John 6:26-63 Exegesis
1. As a Christian have you wondered what the Lord's supper, called communion, is all about? 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 KJV, "23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord [Yahoshua] the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."
2. For those who have been taught about communion, sometimes it is necessary to unlearn erroneous information previously believed to be true. In the Bible, in the book of John, chapter 6, verses 26-63, is one such place. These verses do not teach communion. For those who have been taught that they do, we must begin here so that these verses can be understood in their proper context. If we neglect this step, then we risk that these verses will forever be a hindrance in understanding communion as our Lord and Savior taught it to us.
3. Please keep in mind that the events in John 6 occurred prior to the Last Supper. These Hebrews in John 6 had never received any teaching from Christ regarding communion. This is an unknown concept to them. So please, constantly remind yourself of this fact and continually remember to receive from Christ, that which He teaches here, without interjecting thoughts of Christian communion, which do not exist in history yet. How true it still is as written in 1 Corinthians 11:19 KJV, "For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you."
4. John 6:26-27 KJV, "26 [Yahoshua] answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." Here, Yahoshua sets the tone for His teaching that follows. First, He rebukes the Hebrews. He is discouraged at their lack of faith and understanding. They saw miracles but were not interested in these miracles. They heard teachings directly from the mouth of God, and they were not interested. These Hebrews only wanted physical food to nourish their flesh. Then He tells them they should not be working so hard just to get food for their physical bodies, instead they need to feed their spirits with His teachings, because if they believe in Him and His teachings they can attain eternal life.
5. Since these Hebrews’ minds were on physical food, they did not understand what Yahoshua just told them. So they ask a question. John 6:28 KJV, "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?"
6. John 6:29 KJV, "[Yahoshua] answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." So, Yahoshua repeats the answer He gave in verse 27 above. Taking verse 27 and 29 together He is saying, "Labor for food (spiritual understanding) which endures to everlasting life, I am giving you that food (spiritual understanding) through my teachings - in other words, believe in Me. Believe in Me because the Heavenly Father has sent and approved Me."
7. John 6:30-31 KJV, "30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat." These people’s total focus was still on food that would fill their stomachs. Listen to their insults to the God of all creation as their provoking and unbelief manifests itself. They asked for a miracle that would give them bread to eat. They wanted to believe in Him for food, they did not want to believe in Him for what He was offering, that is, eternal life. After all, they reasoned, Moses gave our forefathers bread, so You should give us bread too. They wanted a caretaker, but they did not want God. Yesterday's miracles were not sufficient for them. They were hungry again today. "Feed us again," they cried, "we will believe in you for physical food, but we will not believe in you to be a miracle working personal God who wants us to fellowship with Him for all eternity."
8.a. John 6:32-33 KJV, "32 Then [Yahoshua] said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." Yahoshua has just taught again that which he had previously said to Satan in Matthew 4:4 KJV (also in Deuteronomy 8:3), "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Yahoshua has just made a comparison between Himself and bread, because these people want bread (food) to fill their stomachs. Yahoshua wants them to desire Him and the teachings He gives, to fill their spirits.
8.b. More needs to be said however. (1) Yahoshua corrected them and said that Moses did not give them the bread from Heaven. In other words, My Father gave you the bread, not Moses, and I am not another Moses. (2) Besides, that was physical bread, you need true bread. You need faith, teachings, and understandings that will well up to eternal life. (3) You need what I have come to give you. I am the one who can give you this faith and these teachings and understandings that lead to life. I am that life (bread) from God. You have it all, right here, right now, just believe in Me.
8.c. As you can see, there has been no teaching, whatsoever, up through verse 33 that even hints at communion. Yahoshua is not teaching communion here, nor will He. We will continue the exegeses of these passages so that you can be convinced of this. He is teaching that the path to eternal life is believing in Him. Eternal life is obtained by being washed in His Blood and believing in Him for this salvation. Eternal life is not achieved, or even partially achieved, through communion or water baptism (which is a whole other teaching).
9. John 6:34 KJV "Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread." They still did not understand Him. They did not know He was referring to Himself when He said, "the true bread from Heaven" and "the bread of God". They were still looking for physical food.
10. John 6:35-36 KJV, "35 And [Yahoshua] said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not." These people had seen miraculous signs and wonders. People they had known their wholes lives were healed of visible maladies right before their very eyes. They had seen five thousand fed with five loaves of bread and two fish. Yet, they did not believe in Him. The stubbornness and unbelief of some boggles the mind. And Yahoshua makes the comparison again between Himself and bread. He even calls Himself the Bread of Life. He is saying that the bread that fills your stomach only gives you life here and now. The Bread of Life, that is, Yahoshua, gives you life forever. Yahoshua is not saying He is a piece of bread of higher quality which will go into your stomach and sustain your physical body forever. Rather, He is comparing bread made by human hands to be consumed for food, with Himself, the Bread of Life, that must be consumed in your spirit for eternal life.
11. John 6:37-40 KJV, "37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." They have just been told that He holds the keys to eternal life, because He can raise them up on the last day. Please, people, listen to Him.
12. But, incredibly, they do not listen, just as people do not listen today. They actually start complaining in John 6:41-42 KJV, "41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42 And they said, Is not this [Yahoshua], the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?"
13. John 6:43-48 KJV, "43 [Yahoshua] therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life." He says it again. He says, "I am the bread of life." Also, He just told them again the key to eternal life, "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life."
14. He continues to explain, yet again, that bread consumed into the stomach gains you nothing in eternity. Only living bread, namely Himself, consumed into your spirit gains eternity. John 6:49-51 KJV, "49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. In others words, He was predicting the death of His body as an atonement for the sins of all. John 3:16 KJV, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
15. John 6:52 KJV, "The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" The people cannot break from the desire of their hearts. The desire of their hearts is to eat bread, made by human hands, so that their stomachs will be full. Many were blinded then as to what Yahoshua was saying to them, just as many are blinded today and cannot understand these verses now.
16. John 6:53-59 KJV, "53 Then [Yahoshua] said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum." Yahoshua continues to reinforce everything He has said since verse 26. He continues to make the comparison of consuming bread made by human hands as only being temporary (temporal), and referring to Himself as the bread that came down from heaven (spiritual).
17. John 6:60 KJV, "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" They continue in their unbelief and, therefore, are unable to understand.
18. John 6:61-63 KJV, "61 When [Yahoshua] knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Yahoshua continues, yet another time, to stress that He is speaking spiritually about eating His flesh, not physically. He stresses that eating His flesh means that you are taking Him and His teaching into your spirit so that you may receive eternal life.
19. It is important to inject a paragraph here to explain what has not taken place in John 6:26-63. No where in these passages has Yahoshua taught communion. He did reveal what He meant when He was referring to Himself and His teachings as the Bread of Life. But communion was not taught here, nor did anyone here even know anything at all about communion. Communion was taught in the future, at the Last Supper. Prior to the Last Supper, communion was unheard of.
20. Now that we have looked at the Bible’s teaching on what Yahoshua meant when he called Himself the Bread of Life, we can turn to what is expected of us when we partake in the Lord’s Supper as He instructed us to do. Luke 22:19 KJV, "And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me." Yahoshua is not saying that bread made by human hands is His actual flesh. Yahoshua is not saying that bread made by human hands has spiritual power. He is saying that partaking of this bread, made by human hands, in this frame of mind, is to remind us of His sacrifice, the sacrifice of His physical flesh, the sacrifice of the Bread of Life, for the sins of all men. The bread made by human hands has no spiritual power. Only the Bread of Life has spiritual power.
21. Many will distort and malign this teaching that Yahoshua gave to us. Some, the cultic non-christian Roman Catholic organization for example, goes so far as to claim that bread made by human hands can be turned into His flesh by saying a magical incantation over it. Some, certain Lutheran denominations for example, will say that it is bread when is goes into your mouth, but it turns into the body of Christ once it is inside of you. Then there are those, who deny that the bread is the physical flesh of Christ, yet they invent another position.
22.a. The other position makes the following incredible statements. They will claim that this bread made by human hands is (1) a very real partaking of the life of Jesus afresh, (2) that it is powerful, (3) that it is spiritual life of the most potent kind, (4) an actual refreshing within us of the "Bread of Life" and the cleansing "Blood of the New Covenant" that washes us from sin, (5) a fresh impartation of the very essence of Jesus himself, (6) a kind of refreshing of the born again experience, (7) a real partaking of all the empowering and cleansing found in the spiritual body and blood of Jesus, (8) receiving from God a fresh impartation each time, (9) that it "cleanses us from all sin". What? Bread made by human hands washes us from sin and cleanses us from all sin. This is blasphemy!
22.b. More must be said about this heretical teaching. It is said here that cleansing is found in the spiritual blood of Jesus. Yahoshua died a torturous, physical death on an execution stake and spilled His physical blood to cleanse us from all sin. This type of heretical teaching is designed to steal your soul. Colossians 2:18 KJV, "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."
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