John 6:1-14, 28-43, 53-71.
Jesus, The Bread of Life

       American Journal of Biblical Theology, www.biblicaltheology.com
Copyright © 2013, John W. (Jack) Carter     Scripture quotes from KJV


The world is full of those who are skeptical of the truth of the Gospel.  Most people completely reject Jesus' claims to be the Messiah, the Christ who offers to save them from the penalty of their sin, and provide a way to eternal life with God.  They have replaced the gospel with a myriad of other religious dogma and ritual that better fits their sensibilities, but does not agree with the gospel message.  Skeptics and unbelievers also reside within Christian church congregations, many of whom claim the benefits of the faith, but deny its basic truths.  Such individuals will often be greatly offended when the details of the gospel are brought to light or any true commitment to the LORD is demanded.  When such people take offense, they will often leave their church congregation, oftentimes moving from one church to another in search of the "right" church.  Some congregations will fire its pastor when he starts getting too close to the gospel, or makes demands for commitment to the faith that involves more than expressing one’s opinion.  This lack of commitment to the LORD on the part of some church members is one of the church's greatest weaknesses.  When a church is characterized by leadership that fails to be strong in their commitment to Christ, the church becomes a social club with a Christian theme.  Only satan wins.

This is not a new problem.  The skepticism of people toward the truth of the gospel has been characteristic of the public response to Jesus from the first days of His ministry.  Furthermore, the same arrogance towards God's law was characteristic of people throughout the Old Testament.  The scripture passage of this study might serve to reveal to us if our commitment to Christ is one that honors God, and if not, we have an opportunity to repent and turn to Him completely.

John 6:1-14.  After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 3And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. 5When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. 8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, 9There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 14Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

Jesus has been teaching and ministering on the shores of the Sea of Galilee to a crowd of at least five thousand people.  The text infers that this number refers to men only, and women and children may also have been in attendance.  As the day continued, people became hungry, and Jesus performed the well-known miracle of feeding the crowd by multiplying the five loaves and two fish that were brought to him by a young boy.  This miracle serves several purposes, including the demonstration of Jesus’ power over this physical universe, as He would again do in the following verses when He walks on the Sea of Galilee to join the band of frightened Apostles. 

This miracle also demonstrates Jesus’ ability to meet people’s needs, and this instance, to provide them with something quite substantive:  food.  As a result of this and previous works, people began to come to Jesus in great multitudes, not to receive salvation, but to benefit from the signs and works that Jesus did.  These works served to bring people to Him where He could teach the truths of the Kingdom of God.  Through these signs as well as others, Jesus validated his claim to be the Christ.  One would think that, after witnessing these works, people would turn to Jesus in faith.  However, most people still did not believe.  They still did not believe when He was resurrected after His death on the cross.

Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the incarnation of YAHWEH, Himself.  God “sent Himself,” through the person of Jesus, to mankind so that we might be saved from the consequence of our sin.  As people witnessed the miracles and listened to His teaching, they were still skeptical.  Following the miraculous picnic on the shore, we find Jesus teaching in the synagogue of Capernaum, surrounded by many men of Israel, including some of those who were considered leaders of the Jewish religious organization.  This group would find Jesus' words extremely difficult to accept. 

John 6:28-29.  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

The question asked by the people is certainly reasonable.  All of recorded history of all civilizations reveals man's search for God.  Here was a man who was leading the Jews in this search.  They wanted to know what they might "do" in order to be righteous.  A religion is a set of rituals the people must "do" in order to be righteous.  If one could find salvation in works, apart from faith in God, attaining would be as simple as the list of tasks that needed to be accomplished, or if it simply could be bought.  The context of the Old Testament law clearly demonstrates that it is impossible for one to keep every law that would be necessary for one to be righteous.  All people break the law… all people sin.  The gospel message carries with it the truth that there is nothing that any person can "do" to inherit the kingdom of God.  Paul writes, 

Eph.  2:8-9.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

Christianity is not a religion, but rather it is a faith.  There is nothing that any person can do in order to deserve salvation, since such a plan would only build one's own pride.  The work was done by God, not by man.

When asked, “what must we do?,” Jesus’ answer was simple:  “Believe on Him.”  Jesus calls upon all people to simply accept Him for who He really is, and receive the benefits of the work that He has done.  However, this concept of grace flies in the face of human logic.  Jesus declares clearly here that the only "work" that can be done is to "believe on Him whom He hath sent." 

John 6:30-31.  They said therefore unto him, What sign showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?  31Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 

The position of the skeptics was typical of human pride:  “prove to us who you are and we will believe you.”  Such a position is one of arrogance and pride.  Such a position assumes a form of authority over Christ Himself, placing demands on Him to perform some sign.  This is not faith.  Faith is demonstrated by placing one's trust in Jesus Christ without the need for a miracle or a sign.  We might remember the doubts of the Apostle Thomas when he was told of Jesus' resurrection.  He needed to see proof before he would believe.  When Jesus came to Thomas, He gave to Thomas a light and instructive scolding when He said, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”[1] 

The people wanted to see a miracle as they referred to Moses who proved his authority by performing miracles.  The specific miracle they were impressed with was the feeding of the people with manna while they wandered in the desert.[2]  It is curious that the skeptics either were not aware of Jesus previous feeding of the five thousand, or dismissed the miracle.  They wanted to see for themselves.  They wanted Jesus to perform for them.

Sometimes we will treat God the same way.  Our faith might be related to our ability to perceive the work of God around us.  Is our faith weakened in times when we do not see Him?  Is it weakened in times of stress and trouble when we need God most?  Do we make demands on God for Him to perform for us, particularly when we find ourselves in need?  We might say something like, "God if you will ____ then I will ____."  Such demands on God are certainly normal and emotional responses to crisis, but as we mature in our faith we should learn to trust God and not attempt to place demands on Him.  When we pray, we may focus on the perception of His will rather than our own.[3]  When the people demanded that Jesus perform a miracle for them, He used this opportunity to teach them of who He is, using the miracle of the manna as the context of his instruction. 

John 6:32-35.  Then Jesus 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.  33For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.  34Then said they unto him, LORD, evermore give us this bread.  35And Jesus 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. 

In these words, Jesus makes some important claims concerning who He is.  This is one of those biblical passages that really separate those who believe in Jesus from those who do not.  Some have said that Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or He is LORD[4] and this verse forces the issue.  Here Jesus, by referring to the manna given to Israel in the wilderness, sets the context for defining Himself.  The people were asking for proof.  Jesus told them that Moses provided bread from heaven for the people in the wilderness, yet He Himself is the bread from heaven.  Jesus makes the claim that He came down from heaven to give life to the world.  This is a clear reference to the attributes of the prophesied Messiah.

Like the woman at the well,[5] it appears that the people at first did not understand Jesus' use of the metaphor of the bread from heaven when they asked for physical bread.  So, Jesus clarified His claim that He is the bread of life, and He can satiate once and for all the hunger and thirst that represents their search for peace with God.   There is no doubt that Jesus is speaking of spiritual issues, and not physical hunger and thirst.  Also, based upon the people's response, they also understood that Jesus was speaking in spiritual metaphor.  By what Jesus had just said, He made a clear and uncompromised claim that He is the Messiah.  This certainly provided fuel for the skeptics to burn in the furnaces of their angst.  Rather than show them a miraculous sign, Jesus simply made the claim of his Messiahship without one. 

Responding to Jesus' statement without seeing the desired miracle requires faith.  It is this type of faith that leads to salvation.  It is the belief, not only in who Jesus is, but placing one's trust in that truth.  Jesus claims to be LORD, and if we place our trust in that claim, than we must accept Him as the LORD He claims to be.  Jesus becomes our own, personal, LORD.  If we refuse to acknowledge Jesus' Lordship, we remain in our unsaved apostate state.  Note that even the demons believe in Jesus, and they tremble at their rejection of His lordship.  Satan knows that all Jesus says is true, but rejects Him as LORD.[6]   The uncompromised maintenance of such a position is eternally fatal. 

John 6:36-40.  But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.  37All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  38For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  39And 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.  40And 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. 

Jesus can sense the disbelief in many of those around him, much as most disbelieve Him today.  Here Jesus describes his purpose and mission.  Heretofore Jesus used the metaphor of the bread, referring to Himself as the bread of life.  Now Jesus describes literally what that means.  What is the bread of life?  We eat bread to have our hunger satisfied, illustrated by the event that was recorded at the beginning of this chapter.   In the same way that bread fulfills our need of hunger, Jesus has come to fulfill our need of salvation.  Just as each person has a need for physical sustenance, God created us with a need for spiritual sustenance, a need that can only be filled with His Spirit.  If bread is offered to a hungry man who refuses, he remains in his hunger.  Jesus offers salvation to a lost world, and if we refuse his gift, we remain in our hunger.  What is the gift that Jesus offers?  We see here that Jesus came from heaven to do the will of the Father, which is to raise up on the last day all those who will "believe on Him."   

There are several places in scripture where Jesus makes reference to the security of those who have faith in Him.  The life with God that Jesus gives is everlasting.  This is an eternal gift that is not predicated by the works of man.  We have already seen that there is no work that we can do to deserve salvation.  Works are not related to God's grace.  The grace of God is very difficult for many people to believe, and even many people of faith struggle with this, accepting the easier teaching that they can lose their salvation through the specific work of an act of sin.  The wonderful gift of grace is forgiveness of sin as the LORD gives this gift simply for accepting Him as Savior and LORD.  We want to do something to deserve this incredible gift.  All that God asks is for us to have faith in Him through Jesus Christ, the prophesied Messiah.  Salvation is then everlasting.  Just as it was not attained through works, it is not lost through works.  In verse 37, Jesus says that for those who believe on Him, He will "no wise cast out."  Some would argue that if we sin, we step out of God's grace.  The truth of the matter is that no person can live a sinless life, and if one who has placed their faith and trust in God were to fall from grace through sin, no person can be saved.  Salvation is not characterized by the cessation of sin:  it is characterized by God’s promise that sin will no longer condemn the faithful to eternal separation from Him.[7]  The good news is simply that God offers us redemption through Jesus Christ if we will believe on Him.  The act of saving belief carries with it the acceptance that Jesus is LORD, and if we do indeed accept Him as LORD, our desires change.  Our priorities are transformed as He becomes our personal LORD.  By the guidance of the Holy Spirit we now see where we have sin in our lives that needs to be dealt with through repentance, the act of turning from it.  The Holy Spirit empowers us to repent, and provides us with the peace and joy that comes from the knowledge of our obedience to Christ.

When the "last day," the day of final judgment arrives, all of those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus will be "lifted up."  Those who have chosen Christ will find Jesus to be their advocate before the Father who will provided a defense for the saved.  "They are mine."[8]  Again, this is an incredible gift that all who understand should accept and be profoundly grateful for, so grateful, that we will seek to turn to Jesus in love and obedience to His will. 

John 6:41-43.  The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.  42And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? 43Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 

Again, the skeptics step in.  Note that among other truths, they reject the virgin birth of Jesus.  The scriptures clearly describe Mary's immaculate conception.  Joseph was a man of great faith in the LORD, yet he was simply an obedient bystander who took the responsibility to care for Mary and the child, and would marry her and have other children with her after the birth of Jesus.  However, the true nature of Jesus' conception was not generally known, so it was only reasonable that the skeptics would not have a basis for understanding Jesus' deity.  Fortunately, salvation comes from faith in God, and our agreement with every doctrinal position does not take that away.  However, acceptance of the immaculate conception of Mary is very important in understanding who Jesus is.  Without it, Jesus appears like another great prophet who God used to perform miracles, a prophet in the line of Moses or Elijah.  The physical difference between Jesus and all of the prophets is in His conception and resurrection, part of his deified nature that is shared by no other person.  The spiritual difference is in His preeminence,[9] His power to save, and as the Creator:[10] His place of authority in judgment over all of God's creation.  This separates Jesus from every other prophet or would-be prophet who ever lived or ever will live.  It is this that separates Jesus from the focal individuals of all of the world's religions and cults.  The Messiah, the Christ, came from heaven to earth in the form and soul of a child of low esteem, experienced all of the experiences of a child, youth, and man, and then, by presenting His identity as YAHWEH who has come down from heaven, provided for God's plan of salvation.

Jesus' claims created great controversy, and they still do.  Jesus told the people not to murmur among themselves.  One can probably visualize the scene, as Jesus makes the claim to be the "bread of life," or literally, the Messiah.  The people are astonished at his clams and start talking amongst themselves.  Theirs are not words of support or agreement, they are criticisms meant to discredit and tear apart His claims.  They are testimonies shared among the people that are intended to reinforce their disbelief.  The world has been murmuring about Jesus' claims for over 2,000 years, and that skepticism will surely continue until the final judgment when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is LORD.[11]

John 6:53-59.  Then Jesus 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.  54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.  57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.  58This 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.  59These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. 

At the beginning of this passage, John noted that this event is occurring near to the celebration of the Passover.[12]  The context and language of Jesus’ teaching would draw the Jews to consider the Passover meal when He mentions the bread, the eating, and the drinking.  This is important to understand when we approach the meaning that is intended.  Taken out of context this passage can be quite confusing and misleading, and an incomplete consideration of the historical context has led many into error.   

The murmuring of the people continued, and Jesus continued to explain what the meaning of the "bread of life" metaphor meant.  In this statement, Jesus really drives the message home.  The people wanted bread.  They wanted to witness a miracle like the ancient manna from heaven.  Jesus explains here that He is that bread from heaven, sent to meet their needs.  The parallel to bread is clear here.  To be satiated from hunger and thirst, it is necessary that we eat and drink "bread and water."  Likewise, to have our need for salvation satiated we must also completely accept the "bread and water" that Jesus provides.  If we fail to understand the Passover metaphor that Jesus is using, we come up with some form of holy cannibalism, an argument that has continually risen over the last two centuries.  However, studying scripture necessitates study of the context and use of the literary forms used in it.  Study also necessitates consideration of the entire biblical narrative and how its presentations work together.  It was not until the night before His crucifixion that Jesus fully explained to the Apostles exactly what this meant when He revealed the true meaning of the Passover meal traditions and how they each pointed to Him as the Messiah, when He described the prophecies of each traditional part of the meal and closed with the final breaking of bread and the final cup when He stated, “This is my body…  This is my blood.”[13]

Certainly, Jesus' expression of the intimacy with which our belief in Him must be a belief of complete faith is expressed in very graphic terms.  This only underlies the necessity that, just as we fully accept the bread and water to alleviate our physical hunger, we must fully accept the eternal life that Jesus can provide. 

John 6:60-61.  Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 

We can certainly understand that the Jewish leadership would take offense at what Jesus is saying.  Their entire world view revolved around the Law.  They believed that uncompromised and complete obedience to the Law was the only way of salvation, and they considered themselves particularly righteous because of their supposed adherence to it.  This was, to them, an inviolable paradigm that they could not overcome. 

We might be more surprised to note that Jesus' disciples listened to the murmuring of the Jews and were questioning whether Jesus was who He said He was.  What was hard about Jesus' saying?  It was not the metaphor of the flesh and blood as many argue, though a literal interpretation of those words that ignores the context sounds very harsh.  The hard saying was Jesus’ new demand that salvation does not come from the law.  Paul explains throughout his letter to the Galatians the purpose that the law serves:  it exposes the sin of the lost, and our inability to keep it.  Jesus did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill its purpose.  The word for "offend" is scandalon, scandalon.   We get the word "scandal" from this.  It refers to a barrier that both reveals the truth, yet separates one from it.  One is scandalized when truth separates.  A scandal involving a respected leader separates that leader from his position.  Another word that could be used here is "stumbling block."  This one truth has the power to separate one from the receipt of God's gift, and has served to do so for thousands of years.

This is not a trivial issue for either the Jewish rabbis or for the disciples who were also trained from their youth in Jewish traditions and oral laws.  In this case, the truth of Jesus was extremely controversial, and would divide the Jewish body along clear lines.  One has to decide to follow Jesus or to reject Him.  There is no middle ground.  Likewise, today, salvation comes from Jesus Christ as it did then.  We must decide to follow Him or reject Him, and that choice has eternal consequences.  It is the greatest controversy that this earth has ever experienced.  It is this controversy that truly divides the world, and will serve to divide all men at the coming judgment. 

John 6:62-65.  What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.  64But there are some of you that believe not.  For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.  65And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 

What would the disciples think if they had the opportunity to see Him ascend up to where He came?  Those who would remain faithful to the end would have such an opportunity.  Jesus states that it is in the spirit of man that eternal life is found.  The physical life will come to an end, and will profit nothing to anyone.  Because Jesus is the Christ, it is through Him that eternal salvation will be found, and through Him alone because forgiveness of sins is obtained only through His atoning work on the Cross of Calvary.  This was the eternal plan of the Father, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and presented to mankind in a systematic manner since his creation.  Adam knew God, yet sinned, and every person to follow also sinned.  In the Old Testament, God described His plan of faith through the examples of the faithful few patriarchs that are still venerated by the Judeo-Christian community, though the desperate sins of many of these is well-documented.  God also showed through the prophets that salvation would come through a Messiah.  Those who lived in Old Testament Israel looked forward with hope to the coming Messiah.  Those Jews who rejected Jesus' claims are still waiting today.

Some would argue that there are other ways to be acceptable to God.  Some believe that when the day of final judgment comes, God will accept people based upon any number of good works or sincere religions they followed.  However, God's plan as revealed in His Word never veered from the simple truth that salvation would come through faith in Him, not by works, and that it would be through the Messiah that this faith would be expressed and sin would be forgiven.  It is not Christianity that is exclusive, as some would argue.  God is exclusive in who He forgives.  God has given us His Son through which forgiveness can be found.  God gave us no others.  The members of all religions and cults will find themselves before God in the final judgment, but only those who come before Him with forgiveness will find salvation from their sin.  That forgiveness comes only through the sincere expression of faith in Him, in God the Father who is also YAHWEH, the Creator, the Messiah who came to pay sin’s penalty on the cross of Calvary.  Consequently, forgiveness is only found through the atoning work of Jesus, Christ. 

John 6:66.  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 

Satan won a form of a victory that day.  The “disciples” were polarized by the truth, and many of them rejected it and left the fellowship.[14]  Likewise, what often happens in a church body when controversy arises?  Often satan wins a victory by polarizing the body and splitting it apart.  People leave.  When difficult times arise, often those who are less committed to their faith and less committed to the church show their lack of commitment with their feet:  they leave to find a church that is more suitable to them.  They also respond with their lips as they seek to destroy the work of the Spirit that they reject.  This division serves a couple of purposes.  It tends to purify the body of those who lack commitment, often empowering the body to move forward in unity and overcome the difficulty that divided them.  When this happens the fellowship often ends up stronger in their faith and have a strengthened love for one another.  Divisive events also serve to discourage the faith of those who are not as mature and committed.  Such division in the church destroys its testimony to the unsaved population as they appear to be faithless and prideful people who argue among themselves.  This is not the church that attracts new members. 

Because of this, we must always be vigilant to maintain unity in the body and to love one another through the difficult times when satan would seek to destroy the church body.  Controversy should never arise except in cases of heretical teaching and satanic behavior.  No other subject is worth polarizing the body of Christ.  No person should seek to polarize the body to attain their own prideful goals. 

John 6:67-71.  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68Then Simon Peter answered him, LORD, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.  69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.  70Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 71He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

Just as the tabernacle had three parts that represented levels of separation from God, Jesus' following had three parts.  The most distant were the disciples other than the twelve Apostles that Jesus had specifically chosen for His purpose.  We have no idea of how many there were who followed Jesus, but we see that sometimes the group was large.  It was certainly large enough to disrupt the marriage in Cana[15] only three days after He started His public ministry.  The second group was the set of  twelve Apostles who stayed close to Jesus throughout His ministry.  Finally, the closest group, the Holy of Holies, were Peter, James, and John who each demonstrated gifts of leadership, and who would serve to lead the church after Jesus' ascension.

Jesus turned to the twelve and asked if any of them could not overcome their paradigm paralysis.  Did some of them reject His claim of Messiahship, and by so doing reject the claim of faith for salvation?  One can expect that none of the twelve could fully state that they had no doubts.  We find throughout the three-year ministry that the apostles had many doubts and fears, and also seemed to understand little of what Jesus was teaching.  It was not until they were filled with the Holy Spirit in the upper room following Jesus' resurrection did their understanding and confidence become complete.[16]  Later we would see the Holy Spirit come to many in the church at Pentecost, and with that event the Christian church was born.

However, despite their doubts and fears, we could always depend upon Peter's impetuosity to inspire him to lead the others.  As the apostles searched for an answer, Peter knew what they all had believed: that Jesus is the Christ.  They might not have understood all that He was teaching, but they did fully accept that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah, and as such they would stand by Him.  Peter's confession illustrates much about the necessity of faith over doctrinal knowledge and understanding.  One does not need to become a theologian to come to faith in Christ.  One simply needs to turn to Jesus in faith, as Peter was doing.  If we accept Jesus' claims to be true, and accept Him as our LORD and Savior, then such faith is sufficient for salvation.  Then, once safely within the fold of Christ, we find ourselves in a teachable position, and our walk with Christ can be one of maturing in knowledge, maturing in understanding, and maturing in faith.  The more we know and understand, the more our faith will be strengthened against the controversies of events and doctrines.

Finally, Jesus does make a reference to one of the twelve who would serve to betray Him.  We should never think that our body of believers is free of satan's grip.  All people in the body of Christ still carry the baggage of natural desires to sin.  It is through commitment to God, and by the power of His Holy Spirit that we can overcome sin in our own lives.  However, the pull of satan is strong, and many times people will turn their eyes off of Jesus and find themselves following their own purposes rather the purposes of God.  When this happens in the body of the church, conflict arises.  However, God even works through conflict.  It was God's ultimate purpose that Jesus would be betrayed, for without Jesus' sacrifice, there would be no forgiveness of sin.  Still the hurt and pain of Judas' action was very real.  Judas ended up taking his own life, and because of the gravity of his sin, Jesus stated that it would have been better had Judas never been born.[17]

In these verses we find Jesus first making his claim from within the fellowship of the synagogue that He is the Messiah that Israel had hoped for since the days of Abraham.  That synagogue was populated with many who would reject his message, and a few who would accept it.  It is this decision, whether to turn to Jesus or reject Him, that separates mankind from God for all eternity.  Let us be sure that we are each on the correct side of this decision.  If we have been learned a different view, such as the Jews have, that the Messiah has not yet come, let us look seriously at Jesus' claim and his continued ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection that would validate it.  If we are following another instead of Jesus, let us look carefully at his claim to be the only way through which salvation can be found.

Based upon Jesus' words in the synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus was either a Liar, a Lunatic, or He is LORD.  Let us not wait until the final day of judgment to confess that Jesus is LORD of all.


[1] John 20:25-29.

[2] Exodus 16:15 ff.

[3] John 14:13, et. al.

[4] Hopkins, Mark. (1846). Lectures on the Evidences of Christianity. Referred to as “Lewis’ Trilemma,” the apologetic was famously developed by C.S. Lewis. (1952). Mere Christianity.  London, UL:  Collins.  pp. 54-56.

[5] John, Chapter 4.

[6] James 2:19.

[7] Romans 8:1.

[8] John 10:29.

[9] As the Messiah, YAHWEH, He is eternal, omnitemporal, not limited by the physical timelines of this temporal, created, universe.

[10] John 1:1-14.

[11] Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:11.

[12] John 6:4.

[13] Matthew 26:26, ff.

[14] Note that there is no numerological reference to this being 6:66, the number in John's Revelation that refers to absolute and complete depravity.  Chapter and verse numbers were added to the Biblical canon during the eleventh century, with credit for the initial organization attributed to Stephen Langton, who served as the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1207-1228 A.D.

[15] John 2:1-11.

[16] John 20:22.

[17] Mark 14:21.