Just after feeding the 5,000 with a few loaves, the Lord used a figure of speech when He called Himself “the bread of life” (v.35). Bread is made when wheat is planted in the ground, just as the Lord grew up “a tender plant” (Isa.53:2). Wheat then matures, just as the Lord did (Luke 3:23). Wheat is then cut down, as the Lord was at Calvary. Wheat is then ground to powder and placed in fire, as the Lord was under the judgment of God on the cross. Wheat then rises, as the Lord rose 3 days later. Only then can the wheat give physical life, and only then can Christ give eternal life.
“Never hunger” and “never thirst” are more figures of speech, figures for believing on Him (cf. 4:14). “Cometh to me” is another figure of speech, or at least you’d better hope so, as you cannot come to Christ physically (IICor.5:16). Plenty of the Lord’s enemies came to Him physically, but didn’t believe on Him, and coming to Him was a figure of speech for believing on Him.
Why is the Lord multiplying figures of speech? That’s how you preach the gospel, by illustrating it every way you can. Just as bread does you no good unless you eat it, Christ does you no good unless you believe on Him.
When had the Lord “said” they had seen Him (v.36)? When they “saw” His miracles (v.26). When people see what you do, they see you. When people saw the Lord still the waves they knew He was God, and when they saw Him feed the multitudes, they knew He was compassionate.
Who were the ones the Father gave Him (v.37)? Our Calvinist friends say this was the elect, but it actually refers to those who were believers before the Lord came (cf. “thine they were” [17:6]). The Lord said that all these “shall come to me” (6:37). Of course! They got saved before He came by believing the Bible, so they would naturally believe the Bible’s predictions about a compassionate Messiah who would be God in the flesh. The Lord has to assure such people that He wouldn’t cast them out because God had told the nation He would cast them out if they sinned (I Kings 9:6,7; II Kings 17:20).
People still need the assurance that God won’t cast them out. And when He says that He will “in no wise” cast out believers (6:37), we know He takes those words seriously (cf.Mt.5:18). The word “for” in John 6:38 means that the reason the Lord won’t cast out believers is because they are the reason He “came down from heaven.” Of all these people who were believers before He came, He vowed to “lose nothing” of them (v.39), but raise “it” up in the last day, referring to either their physical body, or to the “body” of these believers corporately that the Father delivered Him
Many people saw the Lord, but they had to see and believe on Him to be saved (v.40). But seeing him physically isn’t required (I Peter 1:8). Job saw the Lord after the Lord showed him His works (Job 42:5), and we can similarly see the Lord by seeing His works in Scripture.
Four times in this passage the Lord promises to raise up believers from the dead (6:39,40,44,54). He never prom-ised us an easy life, despite what the prosperity preachers claim, but He has promised to raise us to a new life.
When “the Jews then murmured at Him” (6:41), it proves there is no pleasing some people. Three times in Luke they murmured at Him (5:30; 15:2; 19:7) for hanging around sinners, i.e., because He was not as holy as they were. Here He claims to come down from heaven, which to them meant He was claiming to be more holy than they were! How typical! People think God should be exactly like they are! God created man in His own image, and ever since that, men have been trying to return the favor! People say, “I think God doesn’t mind abortion,” and the reason they say that is because they don’t mind abortion. They say, “I think God accepts homosexuality” because they accept it.
Familiarity breeds contempt (John 6:42). And even though they had murmured among themselves (v.43), the Lord knew what they were saying. The gospel of John emphasizes His deity, and this shows His omniscience.