The Son of Man WILL give you – John 6:27

The Son of Man WILL give you – John 6:27

Son of Man WILL give

The verse that is the most ignored by Calvinists in their own proof text is John 6:27, and within the verse, in particular, a specific phrase. Calvinists prefer to start their focus in John 6 with verse 37, but it is vital to discuss all of Jesus’ words to the crowd, so that we do not miss out on the truth presented in verse 27.

Jesus makes a promise

In John 6:27 Jesus makes a promise that lays the foundation for the important words that will follow.  Jesus said:

John 6:27 (NASB) “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”

To understand this verse, we need to know who Jesus is talking to.

To whom is Jesus talking to?

John 6:26 (NASB) Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

Jesus is speaking to the crowd that had been fed by the bread and had followed Jesus. But they were not following Him because they had faith, but because they had a physical need met. Jesus exposes their motive for following Him in verse 26.

Are these people believers?

The crowd of Jews is identified as unbelievers by Jesus in verse 36.

John 6:36 (NASB) “But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.

Jesus answers them and gives a promise that He will give them the bread that endures to eternal life.

The promise that Jesus gives is not just a possibility.  “Will give” is future tense and indicative. The indicative is the mood in which the action is presented as real and actual, as opposed to possible or contingent on intention. Jesus said He would most certainly give them eternal bread!

What is the reason Jesus will give the crowd the bread that endures to eternal life?

Jesus stated the reason in John 6:27

John 6:27 (NASB) “…for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”

Jesus gives the reason He gives them the eternal bread, is because the seal of God is upon Him. Having the seal of God means that He is representing the Father’s will. Having the seal of God is also a proof of His identification with God.

It is God’s will that Jesus gives the bread that endures to eternal life, to this crowd.

What is the bread?

John 6:33 (NASB) “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

Jesus, who is the eternal life, is the bread that comes down from Heaven.  The unbelieving crowd is part of the “world” for whom Jesus promises to give life.

How is the life given for the world?

John 6:51 (NASB) “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

Jesus shows that it is His death that He is the giving of life for the world.  The unbelieving crowd is a part of that “world” that Jesus will die for.

Understanding the promise from John 6:27, and to whom it was said, will help us to understand Jesus words to the unbelieving Jewish crowd and why all do not come to Jesus. In my next post, I will deal with John 6:28, 29.

18 thoughts on “The Son of Man WILL give you – John 6:27

  1. In the Calvinistic proof texts about POTS (perseverance of the saints), and other TULIP points, there is often a conditional, manward element. A deterministic, decretal view that does not recognize genuine (libertarian) free will, reciprocal love relationships, etc. will fall short of sound interpretation (exegesis). We all must guard against reading a wrong paradigm into the texts (Calvinists and Arminians can read the same text and come up with opposite conclusions, so sometimes the paradigm is where we need to work, not just one proof text). As always, all relevant verses must be considered to form a balanced, biblical doctrine. Cheryl is to be commended for exegeting in light of word studies and context.

  2. Is the “i will give” conditional on those the Father has chosen? Check out v.44 and it’s connection w/ v54, just because a verb is future indicative doesn’t mean it’s not conditional on something. What if in this verse it’s conditional on the “work”? You “work” and I will give… At first sounds like a works salvation! But, what if the “work” is connected to the “seek” in verse 26? So the “work” is seeking Jesus. Makes a whole lot of sense in connection with Jesus’ talk about “coming to Him” and the Father “drawing people to Him”

    Anyway, some things to think about, thanks for the convo…

  3. allennelson4, welcome to my blog!

    You have several excellent questions. Let me answer this one straight up. It is impossible for the “I will give” from Jesus to be conditional on those the Father has preselected. It is also impossible that it is conditional on work.

    Let’s first consider the issue of work. Jesus told the unbelieving Jews that they needed to engage in an activity that involves effort. They needed to put forth an effort to gain eternal food. Now note, that Jesus says that He will certainly give them without qualification. He doesn’t say He will give them if they put forth the effort, and He doesn’t say that He won’t give the food to those who do not put forth the effort. He gives only a blanket statement that He will most certainly give them this food. See also verse 32 where Jesus is connected to the original Manna which was unconditionally given to all. In fact it only works as unconditional or the connection to the original Manna would be lost.

    You also asked if the certainty of the giving of the bread can be connected to the seeking from verse 26. No, it cannot be connected because Jesus promises to give them the eternal bread even though He goes on to tell us why they cannot believe in Him. The fact is that from the passage, The Giving is unconditional and promised to unbelievers.

    I will post more on the drawing and “coming to Him” and why this crowd is told that they cannot come to Him. But for now, The Giving is not connected to “the coming”, because Jesus promised to give unconditionally unlike the coming to Him which is conditional.

    Does my answer make sense?

  4. Total depravity is not total inability. God’s love is not partial, limited. The grounds for salvation (reason by which we are saved) are grace and the person and work of Christ (objective). The conditions of salvation/perseverance (not without which) include repentant faith and continuance in the faith. The objective provision must be subjectively appropriated. His death is intended for all and sufficient, but only efficacious for those who freely respond to His non-coercive/non-causative conviction/convincing (draws, woos, influences, not causes). Receiving a free gift is not a work, but a response to the work of God (cease resisting His grace). Salvation is more a reciprocal love relationship than a mechanistic change foisted arbitrarily on some, but not others.

  5. It is very clear from this verse that the food is not being given to all, but only those who “work” for the food which endures to eternal life. If your exegesis is correct then EVERYONE gets the food that endures to eternal life! No, Jesus doesn’t say “if you work, I’ll give” but He is saying His giving of the food is contengent on those working for the food which endures to eternal life.

    Now, let’s get really calvinistic here! The seeking is not of a man’s on “will” but of the will of the Father. I appreciate what you are trying to do by “breaking this down” but you’re missing the point of this verse by not taking it in its full context.

  6. allennelson4,
    Thanks for your input! Again your comment is a great one and worthy of a response. May I share my understanding?

    You are incorrect about the passage and about my exegesis. i have not said that EVERYONE “gets” the food, but that the crowd is PROMISED to be GIVEN the food. This is a promise that cannot be overlooked, even if one does not understand what Jesus means. It still is a promise.

    I have made it clear that not everyone receives the food (eternal life), so not everyone gets food (eternal life). This is the foundation for what is to come with Jesus’ own words.

    When you say that Jesus doesn’t say “IF you work, I’ll give”, but that His giving is contingent on those working for the food, this would amount to the same thing. Jesus does not make His giving into a payment for a work done. We both have to agree on that point. It would be highly problematic for your own view if Jesus was saying that one needs to earn eternal life, since that would annul the Calvinistic view of the Sovereignty of God. It would also take you outside orthodoxy.

    What we do see from the verse is:

    1. Working for the food that perishes is not about getting paid. It is an effort that results in a harvest. Jesus has said it before:

    Luke 13:24 (NASB)
    24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

    It is not good enough just to “seek”. Jesus said you must “strive” to enter. To “strive” in order to enter, means to struggle, to “take pains, exert oneself” (BDAG lexicon) just as the term “work”. However, the striving is not to be paid as a obligation, but a “strain every nerve to enter” (BDAG lexicon) to show eternal life is worth the effort to receive.

    2. Jesus gave a promise that would not result from a payment made to Him. Not only is the promise unconditional, but to consider the promise as conditional (which the grammar does not support) would make one outside the evangelical faith. That is a problem for both sides, and we should all agree.

    3. The seal that is set on Jesus from the Father is attached to The Giving, thus it is not just the promise of Jesus, but the promise of the Father, that to this unbelieving crowd, the Son of Man (Jesus) WILL give eternal life.

    The points that I have to share will develop over the upcoming posts on the next verses. I appreciate a challenge, because I do believe that one’s view must stand up to examination.

    As fas as the “seeking” being either “man’s will” or “the Father’s will”, I will leave that to my upcoming posts to discuss, if it is okay with you.

    I also want to say that I appreciate that you have seen my effort to break down the passage to the inspired words. Thanks!

    I would also like to encourage you to reflect on the promise that Jesus gave to the crowd. There is no payment requested from the unbelieving crowd, but we cannot ignore the promise. Jesus said “the Son of Man WILL give to you…”

    I would love to have you around to critique the remaining verses as I take the promise of Jesus and use it as the stepping off point for what comes next. We cannot afford to dismiss the inspired words of Jesus. They will fit in like a glove with His remaining words to the crowd.

    I would also like to express my appreciation for your graciousness. You have expressed your view without attacking and with consideration for our common Lord. Thank you!

  7. Thanks!

    I’m saying you can break it down like this, “work for the food that endures to eternal life which I will give to you” That’s connected. How does the grammar not support that? Yes, I understand that the you is plural but that doesn’t have to mean that Jesus means He’ll give the food to every single person who has ever lived nor does it even mean that the you has to be encompasing of the whole crowd, in fact I think Jesus shows us that it clearly does not encompass the whole crowd but is connected to the ones who will “work for the food”

    Of course I do not mean that it takes “work” to get to Jesus. Jesus “gives” Himself freely, in an effectual salvific way, to the Father’s Elect. I think it fits with the rest of NT theology that tells us work and obedience flow FROM a changed heart, not to receive a changed heart. Remember He says food ENDURES to eternal life, not that it may or may not, but that it DOES. If He GIVES this food (which ENDURES to eternal life) to all, then how are not all saved?

    What exactly is the difference between the fact that crowd does not “get” the food but they will be “given” the food? Sounds like just semantics.

    My take is that there are some in the crowd that Jesus would give eternal life to but not all. I think that’s supported by this verse and the surrounding context.

  8. Hi allennelson4,
    You said:

    I’m saying you can break it down like this, “work for the food that endures to eternal life which I will give to you” That’s connected.

    It is connected, but it isn’t connected by an obligation. It is given unconditionally. Jesus didn’t say work to earn the food that endures to eternal life and I will pay you with the bread. What He did say was to strive diligently for this food, just as you are to strive to enter the kingdom. Those who diligently seek the kingdom will find it. The diligence is towards the finding and receiving, not towards the Giving, or else God would be obligated to give.

    You asked:

    How does the grammar not support that?

    The Greek term for “will give” is in the indicative mood, which is listed as real, thus assured and it is not prefaced with a conditional conjunction. So while the crowd is to strive for the bread, it is guaranteed to them without conditions. Also the term is used for something that is granted rather than an obligation to pay what is owed. If Jesus wanted us to know that the crowd was to “work for” something that was then to be due them, he would have used the term for “pay wages”. So the unconditional certainty of the Giving, and the term for giving, granting, bestowing, rather than the payment of an obligation is used, removes any opportunity to see the giving as a reward for work done.

    Perhaps you can show why in Calvinism, God is obligated to reward certain people with eternal life following a work that they have done to earn eternal life?

    Here is my reasoning:

    1. Working for the payment of salvation is contradicted throughout Scripture where it is said to be by grace, through faith and not by works (something done to earn this life)

    2. However working as in “putting an effort into obtaining (receiving) Gods gift doesnt contradict scripture but agrees with Jesus’ command to “strive to enter” (Luke 13:24)

    3. Working to receive something as an obligation for God to give does not match with the context of John 6.

    As I work through the context of John 6, you will see how it all flows together without contradiction and without disregarding any part of the text.

    You asked:

    What if Jesus was only talking to the elect in the crowd?

    This would be a problem on your side. It would have to assume that the all of the unbelieving Jews that spoke to Jesus were of the elect without exception, or that Jesus was being deceptive by speaking to the crowd as a whole, rather than being truthful and telling them that some should strive for the food and some would be given the food that endures to eternal life, unlike when God gave the food to their Fathers where every single person was freely given the food. There would be no use connecting the original manna to Jesus.

    It is also a problem because Jesus makes it clear that the ones that he is speaking to are not of His sheep. That is a huge dilemma for you and makes Jesus out to be unclear at best and deceptive at worst. I believe that we must work hard to make the text make sense without its context, its grammar, and with the test of truth of who Jesus has revealed Himself to be. If we come to a conclusion that is missing any part of these essentials, we may be misled to believe something that is profoundly untrue. Would you agree with me on this?

    You also said:

    Yes, I understand that the you is plural but that doesn’t have to mean that Jesus means He’ll give the food to every single person who has ever lived

    Right now my argument is the immediate context, not about every man that ever lived, unless Jesus brings them in. When we get to that type of context, we will deal with it. In fact I have dealt with the term “world” from John 6:33 in this post http://www.mmoutreach.org/tg/doing-seeing/

    If one believe that the crowd (or a portion thereof) to be the ones who work for (i.e. do a work that will earn them the bread) then what Jesus said next completely contradicts that thought and the crowd gets it. It is also in my post http://www.mmoutreach.org/tg/doing-seeing/ which deals with John 6:30-33

    From the things you have said, it appears to me to be a contradiction. Perhaps you can explain further if I misunderstand.

    You said:

    Of course I do not mean that it takes “work” to get to Jesus. Jesus “gives” Himself freely, in an effectual salvific way, to the Father’s Elect.

    It seems to me that you are believing that Jesus “gives” Himself freely and unconditionally to the elect, but that the crowd (or the elect in the crowd) needs to “work for” the bread that endures to eternal life. Thus Jesus is given freely, but the bread needs to be worked for?

    You said:

    I think it fits with the rest of NT theology that tells us work and obedience flow FROM a changed heart, not to receive a changed heart. Remember He says food ENDURES to eternal life, not that it may or may not, but that it DOES.

    This would be a problem for you, because that would mean that the people in the crowd (at least the elect) already had a changed heart. But Jesus identifies the crowd as unbelievers, not a mixture of believers and unbelievers.

    You asked:

    If He GIVES this food (which ENDURES to eternal life) to all, then how are not all saved?

    This is a fair question and I will answer it in an upcoming post. The format of a post gives me an opportunity to openly explain, and be subject to a challenge, without someone having to read through the comments.

    You asked:

    What exactly is the difference between the fact that crowd does not “get” the food but they will be “given” the food? Sounds like just semantics.

    If you believe that “the giving” means that it is something that is dropped within you whether you are aware of it or not, and that there is no command to receive, then for sure “the giving” would be equal to “getting”. But if the passage shows that God has freely given without payment needed by anyone, but that the giving is not without condition, then there is much more to chew on in John 6.

    You also said:

    My take is that there are some in the crowd that Jesus would give eternal life to but not all. I think that’s supported by this verse and the surrounding context.

    So is “The Giving” of Jesus conditional to some? Are the elect required to work for what is freely given? Or does Jesus pay them a price that is owed to them?

    By the way, I have never seen a Calvinist theologian say that the work for the food is an obligation to work that produces a payment for the obligation. Do you have any sources that you can give me?

    I appreciate the challenge. Again, you have been most gracious.

  9. I should add, that we need to pay attention to the crowd’s response? Did they understand Jesus’ words? How does their response show that they understood or misunderstood Jesus?

  10. allennelson4,
    Have a look at this video on John 6 from Calvinist theologian James White
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWHMA5JPu_o
    In this video he makes it clear that the ones that are following Jesus in John 6 are not of the elect. They have not been given to Jesus. He also reads John 6:27 at the beginning but does not explain or work through the promise that Jesus makes to the crowd.

    So James White is not seeing that the elect are in the crowd and that they are promised life as part of the crowd. He sees them as the unelect who cannot come to Jesus.

  11. I don’t think you understand what I’m saying regarding the work. We must repent and believe. We must come to Christ. And that only happens once God enables His Elect to do so. It’s not that we work and then God is obligated to respond! By no means! I thought I was careful in explaining that, but I guess I wasn’t (see above: “work and obedience flow FROM a changed heart, not to receive a changed heart.” Meaning that God changes our heart and then we come to Christ, partaking of the Bread of Life). The “work” is only in response to the gracious gift of God’s drawing. You must come to Christ, but that is impossible unless the Father first enables you to do so.

    The rest of the passage completly supports this positon. Noting v.44 “No one CAN…” No one has the ability to “work” or “seek” Jesus, or repent, or come to Christ. They cannont do it, no ability is there. The only way they can partake is if the Father graciously draws them…

    “So the unconditional certainty of the Giving, and the term for giving, granting, bestowing, rather than the payment of an obligation is used, removes any opportunity to see the giving as a reward for work done.”

    I agree completely. It is NOT “conditional” in the sense that God is obligated, it’s simply a statement of truth, a reality, only those working for the bread receive it, but no one can work for the bread! No one CAN come! Unless the Father’s draws Him. Those working for the bread receive the bread but they aren’t working for the bread b/c they have the ability to do so! God has enabled them to do so!

    Again, what you are trying to put forth here makes everyone saved. You say you’re just trying to stick with this verse but if you take it as is with your interpretation it is that Jesus is going to give everyone the bread, and that’s not true, because the bread ENDURES to eternal life. It’s not based on whether or not man wants to “accept” it (i.e. work for it!) It DOES endure! That’s why all the Elect WILL be saved even if their natural dispostion, like all mankind is to not seek God, to reject Him…

    And this type of theology is pretty offensive. That’s why many disciples left once Jesus explained it clearly cf. v.66

  12. One of the reasons he doesn’t spend so much time on just v.27 is that because it has to be understood in the context of the entire chapter.

  13. In my very first comment I hinted at it being conditional not on the work but on the Father’s election. The “I will give” again is simply a statement of fact that’s connected to those who work for the food that endures to eternal life. Who will actually partake (“work for”) this food? The Elect. Jesus explains in the rest of the chapter.

  14. allennelson4,

    You said:

    “work and obedience flow FROM a changed heart, not to receive a changed heart.”

    So what are you saying? Are you saying that Jesus was saying – Truly, truly, I say to you (the elect within the crowd), you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. (And you the elect within the crowd) do not work for the food that perishes, but work (by having repentance and faith because I have made you alive) for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you (the elect out of the crowd)…

    If this is not what you mean, can you reword Jesus’ words to the crowd to show what you mean?

  15. allennelson4,

    You said:

    Again, what you are trying to put forth here makes everyone saved.

    Not at all. In fact when you read the exegesis of the rest of the passage you will see that I continually make it clear that not everyone is saved or will be saved.

    I like what you said here:

    You say you’re just trying to stick with this verse but if you take it as is with your interpretation it is that Jesus is going to give everyone the bread, and that’s not true, because the bread ENDURES to eternal life.

    I have not yet posted the next article, and I agree with you that the bread ENDURES to eternal life. Perhaps you can give us what you believe the bread to be.

    Also if you could answer a question from this; you said:

    And this type of theology is pretty offensive. That’s why many disciples left once Jesus explained it clearly cf. v.66

    What exactly is it, that Jesus said, that the disciples found offensive? Which verse do you use to show what it is that His disciples found offensive?

  16. allennelson4,

    You said:

    One of the reasons he doesn’t spend so much time on just v.27 is that because it has to be understood in the context of the entire chapter.

    Unfortunately James White does not explain the phrase “which the Son of Man will give you”. He doesn’t explain it in his books or in his video. He doesn’t explain how that meshes with what comes next. In fact he pretty much ignores it except to read the verse. In the video, James says something that is quite important. He says that anyone who glosses over a verse in the passage is to be suspect. That is a paraphrase from what he said. By his own words, he has made himself suspect because he does not give the meaning to Jesus’ words that are a promise to the crowd. It isn’t a mystery why he doesn’t work through the words, because James makes it clear that the crowd are not ones whom the Father sent Jesus to die for, and they are not given to Jesus. They are false believers, they cannot come to Jesus, and they cannot receive salvation because they are not of the elect.

    Now you are saying that they are the elect, although maybe not all of them. May I say that you are saying this because you have seen the clear words of Jesus that He promises to give the bread to them. While James ignores these words completely and never explains them, at least you are attempting to try to mesh the words of Jesus with your Calvinist theology. I give you a lot of credit for trying to pay attention to the words of Jesus.

    As we go through the passage and hit the next verses, I ask you to work out your view with the foundation of Jesus’ words in verse 27 and see how that fits with the remainder of the verses in John 6. I believe that it isn’t going to work for you, but I am interested in seeing you try.

    This kind of back and forth is iron sharpening iron because we are looking at the actual words and the grammar and paying close attention.

Comment to join the discussion

%d bloggers like this: