Meanwhile the multitude had gone on foot around the lake to Capernaum. When they found Jesus there before them they were astonished. But their astonishment, unfortunately, was not of the kind that leads to true and abiding faith. They had valued the earthly bread which Jesus had given them, but were not willing to receive the spiritual bread. Jesus himself, he told them, was the Bread of life who had come down from heaven; only those could truly live who would feed upon him by accepting his saving work. John 6:22–71.
It seemed to the Jews to be a hard saying. How could the Jesus whose family they knew be the bread which had come down from heaven? Many even of those who had formerly followed Jesus were offended at this "hard saying." The popularity of Jesus at this time began to wane.
But there were some disciples who remained. Jesus had chosen twelve men, whom he called apostles. He had had them as his companions, and already he had sent them out on a mission to teach and to heal. Turning now to them, he asked, "Would ye also go away?" Then Peter, speaking for the others, showed the difference between true disciples and those who are offended at every hard saying. "Lord," he said, "to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life."
QUESTIONS ON LESSON VII
- What is a parable? How does it differ from an allegory?
- Why did Jesus use parables? Mention some of the parables recorded in the Gospels.
- What is a miracle? Why did Jesus work miracles?
- What is the particular importance of the feeding of the five thousand?
- Why were the people offended by the discourse on the Bread of life?
Jesus as Messiah
The waning of Jesus' popularity was by no means sudden. Even after the discourse on the Bread of life, we frequently find the multitudes around him. But in general, from that time on our Lord seems to have withdrawn from the crowds more frequently than before, in order to devote himself to the instruction of his intimate disciples.