In June 2019 at CCU Steven Gounder preached a sermon on John 6:41-71 (see passage below). Steven’s main point was based on verses 44 to 45. He explained from these verses that none of us can believe in Jesus using our own strength or knowledge. It is God who draws us and teaches us. Only with God’s revelation of himself can we believe in Him.

Take a look at the passage below now in your pairs/triplets and apply the following tools:

Context Tool: For literary context (the verses immediately before and after the passage) read from John 6:1-40 and then from John 7:1-31. Discuss how knowing this literary context enhances your understanding of John 6:41-71.

Repetition Tool: Print out the passage. Using different coloured pens/highlighters work through the passage marking repeated words (e.g. bread, life/live, flesh). Use one colour per repeated set of words. How does noticing the repeated words enhance your understanding of the main message?

Author’s Purpose Tool: The gospel of John is written by the disciple John. In chapter 20:30-31 of the book of John, John declares his purpose statement for the book. Look this up. How does knowing the author’s purpose fit with or change your view of John 6:41-71?

To continue: The next pair/triplet post for digging deeper into the Bible will be next month. Over the next few weeks until then continue getting together in your pairs/triplets. When you do, apply some of the tools you have learnt to other passages you hear preached about.

John 6:41-71 NIV

41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’42 They said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I came down from heaven”?’

43 ‘Stop grumbling among yourselves,’ Jesus answered. 44 ‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: “They will all be taught by God.”[a] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live for ever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’

52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’

53 Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live for ever.’ 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, ‘Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the Spirit[b] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.’

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

67 ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.

68 Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.’

70 Then Jesus replied, ‘Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!’ 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)


  1. John 6:45 Isaiah 54:13
  2. John 6:63 Or are Spirit; or are spirit

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