Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 shows his ability to give life, to make something out of nothing. After feeding the crowd Jesus left the area because the people responded wrongly to what he did (vv. 1-15). He and the disciples then went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (vv. 16-21). The people—viewing Jesus as merely a miracle worker and wanting free food—followed him there (vv. 22-26).
Jesus reproved them for their wrong aim and assessment and taught them about faith (vv. 27-65). Sinners must “come to Christ” (note v. 35, come=believe) to have eternal life. No one of themselves can or will trust in Christ (v. 44). God the Father has chosen to save some sinners, and each of the elect will be saved by faith in Christ (vv. 37, 39). God must “draw” (cause to be born again) sinners to him, then they will believe (vv. 44-45, 63, 65). Everyone who believes has eternal life (vv. 35, 39-40, 44, 47, 51, 54, 58).
Those who were following Jesus as a mere miracle worker who would give them free food rejected what Jesus said and stopped following him (“disciples,” vv. 60-61, 66). They did not believe Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Jesus’ teaching in verses 53-58 was not about the Lord’s Supper. It would be another year from this time until Jesus taught the Lord’s Supper. If this did refer to Communion, that would be essential for salvation, leaving the thief on the cross out of heaven and enabling millions of godless people into heaven. Jesus taught that the Lord’s Supper was for believers to remember his death, not for sinners to gain salvation (1 Cor 11:24-25).
- Jesus’ teaching in verses 53-58 is about true saving faith. “Flesh” refers to the true Person of Christ and “blood” his anticipated sacrificial death. “Eat and drink” are figures of speech for saving faith. Read verses 40 and 54, and you’ll see how “eat…drink” is just another way of saying “see…believe,” and that all the other words are exactly the same. As one “eats and drinks” what is good, pleasing, and desirable, so one truly trusts in Christ who readily, entirely, accepts and depends on Jesus for salvation.
- With this said, what/who are you depending on for eternal life? If you say you “believe” in Jesus, is your belief like eating vegetables you hate or a favorite meal?