Michael Boling – Yeshua as the Bread of Life as Explicated in the Gospel of John

The bread of life discourse, outlined in John 6, immediately followed the feeding of the five thousand. In typical Johannine methodology, numerous Old Testament comparisons, in particular that of Moses and Yeshua, are presented as evidentiary proof to the Jews that Jesus is truly the Messiah, the giver of life. Jesus clearly identified himself as the bread of life, a figure of speech pregnant with meaning and purpose for not only the 1st century hearer, but for the modern seeker of eternal sustenance.

The Apostle John presents a magnificent theological interlude in his gospel account of the spiritual deliverance available to humanity through the person and work of Yeshua. The pericope of John 6 demonstrates that as manna provided physical salvation for the children of Israel, Jesus, as the bread of life, provides eternal life to those who place their trust in him.


When Yeshua presented himself as the bread of life, he clearly utilized a typology that was an essential element of the “most crucial book of the Pentateuch for Israel’s history and theology – the Book of Exodus.” This proclamation was in response to the crowd’s continual appeal for a sign as a demonstration of his power and authority. The perishable food that Yeshua had referred to in John 6:27 clearly referred to the manna provided to the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings. In contrast with this historical precedent which so permeated the teachings and beliefs of the Jewish people, Yeshua is presented as the source of imperishable food. Jesus is the manna from heaven sent by God to provide life for his people.

This was no small claim that was made by Yeshua due to the inherent messianic undertones subsumed within his “I am the bread of life” commentary. It was widely asserted in the Jewish beliefs of the period that Jeremiah had hidden a jar containing manna that he placed in the ark and the Messiah was expected to produce the hidden manna to the people of Israel thus revealing himself. Additionally, as denoted by William Barclay, rabbinic teaching averred that “as was the first redeemer so was the final redeemer; as the first redeemer caused the manna to fall from heaven, even so shall the second redeemer cause the manna to fall.”

The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand resulted not in sufficient evidentiary proof of Jesus superior status to that of Moses. Rather, the multitudes sought further evidence for the claim that Yeshua had made. Essentially, the Jews disregarded the loaves provided to them as an indication of manna from heaven as the provision had initiated itself from merely earthly loaves made from everyday ingredients. The manna which they sought was a “different thing and a real test.” As noted by F.F. Bruce, they rationalized among themselves, “let the second Moses vindicate his authority in a similar way – not by a once-for-all feeding but on a more lasting basis.”

In response to the disillusionment of the multitudes and their insistence of additional miraculous signs, Jesus first reminded the Jews that it was not Moses who provided them with the miraculous provision of sustenance in the form of manna, but rather it was a gift from God. Yeshua then explicated further the true meaning of the provision of manna to their forefathers. He saliently indicated that the manna was just a symbol of the bread of life given by God and was targeted merely at answering hunger; a physical need. The claim being made by Jesus in relation to the manna which the Jews sought from him is that Yeshua is the bread sent from heaven to provide a solution to the spiritual hunger which constantly hounds the soul of man. Calvin rightly avers that the “bread with which Moses fed their bellies was not true bread…the manna came down from the visible heaven, that is from the clouds; but not from the eternal kingdom of God from which life flows to us.” The manna provided to the children of Israel in the wilderness was a mere foreshadowing of what Yeshua, as the Messiah, can provide. But wait, there’s more!

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J. C. Ryle – The Gospel of John

J. C. Ryle - Gospel of John

John Chapter 1

JOHN 1:1-5

The Prologue to the Gospel

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.

The Gospel of John, which begins with these verses, is in many respects very unlike the other three Gospels. It contains many things which they omit. It omits many things which they contain. Good reason might easily be shown for this unlikeness. But it is enough to remember that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote under the direct inspiration of God. In the general plan of their respective Gospels, and in the particular details–in everything that they record, and in everything that they do not record–they were all four equally and entirely guided by the Holy Spirit.

About the matters which John was specially inspired to relate in his Gospel, one general remark will suffice. The things which are peculiar to his Gospel are among the most precious possessions of the Church of Christ. No one of the four Gospel-writers has given us such full statements about the divinity of Christ–about justification by faith–about the offices of Christ–about the work of the Holy Spirit–and about the privileges of believers, as we read in the pages of John. On none of these great subjects, undoubtedly, have Matthew, Mark, and Luke been silent. But in John’s Gospel, they stand out prominently on the surface, so that he who runs may read.

The five verses now before us contain a statement of matchless sublimity concerning the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. He it is, beyond all question, whom John means, when he speaks of “the Word.” No doubt there are heights and depths in that statement which are far beyond man’s understanding. And yet there are plain lessons in it, which every Christian would do well to treasure up in his mind.

We learn, firstly, that our Lord Jesus Christ is eternal. John tells us that “in the beginning was the Word.” He did not begin to exist when the heavens and the earth were made. Much less did He begin to exist when the Gospel was brought into the world. He had glory with the Father “before the world was.” (John 17:5.) He was existing when matter was first created, and before time began. He was “before all things.” (Col. 1:17.) He was from all eternity.

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Michael Boling – The Holy Spirit as Explicated in the Gospel of John




The Gospel of John has long been recognized by scholars as a first rate work of theological acumen largely unequaled by the Synoptic accounts. As noted by theologian and author Andreas Kostenberger, “John’s Gospel towers over the Synoptics as the theological pinnacle of the Gospel tradition.” In keeping with this theological focus, the Apostle John throughout his gospel lucidly outlines Christ’s instructions concerning the roles and attributes of the Holy Spirit (parakletos) largely in keeping with the realized eschatology which permeates his writing. The theological connotations concerning the Holy Spirit contained in John’s Gospel must be interpreted as a unified peroration regarding the necessity of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and the modalities by which the Paraclete serves to glory Christ by assisting the believer in the walk with God.


Other than perhaps an implied mention of the Trinitarian involvement in creation at the forefront of John’s Gospel, the first overt mention of the Holy Spirit is in conjunction with the event of Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist. Indicative of his affinity for the theological especially his repetitive interaction with Old Testament prophecy, the Apostle John denotes several key aspects of the Holy Spirit, in particular, the role of the Spirit in the life of Christ.

The statement in John 1:32 depicting the Spirit descending as a dove “marked him (Jesus) as the Davidic ruler of Isaiah 11:1”, the Servant sent from God outlined in Isaiah 42:1, and finally as the prophet “who announces in Isaiah 61:1, ‘The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me.’” The permanent endowment of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus is an essential element of this pericope. Additionally, the corresponding elements of Old Testament prophetic passages such as Ezekiel 36:25 clearly aver the “Messianic phenomenon” that was inculcated in particular to John the Baptist as he observed, whether through a vision or the actual descending of a dove the bestowal of the Holy Spirit bestowed. But wait, there’s more!

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E.H. Askwith – The Historical Value of the Fourth Gospel

The writer of these pages sets himself the task of showing on internal grounds that the Fourth Gospel is a historical and not merely, as some present-day critics affirm, a theological document. In speaking, however, of the Gospel as historical we do not mean that the aim of the writer
of it was primarily a historical one. His interest may well have been theological, as indeed he expressly states it to have been (xx. 31). But our contention will here be that the writer did not invent his story to teach theological truth. We believe that the things which the Evangelist records as having happened are real events, that they did take place. In saying this we are setting ourselves in opposition to much of the criticism of our day, which denies to this Gospel serious historical value, regarding it as irreconcilable with the Synoptic tradition of the life of Jesus Christ.

For the opposition to the Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel is based chiefly on internal grounds. Its external credentials might be accepted by adverse critics were it not for what they consider to be overwhelming objections against its apostolic authorship on the ground of internal evidence. But, as it is, the external evidence is explained away because it is thought that the story of the life of Jesus in this Gospel cannot be brought into agreement with what is acknowledged to be the earlier story in point of time, that, namely, which we have in the pages of the Synoptists. Critics opposed to the Johannine authorship ot the Gospel contend that both stories of the life of Jesus-that of the Synoptists and that of the Fourth Gospel-cannot be alike historical. A choice, then, has to be made between the two, and preference is shown for the Synoptic story. For it is argued that the Fourth Gospel is obviously a theological document, and its writer’s interests are theologically determined, so that its genesis is explicable on theological grounds. While, then, the Fourth Gospel may be an interesting psychological study its contents are not history and are not to be so interpreted.

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