"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.John 6:47(NASB)
Jesus set the stage for His important teaching on the Bread of Life by feeding a multitude of 5000 men, besides women and children, with 5 barley loaves and 2 small fishes. Although God is our great Provider, Who supplies all our bodily needs and the daily necessities of life according to His great goodness, His greater provision is the gracious offer of the salvation of our soul - the redemption of our body - the forgiveness of our sin and life everlasting.
Jesus came to satisfy this hunger in the heart of all mankind - "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes (in Me) has eternal life." The miraculous multiplying of bread and fish provided one small meal that left the people hungry on the following day, but the true Bread from heaven, that Jesus wanted to offer these people, was the spiritual Bread of eternal life that would satisfy their soul through time and into eternity. But when the Lord started to share this important truth - that He was the living Bread of Life Who came down from heaven to give eternal life to all who believe in Him, His message met with much resistance.
Unlike Israel's forefather who ate manna from heaven but all died in the wilderness, Jesus wanted these people, who were dead in their sins and at enmity with God, to recognise HIM as the True and Living Bread that came down from heaven to satisfy their inner hunger on man's soul. His glorious message was that anyone eating of this heavenly Bread - would live forever because Christ's own life was to be given as the acceptable sacrifice for the life of the world. But sadly, their heart's were darkened to the truth, and most rejected his message and ministry.
At first, they complained that they knew his mother and father and refused to accept that He was God incarnate, Who came down from heaven to offer them life eternal. The Jews of Christ's day had a fixed perception of who the Messiah was, what He would do and how He would arrive, and Christ's humble birth and simple life in Nazareth did not fulfil their expectations and caused the people great difficulty.
These Jews were blinded by their preconceived notion and would only accept a majestic Messiah that would come in the clouds of glory and defeat their earthy enemies. They could not acknowledge a suffering Servant Who was brought up in the despised area of Galilee, Who would be wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquity, and would willingly give His life as the ransom price for the life of many.
Jesus knew that no fallen sinner would come to Him, unless the Father drew that man, for sin had erected an immovable barrier between God and man, and man's sin nature is irreversibly hostile to the Lord. And although God will never force a man to believe in Him against his free will, it is the Father Who graciously draws someone to Jesus. It is the Father Who lovingly draws us to Christ - for Jesus explained that no one comes to Him unless the Father draws him.
But this 'drawing' of man to God is not an enforced, obligatory, involuntary, imposed pulling of man against his will. It is the 'irresistible grace' that is taught by many where God in His sovereignty forces certain people to believe while disallowing others from expressing faith in Christ, as is taught by many reformers. It is not the dragging of some poor soul into a faith in Christ, against his will, through God's sovereign power, because we all have a God-given free will, which we are required to exercise of our own volition in response to the gospel
We are certainly saved by God's grace - but the free gift of salvation is stimulated by man's faith in the Person of Christ and His work on the cross. We are credited with righteousness, our sins are forgiven, and we are given eternal life when we believe in Jesus as our heaven-sent, Kinsman-Redeemer.
It is God's will and God's desire that we believe that God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes on HIM - whosoever believes on the Person and work of JESUS, would not perish but have everlasting life - and this was the message that Jesus delivered to the spiritually hungry souls who were dead in their sins and estranged from the Father - "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
Heavenly Father, I am astonished at the simplicity of the good news of the gospel of grace - that whosoever believes on the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ will not die in their sins but be forgiven and have eternal life. Father, there are many that are trying to gain eternal life through their own good works and their own charitable acts and benevolent character. Open their eyes to the truth that we are all sinners in need of salvation and that no one comes to the Father except through faith in Jesus, the Son of God - through faith in the sacrificial offering of Himself on Calvary's cross for the sin of the world. It is not Your will that any should perish but that all should turn from sin to Christ and acknowledge Him as Saviour. In Your anger against sin - show mercy to those that are lost in their trespasses and at enmity towards You - this I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.