To Whom Shall We Go?
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: The sixth chapter of John’s gospel continues to develop the theme of belief and unbelief by highlighting various levels of commitment to Jesus Christ. The chapter begins with large crowds being drawn to Jesus because He improves their lives and meets their needs. However, Jesus withdraws from the crowds when it becomes evident that they want to enhance their lives further by making Him king. When Jesus explains that their most important needs are spiritual, not physical, which He alone can provide for them, controversy ensues, and the crowds begin to dissipate. By the end of the chapter, only a few disciples remain, but their reasons for staying are solid—they know that no one else can do what Jesus does and no one else can fulfill what Jesus promises. John thus invites us to commit to Jesus fully and rule out all other options, trusting that Jesus alone has the words of eternal life.
01. If we follow Jesus simply because our lives are improved, and our needs are met, then we are not really following Jesus, and we will walk away from Him when difficulties come.
02. If we follow Jesus because we believe His claims and have experienced His life-changing power, we will walk with Him through the difficulties of life and will have eternal life in the world to come.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. The miraculous feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle (apart from the resurrection) that is mentioned in all four gospels. Why do you think this miracle is mentioned in all the gospels? How does the disciples’ initial response warn against looking at problems from a purely human point of view? Note that there were twelve baskets of fragments left over. How do these leftovers point to the abundance of God’s provision?
2. Why did the crowds seek to make Jesus king? Why did Jesus withdraw from them instead? Consider how this example from Jesus serves as a lesson to those who follow the desires of the crowds rather than following the will of God. In what ways do we seek to impose our will on God rather than submit to His will for us?
3. What lessons may be derived from Jesus’ ability to walk on water? How does Jesus comfort the disciples in their time of fear? Do you find comfort in Christ even when you do not see Him and when you feel that He is far away? Pray for the kind of faith that is able not to be afraid, knowing that Christ is always near.
4. Note the direct claims that Jesus makes about Himself, the Father’s will, and our responsibility to believe in Him. In what ways does Jesus’ life and ministry parallel God’s provision of manna in the wilderness for the people of Israel? In what ways does Jesus supersede such provision? Do you think people give consideration for their spiritual needs in the same way they give consideration for their physical needs?
5. What did Jesus mean when He said, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life”? Note: The Lord’s Supper is not in the immediate context, so the meaning must have a different application. How does the death of Christ on the cross demonstrate His offering of His body and blood on our behalf? Note that “anyone” (verse 51) and “whoever” (verse 56) may come to Christ for salvation. Give thanks to God for His generous provision of eternal for all who believe in Jesus Christ.
For Further Reading: John Stott, The Cross of Christ (InterVarsity Press, 1986)