John 6:41-58

Read: John 6:41-58

Jesus continues his conversation with the Jews over the matter of bread here. The Jews were grumbling because Jesus had likened himself to the bread that the Jews leaving the wilderness received from heaven and had not given them what they were expecting: another free meal and a king. Jesus then commands them not to grumble among themselves because of what he said perhaps because he sees that they don’t understand, and then states that God draws men to himself. It is difficult to understand this passage in light of the fact that John affirms elsewhere that people are unwilling to believe on their own volitions (John 5:40-44). “ελκυση”, the word translated “draw” is used in the context of  “drawing” in a fish (John 21:11-10) or “dragging” one to court (Acts 16:19, Acts 21:30, James 2:6) What is certainly true that spiritual truth can only truly be understood under the influence of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-12, 1 Corinthians 2:6-16) but Hebrews 6:1-8 explains that some receive enlightenment from the Holy Spirit and reject it.  John 12:32 says that after Jesus is lifted up that he would draw all men to himself. The draw here is not something without struggle, as in taking one to court or pulling in a load of fish. God speaks truth, but men have the ability to resist it, and this is precisely what is going on here: God is drawing people to Jesus but the people are resisting for one reason or another.

Jesus wants them to believe and have eternal life. He notes that the manna from heaven was eaten, and the people in the wilderness died. Jesus probably says this to get their attention: If all he gives them is real bread, even the sort they ate in the wilderness, then they would die without hope. He wants to give them so much more, namely eternal life. Jesus then gives them another parabolic statement, probably to get them to stop thinking about bread. He makes it more clear that he is talking about himself saying that that whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood will have eternal life. Obviously the Jews do not get that either, in that they reject it. The connection between the person of Jesus and the bread of life could not be clearer at this point in that they are the same thing. It should have been abundantly clear to the Jews that he was talking about himself when he was talking about bread.

God is working to draw all men to Jesus, but man is resisting him even unto today. The battle for the hearts of men is still raging. God is sending people to every corner of the globe to spread the message of eternal life. While it is a good thing to provide for the physical needs of those who are in need, one day these people will be in need again and will ultimately die. What people need more than anything is spiritual truth. All people will die one day, but only those who believe in Jesus will receive a resurrection to Life. Christians today should be involved in this work by telling people how they can find the bread of life who is Jesus and not hindering God as he draws them to Jesus.

Lord, draw all men to yourself!