Category Archives: JOHN 6:59-71

Will ye also go away?

JOHN 6:59-71

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JOHN 6:59-71

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN CHAPTER 6, VERSES 59-71:

6:59 These things said He in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum.

6:60 Many therefore of His disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

6:61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured at it, He said unto them, Doth this offend you?

6:62 What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before?

6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

6:64 But 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.

6:65 And He said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father.

6:66 From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.

6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

6:68 Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.

6:69 And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

6:71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray Him, being one of the twelve.

 

Section 6 Verses 60-71
Going back or standing firm.

Summary of the section

The last verses of the chapter show us the various responses which it is possible to make to the words of Christ. There are either expressions and actions which indicate unbelief, in verses 60-66, or those which speak of true faith in Him, verses 67-71.

Structure of the section

Marks of unbelief
Verses 59,60 Unbelief blames the message
Verses 61,62 Unbelief only believes when it can see
Verse 63 Unbelief is as a result of the natural man’s inability to receive the things of the Spirit
Verse 64 Unbelief is known to Christ
Verses 65,66 Unbelief prefers its own opinions as opposed to being taught of God

 

Marks of faith
Verses 67,68 Faith knows there is no alternative to Christ
Verse 69 Faith rests on who Christ is, and what He has done
Verses 70,71 Faith is resolute amidst unbelief


Verses 59,60   Unbelief blames the message

6:59 These things said He in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum.

It is not clear at what point the synagogue was reached. It was possibly at the moment John mentions the Jews, in verse 41. A synagogue has been excavated on the ancient site of Capernaum, and the lintel of the doorway had a carving of a bunch of grapes and a pot of manna over it.

6:60 Many therefore of His disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

What they heard was the whole discourse, not just the last few sentences. The word saying is ‘logos’, meaning in this context theme, or topic. In effect they were saying “What is it?” again, being unable to understand because they were resisting the teaching from God that Christ was giving them. Note it is disciples who are saying this, for a disciple is simply one who is learning, and does not always mean that the one learning comes to a full knowledge of the truth and believes it.

Verses 61,62   Unbelief only believes when it can see

6:61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured at it, He said unto them, Doth this offend you?

The unbelief of men deeply affected the sensitive heart of Christ. They were offended, or stumbled, because the pathway they were treading was interrupted by His teaching, for they were on the wrong road. It was in their best spiritual interests that the word of Christ should rebuke them, for if they responded they could begin to walk the right path. They were on a pathway which led to the Messiah being a glorious king, whereas Christ had come to die first, and then enter His kingdom, Luke 24:26.

6:62 What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before?

If when He was visible to them they did not believe in Him, how would it be when He was absent? They had been offended by His refusal to allow them to make Him king the day before, what would they say if He went back to heaven without ascending the throne of Israel?

This is the second time the Lord has referred to His ascension. John does not record the actual event, but he does give, in the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, the implications of that event. In John 3:13 the emphasis is on the fact that the Lord is in touch with heaven, even whilst upon the earth. He is in heaven, knowing His Father’s thoughts. To ascend back to heaven is simply the logical outcome of this, and when He has ascended, He will introduce His people to the things of heaven.

In John 20:17 the idea is of Him going back to heaven to maintain the relationship His people will have with His Father. Here, however, the point is that He is returning to heaven without starting His reign, and this they are concerned about, even to the point of thinking that He is not the Messiah after all. But all that the Lord had said about His person is confirmed by the fact that He was in heaven before He came. This can be said of no other man, and establishes His uniqueness as the Son of God. The wonder is, that He will return to heaven as Son of Man. By doing this, He becomes the counterpart of the hidden manna, the pot of manna laid up in the tabernacle to be a memorial of the provision God made for His people as they passed through the wilderness. The pot contained an ephah of manna, a person’s portion for one day, and Christ is in heaven, the portion for the Day of God, the endless eternity to come. The hidden manna was held out to the overcomer as a reward, in Revelation 2:17. What a privilege to delight in the same one that the Father delights in! What a reward that will be!

Verse 63   Unbelief is as a result of the natural man’s inability to receive the things of the Spirit

6:63 It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

The reason why this discourse offended them was that they were not able to rise to the level necessary to understand it. Only as they left their thoughts and prejudices behind would they be responsive to the Spirit as He made Christ’s words live to them. The flesh, the self that is governed by sin, can never bring us to the position where we understand the thoughts of God. The words He spoke were on the level the Spirit operates at, and when He applies the truth in the sayings, and men believe them, they result in life. Hopeless confusion results if we take the words of Christ, (especially His words about eating His flesh and drinking His blood), on a natural level.

Verse 64    Unbelief is known to Christ

6:64 But 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.

Being content with carnal expectations, they refused to receive His word. As one who knows what is in the hearts of men, He knew from the start of His ministry that some were gathering around Him who were not genuine believers. He knew what was in man, and did not need someone to testify to Him about them so that He found out, for He knew all along. See John 2:24,25. He also knew where that unbelief would lead Judas. He represents all that is worst about the nation, so that Stephen accused the nation of becoming the betrayers of Christ, Acts 7:52.

Verses 65,66  Unbelief prefers its own opinions as opposed to being taught of God

6:65 And He said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father.

Only as men respond to the teaching of the Father will they be given to the Son. Man is unable of His own ability to understand, but must submit himself to the word of God, if he is to know eternal life through Christ. It is a great privilege to believe in God’s Son, and this is granted by God to those who accept His word, Philippians 1:29.

6:66 From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.

When the Lord Jesus refused to compromise, or dilute His teaching to accommodate the opinions of men, then there were those who parted company from Him. They showed by this that they preferred their own opinions, and were still in the state of mind expressed in verse 42, where what they knew was set against what He said. To go back means to go to the things behind. The manna had been given to see if the people would walk in God’s ways or not, Exodus 16:4. Many did not thus walk in that day, and it is the same with many in John 6. They went back to the things behind, these being their old thoughts about what sort of Messiah was coming. When Adam refused the word of God, and rebelled against it, the scripture says he heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden, Genesis 3:8. He was immediately rebuked, for he was no longer walking in line with the word of God, and his conscience made him hide. The people of this chapter distance themselves from Christ in like manner. It is solemn to think that at the end of His ministry, Christ hid Himself from them, for that is what they wanted. See John 12:36; Isaiah 53:3.

Verses 67,68   Faith knows there is no alternative to Christ

6:67,68 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.

The full name Simon Peter denotes one who, though born and named Simon, is now Peter, a follower of Christ. The question is, will his initial faith stand this test? Simon means ‘hearing’, and Peter means ‘rock’. Will he remain steadfast, rock-like, and still believe what he has heard from Christ’s lips, or will he turn away? His answer, literally rendered is, “We have believed and still believe, and have come to know and still know experientially”, (Wuest). Peter answers for the twelve, and is the first individual in John’s gospel to call Jesus Lord when addressing Him.

But the Lord knows that one of them is not true to Him, and does not recognise Him as Lord. Judas never called Jesus Lord, just as the Devil would not use the title Lord of God in Genesis 3. Later on, Peter will be given the gift of discerning of spirits, to enable him to assess the hearts of men, Acts 8:23.

Verse 69   Faith rests on who Christ is, and what He has done

6:69 And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Peter wrote two epistles, and deals in the first with those who genuinely believe, and then in the second with those who are not genuine. There were those who had appeared to believe, but they were not sure, or convinced, that Christ was the true Messiah, and the Son of God. Peter distances himself from this spurious faith. Whilst some were doubting, as when the people of Israel said “What is it”, Peter is like those who saw that same manna and saw the glory of the Lord, Exodus 16:7. He says with John, “We beheld His glory”, John 1:14. As the Christ, the Lord Jesus stood in relation to Israel and the world, and as Son of God, He stood in relationship with heaven, and His Father.

Verses 70,71   Faith is resolute amidst unbelief

6:70,71 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray Him, being one of the twelve.

How remarkable that the true Messiah, whose judgement is perfect, Isaiah 11:1-3, and who, being the Son of God, knows the hearts of men, John 2:24,25; Jeremiah 17:9,10, should choose a man who being so held by Satan that he is indistinguishable from a devil, would betray Him. He made this choice after a night of prayer to God, Luke 6:12-16. so this is the Father’s will, and the Son goes along with it. It says much for the obedience of the Son to His Father’s will that He did so, for He knew that Judas’ betrayal of Him would result in Him being crucified. Peter has spoken as if the twelve are in agreement, yet the Lord knew otherwise, and made it known, lest the faith of the eleven should be shaken when the betrayal took place. See also John 13:18,19.

 

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