It is Jesus’ words in the discourse that are also gift to the crowds along with the bread. The words are the gateway for the ones who ate the bread to see and believe (6:40) and thus to have life and live forever (6:51, 58). At the same time, one must eat the bread in order to live (6:53, 58). These are part of the seamless union of flesh, spirit, humanity, and divinity that are part of the integrity of the whole of Chapter 6.
It seems to me that too many commentators separate the miraculous feeding (vv.1-25) from the Christological and theological content of what follows. Their comparison point is no longer the Johannine miraculous feeding but rather the synoptic Eucharistic institution, norms of the primitive church and later patristic periods, and developing theology of later ages up and through the 17th century. Continue reading