Empty Cross Ministries
“A Hard Saying”
Many Abandon Jesus
The Betrayer is Named
John Chapter 6
From (verses 60-71), these verses constitute the reaction of Jesus’ disciples to the sermon on the “bread of life.” As with the crowd’s response in Jerusalem (in chapter 5), and in Galilee (in chapter 6), the response of many of His disciples was unbelief and rejection of Him. John lists two groups and their reactions:
(1) the false disciples’ reaction of unbelief in verses (60-66);
(2) The true disciples’ reaction of belief in (verses 67-71).
After this sermon, only a small nucleus of disciples remained (verse 67).
John 6:60. “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?”
In the last lesson, we were studying about Jesus’ body being the Bread of life and His blood cleansing from all unrighteousness. He had said we must eat of His body and drink of His blood to receive eternal life.
These disciples were looking at this in the natural and did not fully understand what He was saying. The disciples which left were not numbered among the twelve.
John 6:61 “When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?”
Many of Jesus’ disciples had the same reaction as the Jews (in verse 41), and of the first generation of Israelites to manna, i.e., they grumbled (Exodus. 16:20).
Jesus realizes what they are thinking and scolds them for murmuring. He asks them if this offends them, all the time He knows it does. They were with Him, but did not understand what He was teaching them.
John 6:62 “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?”
Jesus calls Himself Son of man because they are looking at Jesus as just a man. He says “If you believe I am Joseph’s son, then you won’t believe that I came from heaven, or that I will go back to heaven.”
Jesus is saying “Would you believe, if I ascended into heaven in front of you?”
John 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.”
God is a Spirit and those that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and truth.
In 1 Corinthians 15:44 “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”
The body that goes to heaven is spiritual. The main purpose in these Bible Studies is to get the Word into each of us, so that we can have a better life here and eternal life in heaven.
John 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.”
Betray refers primarily to Judas, who has not yet been named in this gospel, but will be in verses 70-71.
Jesus, even at this time, knew that Judas Iscariot would betray Him. Of course, it was not just Judas that would deny Him. In the fear of cruel death, even His beloved Peter would deny Him.
When the authorities came and took Jesus, the disciples fled for fear of like punishment. Speaking of the ones who believed not, the scribes, Pharisees, and rulers of the synagogues did not believe Jesus.
Reminiscent of Jesus’ words (in 2:23-25), Jesus knew the hearts of men, including those disciples who followed Him. He supernaturally knew that many did not believe in Him as Messiah and Son of God so He did not entrust Himself to them.
These false disciples were simply attracted to the physical phenomena, meaning miracles and food, and failed to understand the true significance of Jesus’ teaching (verse 61).
Very few were truly loyal to the Lord Jesus. Jesus had just told them a few verses back that they only followed Him because of the miracles and to be fed.
John 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.”
Although men and women are commanded to believe and will be held accountable for unbelief, genuine faith is never exclusively a matter of human decision. Once again, in the face of unbelief, Jesus reiterated God’s sovereignty involved in selection for salvation.
The offer of salvation is to whosoever will. The Holy Spirit draws us. Many will be called, but few accept. God already knows your heart, and He knows whether you will accept the call. God doesn’t predestine, but has foreknowledge of what you will do.
God reveals Himself to those who will accept Him. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…” (James 4:8).
The opportunity to be saved is a free gift from God. When offered, we must accept it. The Father puts the hunger in our hearts. Jesus Christ our Lord provides the Bread (Himself). God will not always strive with man. He offers salvation, we must accept it.
John 6:66 “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
From what time is being discussed here? From the time He said they must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood.
In the natural, this does seem to be like being a cannibal, but Jesus had already told them that they must worship in spirit. This great number of followers of Jesus who had just wanted to make Him king and ruler of all Israel, now suddenly leave Him.
The language indicates that the abandonment was decisive and final.
They really did not have the love of God in their hearts. They wanted a great warrior to lead them against Rome. They followed them in His power. They wanted no part in His weakness.
They were like people in our churches today, who just look at the words and not at the meaning of the Word. It is impossible to follow Jesus in the flesh. We must follow Jesus Christ by our spirit.
John 6:67 “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?”
Here is the first mention of the twelve in John’s gospel. Only five of them have been named thus far: John, Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathanael. Perhaps this is John’s account of the confession of Simon Peter at Caesarea Philippi.
When things get really hard to do, many will give up and go home. This is just what these disciples did who were not of the twelve.
In the seventh chapter of Judges, we read of a man about to do battle with the enemy of God. Thirty-two thousand men came to take up arms, but God told Gideon to send all of the fearful and all who were not prepared for battle home. Only 300 out of the 32,000 men stayed to do God’s battle.
That is what happened above. The mass of disciples left and the twelve remained. God does not get the glory when it is possible for us to win a battle on our own. God gets the glory when an impossible (in the flesh), job is to be done and God brings the impossibility into being.
These twelve had seen the multitude fed, seen blind eyes opened, seen the lame to walk. Is all of this not proof enough that He is Messiah? Are they like the others, so void of understanding the spiritual meaning of what He had said?
He had taught these twelve to look beyond the physical, or literal, and see the hidden message. He had taught them how to interpret parables, and those lessons were a look into the spiritual.
Jesus says to them “Can you not trust me?” This one percent of true followers, seen in the Gideon lesson, is about the way in most Christians today. Only about one in one hundred are willing to face ridicule from their friends and family to live the kind of separated life Jesus our Lord requires of us, if we are to truly be His.
John 6:68 “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou has the words of eternal life.”
Simon and the other eleven had opportunity to follow whoever they desired. When Jesus called, they came. They know from all the miracles who Jesus is. They also know that if they are to have life eternal, it is through Jesus and none other. They have heard the words of His preaching and have been totally sure that His Words are true.
There is no one like Him. Peter says really “We have made our decision to follow you. We will not turn back now. Thy Word gives us the promise of eternal life.”
John 6:69 “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Peter’s words were somewhat pretentious in that he implied that the true disciples somehow had superior insight and as a result, came to belief through that insight.
Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, is Jesus’ full name for His stay on the earth. Christ means Messiah or the Anointed One, Jesus means Jehovah saves or Savior. Son of the living God tells us without a doubt that Jesus’ Father is God.
God is not dead, He is the great I AM. I AM has absolute existence for all of eternity.
John 6:70 “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?”
In response to Peter’s words that the disciples had come to believe in Jesus, He reminds them that He sovereignly chose them. Jesus would not allow even a whisper of human pretension in God’s sovereign selection.
In Matthew 22:14 we read “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Out of the great number called as Jesus’ followers, Jesus had chosen twelve.
In Luke 6:12-13 we read “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;”
You see, Jesus Christ had many followers He called disciples (disciplined ones who follow Him), but there were twelve (a representative number) He set aside to be apostles.
Judas Iscariot (the betrayer), was among the twelve. This really is no different than it is today. Many proclaim to be Christians, but few really know Jesus as Savior and Lord. Even of those the world thinks to be close followers of the Lord, there is always a Judas.
“Devil” means adversary, slanderer or false accuser. The idea perhaps is better rendered “one of you is the devil”. This meaning is clear from (13:2 and 27). The supreme adversary of God so operates behind failing human beings, that his malice becomes theirs.
Jesus supernaturally knew the source and identified it precisely. This clearly fixes the character of Judas, not as a well-intentioned but misguided man trying to force Jesus to exert His power and set up His kingdom, as some suggest. But as a tool of Satan doing unmitigated wickedness.
John 6:71 “He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.”
This is the first occasion in John where Peter and Judas appear in contrast (see also chapters 13 and 18).
Many people believe that Judas did not have a choice, because of this Scripture. As we have said so many times before, Judas had a choice, but Jesus could look ahead in time and know what Judas would do.
“Iscariot”: The word most likely is from a Hebrew word meaning “man of Kerioth,” the name of a village in Judah. As with the other three gospels, as soon as he was named, he became identified as the betrayer.
John Chapter 6 Third Continued Questions
1. What did many of the disciples say, when they heard the Lord say, they must eat His flesh and drink His blood?
2. When Jesus knew these disciples were murmuring, what did He say to them?
3. What did Jesus call Himself in verse 62?
4. Why did He call Himself that to them?
5. What quickeneth?
6. The Lord said His words were ________________ and ___________________.
7. What kind of body goes to heaven?
8. In verse 64, Jesus told them He knew what?
9. Who were some who did not believe?
10. For what two things had most followed the Lord Jesus?
11. In verse 65, Jesus said no man could come to Him except what?
12. Instead of God predestinating what we will do, what does He do?
13. Who puts the hunger in our hearts for the Savior?
14. What did many of the disciples do when they heard this teaching of the Lord?
15. What question did Jesus ask the twelve?
16. Out of the 32,000 with Gideon how many did God keep?
17. Which of the disciples said “…to whom shall we go…?
18. Who has the Words of eternal life?
19. In verse 69, what did Peter call Jesus?
20. What was Jesus’ full name while He was on the earth?
21. What does Christ mean?
22. What does Jesus mean?
23. What does Son of the living God show us?
24. In verse 70, Jesus says one of the twelve is what?
25. In Matthew 22:14, we read what?
26. What was another name for the twelve disciples?
27. Who was He speaking of as the betrayer?