It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. John 6:63 NASB
The setting for those words began with Jesus feeding the 5,000, near the sea of Galilee. Then to the synagogue in Capernaum.
Prior to Jesus speaking those words, Jesus went to the other side of the sea of Galilee. He had worked many miraculous signs and wonders. Because of the signs, a great multitude followed Him. Jesus went up to the mountain with His 12 disciples. The feast of Passover was at hand. Jesus saw the multitude and fed the 5,000 men and their families beginning with five barley loaves and two fish and they seeing the sign recognized Him as a the Prophet. Then perceiving that the multitude wanted to take Him by force and make Him king He withdrew alone to the mountain. John 6:1-15.
Jesus walking on the sea
His 12 disciples took a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee and Jesus came walking across the water. They saw and were afraid. He reassured them and received Him and immediately the boat was at the shore The next day, the crowd saw Jesus and His disciples were gone. So they got in their boats and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus. Finding Him, they addressed Him as Rabbi and asked Him when He came. John 6:16-25
Jesus’ words to the people revealing Himself as the Bread of Life.
26 Yeshua answered them, “Most certainly I tell you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Don’t work for the food which perishes, but for the food which remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has sealed him.”
28 They said therefore to him, “What must we do, that we may work the works of God?”
29 Yeshua answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
30 They said therefore to him, “What then do you do for a sign, that we may see and believe you? What work do you do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. As it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven§ to eat.’ ”✡
32 Yeshua therefore said to them, “Most certainly, I tell you, it wasn’t Moses who gave you the bread out of heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”
34 They said therefore to him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”
35 Yeshua said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will not be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I told you that you have seen me, and yet you don’t believe. 37 All those whom the Father gives me will come to me. He who comes to me I will in no way throw out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39 This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose nothing, but should raise him up at the last day. 40 This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:26-40
Jesus’ spiritual words for eternal life
41 The Judeans therefore murmured concerning him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down out of heaven.” 42 They said, “Isn’t this Yeshua, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then does he say, ‘I have come down out of heaven?’ ”
43 Therefore Yeshua answered them, “Don’t murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ ✡ Therefore everyone who hears from the Father and has learned, comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except he who is from God. He has seen the Father. 47 Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:41-51
Jesus spoke these spiritual words of life
52 The Judeans therefore contended with one another, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53 Yeshua therefore said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don’t have life in yourselves. 54 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he who feeds on me, he will also live because of me. 58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven—not as our fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread will live forever.” 59 He said these things in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. John 6:52-59
We enter into that spiritual sign when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.
Jesus broke bread during the last Passover meal with His disciples and turned that Old Covenant feast into the prophetic sign of the New Covenant. We call this sign the Last Supper, the Lord’s Supper, a Love/agape feast, Breaking of Bread, Eucharist or Communion, Those are words of rich spiritual relationship in Christ Jesus with one another.
Jesus’ words to the disciples that left
60 Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying! Who can listen to it?”
61 But Yeshua knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? 62 Then what if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit [Spirit] who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life. 64 But there are some of you who don’t believe.” For Yeshua knew from the beginning who they were who didn’t believe, and who it was who would betray him. 65 He said, “For this cause I have said to you that no one can come to me, unless it is given to him by my Father.”
66 At this, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. John 6:60-66
Jesus’ words to the 12 and Peter’s response
67 Yeshua said therefore to the twelve, “You don’t also want to go away, do you?”
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
70 Yeshua answered them, “Didn’t I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 Now he spoke of Judah, the son of Simon Iscariot, for it was he who would betray him, being one of the twelve. John 6:67-70
All Scripture quotations are from the WMB unless otherwise noted.