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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 6:35-46 (ESV)

Posted on August 06, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 6:35-46 (ESV) - Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 

Question to consider: How would these people know Jesus was the son of Mary and Joseph?

While the crowds had cornered Jesus to demand miraculous provision like manna in the wilderness and to force Him to be their earthly king, Jesus set their focus on the eternal, imperishable bread sent from above. When they expressed a desire to receive this bread, Jesus revealed in today’s passage that He was this bread. Although in making this statement, Jesus invoked the name of God given to Moses, “I AM”.

Jesus was saying that He is the God-bread that came down from heaven to give eternal life. In fact, He said that only those who believed in Him as the Son of the living God would receive eternal life at the Resurrection and that He would be the one to raise them from the dead.

Before even dealing with what Jesus meant by calling Himself the eternal bread, the crowds balked at Jesus’ claims to have come down from heaven and in calling God His father. Tiberius and Capernaum may have been the population centers of Galilee, but Nazareth was also among its towns, and there were those in the crowd who knew Joseph and Mary.

Joseph may have been dead at this point but not dead so long that people would not know where Jesus originated. Add to this the fact that Jesus refused to duplicate His miracle in the wilderness, and people were not buying it. Just as the Israelites grumbled against Moses whenever they faced something that challenged their own faith so these people grumbled against Jesus.

While this crowd would have thought that they already belonged to God being Jews, Jesus reiterated that those who belonged to the eternal covenant of peace which had come upon them were drawn in by the Father. As Jesus told Nicodemus, someone needed to be born from above in order to be part of the new covenant. 

If you think I’m overstating Jesus’ point here, please note that Jesus quoted from Isaiah 54, “All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established” (verses 13 and 14, italics mine). Whenever you see the word, LORD, in small caps in the scriptures, it is a substitute for the covenantal name, YHWH (I AM). This chapter of Isaiah was all about the new covenant in Christ which comes immediately after the description of the suffering servant of God who would establish us in righteousness (Isaiah 52-53). As He said to Nicodemus, Jesus could also have said to this crowd, “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12)


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for drawing us to You and establishing us in Your kingdom through the righteousness of Christ and not our own works. Help us to receive Your wonderful grace with gratitude and overflow with it in our actions and attitudes in the world. Amen.