We conclude our study of John 6 with the remaining verses of the chapter which have been omitted from the standard three-year Lectionary.

Who can say why these verses were omitted when the Lectionary was put together and decided upon a few decades ago?  These are quite powerful verses which need to be read.  Indeed, a clergyman could write a sermon using them as texts.

Therefore, they qualify as Forbidden Bible Verses, equally essential in our understanding of Scripture.

If you haven’t done so already, you might wish to read John 6:1-3 and John 6:16-23.

Today’s verses are taken from the King James Version with commentary from Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

John 6:36:

But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

John 6:52:

The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

John 6:70-71:

70Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

 71He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

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The preceding day, Jesus had performed perhaps His greatest miracle, that of the loaves and the fishes.  He then dismissed the crowd and sent His disciples by boat to Capernaum.  He would follow later.  The disciples obeyed, but some of the crowd lingered on. During the night, a storm on the Sea of Galilee saw the disciples struggling to stay afloat.  Jesus walked on water to meet them and told them not to be afraid.  When the sun arose the following day, those who had remained on land saw that Jesus was no longer there.  Men on incoming boats, it is implied, told the people that He had sailed to Capernaum.  The people followed, no doubt mingling with the residents of Capernaum and surrounds.  This is where our story continues.

Jesus has rebuked the crowd for being more interested in temporal bread than His bread of life. But, they, like many of us, focus on their carnal needs today not on the afterlife.  In verse 36, He tells the crowd that they are looking at their Saviour, yet they refuse to believe or are blind to the fact that He stands before them.  Matthew Henry writes:

Faith is not always the effect of sight; the soldiers were eye-witnesses of his resurrection, and yet, instead of believing in him, they belied him; so that it is a difficult thing to bring people to believe in Christ: and, by the operation of the Spirit of grace, those that have not seen have yet believed.

Jesus goes on to say that unlike the manna which nourished their forefathers, His is everlasting.  It is  not intended for the physical body but as food for the soul.  Those who eat His ‘living bread’ (verse 51) will share eternal life with Him.  However, the Jews — through obstinacy — cannot understand this, as we see in verse 52.  John MacArthur explains:

They know He’s talking about spiritual realities, but they’re mocking Him again. They really had no interest in divine things. They didn’t really live for the kingdom. They weren’t really concerned about what was heavenly. The defector doesn’t…doesn’t want divine things. Doesn’t even understand them. They didn’t even comprehend what Jesus was saying, the magnitude of it, the power of it, the reality of it. They didn’t get it. All they could do was mock it in their supposed proud assessment, they demonstrated themselves to be fools.

Matthew Henry takes these verses and relates them to our present-day unbelievers:

Thus the scoffers at religion are ready to undertake that all the intelligent part of mankind concur with them. They conclude with great assurance that no man of sense will admit the doctrine of Christ, nor any man of spirit submit to his laws. Because they cannot bear to be so tutored, so tied up, themselves, they think none else can: Who can hear it? Thanks be to God, thousands have heard these sayings of Christ, and have found them not only easy, but pleasant, as their necessary food.

Jesus responds by saying that unless they partake of His flesh and blood, they will never have eternal life.  Even the disciples — though not the Apostles — say this is difficult to comprehend (verse 60).  Jesus acknowledges their refusal to accept that they are not spiritual people believing in Him.  And some were offended.  Note John 6:66:

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Jesus then asks his chosen Twelve whether they, too, will walk away. Peter replies that they have nowhere else to turn (verse 68): ‘Lord, to whom shall we go?’ He recognises that Jesus ‘hast the words of eternal life’.

To those who say mistakenly that no one ever acknowledged Jesus as Lord, here is another verse which shows this is not the case (verse 69).  Peter states:

And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

The last two verses really ought to be read in church.  This chapter is difficult enough as is; I imagine if many of us were part of the crowd, we, too, might be offended at what Jesus says here. Hindsight is easy; being there with Jesus could have been quite another situation entirely.  Many of us would say, ‘Oh, it would have been obvious He was the Son of God.’  Hmm, I wonder if our blindness, pride and obstinacy would have got in the way of seeing Him as our Redeemer.  Would we have been among the disciples who walked away?  But, there is worse to come, and Jesus wastes no time in saying that a betrayer is in their midst (verses 70-71).

Jesus goes even refers to Judas — although He did not state his name — as ‘a devil’.  (We should be hearing these verses in public worship! Why are they left out?)

Matthew Henry explains what Jesus meant by those words (emphases mine):

God knows those that are his; we do not. Observe here, (1.) Hypocrites and betrayers of Christ are no better than devils. Judas not only had a devil, but he was a devil. One of you is a false accuser; so diabolos sometimes signifies (2 Tim. 3:3); and it is probable that Judas, when he sold his Master to the chief priests, represented him to them as a bad man, to justify himself in what he did. But I rather take it as we read it: He is a devil, a devil incarnate, a fallen apostle, as the devil a fallen angel. He is Satan, an adversary, an enemy to Christ. He is Abaddon, and Apollyon, a son of perdition. He was of his father the devil, did his lusts, was in his interests, as Cain, 1 Jn. 3:12. Those whose bodies were possessed by the devil are never called devils (demoniacs, but not devils); but Judas, into whose heart Satan entered, and filled it, is called a devil. (2.) Many that are seeming saints are real devils. Judas had as fair an outside as many of the apostles; his venom was, like that of the serpent, covered with a fine skin. He cast out devils, and appeared an enemy to the devil’s kingdom, and yet was himself a devil all the while. Not only he will be one shortly, but he is one now. It is strange, and to be wondered at; Christ speaks of it with wonder: Have not I? It is sad, and to be lamented, that ever Christianity should be made a cloak to diabolism. (3.) The disguises of hypocrites, however they may deceive men, and put a cheat upon them, cannot deceive Christ, for his piercing eye sees through them. He can call those devils that call themselves Christians, like the prophet’s greeting to Jeroboam’s wife, when she came to him in masquerade (1 Ki. 14:6): Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam. Christ’s divine sight, far better than any double sight, can see spirits. (4.) There are those who are chosen by Christ to special services who yet prove false to him: I have chosen you to the apostleship, for it is expressly said that Judas was not chosen to eternal life (ch. 13:18), and yet one of you is a devil. Note, Advancement to places of honour and trust in the church is no certain evidence of saving grace. We have prophesied in thy name. (5.) In the most select societies on this side heaven it is no new thing to meet with those that are corrupt. Of the twelve that were chosen to an intimate conversation with an incarnate Deity, as great an honour and privilege as ever men were chosen to, one was an incarnate devil. The historian lays an emphasis upon this, that Judas was one of the twelve that were so dignified and distinguished

And, for those wondering about the name ‘Iscariot’, John MacArthur states:

Iscariot means from the village of Kerioth.