John 6:26-38

Introduction: The Jewish nation at the time of Christ was eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Messsiah who had been fortold in the writings of the prophets. The prophecies which most caught their attention were those related to the Kingdom. Popular opinion of the day held that the Messiah would come as king and solve all of their problems; i.e. throw off the Roman occupation and do away with famine and other physical difficulties. They did not comprehend that God's first order of business was to conquer the spiritual problem of sin.

26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

[Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles] The miracle of the loaves was astonishing and the people present had ample proof that it was real, yet their attention was not drawn to the spiritual -- Jesus is Christ, the Son of God, -- but to the physical -- If I follow this man I may never have to work again.

27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

[Labor not for the meat which perisheth] Our Lord wills that every person be active and diligent in the service in which he finds himself, but it is his will also that employment and all the concerns of life be subservient to the interest of his soul.

[But for the meat which endureth] Everything that can be posessed, except the salvation of God, is a perishing thing; this is it's essential character. But when the earth and it's produce are burned up, this bread of Christ, his grace and salvation, will remain eternally. This is the portion after which an immortal soul should seek.

[Him hath God the Father sealed.] By this expression our Lord points out the commission which, as the Messiah, he received from the Father, to be prophet and priest to an ignorant and sinful world.

28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

[Work the works of God?] Their understanding continued to be clouded. If Jesus could perform miracles to meet their physical needs, perhaps they could learn how to do the same.

29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

[This is the work of God] There is nothing in which you can be employed that is more acceptable to God than in yielding to the evidence set before you and acknowledging me as your Messiah and the savior of the lost world.

30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?

[What sign showest thou...that we may see, and believe] They had already seen the miracle of the loaves and fishes and did not believe. Even miracles themselves are lost on persons whose hearts are fixed on the perishing things of the world and whose minds are filled with prejudice against the truth.

31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

[Our fathers did eat manna in the desert] Their argument seems to run thus: You have, we grant, fed five thousand men with five loaves and two small fishes, but what is this in comparison to what Moses did in the desert, who for forty years fed more than a million persons with bread from heaven; do something like this and we will believe in you as we have believed in Moses.

32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

[Moses gave you not that bread from heaven] Our Lord refutes the argument of the Jews by proving: 1. That it was not Moses, but God, who gave the manna. 2. That this bread was not the true bread but merely a type (foreshadowing) of it. 3. That God had now given them a bread infinitely more excellent. 4. That he himself is that heavenly nourishment of which he spoke, and who was typified by that manna in the desert.

To show that he was the true bread from heaven he proves two things: 1. That his doctrine was the true nourishment of the soul, and that those who were to be put in posession of the blessings promised in it must come to God by faith. 2. That he would give his body for the life of the world; that as bread is the staff which supports the natural life of man, so the salvation procured by his death should be that by which the bodies and souls of believers should be preserved unto life eternal.

34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

[Lord, evermore give us this bread] Let that bread of which you have spoken become our constant nourishment. The Jews expected that, when the Messiah should come, he would give them all manner of delicacies, and, among the rest, manna, wine and spicy oil.
A commentary written by a Rabbi Mayemon stated, Many affirm that the hope of Israel is this: that the Messiah will come and raise the dead, and that they shall all be gathered together in the garden of Eden, and shall eat and drink and satiate themselves all the days of the world. There the houses shall be all builded with precious stones; the beds shall be made of silk and the rivers shall flow with wine and spicy oil. He made manna to descend for them, in the which were all manner of tastes; and every Israelite found in it what his palate was chiefly pleased with. If he desired fat in it, he had it. In it, the young men tasted bread, the old man, honey, and the children, oil. So shall it be in the world to come, (i.e. the days of the Messiah.) He shall give Israel peace, and they shall sit down in the garden of Eden, and all nations shall behold their condition; as it is said, "My servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry, Isaiah 65:13."

The writings of Isaiah are filled with references to the Kingdom, but somehow the scholars missed passages such as Isaiah 52:13-15 and Isaiah 53:01-12. With the benefit of hindsight we now understand that sin had to be conquered before the Kingdom could come to pass.

One final misunderstanding remains to be cleared up. Mere existance upon this earth does not qualify one for the Kingdom of Heaven.

35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

[I am the bread of life] That is, the bread which gives life, and preserves from death.

[He that cometh to me] The person who receives my doctrine, and believes in me as the great atoning sacrifice, shall be perfectly satisfied, and never more in misery of mind. All the guilt of his sins shall be blotted out, and his soul purified unto God; and, being able to love him with all of his heart he shall rest, fully, supremely, and finally happy, in his God.

36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

A statement of fact.

37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

[shall come to me] All that are drawn by the Father (verse 44) i.e. all those who are influenced by his Spirit and yield to those influences: for as many as are led (not driven or dragged) by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God. Romans 8:14

[I will in no wise cast out] The words are exceedingly emphatic. I will by no means thrust out of doors. Our blessed Lord alludes to the case of a person in deep distress or poverty, who comes to a nobleman's house in order to get relief. The person appears and the the owner, far from treating the poor man with cruelty, welcomes him, receives him kindly, and supplies his wants. So does Jesus. Never did he reject the suit of a penitent, however grevious his crimes might have been. The sinner is come to the house of mercy. The Master appears and not only grants him his suit, but receives him into the number of his family. His guilt, his crimes, all are blotted out by the blood of the Lamb.

Based upon excerpts from Adam Clarke's Commentary, 2nd edition published in New York by Lane and Scott, 1850. More recent editions may be purchased from


This page updated 11/22/2006

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