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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

John 6

Verses 1-21

  1. INTRO:
    1. Armando - to San Bernadino - 3 Jn.1,2; 5-8.
    2. In this chapter, we’re going to see Jesus perform 2 more impressive miracles, impossible feats. We’ve already watched him make clear water blush(turn to wine!); heal a boy from 20 miles away; & make a lame man walk. Today, He’ll feed 5000 & walk on water.
      1. If Jesus can do these imagine what He can do for your life, your impossibilities?
      2. Are you a pessimist? What’s on your list of impossibilities? (Your marriage, your job, your finances?)
      3. Really, impossibilities depend on our “perspective”.
        1. Example: to a child, many things seem impossible, like long division, or the game of chess. But from an adults perspective, these are handled w/relative ease.
      4. Let’s try to understand the impossible from 2 different viewpoints...the human & the divine.
        1. Divine - Jeremiah makes this claim, Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. Jer.32:17
          1. Then God confirms it 10 verses later, Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
        2. Lk.18:27 The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
    3. This is a time of testing for the disciples. Jesus asks: How can we address the problem of hunger? How can we deal with popularity?
  2. THIS IS A TEST!
    1. FEEDING 5000! (1-15)
    2. The one miracle, besides the resurrection, that is in all 4 gospels.
    3. On the banks of the Sea of Galilee [Galilee=circle; 13mi. long; 8mi. Wide; 700’ below sea level]
    4. Test Questions! (5,6)
      1. What do you see when a big crowd shows up (fame, success, glory? Or maybe you get overwhelmed w/a swelling sea of people/problems, threatening to crash on your head); but what did Jesus see...hungry people.
      2. Jesus tests the disciples faith: He asks how they propose to feed the multitude?
      3. Sometimes we just focus on the wrong thing completely!
        1. Like the old story of the Russian Security Officer who watched the gate at a plant. Every evening a man had a wheel barrel with a brown bag. Every evening the guard would stop him & ask, what’s in the bag? He would show him & it was full of sawdust & wood chips, to heat his home. This went on day after day. Finally the guard couldn’t take it any longer & said look, I don’t care what your stealing, but I know you're stealing something, what is it? Wheel barrels!
      4. You will never feed anyone if you don’t ask how you might; You will never feed anyone if you only focus on the problem; You will never feed one if you only focus on the many.
      5. (6b) Jesus knew exactly what He was going to do. Which means, He’s not only in control of the situation at hand, but several steps ahead of the game.
        1. Like a brilliant chess player who thinks several moves ahead. Maybe even giving up a minor piece as a gambit(sacrifice) in order to later gain an advantage.
        2. So Jesus is willing to give up a little R & R for His troops, in order to gain a more committed band of men.
    5. Pessimism at its Finest! (7,8)
      1. Philip - It’ll take a small fortune! [Philip thought the answer was $]
        1. So with computer speed Philip analyzes the situation, & gives Jesus a spreadsheet answer.
        2. So how did he do on his exam? Not so well. [1] he sees only the situation, not the possible solution [2] he’s more concerned about the odds against them, then about those for them [3] he calculates for only a bare minimum, “that every one of them may have a little”.
        3. So while Philip burns out the batteries in his pocket calculator...Andrew scurries around looking for how much groceries they had.
      2. Andrew - at least seeks a solution, even though its a human one.
        1. But becomes overwhelmed...what are they among so many? [Andrew thought little was insignificant]
        2. Sir Michael Costa was conducting a rehearsal in which the orchestra was joined by a great chorus. About halfway through the session, with trumpets blaring, drums rolling and violins singing their rich melody, the piccolo player muttered to himself, “What good am I doing? I might just as well not be playing. Nobody can hear me anyway.” So he kept the instrument to his mouth, but he made no sound. Within moments, the conductor cried, “Stop! Stop! Where’s the piccolo?” It was missed by the ear of the most important person of all.
      3. So Philip looked 1st at the budget & Andrew checked the pantry.
        1. They needed to look to the Lord. Remember they’ve seen him change water/wine.
        2. We do the same. We’ve seen Him change the old water of our lives into new wine. We’ve seen him give us new legs of faith to our lame spiritual bodies. (Chuck Swindoll; John; pg.5)
        3. When we’re faced with an impossible situation we need to look to the Lord.
      4. Always at the time of human hopelessness...Jesus takes over!
      5. A Lad with a Lunch! - If only like this lad we would also give Him our all.
        1. He will take it, break it, & use it to bless others!
          1. Book: “If it Ain’t Broke, Break it!” by Robert Kriegel. Secular book on business. I love some of his chapter titles: Always Mess w/Success;Playing it Safe is Dangerous; Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers; Take Risks not Chances.
        2. He’ll Take it (offer yourself & your resources to Him); He’ll Break it (allow yourself to be thoroughly broken); He’ll Use it (then & only then can He use it for His glory).
    6. Scarcity of Food! (10)
      1. Jesus is the source of the answer to men’s needs.
      2. Jesus uses what’s available.
      3. Then He makes them to lie down in green pastures!
    7. Surplus of Food! (11-13)
      1. Good & Plenty! - After all have eaten to their full, leftovers!
      2. Jesus takes a hopeless situation & turns it into a scene of hope!
        1. Jesus loves taking question marks & turning them into exclamation marks!
      3. Filled 12 baskets -Jesus not only meets needs but supplies more than enough
        1. God through Jesus Christ provides more than is adequate for human needs.
      4. Hey, what did they do w/the left overs? Doesn’t ever tell us.
        1. To the animals, birds, to the poor? - We know, not to waste the Lord’s good gifts.
        2. Let not nothing be lost - After you’re filled yourself, don’t forget about others around you! It is not enough to read the Word for our personal profit; we should also be able to give some of it to others.
          1. We are responsible for all that the Lord gives us. Even the little things.
        3. And remember it was while Ruth gleaned fragments in the harvest field that the biggest thing in her life happened(Boaz).
      5. Does Jesus always resolve our every impossibility w/a happy ending in the here & now? - He does want to nourish us, but He never wants to be reduced to a genie who will magically supply our every want.
        1. He gave the people bread & fish for just that one day. But he refused to let the people make Him their Bread-King so their stomaches could always be full.
    8. The Prophet! (14,15)
      1. Wow, He is The Prophet, Messiah,...Let’s make Him King”!
        1. Oh 1 day He would allow this(Palm Sun) but on His terms, Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! Lk.19:38
        2. Why didn’t Jesus wish to be made king by these people? [wouldn’t mean anything]
        3. God’s design was not that Jesus manifest Himself as an earthly king but as the suffering servant.
        4. This reminds them, His kingdom would be spiritual, not political
        5. The crowds seemed more interested in Jesus’ signs than in His truth.
      2. Jesus withdraws & heads for the hills.
        1. What might we learn from His withdrawing from the place of success to be by Himself?
      3. Jesus shows His divine nature as He has power over the natural, created world. He also showed He is the Master of quantity.
    9. WALKING ON WATER! (16-21)
    10. Stormy Sea! (16-18)
      1. This happens at the high point of our Lord’s popularity.
        1. The disciples (esp Judas) would have welcomed a kingdom.
        2. So, Jesus sends them into a storm!
      2. The disciples are threatened by a sudden squall.
      3. From popularity to peril! - Do you find yourself toiling against Satan’s storms? Jesus is praying for you on the mount & one day will come to bring peace.
    11. ​​​​​​​Sovereign Savior! (19-21)
      1. Another situation of human hopelessness & fear.
        1. Jesus gives hope, “It is I, do not be afraid”.
      2. Jesus came to them & met their needs - When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; Is.43:2
      3. Jesus walks on water & brings the boat to land immediately.
        1. With Jesus on board we will arrive at our destination!
      4. Jesus shows His mastery over natural law.
    12. In Marks account (6:45-52) it ends by saying, For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.
      1. They didn’t grasp yet He was God in the flesh, or the sustaining Bread of Life come down from heaven.
    13. End: Are you facing a humanly impossible situation? What is it?
      1. Is Jesus asking you any test questions?
      2. Are you only looking at your finances & your cupboard?
      3. Do you feel your faith being stretched? Broken?
      4. Jesus sees, cares, & can amply supply our needs, but He is sovereignly independent from human agendas!!!
      5. He has His own bigger plan, but He still will calm our stormy seas, urging us all along to “not be afraid” because He is here!
    14. Communion:
      1. ​​​​​​​Invite up worship team.
    15. Five broken things in the Bible and the results achieved by them: [1] Broken pitchers (Gideon) and the light shone out [2] A Broken Alabaster Box and the ointment was poured out [3] Broken Bread and the hungry were fed [4] A Broken Body and the world was saved (Take eat this is my body which is broken for you; do this in memory of me)
    16. [5] A Broken will (Psa 51:17) and a life of fulfillment in Christ.
      1. Ps.51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken(shattered) and a contrite(crushed) heart - These, O God, You will not despise. [to empty self]
        1. Jesus sacrifice to me, brought me a spirit made alive and a new heart.
        2. My sacrifice to God, is a shattered spirit and a bruised heart. (i.e. No pride, humility)
        3. The shattering & bruising are designed by God for the preparation of his people.
      2. Lord, Take us, Break us, Use us.

Verses 22-71

  1. INTRO:
    1. Oh, taste & see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
    2. Jesus had just fed the 5000. Jesus reads their hearts & confronts them with their motive.
  2. WONDER BREAD!
    1. BETHLEHEM! (22-40)
    2. (26) Most assuredly - Amen, Amen. A teaching technique that indicated a crucial idea from Jesus (also: vs.32,47,53)
    3. Often people want the Lord to meet their physical needs but not their spiritual needs.
      1. They were like stray dogs, that if you feed them they’ll stick around, not because they love you, but because you have food! – Stop feeding them & they’re gone!
      2. They only seek God for their carnal needs to be met!
    4. Don’t seek Him for what He can do for you, but for who He is!
    5. Q: What about today? Why do you seek Him? (Pure motives?)
      1. For a healing? To pay the bills? In hopes to find a nice spouse?
      2. “Lord, purify my heart that I may sincerely seek you today!”
    6. Now Jesus directs their thinking to a deeper hunger!
    7. (27) Jesus encourages them not to devote themselves to such pursuits, but rather to seek food that endures to eternal life.
      1. Therefore do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God & His righteousness, & all these things shall be added to you.
    8. Seal - “It was not the signature, but the seal that authenticated. In commercial & political documents it was the seal, imprinted w/the signet ring, which made the document valid; it was the seal which authenticated a will; it was the seal on the mouth of a sack or a crate that guaranteed the contents.” (William Barclay; vol.1, pg.213)
      1. With each miracle performed, God’s authenticating seal on Christ’s life was evident to all.
    9. (33) The manna came only to the Jews & sustained physical life; but Jesus came for the whole world & gives eternal life.
      1. Manna comparison:
        1. Manna came at night - Jesus came when men were in darkness;
        2. Manna met physical needs - Jesus meets spiritual needs;
        3. Manna a gift from God - Jesus God’s gift to the world;
        4. Manna had to be picked up & eaten - Jesus must be received & appropriated. (Shepherds Notes; John; pg.37)
      2. The bread of God was a gift form the Father, whether it was shaped into Manna or the Messiah.
    10. (35) I am the bread of life - i.e. Jesus satisfies our deepest spiritual needs.
      1. This is the 1st of 7 “I am” statements in the gospel of John (I am the Door; I am the Good Shepherd; I am the Light of the world; I am the Res & the Life; I am the True Vine; I am the Way, Truth, Life)
      2. Q: What food would you use to represent you?
        1. I am the Filet-mignon; lobster; maple donut; steamed clams; choc choclate chip ice cream?
        2. What is wrong with these? [They are only enjoyed “once in a while” (for most people)]
        3. No Jesus didn’t say, “I am the filet-mignon of life”, or “I am the caviar of life”, or “the sashimi of life”. Why? These are delicacies that only the favored few can enjoy.
        4. Jesus picks a common staple all can relate to; & relate to daily; & throughout the day! (i.e. each meal)
        5. Bread is found on the rich & poor man’s table; king & peasant.
      3. In Asia it might be “I am the Rice of Life”; In Mexico it might be “I am the Tortilla of Life”; In India it might be “I am the Curry of Life”.
        1. Whatever is that countries main food staple. (means for sustaining life)
    11. If we take the 1st commandment from the neg to the poss, from “Thou shall have no other gods before me” to “Thou shall have me!” - That’s what Jesus is saying here!
      1. It is no coincidence that Jesus was born in the into the city of bread! (Bethlehem)
    12. (37) There is a giant “Welcome mat” in front of Jesus’ house. Wipe your sins on the mat & come on in! :)
      1. The original reads, I will not, not cast out, or I will never, never cast out.
        1. The text means, that Christ will not at first reject a believer; and that as he will not do it at first, so he will not to the last. (Spurgeon; Evening, July 30)
    13. (39) Lose nothing - Jesus believes in the assurance of the believer! Take his word for it!
      1. This is Eternal security, sometimes called the “Perseverance of the saints”; more appropriately called, the “Preservation of the saints” (i.e. God preserves us!)
      2. Ps.145:20 The LORD preserves all who love Him But all the wicked He’ll destroy
    14. FLESH & BLOOD! (41-59)
    15. Just as you take food into your body, so you take Christ into your life; & He becomes one with you.
    16. (44) No one can come to the Father through Christ except the Father wills.
      1. I picture Gods Rip-Tide: Slowly drawing you out to Him (you often don’t notice your being pulled out). You keep swimming to shore away from Him. You finally give up & turn to Him. Yet under the surface He’s been drawin you all the time
    17. We’re chosen then drawn; drawn then saved; saved then 1 day to be resurrected; when resurrected then guaranteed eternal life!
      1. We’ve been bought, sought, caught, got, & now are being taught!
    18. (45) To be in relationship with God is to be in a relationship with Jesus.
    19. (51-55) What is meant by eating his flesh & blood?
      1. This is non-Kosher talk...this cannibalism & blood drinking!
      2. It sounds like a bad vampire movie filmed at Donar pass!
      3. He wasn’t literally bread, anymore than He was literally a lamb or a lion!
      4. It means nothing more nor less than believing in Christ! (Mt. Henry)
    20. Also, Christ is not talking about the bread and cup of the Lord’s Supper!
      1. The Lord’s Supper had not even been instituted, and when it was, Jesus clearly stated that it was a memorial. It did not impart life.
      2. Jesus manifest in the flesh is our bread of life; Jesus bleeding on the cross a substitute for sinners is our soul’s drink!
    21. 2 things are Implied: an appetite to Christ & an application of Christ.
      1. An Appetite to Christ! – Spiritual eating/drinking starts w/hungering/thirsting.
        1. Mt.5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
      2. An Application of Christ to ourselves! – Meat looked upon will not nourish us, but meat fed upon! We must accept of Christ as to appropriate Him to ourselves.
      3. Body & blood was used to represent everything needed to sustain & support life
    22. (59) These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
    23. Story - Several years ago a reader of The British Weekly wrote a letter to the editor as follows: "Dear Sir! I notice that ministers seem to set a great deal of importance on their sermons and spend a great deal of time in preparing them. I have been attending services quite regularly for the past thirty years and during that time, if I estimate correctly, I have listened to no less than 3000 sermons. But, to my consternation, I discover I cannot remember a single one of them. I wonder if a minister's time might be more profitably spent on something else? Sincerely
      1. The letter kicked up quite an editorial storm of angry responses for weeks. The pros and cons of sermons were tossed back and forth until, finally, one letter ended the debate. This letter said, "My Dear Sir: I have been married for thirty years. During that time I have eaten 32,850 meals - mostly of my wife's cooking. Suddenly I have discovered that I cannot remember the menu of a single meal. And yet, I received nourishment from every one of them. I have the distinct impression that without them I would have starved to death long ago.” Sincerely
    24. THREE ATTITUDES! (60-71)
    25. DEFECTION! (60-66)
    26. This is the 1st group. Unbelievers who choked on the bread going down.
      1. Did you know...Many sharks have the ability to turn their stomachs inside out and evert it out of their mouths in order to get rid of any unwanted contents.
    27. (60) Hard saying - Yes, very difficult.
      1. Not hard to understand, but hard to accept! – skleros (dried, rough, harsh), from skello (to dry).
      2. This fresh bread from heaven just became stale & crunchy in their mouth fast!
    28. (62) Maybe you’ll believe I “came down” if you see me “go back”?1. A forecast of His Ascension!
    29. (63) Spiritual words! (Jesus offers spiritual life through union with Himself)
    30. (65) People are so ensnared in the quicksand of sin & unbelief that unless God draws them they are hopeless.
      1. We spiritually lay dead as a paperclip & don’t move until we feel His magnetic love drawing us to “rise up & come to Him”!
    31. (66) Follow/No longer walked with Him - from 2 Greek words alongside & walk.
      1. They are no longer willing to walk alongside Jesus & no longer committed to Him & His Mission.
    32. So, here Jesus thins out the ranks!
      1. They say the test of an army is how it fights when its tired!
      2. At the 1st shadow of the cross...they left Him!
      3. Like Gideon, Jesus sends home those who were “fearful & afraid” of the battle
    33. DETERMINATION! (67-69)
    34. This is the 2nd group. Thinning crowds did nothing to thin the disciples determination!
    35. (67) The choice is always to follow the crowd or follow Jesus.
      1. Q: Right now do you feel like going away?
      2. Is it too hot in your kitchen? Too stinky in your nursery? Too dry in your marriage? Too quiet in your relationship w/God?
        1. Q: Do you also want to go away?
    36. (68,69) Peter comes up with 3 reasons they can’t.
    37. DECEPTION! (67-69)
    38. This is the 3rd group. Standing right in the band of chosen men was one who looked & sounded like the most sincere disciple...but was a devil.
    39. Q: What category do you fall into? Like the crowd (open defection); or like Judas (subtle deception); or like the disciples (firm determination)?
    40. Illustration: Imagine a book on a shelf, never read. As long as it remains unread, it is external to you. One day you take it down & read it. You’re thrilled, fascinated, moved. The story sticks to you. The great lines remain in your memory. Now, when you desire you can take that wonder out from inside you & remember it, think about it, feed your mind & hear on it. Once the book was outside you & now that its inside, you can feed upon it. (adapted form William Barclay; Gospel of John; pg.224)
      1. If you’ve never taken Jesus into your life, assimilated His being into yours, then he is outside of your life!
      2. You are like a small child, with nose pressed up against a bakery window. Smelling bread, seeing, bread, knowing it’s there...but never tasting it.
        1. Oh, taste & see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Ps.34:8
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on John 6". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/john-6.html. 2017.