compact with Satan? Beware, lest you miss the aim of your life. Your Lord loves you, and has saved you. However, if you reject his salvation, you will drift into the paths of evil and remain under bondage to Satan. Return to Christ for he is waiting for you.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, you are God’s Son, holy, merciful, mighty and victorious. Forgive my trespasses, and establish me in your covenant, so that I may live in holiness, and continue in your presence, and be transformed into your image. Sanctify your followers, to grow in faith and knowledge, and to witness to all that you alone are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Amen.


  1. What are the implications of Peter’s testimony?


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