The Bread of Life and Sifting of Wheat

The Sermon on the True Bread of Life (John 6:22-59). Christ and disciples slipped away from the
crowd at night. The people interested in food, came seeking Him. They crossed over the sea to
Capernaum, and they meet in the synagogue. He reveals their shallow, carnal motives (John 6:26-27) and
their ignorance of what it means to be saved by faith (6:28-29). He wants to give them eternal life, but
they want to work for it. Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent”
(6:29). Believing in Him is the indispensable “work” God calls for—the one that leads to eternal life.

Note the similarity between His conversation with the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God”
(John 4:10). The request that Jesus should the people the bread of life parallels the request of the
Samaritan woman for the water of life (4:15). In both cases, the petition indicates that the speaker did not
understand Jesus’ real meaning and reveals a materialistic frame of mind.

This assertion “I am the bread of Life” is the first in a series of I AM’s. Each represents a particular
relationship of Jesus to the spiritual needs of men: Their eternal life, light in darkness, their entrance into
security and fellowship, their guide and protector in life, their hope in death, their certainty in perplexity,
and their source of vitality for productiveness. He desired that men should receive Him, not simply for
what He might give the, but for what He might be to them.

There are three divisions to the sermon, each followed by a reaction from the crowd:

1. He Reveals His Person—the Bread of Life, John 6:32-42
2. He Reveals the Process of Salvation, 6:43-52
3. He Reveals the Power of Salvation, 6:53-65

Jesus is not teaching that receiving the elements or sacraments of the Lord’s Supper saves a person. He
emphasizes faith in response to testimony (see 6:35, 40, 47, 51). Flesh and blood here point to Christ as
the crucified One and the source of life. He speaks of faith’s appropriation of Himself as God’s
appointed sacrifice, not any ritual requirement. There are at least two factors that argue against the
sacramental interpretation: (1) the equation of “eating” and “drinking” with belief, which is not a
physical action, and (2) Jesus’ own explanation to the disciples that His words “are spirit and life.” The
Lord’s Supper perpetuates the concept here, but does not have any intrinsic saving power!

The Sifting of the Wheat and Tares (John 6:66-71). The Word of God reveals His Person, separating
the true from the false. The crowd, desiring bread for the body, rejected the Bread of Life for the soul.
The disciples affirmed their faith in Christ, but Jesus reveals that one of them is a devil and is going to
betray Him. Again, He knows their hearts. The people were offended by His doctrine and would no
longer walk with Christ. This is the first of three crises in John’s Gospel:

1. They would not walk with Him (John 6:66-67).
2. They would not believe on Him (12:12-50).
3. They crucified Him (20:1-31).

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