The Lord told the apostles to get into the only boat and sail across the Sea of Galilee, while He went into a mountain to pray. When they ran into a storm, He walked across the waves to help them, and they made it safely across (6:15-21). The people left behind knew the apostles left without Him, so when they couldn’t find Him, wondered: “How’d He do that?” (v.22). Since some other boats arrived mean-time (v.23), they took these boats across the sea looking for the Lord (v.24), and asked Him when He had arrived (v.25)
The people didn’t seek Him when they saw “the miracles” (plural), i.e., the miracles of healing (v.1,2). You can live with a lame leg. But you can’t live without food, so when He made bread, they sought to make Him king (6:15).
Since “meat” is food of any kind, the Lord was telling them not to labor for the kind of meat He’d just made (6:27). The meat that endures to everlasting life is a reference to He Himself (cf. 6:55). Normally when you see the word “endureth” (v.27), it is referring to how Trib saints will have to endure to the end of the Tribulation to be saved (Mt.24:13). That’s true, but that’s not what saves them. His endurance saves them (cf.Heb.12:1-3). It’s like how today we have to believe, but our believing doesn’t save us.
If the meat that endureth represents Christ, what’s the meat that perishes represent? Religion! Speaking of the “meat” of Colossians 2:16 (the meat of religion) Paul says it will “perish” with the using (v.22). Buying the stuff that religious hucksters sell is paying for that which is not bread (Isa.55:1,2). You can’t pay for eternal life!
Did you notice they have to “labour” for the “meat” of Christ? (John 6:27). Hebrews get the same rest in Christ we get (Heb.4:1), but they have to “labour” to enter that rest (v.16). But notice Christ says He’ll “give” this meat (John 6:27). Hebrews had to work to be saved, but their works didn’t save them. Salvation was still a gift.
God “sealed” Christ (6:27) at His baptism, when the Spirit
descended on Him, similar to how we are sealed with the Spirit (Eph. 1:13). The difference is, today the believer is sealed. Under the kingdom program, Christ was sealed, and the Hebrews had to abide in Him to be saved (John 15).
Since the Lord had just told them they had to “labour,” they asked what “work” (6:28) they had to do (same Greek word). Notice the Lord doesn’t reply that all they had to do was believe (v.29). If you had asked Him, He would have told you that you still had to be circumcised, baptized, and keep the feasts and bring sacrifices to be saved.
If just anyone asked for a sign (6:30), it wouldn’t be too bad, since Jews require a sign (ICor.1:22). But these peop-le just ate the loaves He multiplied! And they lived in Cap-ernaum, where the Lord did many works (Mt.11:20-24).
They know the Lord is thinking He doesn’t have to show them a sign since He just fed the multitudes with bread, so they start talking about how Moses also fed multitudes with bread (John 6:31). They were saying, “We expect our Messiah to be greater than Moses, and he fed millions of people for forty years. You’ll have to give a better sign!”
The Lord pointed out that Moses didn’t feed them, God did (v.32). Then He called Himself “the true bread.” The earthly tabernacle was a figure or symbol of the true (Heb. 8:1,2), and the manna was a figure of the true bread, Christ.
Just as the manna gave the Jews physical life, Christ gives believers eternal life (John 6:33). And not just to Jews! John has a “world” outlook. Matthew, Mark and Luke focus on the Jews, for the Jews were to be saved first. But then they were to reach the Gentiles, which is why John follows Matthew, Mark and Luke, to symbolize this.
When they asked for this eternal life bread “evermore” (v.34), it shows they missed the symbolism. They thought He was saying the bread He multiplied would give eternal life, so they asked for more. Once you convince religious people salvation is a gift, they then think it is a gift God has to keep giving, and they have to keep on receiving. Not so!