What had the Lord said that they considered a “hard saying” (v.60)? Commentaries suggest they were speaking of when He said they had to eat his flesh and drink His blood (v.56), but the Lord’s answer indicates otherwise. When He asked, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?” (v.62), it shows they were having trouble believing when He said He came down from heaven (v.58). He was saying, “If you see me go back to heaven where I came from, will you believe I came down from heaven?” They knew He was born in Bethle-hem, and since they knew souls did not pre-exist, they knew He was saying He was God. And that’s what they found to be “a hard saying.” These disciples were following only because they tasted the bread he multiplied (8:26). Announcing He was God was too much for them. John once again emphasizes the Lord’s deity when he says He “knew in Himself” what they were saying (v.61)
If I tell you that tomorrow I’ll ascend into heaven and the next day the world will end, you wouldn’t be worried. But if the next day I ascended, you’d be worried! These folks wouldn’t believe the Lord when He said He came down from heaven, and if they believed on Him they’d be saved. But if He proved He came down from Heaven, they’d accept that they could be saved by believing on Him.
Obviously the Lord knew from Scripture He was going to die, rise, and ascend into heaven. But don’t envy Him just because His whole life was laid out for Him in Scripture. Yours is too! You too will die (if the Lord doesn’t come), rise, and ascend into heaven at the rapture. You say you want the Bible to lay out the details of your life? The Bible didn’t do this for the Lord, why should it do it for you?
They had trouble accepting that believing on Him could give eternal life because He was just a man of flesh and blood, so the Lord said that His flesh “profiteth nothing” (v.63). We know He was talking about His flesh because that was the context (v.51-55). His flesh couldn’t heal the sick or raise the dead, He always made it clear His Father did those things (14:10). Now He says that His flesh couldn’t quicken anyone, only His “spirit” could, because His spirit was the Holy Spirit (cf.Gal.4:6). But it must be remembered that the Spirit quickened using “the words” the Lord spoke, which He said were “life” (v.63).
Here the Lord was probably thinking of Deuteronomy 32: 45-47, where Moses said his words were life! The Lord used the same words to show a dispensational change was taking place. Like Paul did when he used the words of Psalm 106:30,31 in Romans 4:5. The Lord was adding the kingdom program to the Law, He was adding His words to the words of Moses. Both were now required for salvation.
When the Bible says that sinners are dead in sins (Eph.2:1), our Calvinist friends say they are too dead even to believe the gospel, that God must quicken them and give them life so they can believe. But the Lord here says that His words “are life.” The words of the gospel are the power of God unto salvation (Rom.1:16). There’s power in the Word of God. Power for godly living too. If you have trouble living a godly life, get in the Book!
The Lord knew “from the beginning” who would betray Him (John 6:64), but the beginning of what? Not from the beginning of Creation (cf. John 1:1). True, He knew from the beginning of Creation, but forgot when He was born. He also forgot how to talk, etc. No, He was talking about how He knew from the beginning of His ministry (cf. 8:25).
But if the Lord knew Judas would betray Him, and seem-ingly serve God by providing the world a Savior, how can He later judge Judas? Well, God will judge the Assyrian (Isa.10:12), who seemingly does God a favor by chastening Israel (10:5,6). He didn’t “mean” to serve God (v.7), he was just the kind of man who liked to conquer (v.8). And he claimed he was able to conquer Israel by his own wisdom, when he could have had no power against Israel unless God gave it to him (v.13). That’s why God was righteous to punish him, and that’s why He will be right to punish Judas. Judas didn’t mean to serve God by betraying Christ, he was a thief and betrayed the Lord for the money.