It is the spirit that quickeneth - It is the spiritual sense only of my words that is to be attended to, and through which life is to be attained, 2 Corinthians 3:6. Such only as eat and drink what I have mentioned, in a spiritual sense, are to expect eternal life.
The flesh profiteth nothing - If ye could even eat my flesh and drink my blood, this would not avail for your salvation. These words contain a caution that the hearers should not understand his words in the strict literal sense, as if his body were really Bread, and as if his flesh and blood were really to be eaten and drank.
The words that I speak - Or, I have spoken. Instead of λαλω, I speak, I read λελαληκα, I have spoken, on the authority of BCDKLT, thirteen others; the Syriac, all the Arabic, all the Persic, Coptic, Ethiopic, Gothic, Slavonic, Vulgate, all the Itala; Origen, Eusebius, Athanasius, Basil, Cyril, Chrysostom, Tertullian, Ambrosias, Augustin, Gaudentius, and Vigilius Taps. This is an important reading, and plainly shows that our Lord's words here do not refer to any new point of doctrine which he was then inculcating, but to what he had spoken concerning his being the living bread, and concerning the eating of his flesh, and drinking of his blood, in the preceding verses.
Are spirit, and they are life - As my words are to be spiritually understood, so the life they promise is of a spiritual nature: see Bishop Pearce.
It is the Spirit that quickeneth - These words have been understood in different ways. The word “Spirit,” here, evidently does not refer to the Holy Spirit, for he adds, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit.” He refers here, probably, to the doctrine which he had been teaching in opposition to their notions and desires. “My doctrine is spiritual; it is fitted to quicken and nourish the soul. It is from heaven. Your doctrine or your views are earthly, and may be called flesh, or fleshly, as pertaining only to the support of the body. You place a great value on the doctrine that Moses fed the body; yet that did not permanently profit, for your fathers are dead. You seek also food from me, but your views and desires are gross and earthly.”
Quickeneth - Gives life. See the notes at John 5:21.
The flesh - Your carnal views and desires, and the literal understanding of my doctrine. By this Jesus shows them that he did not intend that his words should be taken literally.
Profiteth nothing - Would not avail to the real needs of man. The bread that Moses gave, the food which you seek, would not be of real value to man‘s highest wants.
They are spirit - They are spiritual. They are not to be understood literally, as if you were really to eat my flesh, but they are to be understood as denoting the need of that provision for the soul which God has made by my coming into the world.
Are life - Are fitted to produce or give life to the soul dead in sins.
Christ's disciples were much impressed by His prayers and by His habit of communion with God. One day after a short absence from their Lord, they found Him absorbed in supplication. Seeming unconscious of their presence, He continued praying aloud. The hearts of the disciples were deeply moved. As He ceased praying, they exclaimed, “Lord, teach us to pray.” COL 140.1
In answer, Christ repeated the Lord's prayer, as He had given it in the sermon on the mount. Then in a parable He illustrated the lesson He desired to teach them. COL 140.2
“Which of you,” He said, “shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed: I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.” COL 140.3Read in context »
This chapter is based on John 6:22-71.
When Christ forbade the people to declare Him king, He knew that a turning point in His history was reached. Multitudes who desired to exalt Him to the throne today would turn from Him tomorrow. The disappointment of their selfish ambition would turn their love to hatred, and their praise to curses. Yet knowing this, He took no measures to avert the crisis. From the first He had held out to His followers no hope of earthly rewards. To one who came desiring to become His disciple He had said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20. If men could have had the world with Christ, multitudes would have proffered Him their allegiance; but such service He could not accept. Of those now connected with Him there were many who had been attracted by the hope of a worldly kingdom. These must be undeceived. The deep spiritual teaching in the miracle of the loaves had not been comprehended. This was to be made plain. And this new revelation would bring with it a closer test. DA 383.1Read in context »
April 24—Mary has just been reading to me two articles—one on the loaves and fishes, Christ walking on the water, and stating to His hearers He was the Bread of life, which caused some of His disciples to turn from Him. This takes fifty pages and comprises many subjects. I do think it the most precious matter I have ever written. Mary is just as enthusiastic over it. She thinks it is of the highest value. I am perfectly satisfied with it. 3SM 106.3Read in context »
It is our work to know our special failings and sins, which cause darkness and spiritual feebleness, and quenched our first love (The Review and Herald, June 7, 1887). 7BC 957.1
4, 5 (see EGW on ch. 3:14-18; 1 Kings 11:4). Spiritually Fallen, but Unaware of It—In view of the many virtues enumerated, how striking is the charge brought against the church at Ephesus: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” This church had been highly favored. It was planted by the apostle Paul. In the same city was the temple of Diana, which, in point of grandeur, was one of the marvels of the world. The Ephesian church met with great opposition, and some of the early Christians suffered persecution; and yet some of these very ones turned from the truths that had united them with Christ's followers, and adopted, in their stead, the specious errors devised by Satan. 7BC 957.2
This change is represented as a spiritual fall. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works”—as outlined in the preceding verses. The believers did not sense their spiritual fall. They knew not that a change had taken place in their hearts, and that they would have to repent because of the noncontinuance of their first works. But God in His mercy called for repentance, for a return to their first love and to the works that are always the result of true, Christlike love (Manuscript 11, 1906). 7BC 957.3Read in context »