John 6

1 Some time later, Yeshua went over to the far side of Lake Kinneret (that is, Lake Tiberias),
2 and a large crowd followed him, because they had seen the miracles he had performed on the sick.
3 Yeshua went up into the hills and sat down there with his talmidim.
4 Now the Judean festival of Pesach was coming up;
5 so when Yeshua looked up and saw that a large crowd was approaching, he said to Philip, "Where will we be able to buy bread, so that these people can eat?"
6 (Now Yeshua said this to test Philip, for Yeshua himself knew what he was about to do.)
7 Philip answered, "Half a year's wages wouldn't buy enough bread for them -- each one would get only a bite!"
8 One of the talmidim, Andrew the brother of Shim`on Kefa, said to him,
9 "There's a young fellow here who has five loaves of barley bread and two fish. But how far will they go among so many?"
10 Yeshua said, "Have the people sit down." There was a lot of grass there, so they sat down. The number of men was about five thousand.
11 Then Yeshua took the loaves of bread, and, after making a b'rakhah, gave to all who were sitting there, and likewise with the fish, as much as they wanted.
12 After they had eaten their fill, he told his talmidim, "Gather the leftover pieces, so that nothing gets wasted."
13 They gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.
14 When the people saw the miracle he had performed, they said, "This has to be `the prophet' who is supposed to come into the world."
15 Yeshua knew that they were on the point of coming and seizing him, in order to make him king; so he went back to the hills again. This time he went by himself.
16 When evening came, his talmidim went down to the lake,
17 got into a boat and set out across the lake toward K'far-Nachum. By now it was dark, Yeshua had not yet joined them,
18 and the sea was getting rough, because a strong wind was blowing.
19 They had rowed three or four miles when they saw Yeshua approaching the boat, walking on the lake! They were terrified;
20 but he said to them, "Stop being afraid, it is I."
21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and instantly the boat reached the land they were heading for.
22 The next day, the crowd which had stayed on the other side of the lake noticed that there had been only one boat there, and that Yeshua had not entered the boat with his talmidim, but that the talmidim had been alone when they sailed off.
23 Then other boats, from Tiberias, came ashore near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had made the b'rakhah.
24 Accordingly, when the crowd saw that neither Yeshua nor his talmidim were there, they themselves boarded the boats and made for K'far-Nachum in search of Yeshua.
25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"
26 Yeshua answered, "Yes, indeed! I tell you, you're not looking for me because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate the bread and had all you wanted!
27 Don't work for the food which passes away but for the food that stays on into eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For this is the one on whom God the Father has put his seal."
28 So they said to him, "What should we do in order to perform the works of God?"
29 Yeshua answered, "Here's what the work of God is: to trust in the one he sent!"
30 They said to him, "Nu, what miracle will you do for us, so that we may see it and trust you? What work can you perform?
31 Our fathers ate manna in the desert -- as it says in the Tanakh, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'
32 Yeshua said to them, "Yes, indeed! I tell you it wasn't Moshe who gave you the bread from heaven. But my Father is giving you the genuine bread from heaven;
33 for God's bread is the one who comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world."
34 They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread from now on."
35 Yeshua answered, "I am the bread which is life! Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever trusts in me will never be thirsty.
36 I told you that you have seen but still don't trust.
37 Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will certainly not turn away.
38 For I have come down from heaven to do not my own will but the will of the One who sent me.
39 And this is the will of the One who sent me: that I should not lose any of all those he has given me but should raise them up on the Last Day.
40 Yes, this is the will of my Father: that all who see the Son and trust in him should have eternal life, and that I should raise them up on the Last Day."
41 At this the Judeans began grumbling about him because he said, "I am the bread which has come down from heaven."
42 They said, "Isn't this Yeshua Ben-Yosef? We know his father and mother! How can he now say, `I have come down from heaven'?"
43 Yeshua answered them, "Stop grumbling to each other!
44 No one can come to me unless the Father -- the One who sent me -- draws him. And I will raise him up on the Last Day.
45 It is written in the Prophets, `They will all be taught by ADONAI. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.
46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God -- he has seen the Father.
47 Yes, indeed! I tell you, whoever trusts has eternal life:
48 I am the bread which is life.
49 Your fathers ate the manna in the desert; they died.
50 But the bread that comes down from heaven is such that a person may eat it and not die.
51 I am the living bread that has come down from heaven; if anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. Furthermore, the bread that I will give is my own flesh; and I will give it for the life of the world."
52 At this, the Judeans disputed with one another, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
53 Then Yeshua said to them, "Yes, indeed! I tell you that unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life in yourselves.
54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life -- that is, I will raise him up on the Last Day.
55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I live in him.
57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live through the Father, so also who ever eats me will live through me.
58 So this is the bread that has come down from heaven -- it is not like the bread the fathers ate; they're dead, but whoever eats this bread will live forever!"
59 He said these things as he was teaching in a synagogue in K'far-Nachum.
60 On hearing it, many of his talmidim said, "This is a hard word -- who can bear to listen to it?"
61 But Yeshua, aware that his talmidim were grumbling about this, said to them, "This is a trap for you?
62 Suppose you were to see the Son of Man going back up to where he was before?
63 It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh is no help. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life,
64 yet some among you do not trust." (For Yeshua knew from the outset which ones would not trust him, also which one would betray him.)
65 "This," he said, "is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has made it possible for him."
66 From this time on, many of his talmidim turned back and no longer traveled around with him.
67 So Yeshua said to the Twelve, "Don't you want to leave too?"
68 Shim`on Kefa answered him, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the word of eternal life.
69 We have trusted, and we know that you are the Holy One of God."
70 Yeshua answered them, "Didn't I choose you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is an adversary."
71 (He was speaking of Y'hudah Ben-Shim`on, from K'riot; for this man -- one of the Twelve! -- was soon to betray him.)

John 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

Five thousand miraculously fed. (1-14) Jesus walks on the sea. (15-21) He directs to spiritual food. (22-27) His discourse with the multitude. (28-65) Many of disciples go back. (66-71)

Verses 1-14 John relates the miracle of feeding the multitude, for its reference to the following discourse. Observe the effect this miracle had upon the people. Even the common Jews expected the Messiah to come into the world, and to be a great Prophet. The Pharisees despised them as not knowing the law; but they knew most of Him who is the end of the law. Yet men may acknowledge Christ as that Prophet, and still turn a deaf ear to him.

Verses 15-21 Here were Christ's disciples in the way of duty, and Christ was praying for them; yet they were in distress. There may be perils and afflictions of this present time, where there is an interest in Christ. Clouds and darkness often surround the children of the light and of the day. They see Jesus walking on the sea. Even the approaches of comfort and deliverance often are so mistaken, as to become the occasions of fear. Nothing is more powerful to convince sinners than that word, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest;" nothing more powerful to comfort saints than this, "I am Jesus whom thou lovest." If we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, though the night be dark, and the wind high, yet we may comfort ourselves, we shall be at the shore before long.

Verses 22-27 Instead of answering the inquiry how he came there, Jesus blamed their asking. The utmost earnestness should be employed in seeking salvation, in the use of appointed means; yet it is to be sought only as the gift of the Son of man. Him the Father has sealed, proved to be God. He declared the Son of man to be the Son of God with power.

Verses 28-35 Constant exercise of faith in Christ, is the most important and difficult part of the obedience required from us, as sinners seeking salvation. When by his grace we are enabled to live a life of faith in the Son of God, holy tempers follow, and acceptable services may be done. God, even his Father, who gave their fathers that food from heaven to support their natural lives, now gave them the true Bread for the salvation of their souls. Coming to Jesus, and believing on him, signify the same. Christ shows that he is the true Bread; he is to the soul what bread is to the body, nourishes and supports the spiritual life. He is the Bread of God. Bread which the Father gives, which he has made to be the food of our souls. Bread nourishes only by the powers of a living body; but Christ is himself living Bread, and nourishes by his own power. The doctrine of Christ crucified is now as strengthening and comforting to a believer as ever it was. He is the Bread which came down from heaven. It denotes the Divinity of Christ's person and his authority; also, the Divine origin of all the good which flows to us through him. May we with understanding and earnestness say, Lord, evermore give us this Bread.

Verses 36-46 The discovery of their guilt, danger, and remedy, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, makes men willing and glad to come, and to give up every thing which hinders applying to him for salvation. The Father's will is, that not one of those who were given to the Son, should be rejected or lost by him. No one will come, till Divine grace has subdued, and in part changed his heart; therefore no one who comes will ever be cast out. The gospel finds none willing to be saved in the humbling, holy manner, made known therein; but God draws with his word and the Holy Ghost; and man's duty is to hear and learn; that is to say, to receive the grace offered, and consent to the promise. None had seen the Father but his beloved Son; and the Jews must expect to be taught by his inward power upon their minds, and by his word, and the ministers whom he sent among them.

Verses 47-51 The advantage of the manna was small, it only referred to this life; but the living Bread is so excellent, that the man who feedeth on it shall never die. This bread is Christ's human nature, which he took to present to the Father, as a sacrifice for the sins of the world; to purchase all things pertaining to life and godliness, for sinners of every nation, who repent and believe in him.

Verses 52-59 The flesh and blood of the Son of man, denote the Redeemer in the nature of man; Christ and him crucified, and the redemption wrought out by him, with all the precious benefits of redemption; pardon of sin, acceptance with God, the way to the throne of grace, the promises of the covenant, and eternal life. These are called the flesh and blood of Christ, because they are purchased by the breaking his body, and the shedding of his blood. Also, because they are meat and drink to our souls. Eating this flesh and drinking this blood mean believing in Christ. We partake of Christ and his benefits by faith. The soul that rightly knows its state and wants, finds whatever can calm the conscience, and promote true holiness, in the redeemer, God manifest in the flesh. Meditating upon the cross of Christ gives life to our repentance, love, and gratitude. We live by him, as our bodies live by our food. We live by him, as the members by the head, the branches by the root: because he lives we shall live also.

Verses 60-65 The human nature of Christ had not before been in heaven, but being God and man, that wondrous Person was truly said to have come down from heaven. The Messiah's kingdom was not of this world; and they were to understand by faith, what he had said of a spiritual living upon him, and his fulness. As without the soul of man the flesh is of no value, so without the quickening Spirit of God all forms of religion are dead and worthless. He who made this provision for our souls, alone can teach us these things, and draw us unto Christ, that we may live by faith in him. Let us apply to Christ, thankful that it is declared that every one who is willing to come unto him shall be made welcome.

Verses 66-71 When we admit into our minds hard thoughts of the words and works of Jesus, we enter into temptation, which, if the Lord in mercy prevent not, will end in drawing back. The corrupt and wicked heart of man often makes that an occasion for offence, which is matter of the greatest comfort. Our Lord had, in the foregoing discourse, promised eternal life to his followers; the disciples fastened on that plain saying, and resolved to cleave to him, when others fastened on hard sayings, and forsook him. Christ's doctrine is the word of eternal life, therefore we must live and die by it. If we forsake Christ, we forsake our own mercies. They believed that this Jesus was the Messiah promised to their fathers, the Son of the living God. When we are tempted to backslide or turn away, it is good to remember first principles, and to keep to them. And let us ever remember our Lord's searching question; Shall we go away and forsake our Redeemer? To whom can we go? He alone can give salvation by the forgiveness of sins. And this alone brings confidence, comfort, and joy, and bids fear and despondency flee away. It gains the only solid happiness in this world, and opens a way to the happiness of the next.

John 6 Commentaries