John 6:22-35

Sunday Morning Bible Study

October 22, 1995



Jesus had just done an incredible thing, feeding a huge multitude, at least five thousand men, not to mention the women and children.

And He did it all with five small loaves, and two small fish.

After doing that, He sent the crowd of people away, and had the disciples get in the boat and head back to Capernaum.

Meanwhile, He spent most of the evening up on a hill, looking out over the Sea, watching the disciples, and praying.

After a storm hit the disciples at sea, and they had been rowing against the wind most of the night, Jesus showed up, walking on the water.

:22-27 Looking for Jesus

:22 the people which stood on the other side of the sea

Keep in mind, that the previous verse ended with Jesus and His disciples reaching their destination, which was to be Capernaum.

So these people are standing back where Jesus and the disciples were, which was back near Bethsaida.

:22 there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered

Though Jesus had ended His meetings, dispersed the crowds, and sent the people away, they had hung around all night.

Apparently a group of them were keeping track of the boats, for the purpose of keeping track of where Jesus was.

The only boat in the immediate area was the boat that the disciples had come in, and had left in, but without Jesus.

:23 Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place

There were some other boats that had sailed in from Tiberias.

Bethsaida was on the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee.

Capernaum was on the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee.

Tiberias was halfway down the west coast of the Sea of Galilee.

Tiberias was a city that had recently been built by King Herod Antipas in A.D. 22

He built Tiberias on the west coast of the Sea of Galilee and made it his capital.

He named it in honor of Tiberias Caesar.

Apparently there had been some people following Jesus who had sailed in from Tiberias.

:24 Jesus was not there ... they also took shipping

The people have taken inventory of the situation.

They saw Jesus send His disciples away yesterday afternoon.

But they saw Jesus stay behind.

No other boats had left.

Yet Jesus wasn't anywhere to be found.

:24 came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus

That was the last place the disciples had been headed for.

It was also kind of Jesus' headquarters in Galilee.

24 seeking for Jesus

Sounds good, huh?

Shouldn't we all be seeking Jesus?

:25 Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

They can't figure out what happened.

:26 Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles

To understand this statement of Jesus, we need to understand the word He used for "miracles".

semeion - a sign, mark, token; that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and is known; of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him.

It's a special miracle that's supposed to show us a little more about just who Jesus is, and to draw us into believing in Him.

John told us that he used these "miracles" or "signs" to be the basis upon which he wrote his book around, with the intention of helping you to believe in Jesus:

»John 20:30-31 AV And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

So, what Jesus is saying is that these people might have seen a spectacular event, but they didn't understand the significance of it.

:26 because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled

All the people were concerned about was their own shortsighted needs, and not about the importance of the things going on around them.

They were thinking, "Cool, free food!"

They should have been thinking, "Cool, free food. What kind of a guy can do this? Can this be the Savior?"


Be careful not to miss out when God is trying to speak to you.

Here's all these thousands of people being a part of a great miracle.

But rather than ask themselves, "What is God trying to tell me through this?", all they are interested in is free food.

Are there times when we're simply missing the message?

David wrote:

»Psalms 32:8-9 AV I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. 9 Be ye not as the horse, [or] as the mule, [which] have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

We have a choice in how God can lead us.

1. Like a horse.

A horse has to have something put in his mouth, a torture device that guides him painfully.

2. With the eye.

As God looks over this way, I move over that way.


When in college, I was a vocal/choral major, and took classes in conducting.

You can wave your arms real big, and cause a lot of commotion.

But one of my teachers taught us that it didn't really take much to conduct a group, as long as they're paying attention, and you are sensitive.

I think that's the way God prefers to conduct us. With His eye.

:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth

meat - best for us to translate is as "food". Can be physical food, or spiritual food.

»John 6:27-NIV Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life,

Keep our story in mind here.

Here's all these people who have been fed in the wilderness.

And now they're seeking hard after Jesus.

They were even willing to get into boats and sail the 4 1/2 miles to Capernaum.

They wanted more of what they had earlier, but what they wanted more of was more food.

They're probably hungry.

Their food has "perished".

They're doing all this for something that's going to go bad in a few days.

I think that the definition of the Greek word for "labour" bears some reading (keep the verse in mind...):


1) to work, labour, do work

2) to trade, to make gains by trading, "do business"

3) to do, work out

3a) exercise, perform, commit

3b) to cause to exist, produce

4) to work for, earn by working, to acquire

Does any of that hit home?


Prosperity Rot

I can't help but think of the people who are sucked up into this "health and prosperity" doctrine that's gone through the churches.

What is it that these people are there for?

They want to be healthy. Understandable.

They want to be rich.

»1Timothy 6:9-AV But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

But in reality, how long would it last anyways?

Even in a best case scenario, and you became totally healed, you still are going to die someday.

Even if you suddenly win the Lottery and become wealthy, and keep it all, you'll still die someday.


Jesus isn't saying don't work.

He's challenging what our reasons are for working.

I know there's a possibility that there may be some who are looking for a good excuse not to work.

The Bible teaches that we need to support ourselves and our families.

»2Thessalonians 3:7-10 NIV For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

Paul talks about working and toiling, but for what reason? To get wealthy?

Paul is toiling so as not to be a burden to others.

:27 that meat which endureth unto everlasting life

Be sure that your labor is aimed at things that are going to last.

Jesus said:

»Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.


Where's your priorities?

Why are you working so hard?

For what?

:27 which the Son of man shall give unto you

The true treasures are going to come through Jesus.

:27 him hath God the Father sealed

»John 6:27-NAS ... for on Him the Father, [even] God, has set His seal."

sphragizo - to set a seal upon, mark with a seal, to seal; to confirm authenticate, place beyond doubt

We might say, "the Father has set His seal of approval on Jesus".

The clearest time this happened was when Jesus was baptized by John, and the Father spoke....

» Matthew 3:17-AV And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

:28-29 Doing the works of God

:28 What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

It sounds like Jesus has their attention.

They use the same word (work, ergadzomai) that Jesus uses for "labour".

:29 This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent

John Wesley wrote:

The work most pleasing to God, and the foundation of all others

The Bible says:

»Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.


Cult teachings.

When people in the cults want to suck you into their idea that we're saved by our works, you can just go right ahead and agree with them.

Then read them this verse.

Remember, the Jews are asking in response to Jesus telling them to work for the things that endure to eternal life.

And it's all about believing in Jesus.

:30-35 The sign of bread from heaven

:30 What sign shewest thou then

sign - the same word that's translated "miracles" in verse 26 (semion).

This is one of the characteristics of the Jews, not necessarily all bad:

»1Co 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

They're saying, "Okay then, if we're supposed to be believing in you, what kind of sign are you doing?"

Now wait a minute! Hasn't Jesus already been doing signs for them, in order to lead them into belief?

At Cana, He turned the water into wine. (2:11)

He healed the official's son (4:54)

He healed the man paralyzed for 38 years (5:9)

And now He has fed five thousand with a few loaves and fish (6:11).

Isn't anybody paying attention?

:31 as it is written, he gave them bread from heaven to eat

Follow the thinking of the people:

It's the time of the passover (John 6:4), so the people are thinking about guys like Moses.

The people have been fed in the wilderness.

And so the people bring up another time when they were fed in the wilderness, by another famous person, Moses.

They quote from Nehemiah 9:15, which is telling the story of how God fed the people in the wilderness, mentioned in the book of Exodus.

The people are kind of drawing comparisons between Jesus and Moses.

:32 Moses gave you not that bread from heaven

What Jesus is saying here is that the issue isn't whether or not manna was from heaven.

The issue here is that it wasn't Moses doing the giving back during the Exodus, it was God.

But, to the Jews, it was Moses that provided the manna, it was because of his merits:

Gill: there arose up three good providers, or pastors for Israel, and they are these, Moses, and Aaron, and Miriam; and three good gifts were given by their means, and they are these, the well, the cloud, and the manna; the well by the merits of Miriam; the pillar of cloud by the merits of Aaron; hvm twkzb Nm , "the manna, by the merits of Moses".'' (T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 9. 1. Seder Olam Rabba, p. 28.)

:32 but my Father giveth you

It was from the Father, just as the Scriptures say.

In fact, the very Scripture that the people quote clearly states that it was God who gave them the manna, not Moses. (see Neh.9:1-15)

:32 the true bread from heaven

Maybe there's something better than Moses' manna.

Maybe it's Jesus. He's the true bread.

Moses' bread was just a foreshadowing of what God would really do for His people through Jesus.

Read Exodus 16:1-5, 13-21, 31

vs.2 - It was given to them by the Lord, because of their need.

While we were yet sinners ...

vs.14 - It was small

When you first start hearing of Jesus, it may not seem like it's all that important at first.

vs.15 - What is it?

When you first begin to know Jesus, you don't really always understand what's happening.

vs.16 - take ye every man

He is for everybody!

vs.18 - had no lack

When you come to Jesus, He will meet all your needs, even if you're just starting with a little.

vs.31 - wafers made with honey

»Psalms 34:8-AV O taste and see that the LORD [is] good: blessed [is] the man [that] trusteth in him.

That's our Jesus!

:35 shall never hunger ... never thirst

Jesus is talking about how He will meet the deep down needs of the heart.

These are the needs that everybody in the world is constantly trying to fill with things like drugs, alcohol, sex, cars, violence, etc.

But when we come to Jesus, He totally satisfies.

The Jews had a tradition about the manna -


Josephus {Antiqu. l. 3. c. 1. sect. 6.} says of the "manna", which was a type of this bread, that there was such a divine quality in it, that whoever tasted of it needed nothing else:

The Jews also say {Shemot Rabba, sect. 25. fol. 108. 4.}, that ``in the manna were all kinds of tastes, and every one of the Israelites tasted all that he desired; for so it is written in De 2:7, "these forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee, thou hast lacked nothing", or "not wanted any thing"; what is any thing? when he desired to eat any thing, and said with his mouth, O that I had fat to eat, immediately there was in his mouth the taste of fat.--Young men tasted the taste of bread, old men the taste of honey, and children the taste of oil.''

Yea, they say, ``whoever desired flesh, he tasted it, and whoever desired fish, he tasted it, and whoever desired fowl, chicken, pheasant, or pea hen, so he tasted whatever he desired.'' (Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 7. fol. 188. 1.)

If we will never "hunger", then how can a Christian fall into sin?

How come we find ourselves craving the things of the world at times?

We can see at least part of the answer in the manna.

The complaints:

»Numbers 11:4-6 AV And the mixt multitude that [was] among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? 5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: 6 But now our soul [is] dried away: [there is] nothing at all, beside this manna, [before] our eyes.

Here was this most wonderful bread, and the people started looking back to Egypt.

Notice how they remember only the nice things about Egypt.

They have conveniently forgotten all the pain, hardship, and slavery.

Then how can a Christian fall into sin?


Be careful about looking back.

Jesus said:

»Luke 9:62-AV And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

The way to plow a straight furrow is to fix your eye on a point far ahead of you, and go straight for it.

If you keep looking all around you, your furrow will go all over the place.

Paul wrote:

»Philippians 3:13-14 AV Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

There is a common theme in psychotherapy that says all your problems are bound up in your past experiences.

That's why you have to go back and rediscover your childhood traumas.

There may be some value in that, but there must be a time when you stop looking back, and start looking forward.

Is that it? Is there more to this issue?

:35 He that cometh to me ... he that believeth on me

Then how can a Christian fall into sin?

I think the real answer lies here.

Both verbs are "present participles", which means that they carry the idea of continuous action.

The idea of continuous action, or, present tense, is also found in verse 29, "that ye believe on him ..."

»John 6:35-NAS Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

It's the same in the wilderness.

If the people didn't keep going out to collect the manna, they would starve.

If they thought they could hoard it up, so they wouldn't have to keep going out so often, the manna would spoil, and the results were the same, no food.

We need to develop a continuous walk with the Lord, not a sporadic one.


No more Hunger

And it involves two things: Coming and Believing.

1. Coming

It implies movement.

It implies moving from where I am, to where He is.

It implies getting closer to Him.

It means daily getting up, going out, and getting the manna.

And maybe even more than once a day!

In the Old Testament, there was to be a burnt offering two times a day, morning and evening.

»Exodus 29:39-AV The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even:

The burnt offering was a time to dedicate yourself to the Lord, as if you were climbing up on the altar, and putting yourself in God's arms.

Daniel used to have three Quiet Times every day:

»Daniel 6:10-AV Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

The Psalmist wrote:

»Psalms 119:164-AV Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.

Are you coming to the Lord regularly?

2. Believing

It implies trust.

It implies rest.

This is a step closer than just "coming" to Jesus.

It has a different result too.

We could translate the passage, "he that is continually coming to me shall never hunger, and he that continually believes in me shall never ever thirst."

It's not just arriving for your appointment with God, but it's doing business with Him.

It's turning your life over to Him.

It's trusting Him with the things that burden you.

It's trusting Him to speak to you and give you guidance.


Loving Sword

Years ago a military officer and his wife were aboard a ship that was caught in a raging ocean storm. Seeing the frantic look in her eyes, the man tried unsuccessfully to allay her fears. Suddenly she grasped his sleeve and cried, "How can you be so calm?" He stepped back a few feet and drew his sword. Pointing it at her heart, he said, "Are you afraid of this?" Without hesitation she answered, "Of course not!" "Why not?" he inquired. "Because it's in your hand, and you love me too much to hurt me." To this he replied, "I know the One who holds the winds and the waters in the hollow of His hand, and He will surely care for us!" The officer was not disturbed because he had put his trust in the Lord.

Does He love you or not? Can you trust Him?

Broken toys

As children bring their broken toys

With tears for us to mend,

I brought my broken dreams to God,

Because He was my friend.

But then, instead of leaving Him

In peace, to work alone,

I hung around and tried to help

In ways that were my own.

Finally I took them back and said,

"Dear God, why are you so slow?"

"My child," He said, "what could I do?

You never did let go."

Are there some things you need to be letting go into God's hands?

Three Gallon Pot

A minister tells of dispensing food to residents in an impoverished area by means of a "soup kitchen." All of the people were instructed to bring a vessel that would hold about 2 quarts. However, an 11- year-old boy, ragged and dirty but with flashing eyes and a winsome smile, lugged in a container that could hold at least 3 gallons. "We would have been ashamed to have put only 2 quarts into that bucket," said Dr. Barry, "for the youngster came from a large and very poor family. We felt bound to give him at least a gallon, and so we did."

Are you willing to be "naive" enough to believe that if you just trust a little more in the Lord, that He'll fill you just a little more full?

If you do these things, you will never hunger, and you will never ever thirst again.