60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”
The section in verses 60-65 describes the reaction of Jesus’ disciples to the bread of life discourse.
The “therefore” gives the response to the bread of life by many of the followers of Jesus.
many of His disciples,
The word “disciples” simply means learner. It does not always connote a true believer. Here the reference is to temporary adherents to Jesus. “Disciples” here were simple followers of Jesus, those without having made a decision about who and what He was. They were part of the superficial grumbling crowd (Jn 6:61) but were not the twelve. These people were impressed with Christ’s miracles but not necessarily with His message.
when they heard this, said,
Many disciples of Jesus responded to the bread of life discourse.
“This is a hard [harsh] saying;
Even some of Jesus’ superficial disciples were confused by the bread of life discourse. They could not tolerate this teacher because His teaching was difficult to accept.
who can understand [accept] it?”
These superficial disciples finally came to understand the implications of the bread of life discourse. The idea is about “who can accept” this message of Jesus.
People who oppose what God says shows the implacability of unbelief. The reprobate obstinately reject what Christ said.
Not all followers of Jesus are true disciples.
It is not the hardness of the sermon but the hardness of the heart that allows people to reject Christ. Jesus winnowed out the peanut-and-popcorn crowd from His true followers.
A person who simply regards Jesus as a wonderful teacher or person is not a genuine believer. All disciples are not true believers. There is a whole lot of religion but very little true spirituality, both in the day of Christ and in our day.