John 6

1 After this Jesus went away across the Lake of Galilee (that is, the Lake of Tiberias).
2 A vast multitude followed Him, because they witnessed the miracles on the sick which He was constantly performing.
3 Then Jesus went up the hill, and sat there with His disciples.
4 The Jewish Festival, the Passover, was at hand.
5 And when He looked round and saw an immense crowd coming towards Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for all these people to eat?"
6 He said this to put Philip to the test, for He Himself knew what He was going to do.
7 "Seven pounds' worth of bread," replied Philip, "is not enough for them all to get even a scanty meal."
8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him,
9 "There is a boy here with five barley loaves and a couple of fish: but what is that among so many?"
10 "Make the people sit down," said Jesus. The ground was covered with thick grass; so they sat down, the adult men numbering about 5,000.
11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks He distributed them to those who were resting on the ground; and also the fish in like manner--as much as they desired.
12 When all were fully satisfied, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the broken portions that remain over, so that nothing be lost."
13 Accordingly they gathered them up; and with the fragments of the five barley loaves--the broken portions that remained over after they had done eating--they filled twelve baskets.
14 Thereupon the people, having seen the miracle He had performed, said, "This is indeed the Prophet who was to come into the world."
15 Perceiving, however, that they were about to come and carry Him off by force to make Him a king, Jesus withdrew again up the hill alone by Himself.
16 When evening came on, His disciples went down to the Lake.
17 There they got on board a boat, and pushed off to cross the Lake to Capernaum. By this time it had become dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them.
18 The Lake also was getting rough, because a strong wind was blowing.
19 When, however, they had rowed three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the water and coming near the boat.
20 They were terrified; but He called to them. "It is I," He said, "do not be afraid."
21 Then they were willing to take Him on board; and in a moment the boat reached the shore at the point to which they were going.
22 Next morning the crowd who were still standing about on the other side of the Lake found that there had been but one small boat there, and they had seen that Jesus did not go on board with His disciples, but that His disciples went away without Him.
23 Yet a number of small boats came from Tiberias to the neighbourhood of the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
24 When however the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor His disciples were there, they themselves also took boats and came to Capernaum to look for Jesus.
25 So when they had crossed the Lake and had found Him, they asked Him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"
26 "In most solemn truth I tell you," replied Jesus, "that you are searching for me not because you have seen miracles, but because you ate the loaves and had a hearty meal.
27 Bestow your pains not on the food which perishes, but on the food that remains unto the Life of the Ages--that food which will be the Son of Man's gift to you; for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal."
28 "What are we to do," they asked, "in order to carry out the things that God requires?"
29 "This," replied Jesus, "is above all the thing that God requires--that you should be believers in Him whom He has sent."
30 "What miracle then," they asked, "do you perform for us to see and become believers in you? What do you *do*?
31 Our forefathers ate the manna in the Desert, as it is written, `He gave them bread out of Heaven to eat'."
32 "In most solemn truth I tell you," replied Jesus, "that Moses did not give you the bread out of Heaven, but my Father is giving you the bread--the true bread--out of Heaven.
33 For God's bread is that which comes down out of Heaven and gives Life to the world."
34 "Sir," they said, "always give us that bread."
35 "I am the bread of Life," replied Jesus; "he who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never, never thirst.
36 But it is as I have said to you: you have seen me and yet you do not believe.
37 Every one whom the Father gives me will come to me, and him who comes to me I will never on any account drive away.
38 For I have left Heaven and have come down to earth not to seek my own pleasure, but to do the will of Him who sent me.
39 And this is the will of Him who sent me, that of all that He has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it to life on the last day.
40 For this is my Father's will, that every one who fixes his gaze on the Son of God and believes in Him should have the Life of the Ages, and I will raise him to life on the last day."
41 Now the Jews began to find fault about Him because of His claiming to be the bread which came down out of Heaven.
42 They kept asking, "Is not this man Joseph's son? Is he not Jesus, whose father and mother we know? What does he mean by now saying, `I have come down out of Heaven'?"
43 "Do not thus find fault among yourselves," replied Jesus;
44 "no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; then I will raise him to life on the last day.
45 It stands written in the Prophets, `And they shall all of them be taught by God'. Every one who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to me.
46 No one has ever seen the Father--except Him who is from God. He has seen the Father.
47 "In most solemn truth I tell you that he who believes has the Life of the Ages.
48 I am the bread of Life.
49 Your forefathers ate the manna in the Desert, and they died.
50 Here is the bread that comes down out of Heaven that a man may eat it and not die.
51 I am the living bread come down out of Heaven. If a man eats this bread, he shall live for ever. Moreover the bread which I will give is my flesh given for the life of the world."
52 This led to an angry debate among the Jews. "How can this man," they argued, "give us his flesh to eat?"
53 "In most solemn truth I tell you," said Jesus, "that unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no Life in you.
54 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has the Life of the Ages, and I will raise him up on the last day.
55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in union with me, and I remain in union with him.
57 As the ever-living Father has sent me, and I live because of the Father, so also he who eats me will live because of me.
58 This is the bread which came down out of Heaven; it is unlike that which your forefathers ate--for they ate and yet died. He who eats this bread shall live for ever."
59 Jesus said all this in the synagogue while teaching at Capernaum.
60 Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is hard to accept. Who can listen to such teaching?"
61 But, knowing in Himself that His disciples were dissatisfied about it, Jesus asked them,
62 "Does this seem incredible to you? What then if you were to see the Son of Man ascending again where He was before?
63 It is the spirit which gives Life. The flesh confers no benefit whatever. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and are Life.
64 But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.
65 So He added, "That is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it be granted him by the Father."
66 Thereupon many of His disciples left Him and went away, and no longer associated with Him.
67 Jesus therefore appealed to the Twelve. "Will you go also?" He asked.
68 "Master," replied Simon Peter, "to whom shall we go? Your teachings tell us of the Life of the Ages.
69 And we have come to believe and know that *you* are indeed the Holy One of God."
70 "Did not I choose you--the Twelve?" said Jesus, "and even of you one is a devil."
71 He alluded to Judas, the son of Simon the Iscariot. For he it was who, though one of the Twelve, was afterwards 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