JESUS CROSSED TO THE FAR SHORE: He separates his
disciples from the world -- by water. Jesus needs solitude for thought and
prayer (cp Isa 50;4; Psa 119:147,148). A list of "solitude passages": Mar
1:35-37; 3:7,9,20,21; 4:35-38; 6:31; 7:17,18,24; 8:10,11,27; 9:30; 10:32;
SEA OF TIBERIAS: This name used only in Gospel of John.
City of Tiberias was of no consequence until after AD 70. Thus this mention
fixes date of writing at after AD 70 (LB 398).
And he had compassion of them, and healed them: Mat 14:14; Mar
6:35; Luk 9:11.
THEN JESUS WENT UP ON A MOUNTAINSIDE: Instances of
Jesus withdrawing into a mountain, apart -- sometimes for privacy and prayer,
and sometimes to instruct his followers: Mat 5:1; 8:1; 14:23; 15:29; 17:1; 24:3;
28:16; Mark 3:13; 6:46; 9:2; 13:3; Luke 6:12; 9:28; 22:39; John 6:3,15;
THE JEWISH PASSOVER: The third of 4 Passovers (see note
below). Thus, a one-year gap between Joh 5 and Joh 6.
John lists all four Passovers in Jesus' ministry: Joh 2:13;
5:1; 6:4; 13:1. Proof of 3 1/2 year ministry.
JESUS LOOKED UP AND SAW A GREAT CROWD: At this sight,
Jesus "he had compassion on them" (Mar 6:34; cp Heb 4:15).
WHERE: Actually, "out of what resources".
WOULD NOT BUY ENOUGH: Lit, "is not sufficient". Sw Exo
12:4. Philip's desperation matches that of Moses (Num 11:11,22).
FOR EACH ONE TO HAVE A BITE: Man gives sparingly; Jesus
gives bountifully (v 11).
PLENTY OF GRASS: "Green grass" (Mar 6:39), indicating
spring and time of Passover.
AND THE MEN SAT DOWN: Cp special ordering of wilderness
encampments (Num 2).
...TOOK THE LOAVES, GAVE THANKS, AND DISTRIBUTED: The
language of the Last Supper.
AS MUCH AS THEY WANTED: "Satisfied with the bread of
heaven": Psa 105:40; cp Psa 22:26; 132:13-16; Isa 25:6-8.
GATHER THE PIECES: Kept, like manna in the pot: Heb
LET NOTHING BE WASTED: In ministering to others, they
lost nothing themselves. (In the sacrifice of Christ, there is ample provision
for all to be filled.) "That I shall lose none of all that he has given me" (Joh
TWELVE BASKETS: "Kophinos" = small basket, in ct
"spuris" (large basket) of Mat 15:37; Mar 8:8. Twelve full baskets, ie, the 12
apostles, full of the "bread" of life. In ministering to others, they lost
nothing themselves. (In the atonement of Christ, there is ample provision for
PIECES: Which the Canaanite woman, like a "dog" under
the Jewish "table", was only too willing to eat (Mat 15:27; Mar 7:28).
THE PROPHET: Deu 18:15-19.
KNOWING THAT THEY INTENDED TO COME AND MAKE HIM KING BY
FORCE: "The waves of popular acclaim might have drowned him in a glory which
was suffocation in the sea of men" (NMk 63).
WITHDREW AGAIN TO A MOUNTAIN BY HIMSELF: From the
"mount", Christ could see his disciples on the troubled sea, going toward
Bethsaida (Mar 6:45). At the appropriate time, ie when they were in the greatest
need, he could go to them.
Instances of Jesus withdrawing into a mountain, apart --
sometimes for privacy and prayer, and sometimes to instruct his followers: Mat
5:1; 8:1; 14:23; 15:29; 17:1; 24:3; 28:16; Mark 3:13; 6:46; 9:2; 13:3; Luke
6:12; 9:28; 22:39; John 6:3,15; 8:1.
Christ first breaks bread -- signifying his own body in death
-- and then, when his disciples are in distress on a troubled sea, comes to calm
and save them -- his second coming!
AND JESUS HAD NOT YET JOINED THEM: And when he did, it
would leave them terrified (v 19)! Surely a lesson for us: our prayers may be
answered, but it can be a frightening experience (cp Peter's release from
prison: Acts 12).
A STRONG WIND WAS BLOWING AND THE WATERS GREW ROUGH:
"Life can present a picture of a dark and turbulent sea with Jesus afar off. It
is the slow triumph of faith to see him on the heights above in communion and
intercession with his Father. Sometimes he comes to us in the midst of the
storms and darkness, in unfamiliar form which we must learn to recognize. We are
quick to appreciate, if we are slow to learn, that when we walk over the waters
to meet him, we must not be dismayed by the darkness, the wind or the waves; we
must believe that his power is greater far; that he can save even unto the
uttermost: that faith can only be sustained by keeping our eyes fixed lovingly
and obediently upon him" (MP 193).
WALKING ON THE WATER: "He was about to pass by them"
THEY WERE TERRIFIED: They thought he was a ghost (Mar
Parable: Christ first breaks bread (Joh 6:11) -- his body in
death -- then comes to calm disciples on stormy sea -- the Second Coming -- at
last bringing them safely to shore (the Kingdom!).
Vv 25-65: Numerous allusions to Psa 78: Moses gives them bread
from heaven in the wilderness.
RABBI, WHEN DID YOU GET HERE?: Did they suspect that he
had passed THROUGH the sea, like Moses and Joshua?
Paraphrase: 'You did not truly see (ie understand) the
miracles! You just ate the bread!' The disciples were blind to the spiritual
significance. "In a single gesture Jesus swept into oblivion the mighty work of
yesterday; he all but repudiated it because it had dazzled their eyes, and
diverted their attention from the true bread" (MP 194).
DO NOT... BUT...: "Not only, but also" (Hos
SEAL OF APPROVAL: The affixing of royal credentials, so
as to protect and retain for imperial use. (As Moses "sealed" manna in golden
WHAT MUST WE DO...?: That is, 'How shall we claim our
own kingdom, as our fathers did in Joshua's day?' Answer (v 29): 'The first
thing you must do is believe in me, as God's special prophet!'
TO BELIEVE IN: "In" = "eis" -- into! To "believe into"
Christ is to be "believe" and "be baptized".
WHAT MIRACULOUS SIGN THEN WILL YOU GIVE...?: Moses had
brought plagues against Israel's masters, and freed God's people. They are
suggesting that Moses' successor should do likewise to free them from the
A deprecating comparison of Jesus with Moses. Moses had
provided manna for 40 years. 'Continue to give bread and we might
IT IS NOT MOSES... BUT IT IS MY FATHER: Christ's answer
to v 31: 'God, not Moses, provided that manna in the wilderness.'
THE BREAD OF GOD: An ambiguous phrase: either (1) the
bread God gives man, or (2) the bread God receives in sacrifice from men. This
second theme will be developed by Jesus in the vv that follow.
HE: Or "that" (RV). Is he referring to the lit manna
here, or to himself as the spiritual manna? Or both?
WHO COMES DOWN FROM HEAVEN: Or, poss, "that comes
down". But the manna in the wilderness did not literally float down from the
heavens; rather, it was manufactured upon the earth by Divine power. Similarly,
Jesus did not float down from heaven lit, but was created by Divine power in the
womb of his mother Mary.
I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE: Seven times he gives this same
key message: vv 35, 40, 44, 47, 51, 54, 58.
Seven "I am's" of John: "the bread of life" (Joh 6:35); "the
light of the world" (Joh 9:5); "the door" (Joh 10:9); "the good shepherd" (Joh
10:11); "the way" (Joh 14:6); "the resurrection and the life" (Joh 11:25); and
"the vine" (Joh 15:1).
WILL NEVER GO HUNGRY: The literal bread Christ provided
lasted one meal, whereas Moses "gave bread" for 40 years. But the spiritual
"bread of life" provided by Christ will last FOREVER.
WILL NEVER BE THIRSTY: Although the main subject is
bread, yet Christ -- with the Passover motif in mind -- alludes to the wine of
the Passover feast (sym his blood).
WHOEVER COMES TO ME I WILL NEVER DRIVE AWAY: As Adam
and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:24).l
I HAVE COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN: In virgin birth (Luk
1:27). Figuratively, as bread, the manna of life: cp vv 33, 51. Also cp Exo 3:8:
"I am come down."
THAT I SHALL LOSE NONE: The lesson of the fragments: v
In v 39, the divine perspective: "that I should lose none". In
v 40, the human perspective: "I will raise him up".
THE JEWS: The rulers, but where were they? Hiding among
the crowd and "secretly" observing! Cp the 13 murmurings in the wilderness: Exo
5:21; 14:10; 15:24; 16:2; 17:2; 32:1; Num 11:1,4; 12:2; 14:2; 16:3; 20:2; 21:5.
Those who murmur without cause are soon given cause to murmur.
WHOSE FATHER... WE KNOW: Present tense: was Joseph
Cp Dan 10:2; Song 1:4; Act 2:39; Joh 15:16.
DRAWS: The Father draws by the Word: Rom 10:17; Jam
1:18; 1Pe 1:23,25.
THEY WILL BE TAUGHT BY GOD: "The people of God are ever
anxious to learn. They have no time for or patience with foolishness. They do
not want to be amused, or excited, or entertained -- they want to be taught.
They are ever eager to learn more about God and His Word -- what He has said,
and what He has done -- the marvelous and beautiful kaleidoscope of divine and
human events from Adam in Eden to John in Patmos. They never have time hanging
on their hands. They never have 'nothing to do' -- the pitiful bane of empty,
infantile minds. All the spare time in their busy, active lives is given to
study and meditation on the wonders of the Word. They begrudge time spent --
even necessarily -- on present, passing things: though, in love and faith, and
stumbling, slow-learning patience, they realize that these things too, if
necessary, can equally be a service to, and communion with, their loving Father"
Eternal life, not actually a present possession: Joh 5:24; 1Jo
5:13r. See Lesson, Eternal life now?
// Rev 2:17.
YOUR FOREFATHERS: "Yours", not mine! They were
faithless and died in the wilderness.
THE LIVING BREAD: Not like the corruptible
HE WILL LIVE FOREVER: "...To reach out his hand and
take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever" (Gen 3:22).
MY FLESH: Jesus partook of "flesh and blood", ie human
nature: Heb 2:14,18; 4:15; Rom 8:3.
Does this teach "transubstantiation" (ie that at Catholic Mass
the "priest" lit turns the bread into Christ's flesh, and the wine into his
blood)? Of course not. Notice v 63: "the flesh counts for nothing".
UNLESS... YOU HAVE NO LIFE: Nevertheless, some eat the
bread to their own condemnation: 1Co 11:29.
'I am the covenant-victim,' Jesus says. 'And if you want to be
a part of this covenant between my Father and Abraham, the eternal covenant --
involving the forgiveness of sins, freely provided by the Father through me, and
resurrection from the dead to a Kingdom inheritance -- then you must partake of
the covenant-victim. You must meet with the Father between the pieces of the
sacrifice, and eat of my flesh, and drink of my blood.'
To "eat" of Christ is to live the sort of life he lived: see
the idiom in Eze 3:3; Jer 15:16; Pro 9:5; Rev 10:9,10. See Lesson, Eternal life now?
REAL: Not that which is "true" in ct to that which is
"false", but that which is "real" or "substantial" in ct to that which is
"symbolic" or "typical".
REMAINS IN ME, AND I IN HIM: "We abide in him because
we are his members, but he abides in us because we are his temple."
WILL LIVE FOREVER: "...To reach out his hand and take
also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever" (Gen 3:22). Cp v
GRUMBLING: Exo 16:7,8.
ASCEND TO WHERE HE WAS BEFORE: Might mean: ascend out
of grave to stand on earth again [the proof of resurrection was seen by
hundreds, but the proof of ascension by only 11]. Or perhaps the language of
theophany: Gen 11:5; 18:21; Exo 3:7,8; 19:11,18,20; 34:5; Psa 18:9,10; 19:8; Pro
30:4; Isa 64:1; Eph 4:9,10. (Context: the manna from heaven was preserved by
being laid up in the most holy place: Heb 9:4; Exo 16:33,34.)
THE SPIRIT: The Spirit-life in Christ: 2Co 3:4,6; Rom
8:9,10; 1Co 15:45.
THE WORDS I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU ARE SPIRIT AND THEY ARE
LIFE: "John the apostle says, 'the spirit is the truth'. He had learned this
from Jesus, who said, 'It is the spirit that quickeneth: the words that I speak
unto you are spirit and life'; and because the apostles believed this, Peter
declared that the words he delivered were 'the words of eternal life'. Paul's
testimony upon this point is equally forcible: 'The word of God' saith he, 'is
quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the
dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a
discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart'. This word was developed by
the Spirit moving holy men of old to write the purposes, promises and teaching
of God in a Book called the Scriptures. Hence the truth revealed in these is
styled 'Spirit', because it came by spirit, and is quickening. He that is
quickened by the truth, then, is quickened by spirit, and he that is not
quickened by the truth, is not quickened by spirit. Hence, Paul declares the
converting power to be in scripture given by inspiration of God, in testifying
that it is able to make wise to salvation through the faith which is in Christ
Jesus. When we consider what he states the scripture is able to do, we must be
satisfied that no other agency in conversion is needed than the scripture in the
mouth of faithful men who are able to teach others. He says, 'it is profitable
for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.'
Our proposition, then, is this: He that is taught of the written word is taught
of God; and that a man hath just so much of the Spirit of God in him, as he hath
of the truth in him intelligently and affectionately believed" (JT, Herald
The coming betrayal by one is necessary so that the true
"bread" may be given to others.
They went back to the "company" of those who ate manna in the
wilderness and are dead (Joh 6:49). It is an interesting coincidence that a
verse -- here -- which speaks of "apostasy" (ie turning away) should be
identified by 3 sixes (cp Rev 13:18)!
'I chose you 12, so I know what is in each of you.' One should
have "gone back" (v 66), but did not! There is therefore an election by grace,
from which one may fall.