The chapter starts out with Jesus feeding 5000 people, that would be like almost everyone in Ephrata, with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.
The crowd goes crazy and wants this guy Jesus as King.
Jesus removes himself.
The disciples leave early in a boat just in time to be hit by a storm.
Jesus walks across the lake, yes, walks, across a lake, rescues them from the storm and miraculously speeds their trip.
The crowd follows but they are still thinking with their stomachs.
He questions their appetite by explaining the lesson. The bread on the shore the day before and the manna in the wilderness were both visual lessons of a greater truth.
“At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[d] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.”
Jesus is the bread of life. His body and blood are what will sustain us not just for this life but for eternal life. It will be his body sacrificed for us on the cross that will pay for our sins.
Without partaking of his body and blood we have no hope of having our sins washed away, no hope of fellowship with God, no hope for eternity.
With him we do have hope.