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John 6:60-71 Study Guide: Where Else Would We Go?

Community Group Study Guide — Where Else Would We Go?
John 6:60-71

Study Information:
Jesus desires that we find our life in him and know that he alone has the Words of Eternal Life. Over the last few study guides we’ve been learning about the “Bread of Life” teaching in John 6 where Jesus challenged the crowds following him to not just pursue him for physical solutions and miracles, but because he himself is the one in whom God gives life and restored relationship. God sent his son, God draws them and Jesus gives life to those who follow him in faith which means forgiveness of sin, restored relationship and abundant life and satisfaction in him. Jesus ended this teaching with some tough words as he talked about their need to eat his flesh and drink his blood to share in this life. This was not a literal teaching, but an image that he died for them and to share in his life they need to believe that he is the Messiah and sent from heaven to rescue them from sin. The crowd though grumbled and many walked away and no longer believed. What we learn is that Jesus will challenge his followers to find life in him because he is good and we should respond to seasons of trial and doubt by holding onto the one who has the words of eternal life. 

Jesus Challenges His Disciples
It is interesting to see the focus switch in John 6:60, 66 from crowd to “disciples”. Jesus is no longer talking about the crowd at large but those among that crowd who’d consider themselves disciples. This group found this teaching from Jesus to be “hard” with he word here not mean difficult to grasp but rather “harsh.” They were shocked at what they were hearing more than unable to get the meaning, because it went against what they assumed about God and what it meant to be in covenantal relationship with God. These disciples grumbled and many walked away from following him. We should not assume that disciple here means “Christian” yet. Disciple was a term for someone who wanted to learn from a teacher (Rabbi) and emulate their life. Jesus had crowds following him, but he also had a community of people who identified as his disciples including men and women who numbered probably upwards of 500+ people; and he had his core group of the 12 disciples who were called apostles or “leaders” among the larger community of disciples. The disciples who grumbled and walked away are not among the “core” although Jesus tells us that one of them, Judas, will turn away and betray Jesus (John 6:70-71). 

Jesus did not fit their assumptions and instead of learning who Jesus really was they walked away. There are many reasons people leave the faith or the church and one of those reasons can often be that what Jesus teaches does fit our assumptions, lifestyle or expectations. This puts us in a place of conflict and calls us to either reject Jesus or trust him. Followers of Jesus cannot expect God to fit into their already existing lives, opinions or assumptions. Jesus challenges us because we are not perfect and he desires for us to change and grow in holiness and trust. Many times we want to have a Jesus who does not disagree with us and matches our lifestyle so we do not have to adjust how we’re living or how we’re worshiping God.

Because Jesus is Good
Why does Jesus challenge us and push us to find life in him alone? Because he is good. A doctor who had a life saving treatment would not be good if they withheld it because it was painful. We sometimes think kindness and goodness means “nice-ness” and what we see with Jesus is that the whole teaching in Chapter 6 was given to help them understand that they’re finding satisfaction in lesser things and are getting wrapped up in religious practices that did not lead to life. In our text Jesus highlights his goodness by talking about his choosing and God drawing people to himself. What we see throughout the gospels, and through our human experience, is that God saves the least and unlikely. The disciples are made up of political revolutionaries, tax collectors, and people who were “nobodies” in the culture. Jesus attracted prostitutes, outsiders and the poor to him as people whom God drew and saved. Jesus’ challenge to the disciples is one built on the foundation of his goodness and his desire that they look to him for life, he is desiring for each of us to consider “where do I look for life?” Is it in the one who has the words of eternal life or something temporary that God has made like money, creation, worldly success, a religious system or some other thing?

Hold Onto the One with the Words of Eternal Life
John 6:66-69
The difference between the disciples who left Jesus and the ones who stayed was not whether they thought Jesus’ teaching was offensive or not, both groups knew it was a “hard teaching.” The difference is the ones who stayed knew that Jesus alone had the words of eternal life. Jesus asked them if they wanted to go elsewhere, not because he needed to know the answer, but because they needed to say it. Peter is able to confess in this moment his belief that Jesus has the words that lead to eternal life and that he is the Holy One of God. When we come into contact with things that cause us to doubt or struggle with our understanding of who God is and what he calls us to we’d do well to not panic and to dig in and try to figure out who he is and why we may be challenged by his teaching. We also have resources around us like friends in Christ to pray with us and we should consider the alternatives, where else would we go? Jesus alone has the words of eternal life and will challenge our assumptions and our ways because he calls us to a deeper walk with him. 

At your community group:

Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.

How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week? 

Discussion Questions:

Read through John 6:60-71

Who is challenged by the teaching of Jesus in this chapter and how do they respond to what they heard? What is the difference between those who leave and those who stay?

For the disciples who turn away, what alternatives were they looking to for satisfaction? Peter told Jesus taht Jesus alone had the words of eternal life and that there was no where else they could go. What alternatives do people typically look to in order to satisfy our desire for “eternal life?”

How does this text highlight the goodness of Jesus?

How do you typically respond when what you are challenged by what you read in the bible or the teaching of Jesus? What are some things that are helpful when you’re stuck, in a season of doubt or do not understand why Jesus would teach that?