In the first reading things were going better for people than they were in the Gospel. It seemed to be no problem for Peter in Lydia when he came on Aeneas who had been paralyzed for eight years. Peter just told him to get up, and Aeneas got up. It was just as easy in Joppa. Peter found Dorcas dead, and laid out for burial,but he told her to get up, and she did.
No such luck for Jesus in the Gospel. Addressing the five thousand who the day before had wanted to make him king, Jesus saw them turned away by the truth. And, seemingly, he had to let them go. He had said, “The bread that I will give you is my flesh for the life of the world.” They had replied, saying, “This saying is hard. Who can accept it?” they gave up on him.
Even the Apostles only hung on because they had no place else to go. The reason for that lack of belief in Chapter Six of John’s Gospel becomes clear when we read on to Chapter Seven. There, John explained the inability of those people to believe.
In Chapter Seven of his Gospel John quoted Jesus as saying, “If anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink.”
Then John did something he did nowhere else. He turned to his readers to tell them what Jesus had meant by his words. John wrote, “He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him would receive. There was of course no Spirit yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.”
In the first reading Peter was full of power and full of belief because it was Pentecost Sunday, and Jesus had filled Peter with the Holy Spirit.
The ability to fill anyone with the Holy Spirit is the gift Jesus received in reward for giving his life. Peter explained that in the Acts of the Apostles when he said, “Exalted at the right hand of God he received the promised Spirit which he poured out on us.”
Even now people cannot come to believe in Christ unless they are moved by the Spirit.