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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

John 6

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.

Ver. 1. After these things] i.e. A good while after; Herod having beheaded the Baptist, and being perplexed at the fame of Jesus, whom therefore he desired to see, but for an evil purpose, Luke 9:8-9.


Verse 2

2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.

Ver. 2. And a great multitude followed him] Though he went privately into a desert place belonging to Bethsaida, Luke 9:10. The Sun of righteousness could not be hidden, for he had "healing in his wings," Malachi 4:2.


Verse 3

3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.

Ver. 3. And Jesus went up into a mount] {See Trapp on "Matthew 5:1"} He would have been private till the passover and refreshed himself with his disciples; but seeing God had now put a new opportunity into his hands of benefiting many, he would not neglect it.


Verse 4

4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.

Ver. 4. And the passover] The third passover (likely) after his baptism. And this might occasion him to speak of the spiritual eating of himself, the true Paschal Lamb: for even "Christ our passover was sacrificed for us," 1 Corinthians 5:7.


Verse 5

5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?

Ver. 5. He saith unto Philip] The people took no thought for food. Christ doth it for them. And surely if he so far provided for those, that out of a sudden motion, and no great good intention, came out after him, can we think he will be wanting to those that seek him constantly, and with full purpose of heart adhere unto him?


Verse 6

6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.

Ver. 6. And this he said to prove him] To discover him to himself: for what a man is in truth is what he is in a temptation. {See Trapp on "Matthew 14:17"}


Verse 7

7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.

Ver. 7. Two hundred penny-worth] And where will you have half the money? send them away therefore, rid your hands honestly of them, and let us rest and refresh ourselves, as we resolved to do when we first retired hither. Thus he.


Verse 8

8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,

Ver. 8. One of his disciples] He uttered the sense of all the twelve, Mark 6:37, being no whit wiser than the rest, though the eldest disciple of them all, John 1:41.


Verse 9

9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

Ver. 9. Five barley loaves and two small fishes] Was not Tyrabosco hardly driven, when from these five loaves and two fishes, he concluded seven sacraments? So in the second Council of Nice under Irene, John (one of the envoys of the Eastern churches) proved the making of images lawful, because God had said, "Let us make man after our own image." A sound argument to overthrow one of God’s commandments! and yet it prevailed.


Verse 10

10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

Ver. 10. Make the men sit down] And they did so, though they saw no sense for it. This kind of blind obedience is very acceptable: Clausis oculis Deum sequi debemus ducem. We must wink and put ourselves into God’s hand to be led whither he pleaseth.


Verse 11

11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

Ver. 11. He distributed to the disciples] These five loaves (by a strange kind of arithmetic) were multiplied by division, and augmented by subtraction. The Macedonians found, that not getting, but giving, is the way to thrive, 2 Corinthians 9:8. Ex fame quaestum captabat Iosephus; et benignitate sua emit Egyptum: Nos etiam coelum. So in spiritual alms and good offices: God’s gifts grow in the hands of them that employ them, to feed many. Salienti aquarum fonti undas si tollas, nec exhauritur, nec extenuatur, sed dulcescit. Scientia, docendi officio, dulcedinem sentiat, non minutias.


Verse 12

12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.

Ver. 12. When they were filled] {See Trapp on "Matthew 14:20"}


Verse 13

13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

Ver. 13. Filled twelve baskets] See 1 Kings 17:15-16, Matthew 14:20, {See Trapp on "Matthew 14:20"}


Verse 14

14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

Ver. 14. This is of a truth that prophet] Yet anon they are at it, "What sign showest thou?" that you may know them to be the Pharisees’ disciples. Of whose sour leaven also that in the next verse savours; where they would needs take him by force to make him a king, John 6:15. They could not imagine a Messiah that had not an earthly kingdom.


Verse 15

15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

Ver. 15. Take him by force] Superstition will needs obtrude upon Christ will worship, whether he will or no, and despite him with seeming honours, as the Lycaonians would needs have stolen a sacrifice upon Paul and Barnabas; and the savages of Nova Albion upon Sir Francis Drake and his company, at their parting with them. They had set it on fire ere we were aware, saith he; we laboured by all means to withhold or withdraw them, but could not prevail, till at length we fell to prayers and singing of psalms, whereby they were allured immediately to forget their folly, and leave their sacrifice unconsumed, suffering the fire to go out; and imitating us in all their actions, they fell a lifting up their hands and eyes to heaven as they saw us to do.


Verse 16

16 And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea,

Ver. 16. His disciples went down to the sea] By Christ’s own command, Matthew 14:22; Mark 6:45, yet they met with a sore storm. So may the best with trouble, in their most lawful employmeats, Psalms 34:18. But these make them look to their tackling, patience; to their anchor, hope; to their helm, faith; to their ace card, the Word; to their Captain, Christ, who is ever at hand.


Verse 17

17 And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.

Ver. 17. Jesus was not come to them] This was worse to them than the storm. It was woeful with Saul when the Philistines were upon him, and God would not come at him, nor answer him, 1 Samuel 28:15. So when danger or death is upon a man, and God is far from him. That doom, "I will not show you favour," Jeremiah 16:13, was worse than their captivity.


Verse 18

18 And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.

Ver. 18. {See Trapp on "Matthew 14:24"}


Verse 19

19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.

Ver. 19. They were afraid] See Matthew 14:26-27.


Verse 20

20 But he saith unto them, It is I be not afraid.

Ver. 20. They were afraid] See Matthew 14:26-27.


Verse 21

21 Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.

Ver. 21. Immediately the ship was at land] A dying saint hath no sooner taken death into his bosom, but he is immediately landed at the quay (harbour) of Canaan, at the kingdom of heaven. Fugiendum est ad clarissimam patriam: ibi pater, ibi omnia, said Plotinus the Platonist. (Aug. Civ. Dei. ix. 17.)


Verse 22

22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone;

Ver. 22. On the other side of the sea] The lake of Gennesareth: over the which those were said to pass, that passed some creeks or bays to go the nearer way.


Verse 23

23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)

Ver. 23. After that the Lord had given thanks] {See Trapp on "Matthew 14:19"}


Verse 24

24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.

Ver. 24. Seeking for Jesus] But not for Jesus’ sake. See John 6:26.


Verse 25

25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

Ver. 25. Rabbi, when camest thou hither?] This question they moved, not so much to learn what they knew not, as to make show of what they knew before. But two things make a man truly virtuous, -good actions and good aims. Finibus non officiis a vitiis discernuntur virtutes, saith Augustine: The end maketh or marreth the act. Christus opera nostra non tam actibus quam finibus pensat, saith another. The glory of God should consume all sinister ends, as the sunlight puts out the fire, or as Moses’ serpent swallowed up the sorcerers’ serpents.


Verse 26

26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

Ver. 26. Because ye did eat of the loaves] More than for love, Vix diligitur Iesus propter Iesum. Scarcely esteeming Jesus for Jesus’ sake. (Aug.) But as the mixed multitude came out of Egypt with Israel for a better fortune, and as he, Matthew 20:13; "agreed for a penny;" as the harlot looks to the love tokens more than to the donor; so was it here. Worldlings, Ubi non vident quaestum, rident Christum: Ubi datur ut edant, adduci possunt, ut credant: they serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies.

" Haud facile invenias multis e millibus unum

Virtutem pretium qui putet esse sui."


Verse 27

27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Ver. 27. Labour not for the meat, &c.] When Basil was tempted with money and preferment, he answers, Pecuniam da quae permaneat, ac continuo duret, gloriam quae semper floreat. The fashion of this world passeth away, as the water of a river that runs by a city, or as a fair picture drawn upon the ice that melts away with it. Men come to the world’s felicities, as to a lottery, with heads full of hopes, but return with hearts full of blanks.

Labour for the meat that endureth] We may not dream of a delicacy in God’s ways, or think that good things will drop out of the clouds to us, as towns were said to come into Timothy’s toils while he slept. We must be at pains for heaven. Laborandum Working was one of the emperor’s mottoes, and may be every Christian’s. Strive they must even to an agony, { αγωνιζεσθε, Luke 13:24} ere they can get into the strait gate; together with our stooping, there must be a certain stripping of ourselves.


Verse 28

28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Ver. 28. That we might work] We would still be working, weaving a web of righteousness of our own, spinning a thread of our own to climb up to heaven by, that we might say with the spider, Nulli debeo; and with that Popish merit monger, Coelum gratis non accipiam, I will not have heaven of free cost. Men would have heaven as a purchase. I would swim through a sea of brimstone, said one, that I might come to heaven at last. But those that cry haec ego feci, I do this, Luther wittily calls the devil’s faeces; dregs, as those that seek to be saved by their good works, he fitly calls the devil’s martyrs; because they suffer much and take much pains to go to hell. Let us all take heed of this piece of natural Popery; and learn to be in duty in respect of performance, and yet out of duty in respect of dependance. We are all apt to do otherwise; and like broken chapmen (merchant) we would still be chaffering, if but for small matters; and think to be saved for a company of poor beggarly businesses.


Verse 29

29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Ver. 29. This is the work of God] The το εργον. It is an easy matter to believe (thinks the worldling), but he that goes about it shall find it as hard a work to believe the gospel, as to keep the law. {a} For God must enable to both. Non minus difficile est nobis velle credere It is no less difficult for us to wish to believe than for a corpse to wish to. (saith Beza) quam cadaver; volare. We believe with much conflict, saith another. {b} The combat was not so great between Michael and Satan about Moses’ dead body, as between Satan and the believer concerning Christ’s living body. Faith is fain to tug and wrestle for it, till it sweat again.

{a} Rogers of Faith.

{b} Dike of the Deceitful Heart.


Verse 30

30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?

Ver. 30. What sign showest thou?] sc. From heaven; such as manna was {See Trapp on "Matthew 12:38"} for otherwise, they lacked no signs. But Christ’s doctrine discontented them: and hence these peevish questions, or cavils rather, all to slip collar. In the kingdom of Congo, in Africa, the Portuguese, at their first arrival, finding the people to be heathens and without God, did induce them to a profession of Christ, and to be baptized in great abundance, allowing for the principles of religion; until such time as the priests pressed them to lead their lives according to their profession; which the most part of them in no case enduring, they returned back again to their gentilism, forgetting also soon after the very names they received when they were baptized.


Verse 31

31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

Ver. 31. Our fathers did eat manna in the desert] Here they bewray themselves, and confirm what our Saviour had said of them, John 6:26, viz. that they followed him only for provender. Sic sorex suo perit indicio. So the fish sepia {a} is discovered and taken by the black colour that it casteth up purposely to conceal itself.

{a} A cuttle fish which secrets a pigment of a rich brown colour (used in monochrome water-colour painting). ŒD


Verse 32

32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

Ver. 32. I am the true bread] Whereof manna was but a type. Manna is said to have all sorts of good tastes in it: Christ hath so to his. Manna descended in the dew; so doth Christ in his word preached. See Exodus 16:14-21, Numbers 11:7-9. {See Trapp on "Numbers 11:7"} {See Trapp on "Numbers 11:8"} {See Trapp on "Numbers 11:9"}


Verse 33

33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

Ver. 33. Which came down from heaven] From the highest heaven (not out of the middle region of the air only, as manna), and is the true ambrosia.


Verse 34

34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

Ver. 34. Lord, evermore give us this bread] This they speak jeeringly, as the woman of Samaria did in like case, John 4:15.


Verse 35

35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Ver. 35. I am that bread of life] Christ, passing by that bitter scoff of theirs, proceeds to teach them. The servant of the Lord must "not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient in meekness, instructing those that oppose themselves," &c., 2 Timothy 2:24.

Shall never hunger] That is, shall never be painfully or despairingly hungry, utterly destitute of grace and glory; but shall continually feed at the feast of a good conscience, and at length sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.


Verse 36

36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

Ver. 36. Ye have seen me] But not savingly. Your understandings have been gilded over with a common kind of supernatural light, Hebrews 6:4, but not to a transmentation. You have seen me as a traveller seeth the pomp and splendour of a foreign court, or as men see far countries in maps, with an intuitive insight, &c.


Verse 37

37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Ver. 37. All that the Father giveth me] Gr. παντα, all things, that is, the whole community of Christians, all the elect, of which number you plainly show yourselves to be none by your want of the faith of God’s elect, that distinctive character. Wisdom is justified of all her children.

I will in no wise cast out] Gr. ου μη εκβαλω εξω, I will not not, cast out out. A powerful speech, and a most comfortable consideration. Who would not come to Jesus Christ upon such sweetest encouragement? Surely as all that were in debt and distress came to David, and he became their captain; so should all afflicted spirits come to the Son of David, the Captain of our salvation. Non autem pedibus itur ad Christum, sed affectibus, &c., Moreover he should not come to Christ but with affection, where this life giving carcase is, thither let the eagles resort.


Verse 38

38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

Ver. 38. Not to do mine own will] As man, he did his Father’s will; as God, he hath the same will with the Father.


Verse 39

39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

Ver. 39. I should raise it up again] By virtue of the union, a substance is preserved, and shall be raised up again to glory; yea, "the dead in Christ shall rise first," 1 Thessalonians 4:16, by virtue derived from Christ’s resurrection, and by the mighty influence thereof. For he was raised to be a root and fountain of all supernatural life, both of our souls and bodies.


Verse 40

40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Ver. 40. Which seeth the Son and believeth] This these Jews did not, John 6:36. Some slight knowledge of Christ they had; but it amounted not to a saving faith. {See Trapp on "John 6:36"} Meteors hang awhile in the air, but are not of strength enough to ascend to the upper region hence they soon vanish.

And I will raise him up] This is four different times repeated, that we may rest secure of it, and be comforted. Fiducia Christianorum resurrectio mortuorum, the faith of the Christians is by the ressurection of the dead, saith Tertullian.


Verse 41

41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

Ver. 41. The Jews therefore murmured] They were as good at this as ever their fathers had been in the wilderness, and afterwards, Zechariah 7:12; Acts 7:51.


Verse 42

42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

Ver. 42. The son of Joseph] Who was Christi pater putativus, politicus, secudum dici, non secundum esse.

How is it then] Wretched men dare reprehend what they do not comprehend.


Verse 43

43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.

Ver. 43. Murmur not among yourselves] q.d. I give you no just cause so to do. You carry your galls in your ears, as some creatures are said to do, hence you are so embittered; your mouths are out of taste, and hence you so disrelish my doctrine.


Verse 44

44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Ver. 44. No man can come to me, except, &c.] Down then goes the Dagon of free will, with all that vitreum acumen glass point of all the patrons thereof; whether Pagans or Papagans, Pelagians or Semi-pelagians. Let them say never so much Ignavis opus est auxilio divino; Quod vivimus Deorum munus est; quod bene sancteque vivimus, nostrum. Lazy work is with the help of God; we live because the service is of the gods; we live because it is well consecrated of us. (Sen.) A wiser than the wisest of them tells us here another tale; and elsewhere, John 15:5; "Without me ye can do nothing." Where Austin observes that our Saviour saith not perficere, to finish, but facere; to do; nor doth he say, Without me ye can do no hard thing, but nothing. And the same church father notes that sub laudibus naturae latent inimiei gratiae. The friends of free will are enemies to free grace.

God the Father draw him] By a merciful violence, ex nolentibus volentes facit. {See Trapp on "Song of Solomon 1:4"} The Father draweth, and the man cometh; that notes the efficacy of grace, and this the sweetness of grace. Grace works strongly, and therefore God is said to draw; and it works sweetly too, and therefore man is said to come.


Verse 45

45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

Ver. 45. And they shall be all taught of God] i.e. All the children of the Church, Jeremiah 31:34, and why not the infants of believing parents also? since they are disciples, Acts 15:10, taught of God from the least to the greatest, Isaiah 54:13; dedicated in their baptism to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost by their parents’ promise, purpose, and prayer, and so put under God’s teaching; whereof they are capable, as also of the operation of the Holy Ghost, even from their mother’s womb, Luke 1:15. God also hath promised to pour his Spirit upon them, Joel 2:28; Isaiah 59:21. And after our Saviour had here said "They shall be all taught of God," he presently subjoineth, "Every one that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." Where note, that he saith not, Whosoever hath heard and learned of the preacher, but of the Father, cometh unto me. Now, infants can come unto Christ, and none must forbid them. They have also the full sight of God’s face in heaven; they may therefore have a glimpse of it here; they being his children, Ezekiel 16:20-21, his servants, Leviticus 25:41-42, in covenant with him, Deuteronomy 26:10-12.


Verse 46

46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

Ver. 46. He hath seen the Father] And hath it in commission to manifest him to all his, by working faith (either actual, or, at least, virtual, as in infants) in their hearts, whereby they see him that is invisible, being well seen in Moses’ optics.


Verse 47

47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

Ver. 47. Hath life eternal] sc. In Christ’s purchase, in God’s promise, in the firstfruits of the Spirit, who resteth upon the elect as a Spirit of glory and of God, 1 Peter 4:14.


Verse 48

48 I am that bread of life.

Ver. 48. I am that bread of life] That not only uphold and maintain spiritual life, but do also begin and beget it. And this our Saviour often inculcateth here, as most needful to be known and most comfortable to be considered.


Verse 49

49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

Ver. 49. Did eat manna] They fed upon sacraments, and yet many of them perished eternally. A man may go to hell with font water on his face, and be haled from the table to the tormentor, as he, Matthew 22:13.

Your fathers did eat, &c.] They sought only the satisfying of their bodily hunger, and they had it, but yet are dead. Manna could not immortalize them, as the poets feign their ambrosia did their dunghill deities. "Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats, but God will destroy both it and them." These mentioned in the text fed upon sacraments, and yet they died in God’s displeasure, 1 Corinthians 10:3; 1 Corinthians 10:5. The carcase of the sacrament cannot give life, but the soul of it, which is Christ; neither do the sacraments work as a medicine, whether men sleep or wake, by virtue inherent in them, ex opere operate, sed ex opere operantis, i.e. according to the disposition and qualification of the party that partaketh.


Verse 50

50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

Ver. 50. This is the bread] δεικτικως, pointing to himself. So David, "this poor man" (meaning himself) "cried, and the Lord heard him," &c., Psalms 34:6. So Hic, sat lucis, let there be light here, said Oecolampadius on his death bed, laying his hand on his breast.


Verse 51

51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Ver. 51. If any man eat, &c.] Hic edere est credere, Here to eat is to believe, saith Augustine; faith being the soul’s hand, mouth, stomach, &c. The Fathers commonly expounded this part of our Saviour’s sermon as spoken of the sacrament of the Lord’s supper; and so fell into that error, that none but communicants could be saved; wherefore also they gave the sacrament to infants, and put it into the mouths of dead men, &c. We are not to think that either our Saviour spake here properly, and ex professo, from the declaration of the sacramental eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood; or that this discourse pertains nothing at all thereunto. The Papists have expunged a great part of Origen’s commentary upon this chapter, as directly making against their monster of transubstantiation. And Cardinal Campeius affirmed against Luther, that faith is not necessary to him that receiveth the sacrament. As for Bellarmine, although we believe, saith he, that all virtues are found in the Church, yet that any man may be absolutely said to be a member of the true Church, we do not think that any inward virtue is required, but only an external profession of the faith, and such communion of the sacraments, as is received by the outward man. {a} This mark very well agrees to the Church of Rome, wherein if any be truly virtuous, it is by mere accident, as Cicero wittily said of the epicures, that if any one of them were good, he was merely overcome by the goodness of his nature; for they taught a licentious looseness, Si quando viri boni sint, vinci bonitate naturae.

{a} Bell. iii. 2, de Eccles. milit.


Verse 52

52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

Ver. 52. Strove among themselves] They tumultuously contradicted, murmured, mutinied, which was a sign of their obstinance and contempt. For otherwise it is not only lawful, but needful, modestly to make inquiry how we may eat Christ spiritually.


Verse 53

53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

Ver. 53. Except ye eat the flesh, &c.] Fulbert, Bishop of Chartres (who lived in the eleventh century), speaking upon the eucharist, hath these words, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man," &c. Facinus vel flagitium videtur iubere. Figura ergo est, praecipiens passioni Domini esse communicandum tantum, et suaviter et utiliter recondendum in memoria, quod pro nobis caro eius crucifixa et vulnerata est. Now in the year of Christ 1608, there was set out an edition of him in Paris, where we have interserted, after Figura ergo est, these words, Dicit Haereticus, to make what Fulbert spoke assertive from Augustine, to speak recitative of the heretic, as if the heretic should say, This is a figure, &c., which if admitted, then there is no transubstantiation. The words produced by Fulbert are indeed St Augustine’s. {a} And the publisher of Fulbert being told hereof, that the words were Augustine’s, that he had branded with heresy, he put afterwards his Dicit Haereticus among his errata, as ye may read in Bishop Ussher’s answer to the Jesuit’s challenge, page 15.

Except ye eat the flesh] That is, except ye spiritually apprehend Christ by faith, Crede et manducasti, saith Austin, Believe and thou hast eaten. By the actuation of our faith we even lean on Christ’s bosom as that beloved disciple did; Cruci haeremus, sanguinem fugimus, et intra ipsa Redemptoris nostri vulnera fugimus linguam, saith Cyprian.

{a} De Doct. Christ. ii. 16.


Verse 54

54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Ver. 54. Whoso eateth my flesh] Because this was a hard point to believe, therefore it is so often repeated and inculcated. Verba toties inculcata viva sunt, vera sunt, sana sunt, plana sunt.


Verse 55

55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

Ver. 55. For my flesh is meat indeed] That that will do the deed. It is neither painted meat nor enchanted, but real and substantial; yet not corporal but spiritual. Our Richard II was starved at Pomfret Castle by being tantalized; for his diet being served in, and set before him in the wonted princely manner, he was not allowed either to taste or touch thereof. (Speed.) The great Caliph of Babylon was used in like manner by Haalen brother to Mango, great Khan of Tartary; saving that he had not meat set before him, but gold, silver, precious stones, whereof he was, by way of derision, willed to eat, and make no spare, &c. True believers meet with meat indeed, and by a Crapula Sacra, holy intoxication as Luther calleth it, feeding hard thereupon, they are nourished infallibly to eternal life.


Verse 56

56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

Ver. 56. He that eateth my flesh, &c.] That is, that partaketh of my person, merits, passions, privileges; he that receiveth me in all mine offices and efficacies.


Verse 57

57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

Ver. 57. So he that eateth me, liveth by me] All out of Christ then, though they seem to have the only life of it (as Nabal, 1 Samuel 30:6; "Thus shall ye say to him that liveth"), yet in true account they are no better than living carcases, walking sepulchres, of themselves. Christ is the only principle and Prince of life; and his people only are heirs together of the grace of life, 1 Peter 3:7.


Verse 58

58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Ver. 58. This is that bread] Here our Saviour returns to that comparison he had made before between manna and his flesh; and so concludes as he began. A pattern for preachers.


Verse 59

59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

Ver. 59. These things said he in the synagogue] In a set sermon, and yet to little purpose; for many made defection. Vultures unguento fugantur, et scarabei rosa, Vultures are put to flight by perfumes and the rose bettle, say Pliny and Aelian. {Aelian, On Animals, l. 3. c. 7. 1:165} When we have spent all our wind on our people, their hearts will be still apt to be carried away with every wind of cantrary doctrine or satanical suggestion.


Verse 60

60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

Ver. 60. This is an hard saying] The hardness was in themselves, not in the word; but that must bear the blame howsoever; as she in Seneca that was stricken with sudden blindness, and then cried out of the light. A hypocrite is not discovered, till upon some critical point. If it come to a matter of cost, he cries, "What needs this waste?" if of pains, "This is an hard saying."


Verse 61

61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?

Ver. 61. When Jesus knew in himself] For they had not yet discovered what pinched them; but only muttered it among themselves, aversantium more, in a discontented manner. They had done much better if they had opened their minds to Christ and sought satisfaction. But men will sooner talk against a preacher by "the walls and in the doors of their houses," Ezekiel 33:30; (taking everything with the left hand, and by the left handle), than either candidly interpret, or let him be his own interpreter.


Verse 62

62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

Ver. 62. What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend] Then you shall not be scandalized (so some sense it); or then you shall much more be scandalized, so Maldonat, who saith he could like the other sense well enough, but that it is the Calvinists’. So George, Duke of Saxony, said, he could have thought well of a reformation, if Luther had not wrought it. (Grinaeus in Hagg. praefat.)


Verse 63

63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Ver. 63. It is the Spirit that quickeneth] Had those carnal Capernaites but stayed out our Saviour’s sermon, they might have been satisfied for the sense of his words, that they so stumbled at, and had not patience to hear him here expounding himself. Quoniam Christiani (Pontificii) manducant Deum, quem adorant, sit anima mea cum philosoplis, said Averroes; who, had he consulted with sound divines, might have known more.

It is the Spirit that quickeneth] i.e. The Godhead united to the hmnan nature conveyeth life to the believer. That being the fountain, this the conduit; and union being the ground of communion. Wicked men want the spirit and life of Christ, who though he took every man’s flesh, yet that of itself profiteth them nothing. A communione naturae ad communicationem gratiae non valet argumentum.


Verse 64

64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

Ver. 64. But there are some of you that believe not] And hence it is that you so grossly mistake me, and that you find no more benefit by me and my words. Unbelief rejects the remedy, frustrates the means, holds a man in universal pollution, Hebrews 3:12, and leaves him under a double condemnation; one from the law wherein Christ found him, and another from the gospel for refusing the remedy, that blessed bath of Christ’s blood, Zechariah 13:1, whereunto even the princes of Sodom are invited, Isaiah 1:10, and for despising it, doomed, Ezekiel 24:13, as a malefactor dead in law, and yet rejecteth the offer of a pardon. In Ket’s sedition, when King Edward VI’s pardon was offered the rebels by a herald, a lewd boy turned toward him his naked posteriors, and used words suitable to that gesture. One standing by discharged a harquebus {a} upon the boy, and struck him dead in the place. {b} How shall those escape that neglect so great salvation, which at first began to be spoken by the Lord? Hebrews 2:3.

{a} The early type of portable gun, varying in size from a small cannon to a musket, which on account of its weight was, when used in the field, supported upon a tripod, trestle, or other ‘carriage’, and afterwards upon a forked ‘rest’. The name in German and Flemish meant literally ‘hook-gun’, from the hook cast along with the piece, by which it was fastened to the ‘carriage’; but the name became generic for portable fire-arms generally in the 16th century, so that the type with the hook was subsequently distinguished as arquebuse à croc. According to Wendelin Boeheim, Handbuch der Waffenkunde (Leipzig 1890) 447, 455, the hook of the original hakenbühse was intended to hold on to a wall or other fixed object, partly to support the weight of the barrel and partly to diminish the recoil. Maximilian I (early 16th cent.) introduced the portable tripod which could be put together in the field. The forked rest came in about 1520, with the Spanish musket. ŒD

{b} Life of Edward VI, by Sir John Heywood.


Verse 65

65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Ver. 65. Therefore said I unto you] Here some may object, if faith be not in man’s power, why doth he yet complain? and why are any destroyed for lack of faith? Hereunto I might answer with the apostle, "Nay, but, O man, who art thou that replies, (or chattest) against God?" But for further satisfaction, know, 1. That faith was once in man’s power. 2. That no unbeliever doth what he might do to believe. 3. That unbelief is in a man’s power, who wittingly and willingly, and by his own election, forsaketh his own mercies, John 2:8; Matthew 23:37; there. is an uncounsellable obstinacy in it.

Unless it be given him] That divine traction, then, John 6:44, is a free gift: there is no meritum ex congruo. Our effectual conversion is gratuita et inopinata, Ephesians 1:11. We cannot, concur or contribute toward it. Nothing can prepare for grace but grace. Neither can we bring forth good things any otherwise than as Sarah’s dead womb brought forth a child; it was not a child of nature, but of the mere promise.


Verse 66

66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Ver. 66. Many of his disciples] They stumbled at the word and fell backward. This is reckoned by St Peter a note of a reprobate, 1 Peter 2:8. And indeed few sins are more dangerous than that of picking quarrels at God’s word, taking up weapons against it, and snuffing at it, Malachi 1:13; replying against it, Romans 9:19-20; casting reproaches upon it, Jeremiah 20:8-9; enviously swelling at it, Acts 13:45; gathering odious consequences from it, Romans 3:8 : such are in the ready road to apostasy, and so to perdition, Hebrews 10:39.


Verse 67

67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

Ver. 67. Will ye also go away?] q.d. This general defection of those temporaries may possibly tempt you to it. Evil men endanger good men, as weeds the corn, as bad humours the blood, or an infected house the neighbourhood. Nemo errat sibi ipsi, sed demonentiam spargit in proxbnos. (Seneca.) No man falls single, but draws company along with him, as the dragon with his tail drew down the stars of heaven; as tall cedars bear down with them the shrubs that grow under them. As when Hymenaeus and Philetus (two such eminent professors) fell away, the apostle, for the better settling of such as were shaken thereby, was fain to caution, "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure," &c. And "in a great house" (such as God’s is) "there are vessels of all sorts, some to hononr, and some to dishonour," 2 Timothy 2:19-20.


Verse 68

68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

Ver. 68. Thou hast the words of eternal life.] In going from thee, therefore, we shall go out of God’s blessing. Nay, we shall go upon our own death, upon hell’s mouth. The Roman law was, Transfugas, ubicunque inventi fuerint, quasi hostes interficere licet. Renagades are sure to die for it; when those that live by those lively oracles of the gospel shall live for ever.


Verse 69

69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Ver. 69. We believe and have known] In matters of divinity we must first believe, and then know; not know, and then believe. In human sciences it is otherwise. Men are brought to assent and believe by experience, knowledge, and sense; as to believe that fire is hot, &c. But here, belief and assent go before experimental knowledge, sense, and use.


Verse 70

70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

Ver. 70. Have not I chosen you twelve, &c.] q.d. If ye believe and will abide by it, look well to your footing; it will shortly be tried what stability is in you, when such an angel as Judas shall show himself to be a devil. Stand fast; for you are like to be shaken, as he in the history said, when he whipped the pillars and public statues before the earthquake, which he had, by a prophetic spirit, foretold. (Simeon Monach.)


Verse 71

71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

Ver. 71. He spake of Judas Iscariot] Which some derive of the Syriac word signifying strangling, as if he were so named by an anticipation; like as our roaring boys will needs be so called now, by a woeful prolepsis, here for hereafter. But what a hard heart had Judas, and how fearfully was he satanized and transformed into a breathing devil, that could hear all this, and not be affected therewith! Hypocritis nihil stupidius, Nothing is more stupid or more stubborn than a hypocrite. David fitly compareth him to the deaf adder; which although by spitting out his poison he might renew his age, yet he stoppeth both his ears, lest he should hear the voice of the charmer.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 6:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-6.html. 1865-1868.


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Sunday, August 20th, 2017
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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