The apostle John wrote his gospel much later than the other three gospels—about two to three decades later. John was concerned with the influence of Greek philosophy and legalistic Judaism confusing believers outside of Israel. His gospel emphasized the diving nature of Jesus, the Son of God.
The dual nature of Jesus—being human and divine—was hard to accept and understand in John’s time, just as it is now. Was Jesus really a physical man with a human soul? Yes! But the Jews in Galilee only knew Jesus as the son of Joseph the carpenter and Mary of Nazareth.
The early disciples and apostles had a limited understanding of Jesus being God’s Son. It was not fully clear to them as seen much later in the gospel (John 14:8-9). It’s the Father who reveals His Son’s divine nature. He is the One who sent the Son. This is what Jesus says to Peter after his declaration—”You are the Messiah, the Son of God!” (Matt 16:16-17).
When we only consider Jesus as the Son of Man, whose parents were Joseph and Mary, it’s hard to reason out how Jesus is also the Son of God—sent by the Father and divine in nature. This is the problem with only holding to a historical view of Jesus. This is why the Jews criticized Jesus when He said, “I am the Bread of Life that came from heaven.” They couldn’t get past their own human reasoning.
This segment of the story is better understood within the context of the previous verses, which are covered in the previous study.
The Jews began to criticize Jesus for saying, “I am the bread that came from heaven.” They asked, “Isn’t this man Jesus, Joseph’s son? Don’t we know his father and mother? How can he say now, ‘I came from heaven’?”
Jesus responded, “Stop criticizing me! People cannot come to me unless the Father who sent me brings them to me. I will bring these people back to life on the last day. [vss 41-43]
The prophets wrote, ‘God will teach everyone.’ Those who do what they have learned from the Father come to me. I’m saying that no one has seen the Father. Only the one who is from God has seen the Father. I can guarantee this truth: Every believer has eternal life. [vss 44-47]
(John 6:41-47 GW)
People cannot come to me unless the Father who sent me brings them to me. I will bring these people back to life on the last day.
Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions
What do the Jews say about Jesus? What are they questioning?
How does Jesus respond to their criticism? What are the first 2 things He says to them in verse 43?
What does Jesus say the prophets wrote? How is this related to what Jesus says about the Father?
Who has seen the Father and what does Jesus guarantee?
This long discourse of Jesus, where He spoke of Himself as the Bread of Life, followed the feeding of the 5,000 on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. He uses the physical event of this miracle to illustrate His teaching on being the Bread of Life.
He uses this metaphor to describe Himself and His mission. The physical event is a reference point to explain spiritual truth. This is the value of figurative language—to use what is known to help explain what is unknown.
Jesus declares His divine nature in this third segment of His teaching. In the first segment (vss 26-34), Jesus says how eternal or spiritual food is more important than physical food. Jesus declares, in the second segment (vss 35-40), how the Father promises eternal life for those who believe in the Son.
Here, Jesus speaks of His relationship with God as His Father. Just as physical food nourishes the body, feeding on Jesus will nourish our soul. We are to have a relationship similar to the one He has with the Father. This relationship is eternal and spiritual in nature and is received by faith in Jesus as the Son of God.
In the rest of the discourse, Jesus will speak more on the importance of feeding on Him.
Taking it to heart...
Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions
Do you have difficulty accepting or understanding how Jesus is both human and divine in nature?
If so, what is the most difficult for you to accept or understand—His humanness or His divine nature as the Son of God?
Do you understand how a personal relationship with Jesus by faith is how you have relationship with God the Father?
How and when have you entered into a personal relationship with the Lord?
Meditate On This— Theologians have struggled for centuries to understand and explain the dual nature of the Lord Jesus—both human and divine. Yet, Jesus and the New Testament Scriptures declare this many times. It is only understood when the Lord reveals it to us.
Prayer Focus— When you find it hard to relate to Jesus as either human or divine as the Son of God, ask the Lord to reveal the truth of His dual nature to you in the Scriptures and by His Spirit to your mind and spirit (heart).