“So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” (John 6:41-42)
So the Jews grumbled. The word grumbled comes from the Greek word γογγύζω; gongyzo and means to murmur and complain. It sometimes refers to a whispering, grumbling talk done in private. However, in today’s text the grumbling seems to be quite vocal and noticeable.
Notice it was the Jews who grumbled. The Jews were those whose hearts were hardened towards the gospel and therefore hostile to Christ. In the context, this would be the very people who sought for Jesus the day after He fed 5,000 plus people with just two fish and five barely loaves of bread. It wasn’t one person who complained, but many.
Dr. John MacArthur shares that, “The reaction of the synagogue crowds to Jesus’ statements was the same as the Jews in the wilderness who grumbled against God both before and after the manna was given to them (Ex. 16:2, 8–9; Num. 11:4–6).”
Why? It was because Jesus said that He was the bread or nourishment that came down from heaven. The people didn’t like this statement. They didn’t like that Jesus said He was the bread of life or the source of spiritual nourishment. They also didn’t like that He said He had come down from heaven.
Rather, they dismissed Him because they knew His family. To them Jesus was like everyone they had ever known. He wasn’t special, in spite of many evidences to the contrary. Jesus’ own words in John 4:44 bear witness to this reality: “a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.”
Dr. MacArthur also explains, “On the human level, they knew Jesus as a fellow Galilean. Their hostility sprang from the root of unbelief. Jesus’ death was impending because hostility had resulted everywhere he went.”
The people were offended regarding what Jesus said. Another commentator writes, “They knew His mother, Mary, and His earthly father, Joseph, and they certainly were not special by the world’s standards (v. 42; see Luke 1:48, 52). Of course, there is a great deal of irony here because the crowd clearly did not know the whole story about Jesus’ parents. If they had really known the entire situation, they would have known that Joseph was Jesus’ adoptive father and that His eternal Father was God Himself. They would have seen that there were no problems with Jesus’ claims of divine origin (Luke 1:26–38; John 1:1–18).”
This reaction by the crowd is reminiscent to what we discover in Mark 6:1-3 which says, “He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” See also Matthew 13:54-58).
Things have not changed all that much in nearly 2,000 years since Jesus walked the earth. People still disagree as to Jesus’ identity and mission. While some acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior, others relegate Him to a prophet’s status or believe Him to only be a good, moral teacher. To claim that salvation is solely through the person and work of Jesus Christ is widely rejected by the 21st century culture. It is too offensive. It is too restrictive. It is too authoritative!
Yes, not much has changed in 2,000 years. Sinners are still in need of salvation and they still reject the only One who can truly provide such a salvation: Jesus Christ. How truly tragic.
Soli deo Gloria!
Until next time, Soli deo Gloria!