What does Jesus mean when He says “the flesh profits nothing”? There are several different meanings for “flesh” so to understand what Jesus means, let’s first understand the rest of His saying so we can gain the intended contrast He has in mind.
John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
Jesus identifies who gives life. It is the Spirit who gives life. The Father gives life and the Holy Spirit gives life. Does Jesus also give life?
The Spirit Gives Life
Jesus said in John 4 –
John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
Jesus said, “I WILL give him.” What will Jesus give? Jesus will give eternal life. Jesus said the same thing again in John 6.
John 6:27 “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.”
Jesus said that He will give eternal life to the crowd. What kind of life is He giving to the crowd? Jesus is giving eternal life. However, the way Jesus would give them eternal life is embedded in His use of the term “came down from Heaven.” It was the “who” not the “what” that came down from Heaven, that will provide eternal life.
Jesus is the life-giving spirit. 1 Corinthians 15 shows that Adam at his beginning became a living soul, but Jesus as the last Adam, came in the beginning as something more..
1 Corinthians 15:45 So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
In my post on John 6:64-65, I showed how the reason Jesus gives for why no one can come to Him unless it has been granted him from the Father, is connected back to verse 64 and unbelief.
John 6:64 (NASB) “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.
One of the comments on that post suggested that the connection was not between verse 65 and verse 64, but was between verse 65 and verse 63. Here is the comment that I am responding to in this post:
Sorry, I disagree. Jesus’ statement in verse 65 is referring to verse 63. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Verse 64 is simply a narrative of the unbelief of those hearing, because they had not been given life by the Spirit. Then Jesus says in verse 65, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”
John 6:64-65 connection
Here is a screen shot of the sentence structure showing the emphasis.
The phrase between the x marks is called a counterpoint. The counterpoint points to the more important Sentence Point shown between the check marks.…
For this reason – John 6:64-65. I am jumping ahead in my verse by verse exegesis to John 6:64-65 because these are the verses that give the answer to Jesus’ words in John 6:37, 44-45. I will start with verse 65 first.
For this reason
John 6:65 (NASB) And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
Here in John 6:65 Jesus is giving a clear reason He said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him,” and “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me.” In John 6:65 Jesus begins his saying with a preposition of causation.
It is for this reason or because of the truth that Jesus had just said.