Choosing to Doubt: John 6:22-59

Focus Passage: John 6:22-59 (NCV)

22 The next day the people who had stayed on the other side of the lake knew that Jesus had not gone in the boat with his followers but that they had left without him. And they knew that only one boat had been there. 23 But then some boats came from Tiberias and landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 When the people saw that Jesus and his followers were not there now, they got into boats and went to Capernaum to find Jesus.

25 When the people found Jesus on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Teacher, when did you come here?”

26 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you aren’t looking for me because you saw me do miracles. You are looking for me because you ate the bread and were satisfied. 27 Don’t work for the food that spoils. Work for the food that stays good always and gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give you this food, because on him God the Father has put his power.”

28 The people asked Jesus, “What are the things God wants us to do?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work God wants you to do is this: Believe the One he sent.”

30 So the people asked, “What miracle will you do? If we see a miracle, we will believe you. What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the desert. This is written in the Scriptures: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven; it is my Father who is giving you the true bread from heaven. 33 God’s bread is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 The people said, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Then Jesus said, “I am the bread that gives life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you before, you have seen me and still don’t believe. 37 The Father gives me the people who are mine. Every one of them will come to me, and I will always accept them. 38 I came down from heaven to do what God wants me to do, not what I want to do. 39 Here is what the One who sent me wants me to do: I must not lose even one whom God gave me, but I must raise them all on the last day. 40 Those who see the Son and believe in him have eternal life, and I will raise them on the last day. This is what my Father wants.”

41 Some people began to complain about Jesus because he said, “I am the bread that comes down from heaven.” 42 They said, “This is Jesus, the son of Joseph. We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

43 But Jesus answered, “Stop complaining to each other. 44 The Father is the One who sent me. No one can come to me unless the Father draws him to me, and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns 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 I tell you the truth, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread that gives life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but still they died. 50 Here is the bread that comes down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give up so that the world may have life.”

52 Then the evil people began to argue among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

53 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, you must eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood. Otherwise, you won’t have real life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day. 55 My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them. 57 The living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father. So whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 I am not like the bread your ancestors ate. They ate that bread and still died. I am the bread that came down from heaven, and whoever eats this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said all these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Read John 6:22-59 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

Periodically throughout the gospels, we catch glimpses of doubt winning in people’s minds over whether to believe Jesus’ claims about Himself and His role – and when we find these places, we also find incredible lessons we can learn about ourselves and some of the things that might challenge our faith as well.

During one of the more unique conversations Jesus ever had during His ministry, we see a significant reaction from some of those present who were doubtful about Jesus. John records this by saying that partway through this discussion some of the crowd began to complain about Jesus because Jesus had said, “‘I am the bread that comes down from heaven.’ They said, ‘This is Jesus, the son of Joseph. We know his father and mother. How can he say, “I came down from heaven”?’” (v. 41-42)

This short, two-verse reaction highlights one of doubt’s traps that we all can fall into. This trap says that the closer we are to a situation causes us to doubt how God is moving within it. Those who knew Joseph, Mary, and Jesus’ brothers on earth had a more difficult time believing God was His Father than those who knew nothing about His childhood.

It is the same with us. The closer we are to someone who God sends our way with a message, the less likely we will believe it was from God. This doesn’t mean that we should avoid growing close to others or even opening up, but it does mean that we should be more open to looking for God’s words spoken in places we might not expect it – perhaps even by those closest to us.

The closer we are to others, the clearer we can see their flaws, and the clearer they can see our faults. We are all fallen people with flaws and room to grow – and if we are to grow fully into the people God created us to be, we will grow into relationships with others who are also growing towards God.

This set of verses also tells us that there will always be room for doubt. We can look at the fact that Jesus had a mother and father on earth in Mary and Joseph, and conclude that His claims of divinity were dreamed up by those who wanted to start a movement against the Jewish religion. There are plenty of reasons to doubt Jesus’ claims about Himself and His role. If we choose to doubt and our lives end before being shown the error of our choice, it will be too late to change.

However, if we place our faith in Jesus, and choose to delay needing answers to all of our questions, an amazing reality opens up around us – and it is a reality that shows us evidence of God’s hand everywhere, working through all the events in history, leading His people towards a perfect future life with Him!

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

Subscribe to this blog and never miss an insight.