John 6:60-71

Henry Mahan

(Vs. 60) A "disciple" means one who is a learner or a follower. These "disciples'' are carefully distinguished from THE TWELVE. They were people who followed Christ, attracted by the miracles, but who did not really believe Him and to whom He did not commit Himself (John 2:23-25; John 6:26). Their ignorance and false allegiance are revealed in the next few verses. One minute they would make Him king; the next, they are leaving. Many of these disciples (having heard His gospel of Divine visitation, 29-35, of sovereignty in salvation, 37-45, of salvation through a living union with Him by faith, 48-59, and being unable to comprehend these great mysteries, I Cor. 2:14, not that His language was unintelligible, but that what they heard was irreconcilable with their own views of salvation by law and works) WOULD NOT receive it (John 5:40).

(Vs. 61) Our Lord knew what was in their hearts. "He knew in Himself." That is, He did not need to hear their words; for He is omniscient (Luke 16:15; Psalm 7:9). He knew WHY they murmured. They were offended with His gospel. It was not what He DID that offended them (for they were glad to be fed, healed, and to think of an earthly Jewish kingdom) but what He SAID (John 10:30-33).

(Vs. 62) "If you are offended by what I have SAID, what will be your reaction when all of my words are fulfilled and I enter the glory of My Father, which I have had from the beginning?" They stumbled when He called Himself the bread of life, at His declaration that He came down from heaven, that He would give His life for sinners, and that the way to obtain life was to eat His flesh and drink His blood. He now speaks of death, resurrection, and ascending up to heaven, where He was before. He did not say that these murmurers would "see" His resurrected glory; but if they were offended at the possibility, what would be their response to the reality? (Acts 2:32-36.)

(Vs. 63) He again presses upon them what He declared in John 6:44-45. It is the HOLY SPIRIT Who quickens by the Word, Who gives life to dead sinners, Who gives us eyes to "see" Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King, Who gives us "ears" to hear the gospel and "hearts" to understand the mysteries of His grace (Matt. 16:17). The flesh (or the natural mind and human wisdom) does not profit us, nor does it have any part in the salvation of sinners. The words of Christ, the words of life, are spiritual. One cannot discern spiritual truth who has no spiritual life (I Cor. 2:8-12).

(Vs. 64-65) He declared, "There are some of you that believe not." John adds, "The Lord Jesus knew not only from the beginning of His ministry but from the foundation of the world who would believe, who would not believe, and who should betray Him." This springs not only from His fore-knowledge but from His fore-ordination (Rom. 8:29-30; John 10:24-28). Whatever men believe or will accept, it is God's truth that no man WILL nor CAN come to Christ nor believe on Christ except He is drawn, taught, and called supernaturally by the Spirit of God (Acts 13:48; II Thess. 2:13). This "drawing" of the Father is exercised according to His sovereign will (Rom. 9:11-16).

(Vs. 66) These disciples at large (so-called because they followed Him, partly to hear what He would say, partly to see His miracles) followed Him no more. False professors may draw back, but none who truly receive Christ will fall away (I John 2:19; Heb. 10:38-39).

(Vs. 67) Our Lord desires no unwilling disciples: so, on the departure of the great crowd, He turned to the twelve and asked if they also desired to leave Him. His question was a strong test, and their answer would certainly reveal whether or not a Divine work of grace had been wrought in them. We are faced with the same question, "Will you also go away?" (II Tim. 4:10; Heb. 3:6, 14.)

(Vs. 68-69) Peter usually acted as spokesman for them. "Lord, to whom shall we go?" Shall we turn to the Law? Nothing there but a curse. Shall we turn to the religious organizations and the Pharisees? Nothing there but dead works and superstition. Shall we turn to our own wisdom and righteousness? Nothing there but foolishness and filthy rags. "Thou hast the words of eternal life." He is the WORD OF LIFE (I John 1:1-3), and His Word GIVETH LIFE (John 6:63). "We believe and are sure..." Notice the order here. Natural men demand to be sure before they believe. God reverses man's order. It is impossible to be sure or to have assurance or confidence until we believe! (Psalm 27:13; II Cor. 4:13.) We believe that Thou art THAT CHRIST – prophesied, promised, and pictured throughout the Old Testament. We believe that Thou art God in human flesh!

(Vs. 70-71) He chose them not only to the office of apostles, but He chose them to eternal life (John 15:16; Eph. 1:3-4); yet one of them, Judas Iscariot, was an informer, an instrument of Satan, and a son of perdition from the beginning (Psalm 41:9; Psalm 109:8; Zech. 11:12-13; John 17:12).

Henry Mahan
Ashland, Ky.