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The Security Of The Children Of God

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JOHN 6:35-40   

This section of the discourse is to be understood against the background of a Jewish expectation that, when the Messiah came, he would renew the miracle of the manna. Comfortably filled with the loaves Jesus has provided, the multitude challenges him to give them a permanent supply of bread.

§         The miracle of the five thousand [6:1-14].

§         Jesus walks on the water [6:15-21].

§         The searching for Jesus [6:22-26].

§         The true manna [6:27-34].

  1. THE REAL BREAD OF LIFE [6:32-35]

1.        The Jewish Tradition

There was a tradition that “as the first Redeemer caused the manna to fall from heaven, even so should the second Redeemer (גואל אחרון) cause the manna to fall.” For this sign then, or one like this, the people looked from Him whom they were ready to regard as Messiah.

a.        The Exodus

The idea that the feeding miracle is a repetition of the nourishment of Israel gives way to the controlling thought of the miracle as a sign of the fulfilment of the hope of the new exodus brought about by Jesus.

§         The mention of the proximity of the “Passover” [6:4; Exo.12] naturally includes this concept, but more strongly hints of the sacrificial death of the Lamb of God, which is fundamental to 6:51-58.

§         That they saw a link with the exodus is confirmed by the use of a Scriptural proof text: “he gave them bread from heaven…” [6:31].

§         The reference to the promise of Moses provides another link: “This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world” [6:14; Deu.18:15]].

b.        The Sign

c.        The Worldly Desire

i.        A Sign

They had called for a sign like that of receiving manna from Moses: “what sign do you show us…” [6:30].

§         σημεῖον - “sign” [6:30], ‘a pointer to aid perception or insight’; ‘a confirmation’;

ii.      A Constant Provision

The thoughts of the people ate hopelessly earthbound: “evermore give us this bread” [6:34].

§         πάντοτε - “evermore” [6:34], ‘at all times’; ‘forever’;

§         δὸς - “give” [6:34], aorist active imperative, ‘thing given by a person in a superior position to a subordinate’;

§         τὸν ἄρτον τοῦτον - “this bread” [6:34], ‘loaf of bread’; ‘nourishment’;

§         Moses gave them “manna” [Exo.16:15] for forty years; Jesus gave them “bread” on one occasion.


The misunderstanding implicit in the opponents’ response: ‘they were suggesting that the bread of heaven needed to be given again and again’;

2.        The Provision of God

The first thing that Jesus does - Jesus corrects the erroneous interpretation of the Scripture cited.

a.        God’s Provision in the Exodus

The correction: “Moses gave you not that bread from heaven…” [6:32].

§         δέδωκεν - “gave” [6:32], the perfect active ‘points to God’s provision for forty years’;

§         The wilderness: “when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna, for they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat” [Exo.16:15].

§         The promise of God: “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you…” [Exo.16:4].

b.        God’s Provision in the Incarnation

i.        The Gift of God

The same God is now active in Jesus: “my Father gives you the true bread…” [6:32].

§         πατήρ μου - “Father” [6:32],

§         δίδωσιν - “gives” [6:32], present active indicative, ‘thing given by a person in a superior position to a subordinate’;

ii.      The Spiritual Reality

The spiritual reality: “the true bread from heaven” [6:33].

§         τὸν ἀληθινόν - “true” [6:32], ‘the true thing’; ‘the reality’; ‘genuine’; the “manna” [Exo.16:15] was the symbol of spiritual food;

§         τὸν ἄρτον - “bread” [6:32], ‘loaf of bread’; ‘nourishment’;

§         ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ - “from heaven” [6:32], ‘motion away from’;


3.        The Bread of Life

a.        The Identification

The identification: “the bread of God…” [6:33].

§         ἄρτος - “bread” [6:33], ‘loaf of bread’; ‘nourishment’;

i.        The Incarnation 

The incarnation: “is he which came down from heaven…” [6:33].

§         καταβαίνων - “came down” [6:33], present active participle, ‘to descend’; ‘move from high elevation to lower elevation’; “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” [3:13].

§         ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ - “from heaven” [6:33], ‘motion away from’;

ii.      The Life

The gift of life: “and gives life to the world” [6:33].

§         διδοὺς - “gives” [6:33], present active participle,

§         ζωὴν - “life” [6:33], ‘physical vitality’; ‘everlasting life’; life in its qualitative sense more than in its longevity’;

§         κόσμῳ - “world” [6:33], ‘the world alienated from God’: “God so loved the world…” [3:16].

§         The life of the Son: “as the Father has life in himself, so has he given to the Son to have life in himself” [5:26].

b.        The Embodiment

Jesus is the embodiment of the life: “I am the bread of life…” [6:35].

§         ἐγώ εἰμι - “I am” [6:35], first person pronoun plus indicative present active of ‘to be’; a title of ‘self-designation’;

§         ἄρτος - “bread” [6:35], ‘loaf of bread’; ‘nourishment’;

§         τῆς ζωῆς - “life” [6:35], ‘physical vitality’; ‘everlasting life’; life in its qualitative sense more than in its longevity’;

§         This is the first of seven emphatic statements that Jesus makes about himself in this gospel [6:35; 8:12; 10:7; 10:11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1].

§         Each one brings home an important aspect of the person and ministry of Jesus. It is not that Jesus “gives” the bread, He “is the bread” [6:35]. The Father “gives the bread” [6:32]; Jesus “is the bread” [6:35].


Jesus is the fulfilment of the symbolism of the “manna”; the “manna” came down from heaven and the people were fed by it; so Jesus…

§         As the “wilderness” was without food without the manna, so the “world” is without life apart from the coming of Christ.

§         Jesus is the food which supplies life; the Israelites: “they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating” [Exo.16:21].

4.        The Message of the Kingdom

a.        The Promise

i.        Active & Outward Faith

The first facet of the process presents faith as active and outward: “he that comes to me shall never hunger…” [6:35].

§         ἐρχόμενος - “comes” [6:35], present middle or passive participle, ‘to come, go’; ‘to move toward or up to’;

§         πρὸς ἐμὲ - “to me” [6:35], ‘denotes motion up to’;

§         οὐ μὴ - “never” [6:35], ‘used together to express a strong negative’;

§         πεινάσῃ - “hunger” [6:35], ‘conscious of need and to desire something to meet that need’;

§         Jesus stresses the movement away from the old life with its beggarly famine and its total inability to satisfy: “why do you spend your money on that which is not bread…” [Isa.55:2].

§         People must come with a whole needy personality: “come unto me all you that labour…” [Mat.11:28].

ii.      Inward & Intellectual Faith

The second essential facet of the process presents faith in thought as resting and inward: “he that believes on me shall never thirst” [6:35].

§         πιστεύων - “believes” [6:35], present active participle, ‘to trust’; ‘to have faith’; ‘knowledge, assent, trust’;

§         εἰς ἐμὲ - “on me” [6:35], ‘denoting motion into’;

§         οὐ μὴ - “never” [6:35], ‘used together to express a strong negative’;

§         διψήσει - “thirst” [6:35], ‘bodily desire for liquid’; ‘a spiritual need that god can satisfy’;

§         πώποτε - “never” [6:35], ‘at any time’;

iii.    The Exodus Imagery

The exodus imagery behind what Jesus is saying:

§         Israel hungered and God gave them food: “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you…” [Exo.16:4].

§         Israel thirsted and God gave them to drink: “thou shalt smite the rock in Horeb, and there shall come water out of it that the people may drink…” [Exo.17:6].

iv.      The Eschatological Imagery

Isaiah 55 deals specifically with the dawning of the eschatological salvation, of a new and everlasting covenant, in the context of the word which proceed from the Lord’s mouth:

§         Eating and drinking were part of the eschatological imagery of God’s people: “Ho, everyone that is thirsty, come ye to the waters, and he that has no money; come ye, buy and eat…” [Isa.55:1]. Here was the dawning of eschatological salvation.

§         Compare also passages in Revelation: “the tree of life” [Rev.22:2]; “the water of life” [Rev.22:1].

b.        The Rebuke

Jesus introduces a strong contrast by way of rebuke: “but I have also said unto you…” [6:36].

§         ἑωράκατέ - “seen me” [6:36], perfect active, ‘to perceive with the eyes’; ‘to look at’;

§         πιστεύετε - “believed” [6:36], ‘to trust’; ‘to have faith’; ‘knowledge, assent, trust’;

§         οὐ - “not” [6:36], ‘negation of a fact’;


The first word presents faith in deed as active and outward; the second presents faith in thought as resting and inward. Each element is, it is true, implied in the other, but they can be contemplated apart.

§         The hungry and thirsty person who comes to Jesus finds his hunger satisfied and his thirst quenched. This does not mean that there is no need for continued dependence upon him; it does mean there is no longer that core emptiness that the initial encounter with Jesus has met.


The unbelief of the people was not a proof that the purpose of God had failed. Rather it gave occasion for declaring more fully how certainly the Son carried out the Father’s will.

1.        The Divine Action

Apart from a divine work in their souls, people will remain content in their sins.

a.        The Predestination  

The divine initiative: “all that the Father gives to me shall come…” [6:37].

§         πᾶν - “all” [6:37], ‘each individual in a class’;

§         πατὴρ - “Father” [6:37], ‘male parent’; ‘ancestor’;

§         δίδωσίν - “gives” [6:37], present active, ‘thing given by a person in a superior position to a subordinate’; the present tense is used here where the Son awaits.

b.        The Certain Result  

The resultant response: “shall come to me” [6:37].

§         πρὸς ἐμὲ - “to me” [6:37], denoting motion up to’;

§         ἥξει - “shall come” [6:37], future active, ‘to come, arrive’; ‘to be present’; ‘shall reach me’;

2.        The Eternal Security

a.        All Inclusive  

The all-inclusive promise: “whosoever will come…” [6:37].

§         ἐρχόμενον - “whosoever will come” [6:37], present middle or passive, ‘to come, go’;

§         πρὸς ἐμὲ - “to me” [6:37],

b.        The Promise

The promise: “I will in now wise cast out” [6:37].

§         οὐ μὴ - “no wise” [6:37], ‘used together to express a strong negative’;

§         ἐκβάλω - “cast out” [6:37], aorist active, ‘to throw out’; ‘to expel’; ‘send out’; ‘presupposes that ‘what is cast out is already in’.

§         ἔξω - “out” [6:37], ‘outside’;


The reason for Jesus’ confidence that God’s purpose will never fail.

§         The affirmation: ‘whoever comes to me I will certainly keep in, preserve’.

§         Because coming to Jesus involves a divine dimension, believers who are enabled to come can have a sense of confidence and assurance that they will neither be cast out by Jesus.


1.        The Purpose of the Incarnation  

The following introduces the reason why Jesus will perfectly preserve all those whom the Father has given him.

§         ὅτι - “for” [6:38], ‘introduces the reason why Jesus will

§         καταβέβηκα - “came down” [6:38], perfect indicative active, ‘to move down’; ‘to descend’;

a.        The Plan of God

i.        The Work

Jesus came to fulfil God’s plan: “I came down from heaven to do the will…” [6:38].

§         ποιῶ - “to do” [6:38], present active, ‘to perform an action’;

§         τὸ θέλημα - “will” [6:38], ‘to will, both as determining and coming to a decision’; ‘desire’; ‘purpose’;

§         οὐχ τὸ ἐμὸν - “not my own” [6:38], ‘a work within the concept of a master and servant’;

ii.      The Servant

The servant of the Father: “the will of him that sent me” [6:38].

§         θέλημα - “will” [6:38], ‘to will, both as determining and coming to a decision’;

§         πέμψαντός - “him that sent me” [6:38], aorist active participle, ‘to send out’; ‘cause one to take something to a destination’;


2.        The Security of the People of God

The particular aspect of the will of the Father that Jesus came to perform has to do with what the Father gives him.

a.        The Security

The security: “this is the Father’s will which has sent me…” [6:39].

§         πᾶν - “all” [6:39], ‘each individual in a class’;

§         δέδωκέν - “given me” [6:39], perfect active, ‘deposit’; ‘put in another place’;

§         The perfect tense expresses the gift as completed in the will of the Father.

§         μὴ ἀπολέσω - “lose nothing” [6:39], ‘destroy, ruin’; ‘lose something one possesses’; “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” [3:16];

b.        The Extent of the Security

This preservation of each individual in the collective of the elect includes resurrection at the last day: “but should raise it up again…” [6:39].

§         ἀναστήσω - “raise it up again” [6:39], ‘cause to stand up’; ‘raise to life’;

§         ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ - “last day” [6:39], ‘final day’;

c.        The Reaffirmation 

Jesus reaffirms the statement about security: “this is the will of him that sent me…” [6:40].

i.        The Faith

The description of the people of God: “everyone which sees the Son and believes…” [6:40].

§         πᾶς - “every one” [6:40], ‘each individual in a class’;

§         θεωρῶν - “sees” [6:40], present active participle, ‘to perceive with the eyes’; ‘to look at’; ‘to contemplate’; ‘implies not mere vision but grasping the significance of a thing, and so it is the precursor of faith’;

§         τὸν υἱὸν - “Son” [6:40],

§         The necessity of seeing the heavenly vision, and seeing it with a steady, constant gaze.

§         πιστεύων - “believes” [6:40], present active participle, ‘to trust’; ‘have faith in’;

ii.      Eternal Salvation

The sure promise of eternal salvation: “may have everlasting life…” [6:40].

§         ἔχῃ - “have” [6:40], ‘to hold’; ‘to possess, own’;

§         ζωὴν αἰώνιον - “everlasting life” [6:40],

§         The gospel: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” [3:16];

§         ἀναστήσω - “raise him up” [6:40], ‘cause to stand up’; ‘raise to life’;

§         ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ - “last day” [6:40],

§         the ushering in of the final state of the church of Christ: “


The believer’s assurance is not based on their feeble hold on Christ, but on his sure grip on them: “neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” [10:28].

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