John 6

Listen to John 6

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

1 After this 1Jesus went away to the other side of 2the Sea of Galilee, which is 3the Sea of Tiberias.
2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.
3 Jesus went up on 4the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.
4 Now 5the Passover, the 6feast of the Jews, was at hand.
5 7Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to 8Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?"
6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
7 9Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii[a] would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little."
8 One of his disciples, 10Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him,
9 "There is a boy here who has five 11barley loaves and two fish, but 12what are they for so many?"
10 Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." 13Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number.
11 Jesus then took the loaves, and 14when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.
12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost."
13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.
14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, 15"This is indeed 16the Prophet 17who is to come into the world!"
15 18Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus 19withdrew again to 20the mountain by himself.

Jesus Walks on Water

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea,
17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing.
19 When they had rowed about three or four miles,[b] they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.
20 21But he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid."
21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

I Am the Bread of Life

22 On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only 22one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone.
23 Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord 23had given thanks.
24 24So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and 25went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, 26"Rabbi, when did you come here?"
26 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, 27you are seeking me, not because you saw 28signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
27 29Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for 30the food that endures to eternal life, which 31the Son of Man will give to you. For on 32him God the Father has 33set his seal."
28 Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing 34the works of God?"
29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, 35that you believe in him whom 36he has sent."
30 So they said to him, 37"Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?
31 38Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 39'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
32 Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is 40he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
34 They said to him, 41"Sir, give us this bread always."
35 Jesus said to them, 42"I am the bread of life; 43whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
37 44All that 45the Father gives me will come to me, and 46whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
38 For 47I have come down from heaven, not to do 48my own will but 49the will of him 50who sent me.
39 And 51this is the will of him who sent me, 52that I should lose nothing of 53all that he has given me, but 54raise it up on the last day.
40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who 55looks on the Son and 56believes in him 57should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, 58"I am the bread that came down from heaven."
42 They said, 59"Is not this Jesus, 60the son of Joseph, whose father and mother 61we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?"
43 Jesus answered them, "Do not grumble among yourselves.
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me 62draws him. And 63I will raise him up on the last day.
45 It is written in the Prophets, 64'And they will all be 65taught by God.'66Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me--
46 67not that anyone has seen the Father except 68he who is from God; he 69has seen the Father.
47 Truly, truly, I say to you, 70whoever believes has eternal life.
48 71I am the bread of life.
49 72Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and 73they died.
50 74This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it 75and not die.
51 I am the living bread 76that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give 77for the life of the world is 78my flesh."
52 The Jews then 79disputed among themselves, saying, 80"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of 81the Son of Man and drink his blood, you 82have no life in you.
54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood 83has eternal life, and 84I will raise him up on the last day.
55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood 85abides in me, and I in him.
57 As 86the living Father 87sent me, and 88I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.
58 89This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread[c] the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever."
59 Jesus[d] said these things in the synagogue, as he taught 90at Capernaum.

The Words of Eternal Life

60 91When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"
61 But Jesus, 92knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, "Do you take offense at this?
62 Then what if you were to see 93the Son of Man 94ascending to 95where he was before?
63 96It is the Spirit who gives life; 97the flesh is no help at all. 98The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
64 But 99there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus 100knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and 101who it was who would betray him.)
65 And he said, "This is why I told you 102that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."
66 103After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
67 So Jesus said to 104the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?"
68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have 105the words of eternal life,
69 and 106we have believed, and have come to know, that 107you are 108the Holy One of God."
70 Jesus answered them, 109"Did I not choose you, 110the Twelve? And yet one of you is 111a devil."
71 He spoke of Judas 112the son of Simon Iscariot, for 113he, one of the Twelve, was going 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.

Cross References 113

  • 1. For ver. 1-13, see Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17
  • 2. See Matthew 4:18
  • 3. John 21:1
  • 4. ver. 15
  • 5. John 2:13; John 11:55; See Exodus 12
  • 6. John 5:1; John 7:2
  • 7. Luke 6:20
  • 8. John 1:44
  • 9. [Mark 6:37]
  • 10. John 1:40, 44
  • 11. 2 Kings 4:42, 43
  • 12. 2 Kings 4:42, 43
  • 13. [Mark 6:39]
  • 14. ver. 23; See Matthew 15:36
  • 15. See John 4:19
  • 16. John 1:21; John 7:40; See Matthew 21:11
  • 17. John 11:27; See Matthew 11:3
  • 18. [John 12:12-15]
  • 19. For ver. 15-21, see Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-51; [Matthew 8:18]
  • 20. ver. 3
  • 21. [Luke 24:38, 39]
  • 22. John 21:8
  • 23. ver. 11
  • 24. For ver. 24, 25, [Matthew 14:34-36; Mark 6:53-56]
  • 25. ver. 17, 59
  • 26. See John 1:38
  • 27. ver. 24
  • 28. ver. 2
  • 29. Isaiah 55:2
  • 30. [ver. 35, 50, 51, 54, 58]
  • 31. See Daniel 7:13
  • 32. [John 5:36, 37; John 10:36]
  • 33. [Ezekiel 9:4; Romans 4:11; 1 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Timothy 2:19]; See John 3:33
  • 34. 1 Corinthians 15:58; Revelation 2:26
  • 35. 1 John 3:23
  • 36. See John 3:17
  • 37. See Matthew 12:38
  • 38. ver. 49, 58; Exodus 16:15; Numbers 11:7-9
  • 39. Cited from Nehemiah 9:15; [Psalms 78:24, 25; Psalms 105:40; 1 Corinthians 10:3]
  • 40. ver. 50
  • 41. See John 4:15, 33
  • 42. ver. 41, 48, 51; [ver. 58]
  • 43. John 4:14; John 7:37; [John 5:40; Matthew 11:28; Revelation 7:16]
  • 44. ver. 39; John 17:2
  • 45. John 10:29; John 17:6, 9, 24
  • 46. John 10:28; John 17:12
  • 47. See John 3:13
  • 48. See John 5:30
  • 49. See John 5:30
  • 50. See John 4:34
  • 51. John 10:28, 29; Matthew 18:14
  • 52. John 17:12; John 18:9
  • 53. ver. 37
  • 54. ver. 40, 44, 54; [John 11:25; 1 Corinthians 6:14]
  • 55. John 12:45; John 14:17, 19
  • 56. ver. 47; John 3:15, 16
  • 57. ver. 27, 54; John 4:14
  • 58. ver. 33, 35, 38
  • 59. See Matthew 13:55
  • 60. See John 1:45
  • 61. John 7:27, 28
  • 62. John 12:32; Jeremiah 31:3; Hosea 11:4; [ver. 65; John 4:23]
  • 63. ver. 39
  • 64. Cited from Isaiah 54:13; [Jeremiah 31:33, 34; Hebrews 8:10, 11]
  • 65. 1 Corinthians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 John 2:20
  • 66. [ver. 37]
  • 67. See John 1:18
  • 68. See John 7:29
  • 69. [John 3:32; John 8:38]
  • 70. See John 3:36
  • 71. See ver. 35
  • 72. See ver. 31
  • 73. ver. 58
  • 74. ver. 33
  • 75. ver. 51, 58
  • 76. John 3:13
  • 77. ver. 57; Luke 22:19
  • 78. ver. 53-56; [John 1:14]
  • 79. John 9:16; John 10:19
  • 80. ver. 60; John 3:9
  • 81. ver. 27
  • 82. See John 20:31
  • 83. See ver. 40
  • 84. ver. 39
  • 85. John 15:4, 5; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:13, 15, 16
  • 86. [John 5:26]; See Matthew 16:16
  • 87. See John 3:17
  • 88. John 11:25; Revelation 1:18
  • 89. ver. 31, 33, 49-51
  • 90. ver. 24
  • 91. ver. 66; [ver. 64]
  • 92. [John 2:24, 25]
  • 93. ver. 27
  • 94. See Mark 16:19
  • 95. [John 17:5]; See John 3:13
  • 96. [1 Corinthians 15:45; 2 Corinthians 3:6]
  • 97. John 3:6
  • 98. ver. 68
  • 99. ver. 66
  • 100. [See ver. 61 above]
  • 101. ver. 71; John 13:11
  • 102. ver. 44, 45; John 3:27
  • 103. ver. 60, 64
  • 104. ver. 70, 71
  • 105. Acts 5:20; [John 12:50; John 17:8]
  • 106. [John 11:27; 1 John 4:16]
  • 107. See John 1:49
  • 108. See Mark 1:24
  • 109. See John 13:18
  • 110. [See ver. 67 above]
  • 111. John 13:2, 27; John 17:12
  • 112. John 13:26
  • 113. ver. 64, 67

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. A denarius was a day's wage for a laborer
  • [b]. Greek twenty-five or thirty stadia; a stadion was about 607 feet or 185 meters
  • [c]. Greek lacks the bread
  • [d]. Greek He

John 6 Commentaries

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