John 6:22–59: The Food of Jesus
Why did Jesus come into the world? When Jesus says that he came not to be served, but to serve (Matt. 20:28), does he mean that he came to be useful in our own goals, ventures, and desires, or does he mean something entirely different? In this “Bread of Life Discourse,” Jesus defines the purpose of his coming with an explanation that stretches from before the foundation of the earth were laid, to his incarnation, earthly ministry, death, and resurrection, and ultimately all the way to “the last day.” But while the scope of this dialogue is breath-taking, Jesus also offends his hearers because of the shocking revelation that they must feed on his flesh and drink his blood in order to be saved (John 6:53–58). What does he mean? Why do the Galilean Jews not believe him? What does Jesus want from us today? In this section, Jesus answers all these questions by teaching that hungry sinners may feed on life by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
1. What perishable “food” do you work for? Why do you find that “food” so enticing? How does it really compare to the imperishable, satisfying food that Jesus offers us in himself?
2. What is your emotional response to the idea that the Father gives the Son the elect, so that “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37)? How does that idea clash with modern ideas of personal choice and free will? Does this lead you to resent God’s grace, or to find yourself humbled and awed before the love and sovereignty of God?
3. What does Jesus mean by describing himself as “the bread of life”? What does the image of feeding on Christ’s flesh and drinking Christ’s blood teach us about our discipleship? How does Jesus help us understand how to find our satisfaction in him?
4. Is Jesus talking about the Lord’s Supper? Why or why not? What can we learn about the promises of the Lord’s Supper from this passage? How should this change the way we receive the bread and the wine?