Reading chapter six I am reminded of the minister who decided to take over a children’s Bible class. He asked “Who made the walls of Jerico fall?” Tommy said: “I don’t know but it wasn’t me.”
The preacher asked the teacher: Do you believe that? The teacher replied: “Tommy’s a good boy and if he says he didn’t do it, I believe him.”
Taking this deplorable situation to the Elders, the Elders replied: “We don’t see any point in making a big deal over this. It will be best to patch the walls and charge it off to vandalism.”
There are two very large sections in John’s gospel. The first is commonly called the “book of signs” (1:19 – 12:50). The second is the “book of glory” 13:1 – 21:25.
The book of signs contains the “signs” (or miracles) of Jesus focused on by John. Interestingly, the only miracle John mentions, referred to by any of the other gospel writers, is found in chapter six – the longest chapter in the book. It is the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 and it opens this chapter devoted to stories of people too dense to understand Jesus.
Those Jesus fed ignored Jesus’ protestations against being an earthly king; they wanted to force him to be a king. Can you imagine?
The crowds sought Jesus out for more food. Jesus told them they should instead quest for food that provides eternal life. They didn’t get it. When Jesus told them he could provide such bread, they insisted he give it to them – still thinking he meant real bread. Jesus speaks three times of the resurrection, and no one gets his point. He speaks of eating his flesh and drinking his blood, and no one seems to understand that he means to take him inside themselves and make him a part of their lives.
Chief among those who misunderstand Jesus is, of course, Judas. The Lord has exhibited power over matter. He has shown his mastery over distance (chapter 4), time (5), resources and natural law (gravity – chapter 6), but Judas still thinks he can do Jesus harm.
The reason everyone misunderstood Jesus was that they weren’t seeking Jesus’ meaning; they were trying to fit Jesus’ teachings into what they thought they already knew. Only when we come to Jesus with an open mind to hear what he really has to say can we access the eternal life he really has to offer.