41 Some Jews began to complain about Jesus because he said, “I am the bread that comes down from heaven.” 42 They said, “This is Jesus. We know his father and mother. He is only Joseph’s son. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
43 But Jesus said, “Stop complaining to each other. 44 The Father is the one who sent me, and he is the one who brings people to me. I will raise them up on the last day. Anyone the Father does not bring to me cannot come to me. 45 It is written in the prophets: ‘God will teach them all.’a People listen to the Father and learn from him. They are the ones who come to me. 46 I don’t mean that there is anyone who has seen the Father. The only one who has ever seen the Father is the one who came from God. He has seen the Father.
47 “I can assure you that anyone who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread that gives life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna God gave them in the desert, but it didn’t keep them from dying. 50 Here is the bread that comes down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my body. I will give my body so that the people in the world can have life.”
52 Then the Jews began to argue among themselves. They said, “How can this man give us his body to eat?”
53 Jesus said, “Believe me when I say that you must eat the body of the Son of Man, and you must drink his blood. If you don’t do this, you have no real life. 54 Those who eat my body and drink my blood have eternal life. I will raise them up on the last day. 55 My body is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my body and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them.
57 “The Father sent me. He lives, and I live because of him. So everyone who eats me will live because of me. 58 I am not like the bread that your ancestors ate. They ate that bread, but they still died. I am the bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
59 Jesus said all this while he was teaching in the synagogue in the city of Capernaum.
“God puts people into our lives who lead us to Jesus. They may show his love by hugging, helping them out, telling them that God loves them, and being kind to them.” Maggie, 11
“God can make bad stuff happen to people so they run to Jesus.” Caleb, 10
“The Bible is like a magnet and the people are attracted to it. We all have a choice to stay in the darkness or be saved and go to the light.” Angel, 12
“One way God could use us is we could send money to missionaries so that they can spend more time there teaching.” Andrea, 10
“The Holy Spirit also helps us go the right way.” Cassy, 12
“We are all God’s missionaries. It’s our job to spread God’s Word to whoever will listen. God wants us to tell others and bring them closer to Him. He also may bring people closer to Him by performing miracles.” Alexandra, 10
When Jesus started his ministry, he left his hometown of Nazareth and lived in Capernaum beside the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:13). When Jesus said he was the bread of life that came down from heaven, he was at the synagogue in Capernaum. Many rejected Jesus as the bread of life from heaven because they knew his parents, Joseph and Mary.
These people should have thought about the signs Jesus did such as feeding the 5,000. They should have searched the Old Testament Bible for prophesies about God’s messiah.
Remember Nicodemus from John 3. He saw Jesus do signs, but he thought about the signs differently than the people in Capernaum. Nicodemus came to Jesus at night and said: “Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No one can do these miraculous signs that you do unless they have God’s help,” (John 3:2).
In the Gospel of John, why are the miracles that Jesus did called signs? Signs give you important information. Think about the signs you see when you’re traveling in a car. If you think you might have taken a wrong turn, you can look around for a road sign that tells you the name of the street you’re on. Then you can know if you’re going the right way. It’s kind of like that with the miracles of Jesus.
When Jesus does miracles, they are more than miracles. They are signs that he is the messiah. Study what Jesus says before and after he performs each miracle. You will see how his messages and miracles are clear signs that he did come from heaven. Jesus is the one who would come and die for our sins, as foretold by the Old Testament prophets (Isaiah 53).
If you were one of those people who heard Jesus say he was the bread of life that came down from heaven, what would you have done?
Miracles are not enough to prove Jesus is the messiah. Jesus’ birthplace had to be in Bethlehem because the prophet Micah predicted it (Micah 5:2). This is only one of many predictions about the messiah. If you only knew this one prediction, you could challenge anyone who claims to be God’s messiah. Ask to see a birth certificate. If the person who claims to be God’s messiah was not born in Bethlehem, he cannot be the one that the Old Testament prophets predicted.
The people back then should have asked his parents where Jesus was born. Perhaps these people did not know the Bible well enough to ask the right questions. Maybe they wanted only to get more free meals like the one they ate when Jesus multiplied a boy’s lunch.
It’s awesome to think that God can use any Christian to bring someone into God’s eternal kingdom. The Apostle Paul wrote that all Christians are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day,” (John 6:44, NKJV).
Both Jesus and God the Father are in the drawing business, but they often use people as heaven’s ambassadors to aid in this process. Just as a magnet draws metal to itself, Jesus and his Father draw people to themselves.
Jesus also said, “I will be lifted up from the earth. When that happens, I will draw all people to myself,” (John 12:32).
One of the ways Jesus draws us to himself is through problems. Sometimes our problems are too big for us. God wants us to come to the end of ourselves. He wants to help us.
God will never make us believe in Jesus for our salvation, but he will let us know we need him. When we make bad decisions, we suffer. We may feel bad when we get caught doing something bad.
Sometimes we suffer when we have done nothing wrong. That is called unjust suffering. Some people are evil and want to hurt innocent people.
Maybe we get sick and get scared when we go see the doctor. We need God in our lives all the time. When we feel strong, we may feel like we do not need God.
The Bible says God is a lover. He wants to show us his love. God is all powerful, but he never forces his love on us.
Jesus wanted the Jews in Jerusalem to know how much he loved them. He wanted them to accept him as their messiah. Jesus wanted them to live with him forever in his kingdom.
When Jesus looked at Jerusalem, he was sad because the people rejected him. Jesus said: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets. You stone to death those that God has sent to you. Many, many times I wanted to help your people. I wanted to gather them together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you did not let me,” (Matthew 23:37).
Jesus wanted all the people in Jerusalem to believe in him as their messiah and savior. Even though Jesus is God and has all power, he allowed the people of Jerusalem to reject him. He loved them, but they did not accept his love. Jesus limits his own power in this way. He will not force his love on anyone.
Can love really be forced?
There is no such thing as forced love. In most modern societies, when a man loves a woman, they will not get married unless the woman accepts the love of the man. When a man asks a woman to marry him, she can say “yes” or “no.” If a man wants true love, he knows he cannot force her to say “yes.”
God wants a love relationship with us. Jesus will never save anyone who does not believe in him. It is the way we say “yes” to his love.
Every day God works to draw all people to Jesus and himself. I’m blessed to live on a beach. Early in the morning, people come to see the beautiful sunrises that God creates. God uses the beauty of creation to draw people to himself.
The Apostle Paul said that the wonder of God’s creation is powerful. Here is what he said: “There are things about God that people cannot see—his eternal power and all that makes him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil they do,” (Romans 1:20).
If I told you that my car came together all by itself, you would think I was crazy. This is exactly what people do when they look at the beauty of creation and say it happened by chance. When you see a beautiful design, it means there is a smart person who thought about it a lot.
People who believe in evolution deny the design of God’s creation they see every day. When they stand before God, they will not have any excuse for refusing the eternal life that Jesus wanted to give them. They said “no” to God when they said his creation happened by chance.
When people see the beauty of God’s creation, they can say “yes” or “no” to God. If they say “yes,” God will send someone to tell them about Jesus’ love for them. Or, they could read the Bible and learn about God’s love for them. If they do not want to know more about God when they see the beauty of his creation, why should God send someone to tell them about Jesus?
God can use Christians, our needs or problems and creation to draw people to himself and to Jesus.
Jesus often spoke in symbols. If you think about it, the Old Testament Bible is filled with symbols. One of the best examples of a symbol is the lamb. Jews brought lambs to the temple so that priests could sacrifice them. The sacrificed lambs had to be without any spots. When John the Baptist saw Jesus he said, “Look, the Lamb of God. He takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29).
Does this mean Jesus was a lamb? No. It means that Jesus was like a lamb that priests sacrificed in the temple. Jesus sacrificed himself for the sins of the world. All the lambs that were sacrificed in the Jewish temple for hundreds of years were symbols that pointed to Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins.
The Jews of Jesus’ day were shocked when they heard Jesus say this: “Believe me when I say that you must eat the body of the Son of Man, and you must drink his blood. If you don’t do this, you have no real life. Those who eat my body and drink my blood have eternal life. I will raise them up on the last day,” (John 6:53-54).
The law Moses received from God told the Jews never to eat food that had blood in it: “But I give you one command. You must not eat meat that still has its life (blood) in it,” (Genesis 9:4).
How is eating the body of Jesus and drinking his blood like believing in him?
Eating and drinking begins with being hungry and thirsty. Have you ever been invited to eat lunch after you already ate lunch? You may be invited to a fancy restaurant. If you are not hungry, all the great food does not matter to you.
This is why it is difficult for rich people to receive Christ as their savior. Often, they are not spiritually hungry or thirsty. They think they have everything they need. Poor people have many problems. Many of them know that they need God to help them with their problems. They are more likely to be spiritually hungry.
Jesus said, “Great blessings belong to those who know they are spiritually in need. God’s kingdom belongs to them,” (Matthew 5:3).
Even if you are hungry or thirsty, the food or drink that you see must be appealing to you. Some people pay a lot of money to go to the best restaurant, but they will not eat anything new. There might be a new food they would like a lot, but they will never enjoy it because they will not taste it.
Many people grow up in a religious tradition of trying to work their way to heaven. They go to church. They observe religious holidays. They do good things to help people. When they hear the good news that Jesus Christ loves them, died for their sins, rose from the dead and offers eternal life as a free gift, it is new to them. All their lives, they have heard that you must earn God’s favor. They refuse to trust Jesus alone for their salvation because their religious tradition is more important to them.
When you eat food or drink something healthy, it goes inside your body and keeps you alive. When you believe in Jesus Christ as your savior, he comes to live inside of you forever (Colossians 1:27). When you eat good food and drink, you feel stronger for a few hours. When you believe in Jesus Christ as your savior, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you forever (I Corinthians 6:19).
Looking at food and drink will never satisfy your hunger or thirst. You must eat. Looking at Jesus and learning about him will never satisfy your spiritual hunger and thirst. You must believe in him as your only hope for heaven.
Jesus Christ is the spiritual food and drink that we need to live forever. He offered his body as a sacrifice for our sins. Roman soldiers nailed him to a cross. When one of them poked his side with a spear, blood and water poured out.
Bible scholar Martin Luther once said that everyone who trusts Christ as savior is like a beggar reaching out to receive a gift. You have nothing to give God for your salvation. He has eternal life to give you when you believe in him.
Think about this: Think of creation as a 50 watt light bulb. Think of Jesus as a 1,000 watt light bulb. In a dark world, a 50 watt light bulb can show you a lot. Everyone in the world has the 50 watt light bulb. They have God’s creation. Those who want more light will get the 1,000 watt light bulb. God will send them a messenger to tell them about Jesus Christ.
Memorize this truth: “I will be lifted up from the earth. When that happens, I will draw all people to myself,” (John 12:32).
Ask these questions: Will you let God use you to draw people to himself? Will you be God’s messenger to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to your friends?