Okay, okay, I know it has been a long time since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve actually been really struggling with what to post about John 6 because it is such a rich passage – there is lots I could say. But what makes it more difficult is the fact that it is so long and encompasses a pretty complete story. So, I’m going to skip all the theatrics of the passage and get right to where I see the gospel in the story. Just keep in mind, I could say a whole lot more.

I also want to let you know that I may be leaving my study of John for a while. We are getting ready to begin some skeptics groups here in Missoula and we are covering the book of Mark and I just haven’t had the time to do in depth study of two books at once. I do plan to come back to the book of John some time soon. In the meantime, I’ll try to start putting up some observations about Mark.

I’m not going to quote anything from John 6, otherwise I’d have way too much text here. At the beginning of John 6, Jesus provides the crowd’s most basic need – he fills their tummies with bread. This causes them to make an astonishing proclamation about him (in v. 14), “This is indeed the Prophet who is come into the world!” Then Jesus leaves and the crowd isn’t quite sure where he went so they take off to find him.

When they find Jesus he immediately perceives their motivation for hunting him down – you want more food. I love what Jesus says to the crowd, “you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (26). In other words, you should have been seeking me because I amazed you with signs, but you just want more food. That is so true of me. I pray or read my Bible, not because I am amazed with Jesus and want to be with him but because I need him to do something for me.

Here’s where things get good and where the gospel is perhaps most clearly seen in the whole book of John (and maybe in the whole Bible). Jesus tells the crowd that the work of God is to believe in Jesus (the one God has sent). Jesus tells them that even though the bread satiated their hunger on the day before, only he can satiate the hunger that lingers – only he can satisfy in such a way that the hunger pains no longer return. The amazing thing is that he isn’t going to give them some sort of special bread that takes away their hunger, but he himself is the bread that they must feed on.

And this is where the gospel is most clearly articulated in this chapter. Jesus has come to give himself. He is the bread of life. He is what we must feed on in order to find life of our own. He laid down his life in order that we might feed on him and take up our lives. He died that we might live. The best part of this passage comes towards the very end. Jesus made that shocking statement about the necessity to eat his flesh and drink his blood and all of the disciples couldn’t handle it and many of them left him. So he turned to the 12 and asked them if they planned to leave him too. Peter responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…” (68).

Sometimes the gospel is hard. Sometimes we aren’t quite sure what we’re supposed to do with Jesus. We’re not sure how we even eat the flesh of Christ or drink his blood. We go to church, take communion, listen to the sermons, spend time daily reading the Scriptures and yet are still spiritually dry. We know that life is found here somewhere and yet it doesn’t seem to make sense. This is when we need respond as Peter did, “to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Jesus doesn’t promise us that it will always make sense or that it will never be hard. The question is whether we will walk away from Jesus when things are hard. Or are we convinced, like Peter and the 12 were, that Jesus is the Holy One of God?