John 5-6
(The Words of Eternal Life)

November 3rd

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life.

John 5:24 (NAB)

Summary of Chapters

In these chapters Jesus performs miracles of healing, feeding thousands by multiplying a small offering, and walking across the water in storm. Yet despite these miracles, or perhaps because of them, the Pharisees become increasingly opposed and a number of disciples choose to leave because of what Jesus did and said:

    Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this (the eating of his body), Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you - they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them."

    From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

    "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.

    Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God."

    - John 6:61-68 (NIV)

Some of his followers and other Jews did decide to leave him because they did not believe that Jesus had come from heaven and did not understand the explanation of eating the flesh of Jesus.

Reflection and Application

The feeding of the thousands is the only miracle that is recorded in all four Gospels. Some of the stories of encounters with Jesus' and miracles only appear in one, two, or three of the Gospels, but this one appears in all. The disciples must have considered it to be very important, and therefore, it's essential that we spend time studying it.

One interpretation is that this meal was like a Last Supper for the broader populace and symbolizes Jesus relationship with all of us. He did not say the same words as he did at the Last Supper, but he gave thanks to the Father, performed a miracle, and used his power to feed all the people. The masses followed him after that and Jesus challenged them to consider if they followed him because he fed them physically or because he fed them spiritually.

This is a good question for us to ask ourselves. Do we follow him because we are blessed with food, shelter from the storm, family, etc; or because we are blessed with his Grace - forgiveness for our sins and an invitation to heaven that we did not earn nor could we earn.

When the message of Gospel becomes too unbelievable or too complicated or we tempted to turn away as some of Jesus' followers did in chapter 6? The twelve disciples may not have fully understood everything, but they believed. Peter's response is one of his best lines of dialogue in all the Gospels: "to whom shall we go?"

This is a good question for us to ask if we decide we have had enough of Jesus and the whole Christianity thing then to whom would we turn instead? Where is there a better story? Can we find long-lasting satisfaction in the leisure and material things of our world? Advertisers and marketing gurus would have us believe this type of hyperbole, for example:

    "Due to the extremely long lasting flavor of Stride Gum people are still chewing their first piece."


The truth is most gum loses most of its flavor in the first few minutes and all things of this world eventually fade away. But, as Peter observed, Jesus offers the "words of eternal life." Those are words that we can chew on for a very long time.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What is your favorite chewing gum?
    2. Why do you follow Jesus?
    3. If you were to turn away from Jesus, to whom or what would you turn to and why?

    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, thank you for giving us food, shelter, and other blessings. But most of all thank you for the sacrifice of your son Jesus and the mercy you offer us.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Storm Victims

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: John 7-8 (The Light Illuminates But Does Not Condemn)

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