Feed on Jesus, the Life-Giving Bread!

Feed on Jesus, the Life-Giving Bread!

As the Israelites living in the time of Moses demonstrate all too well, human nature since the time of the Fall is in need of repair. For before the LORD delivered them from being re-enslaved to the Egyptians by dividing the waters of the Red Sea, they grumbled.[1] Afterwards, despite this miraculous deliverance, when they found themselves in need of water in the desert, they again grumbled.[2] Yet despite their grumbling, the LORD met their need for water by providing twelve springs and seventy palm trees.[3] In delivering the Israelites from their enemies and providing for their needs, God was trying to teach his people to trust in him through Moses, his chosen servant. As we’ll see in our morning’s passage, this lesson was slow in coming.

As Exodus 16 opens, the “whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin[4]… on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt.” As one scholar notes, “Exactly one month had passed since Israel’s exodus from Egypt.”[5] Yet though only one month had passed, the Israelites began to grumble once again. As recorded in verses 2–3, “In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.’” As was true with their past grumblings, there’s no evidence whatsoever in the Scriptures that what they asserted was true. It’s unlikely that these former slaves “sat around pots of meat and ate all the food” they wanted. But what is worse, they again ascribed the worst possible motive to Moses, God’s servant, stating that he had brought them “out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” As Moses will point out, it wasn’t him but the LORD whom they grumbled against.

Yet in his infinite patience and mercy which lavishes his good gifts even upon the undeserving—and ungrateful—and grumbling masses, “Then the Lord said to Moses,” verses 4–5, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” The reason for gathering twice as much on the sixth day, as noted in verse 23, was so that God’s people could observe “a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the LORD.”[6] This is how important keeping the Sabbath is in God’s eyes. Also noted here, as the LORD had previously said that he would test his people,[7] so would he now. The point of such testing was to teach his people to trust in him as he responded to their grumbling by providing them not only sustenance but also instructions and guidance.

Having received these instructions from the LORD, Moses and Aaron passed them along to the Israelites. As stated in verses 6–7, they told them, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” God’s glory, his presence, would be made manifest by way of this provision. This is the very same lesson the Lord Jesus taught in the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.”[8] To ask and thank God for our daily bread is to give him glory as we acknowledge our need for him to sustain us in all of our needs.

In these exchanges, it’s evident that at some fundamental level the Israelites hadn’t grasped that it was indeed the LORD who had brought them out of Egypt and was providing for them. Therefore, Moses emphasized, verse 8, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.” Again, notice how Moses reiterated that their grumbling wasn’t against him and Aaron, but against God. But, more importantly, the Israelites who had insisted that while in Egypt they “sat around pots of meat and ate all the food [they] wanted” (verse 3) would now see how the LORD graciously and miraculously would provide all the meat and bread they needed even while in the barren desert. So Moses had Aaron tell the people, beginning in verse 9, “Come before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.” Then, “10 While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the cloud.” If you’ll recall, a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night was how the LORD would lead his people.[9] Then, as stated in verse 12,[10] the LORD again had Moses tell the Israelites that he had heard their grumbling. Therefore, at twilight they would eat meat and in the morning be filled with bread. But, again, notice that the reason for this provision is again underscored at the end of verse 12, “Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.” This provision from God was not only so that the people would be fed but also that they might know that it was the LORD their God who had provided it for them.

The fulfillment of this Word of the LORD is found in verses 13–14: “13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.” The quail was God’s provision of meat; the “thin flakes like frost” was his provision of bread. In the verses that follow, the Israelites inquired about these flakes “For they did not know what it was.”[11] In fact, they ended up calling “the bread manna”—which in the Hebrew sounds like “What is it?” Verse 31 describes this “What is it?” that the LORD provided as being “white like coriander seed and…like wafers made with honey.”

Concerning this manna, this “What is it?” Moses explained, verse 15, that it was “the bread the Lord has given you to eat.” Verses 16–19 record not only the instructions the LORD gave for gathering it—they were to collect as much as they needed but no one was “to keep any of it until morning”—but also that whether little or much, “Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.”[12] The text also notes what happened when some disobeyed the LORD’s explicit instructions by keeping “part of it until morning.” As stated in verse 20, the bread of those who did this “was full of maggots and began to smell.” Consequently “Moses”—and by extension the LORD—“was angry with them.”[13] Yet such spoilage didn’t occur with the double portion the LORD told them to collect the day before the Sabbath. As stated in verse 24, the bread collected in the manner God had prescribed[14] “did not stink or get maggots in it.” What is more, even if the people had wanted to gather bread on the Sabbath, it would have been impossible even though, as stated in verse 27,[15] some tried. Yet Moses told the people, verse 26, “Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.” As one commentator notes, “The contrast between the manna that people saved until morning on other days…and what they kept for the Sabbath…illustrates that the manna’s condition is controlled, as their lives should be, by the word of the Lord.”[16]

So we see how the LORD provided his people manna on his terms and in his timing. Any attempts from the people to skirt around his very specific instructions were foiled and resulted in his displeasure. As noted beginning with verse 28, the LORD said to Moses, “How long will you”—and it should be noted that this is a plural “you” therefore the LORD is addressing his people as a whole—“How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29 Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” This is why, as stated in verse 30, “the people [were to rest] on the seventh day.” There’s a time for work and there’s a time for rest. God loves his people so much that he wants them to set aside a day for rest for being revived by him by looking to him and resting in him, acknowledging him and giving him thanks.

The chapter closes by noting what the LORD commanded concerning the manna, namely, verse 32, “Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.”[17] Moses then had Aaron follow through with these instructions. As stated in verse 34, Aaron then “put the manna with the tablets of the covenant law, so that it might be preserved.”[18] Verse 35 perhaps anticipates the source of future grumbling to come in stating, “The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.”[19] (emphasis added). But that’s a topic for another day.

In transitioning to our New Testament passage, I want to continue to focus upon how our gracious Father, Son, and Holy Spirit provides our daily bread not only physically and temporarily but also, and more importantly, spiritually and eternally—and this despite our grumbling. Now just prior to the events recorded at the end of John 6, Jesus had fed five thousand[20] with “five small barley loaves and two small fish.”[21] As the LORD provided his people as much manna and quail as they wanted, so too did the Lord Jesus feed the crowds “the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.”[22] This opening account provides an important backdrop to what is recorded beginning with verse 25. As stated there, when the crowds “found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, ‘Rabbi, when did you get here?’” (Between these two accounts, verses 16–24 tell how Jesus walked on water and then went to join his disciples without the crowd realizing that they had gone away.[23])

Knowing this earlier context, we can understand Jesus’ reply to the crowd in verse 26: “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” The miracle of the loaves should have been seen by the people as a sign that Jesus was Messiah, that he was the Christ! Instead, they saw it…as an opportunity to eat. Even so, Jesus used his earlier miraculous provision of bread to challenge and present them with the truth of who he is. As stated in verse 27, he exhorted them, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval”—as we noted last week,[24] the heavenly Father placed his seal of approval on his Son at both his baptism[25] and Transfiguration.[26] But notice how dear Jesus, that wonderful fisher of men,[27] put out some bait for his audience by encouraging them to work not for food that spoils “but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” They took this irresistible bait in asking him, verse 28, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” What, indeed! If there’s work we can do for God that will give us eternal life, then who wouldn’t want to know what such work entails?! Jesus answered them, verse 29, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” The only work God requires in order to receive “food that endures to eternal life” is to believe in Christ Jesus for he is the Messiah who has been sent from the Father to take away the sins of all who believe in him.[28] As one commentator notes, eternal life isn’t “something to be achieved but to be received by faith in Christ.”[29]

Jesus’ audience seemingly wanted to believe him—but first they needed some proof. As recorded in verses 30–31, they said to him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”[30] Concerning this response, one scholar observes, “They expected that the coming of the Messiah would be marked by a miracle as great as or greater than the giving of the manna in the desert.”[31] This is why they sought a sign. Feeding 5000 with a few fish and loaves at one time may have been a miracle but it didn’t compare with feeding a nation for 40 years in the wilderness.

Jesus answered by explaining the significance of the manna and, once again, putting out some more bait. As stated in verses 32–33, he told them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Their looking for a sign was ill-placed since it was the heavenly Father, not Moses, who was the Giver of the bread. What is more, the bread God gives from heaven gives life to the world. And so we see how Jesus’ audience again took the bait he put out, saying to him, verse 34, “Sir, always give us this bread.” As the woman at the well to whom Jesus offered living water misunderstood and thought he was speaking literally and asked, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water,”[32] so, too, these Jews misunderstood him and thought he was speaking about a material provision. In both instances we see that Jesus used physical objects to teach spiritual truths. In both instances he taught that the spiritual provisions he offered were eternal and lasting unlike the material provisions of water and bread, respectively.

The climax of this exchange is found in Jesus’ declaration recorded in verse 35: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Because Jesus is God in the flesh, he satisfies our spiritual longing to know God. He is the bread of life which has, as stated in verse 38, “come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” This will is, verse 40 “that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” Jesus Christ is the bread of life. Therefore, he alone is able to give eternal life to those who are dead in their trespasses and sin.

In the ensuing exchange, those listening had a difficult time accepting Jesus’ words for they didn’t realize that he was God’s Messiah nor that he was the eternal Son sent by the Father, that he was God in the flesh. Therefore, Jesus repeated the truths he’d already presented. As stated in verses 47–51:

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 forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Jesus gave the bread, his life, by dying on the cross for a grumbling, ungrateful people. He sacrificed his own physical body by his death on the cross and then demonstrated that he is the eternal bread of God by rising from death and imparting his eternal life to all who believe in him. As he yet again reiterated in verses 53–58,

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 forever.

Now clearly Jesus’ words here aren’t intended literally—he wasn’t advocating cannibalism. Instead, and again, he used physical objects to teach enduring spiritual truths and realities, namely that apart from being “in him,” that is, apart from being united with him, salvation is impossible. To believe and receive Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord is what it means to be “in” him.[33] As one scholar notes, “to ‘eat’ Jesus’ flesh has the spiritual meaning of trusting or believing in him, especially in his death for the sins of mankind…. Similarly, to ‘drink his blood’ means to trust in his atoning death, which is represented by the shedding of his blood.” What is more, “Although Jesus is not speaking specifically about the Lord’s Supper here, there is a parallel theme, because the receiving of eternal life through being united with the ‘Son of Man’ is represented in the Lord’s Supper.”[34]

Dear brothers and sisters, how humbling it is this communion Sunday to be reminded that our Lord Jesus is the only bread we need. For we are too often like the Israelites who regularly grumbled against the LORD. We too often assume that we have what we have is due to our hard work and efforts neglecting to acknowledge that:

if we are able to work, it is only because he has given us health;

if we have shelter, it is only because he has provided it;

if we have daily bread, it is only because he has supplied it;

How quick we are to assume that the good things we have are our doing and the bad things that occur are God’s doing. In this it’s evident that we, too, are ungrateful grumblers who are quick to turn against our Maker and LORD the minute life gets difficult. Instead of turning to him for aid, we turn against him in our discontent.

And yet, our merciful—and compassionate—and gracious Father, Son, and Holy Spirit doesn’t return in kind but as he did with the grumbling Israelites, he nonetheless provides us with daily bread. As Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, our Father in heaven “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”[35] He cares not only for those who know and love him but even for those who don’t. As we noted when we began this morning, in his infinite patience and mercy he lavishes his good gifts even upon the undeserving—and ungrateful—and grumbling masses. He lavishes his good gifts even upon us.

For there is no doubt that our dear Lord Jesus invites us, those who are grumbling and ungrateful, to see his kindness and so be led to repentance.[36] He desires his people to remember, as Moses reminded the Israelites once their time in the wilderness was over, “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Jesus, too, affirmed this very message. When, having fasted for forty days he was tempted by the devil to turn stones into bread, Jesus answered him, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Dear ones, let us remember that all that we have and all that we are has been given us that we might acknowledge Christ Jesus as Lord and Giver of life, that we might know that he is the LORD our God. As the living manna sent from heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ confronts us not with “What is it?” but with “Who is he?” Therefore, let us take the bait he has placed before us and confess the truths recorded in John 6:

That the work of God is to believe in Christ whom he has sent (verse 29);

That he is the bread of God that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world; the living bread that comes down from heaven that anyone may eat and not die; the living bread that came down from heaven and that whoever eats this bread will live forever (verses 33, 50–51);

That he is the bread of life. Therefore, whoever comes to him will never go hungry and whoever believes in him will never be thirsty (verses 35, 48);

That anyone who believes in him has eternal life (verse 47);

That apart from him we have no life (verse 53), but joined to him we have eternal life as he remains in us and we in him (verse 56);[37]

That those who feed on him will live because of him (verse 57);

That whoever feeds on this bread will live forever (verse 58).

Dear ones, let us this morning and always feed on Jesus, the Life-Giving Bread!

Let us pray.


[1] Exodus 14:10–12: 10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

[2] Exodus 15:22–24: 22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea [Or the Sea of Reeds] and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.[Marah means bitter]) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”

[3] Exodus 15:27: Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.

[4] Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Exodus 16:1 notes, “The Desert of Sin was in southwestern Sinai (‘Sin’ is probably derived from ‘Sinai’).”

[5] Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Exodus 16:1. The note references Exodus 12:2, 6, 29, 31:“This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year…. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight…. 29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well…. 31 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested.

[6] Exodus 16:22–23: 22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omers[That is, possibly about 6 pounds or about 2.8 kilograms] for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. 23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’”

[7] Exodus 15:25–26: 25 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink. There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”

[8] Matthew 6:11.

[9] Exodus 13:20–22: 20 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

[10] Exodus 16:11–12: 11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”

[11] Exodus 16:15: When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.

[12] The Crossway ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 16:18 observes, “Paul cites this text in 2 Cor. 8:15 to encourage the Corinthian Christians to give generously for the poor Jewish Christians in Judea; there is no point in hoarding the good gifts of God.” 2 Corinthians 8:13–15: 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”

[13] Exodus 16:20: However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

[14] Exodus 16:23: “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’”

[15] Exodus 16:27: Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none.

[16] Crossway ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 16:24. Emphasis added.

[17] An omer is possibly about three pounds or perhaps two quarts.

[18] Exodus 16:32–34: 32 Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.’” 33 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the Lord to be kept for the generations to come.” 34 As the Lord commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna with the tablets of the covenant law, so that it might be preserved.

[19] Emphasis added. See Numbers 11:4–6: The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

[20] John 6:10: Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).

[21] John 6:9.

[22] John 6:11. Emphasis added.

[23] John 6:16–24: 16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles,[Or about 5 or 6 kilometers] they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. 22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.

[24] See Christ’s Holy, Lavish, One-Sided Exchange preached on February 27, 2022, on Isaiah 61.

[25] Matthew 3:16–17: As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’” Mark 1:9–11:At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”; Luke 3:21–23a: 21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” John 1:32–34: 32 Then John [the Baptist] gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

[26] Transfiguration: Mark 9:2–3, 7–8: Mark records how Jesus’ “clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before [Peter, James, and John] Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus….Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!’” See parallels in Matthew 17:1–3, 5–7: 1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus…. While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” Luke 9:28–31, 34–35: 28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem…. 34 While [Peter] was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”; See also John 12:27–32:27 Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. 30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

[27] See, e.g., Matthew 4:18–20: 18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

[28] See what Jesus states in verses 37–40: 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

[29] Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on John 6:27.

[30] See Exodus 16:4: Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.; Nehemiah 9:15a: n their hunger you gave them bread from heaven; Psalm 78:24–25: 24 he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Human beings ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.

[31] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on John 6:31.

[32] John 4:15. See John 4:10, 13–14: 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water….” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

[33] See, e.g., Romans 8:1–2, 38–39: 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death….38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 4:To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:…. I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.; 2 Corinthian 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!; Galatians 2:15–16: 15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.; Ephesians 1:3: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.; Colossians 1:28: He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.; 2 Timothy 2:10: Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

[34] Crossway ESV Study Bible note on John 6:53. The Reformation ESV Study Bible note on John 6:51–58 similarly states, “Jesus uses the language of eating and drinking to illustrate the intimacy of the union between Christ and the believer. This spiritual union, by which Christ imparts new life to the believer is portrayed later in the Gospel as the union of a vine and its branches (15:1–8)…. Though some see here a reference to the Lord’s Supper, a mention of that sacrament at this point would have been incomprehensible to Jesus’ listeners. This passage is best understood as pointing to the spiritual reality the Lord’s Supper also signifies—union with Christ and all the benefits of salvation received through Him.”

[35] Matthew 5:45.

[36] Romans 2:4: God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.

[37] Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17 touches upon many of the same themes. See, e.g., verses 20–23, in which he’s praying to the Father for his disciples: 20 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.