BELIEVING MEANS ACCEPTING ALL OF JESUS’ TEACHING
After miraculously feeding 5,000 men plus women and children with five loaves of bread and two small fish, the disciples gathered up 12 baskets of leftover food (John 6:5-13). “Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did [the miracle of feeding the multitude], said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world’ ” (verse 14)—a reference to a great successor to Moses foretold in Scripture. These men believed that Jesus truly was of God.
After Jesus departed from the scene, many of those who enjoyed the miraculous meal came searching for Him. They wanted Jesus to perform another miracle, saying that this would help them believe Him (verse 30).
Rather than perform another miracle at this time, Jesus taught the people. He explained that, unlike the physical bread the crowd had recently eaten, He was the true bread from heaven who would give eternal life to the world (verses 32-33).
He told them that His followers would need to “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood” (verse 53)—referring to the symbols of bread and wine in the annual Passover service and internalizing what these meant, affirming their covenant relationship with Him. This would ultimately lead to eternal life (verse 54).
Many of those listening to Jesus, including His own disciples, found this teaching difficult to understand (verse 60). Addressing this large group, Jesus then said, “ ‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.” After this, “many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (verses 64, 66).
Though many of these same people had said that they believed Jesus was “the Prophet” whose coming was foretold by Scripture (verse 14), they did not believe what Jesus said. What Jesus meant by believing in Him included believing everything He said. It meant far more than just accepting free gifts He was offering.