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Over the sea of Galilee ; to its northern shore. See note to Luke 9:10 .
Five thousand fed. Matthew 14:13-21 ; Mark 6:32-44 ; Luke 9:10 .
To prove him ; try him whether he believed in the power of Christ to supply them. God in his providence does many things to prove his people-to lead them to show what is in their hearts, and thus prepare them to renounce dependence upon themselves, and put their trust in him.
However easy it is for God to supply all needed good, and however much he may give, he requires that no part of it be squandered, or suffered through negligence to be lost; but that all, by prudent care, should be saved for the benefit of those who need it.
That prophet ; the Messiah. Deuteronomy 18:18 .
Make him a king ; a temporal sovereign, such as they expected their Messiah would be.
Christ walks on the sea. Matthew 14:22-33 ; Mark 6:45-53 .
Over the sea ; to the west side.
Five and twenty or thirty furlongs ; between three and four miles.
On the other side ; on the north side.
None other boat ; there was no other when the disciples left.
There came other boats ; from the west side of the sea, after the disciples left.
Took shipping ; boats that came from Tiberias, which was on the west side of the sea.
Not because ye saw the miracles ; not because ye were attracted to me by the revelation made in the miracles of my divine power and glory.
Because ye did eat of the loaves ; you seek from me only earthly good. Men often pay an external regard to Christ and his ordinances, not for the purpose of honoring him and obtaining spiritual blessings, but for the purpose of promoting their worldly interests, and accomplishing their selfish ends.
Labor not for ; better, as the margin, work not for : bestow not your chief labor and anxiety upon.
Meat which perisheth ; temporal blessings.
Meat which endureth ; spiritual and eternal good.
Sealed ; authenticated as the true Messiah, the giver of eternal life.
Work the works of God ; they have reference to the exhortation just given by the Saviour, "Labor-for that meat which endureth." The works of God ; such as he required, and such as would secure the enduring good of which Christ spoke.
This is the work of God-believe on him whom he hath sent ; Christ is the true bread from heaven. To believe on him is to receive this bread, and thus to do what God requires. The great work which God requires of a sinner, and that which is essential to salvation, is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
What sign ; sign from heaven in addition to what he had already shown in proof of the justness of his claims. Compare Matthew 12:38 ; Matthew 16:1 . Like all cavillers, they demand other proof, and different from that which they have received.
Our fathers did eat manna ; still thinking that Jesus was speaking of the bread that should nourish the body, they intimate that the miracle of the manna in the desert, Exodus 16:13-18 , was greater than that which he has wrought, and that they may reasonably ask of him a higher sign.
Moses gave you not that bread from heaven ; it did not come from the heaven where God resides, but from the natural heaven, and was simply natural bread-"the meat which perisheth." The true bread from heaven ; the true spiritual bread that comes from God’s own presence and feeds the soul.
He which cometh down from heaven ; rather, as the original may be rendered, that which cometh down from heaven; for the Jews, as appears from the following verse, did not yet understand him as speaking of himself.
Evermore give us this bread ; not yet understanding its spiritual nature, but supposing it to be some miraculous kind of bread that should give life to the body.
I am the bread of life ; the author, nourisher, and supporter of spiritual, eternal life. Having spoken of the bread from heaven, he now represents himself under the similitude of heavenly bread; and the eating of his flesh and drinking his blood, or spiritually believing on him, as essential to spiritual life.
Never hunger-never thirst ; never desire any higher or more satisfying good.
Believe not ; of course they were still unsatisfied, and not partakers of the good of which he spoke.
Giveth me ; Isaiah 53:10-12 ; John 17:2 ; Ephesians 1:3-12 .
Come to me ; this means the same as he before meant by eating his flesh, or believing on him, and as he afterwards meant by drinking his blood.
I will raise him up ; to everlasting life. He would thus do the will and accomplish the object of the Father.
Can come to me ; trust in me as his Saviour.
Draw him ; by teaching him his need of a Saviour, and leading him to trust in him for salvation. The drawing of the Father mentioned in the New Testament, and which is needful to lead sinners to Christ, is the same as the teaching of the Father mentioned in the Old Testament. Isaiah 54:13 ; Micah 4:2 . The reason why this drawing or teaching is needful is, men are so wicked that they never will come to Christ without it.
In the prophets ; Isaiah 54:13 . His doctrine about being drawn or taught of God was not new, but was the same which was taught in the Scriptures, and which they ought to have understood and believed.
Not that any man hath seen the Father ; he guards them against the error of supposing that the Father teaches men by his personal visible presence. He teaches by his word, his Spirit, and his providence; leading men rightly to apprehend and cordially to obey his truth.
He hath seen ; the Saviour sets his immediate and full vision of the Father in contrast with the indirect knowledge which mere men have of him. His meaning is, that because he has seen the Father, he can teach men of the Father.
Not die ; the eating of that bread will give eternal life to his soul, and in the end, a glorious immortality to his body also. Compare ver John 6:39-40 .
My flesh , which I will give for the life of the world ; an allusion, which could not be understood at the time by his hearers, to the gift of his flesh on the cross for the salvation of the world.
His flesh to eat ; they meant literally. And the true answer to that question was, he would not in any way give them literally his flesh to eat. That was not his meaning. But by eating his flesh, he meant, believing on him as a Saviour, and thus receiving spiritual life and nourishment from him. Men often make objections to what they call the doctrines of Christ, when in fact their objections are not against his doctrines, rightly understood, but only against their own misconceptions of them; and the putting of a literal meaning upon such of his words as were designed to be figurative, and convey only a spiritual meaning, is absurd. John 7:34-36 .
Eat the flesh-drink his blood ; not literally, but spiritually, as the food and drink of the soul; thus, by a living union with him through faith, receiving from him forgiveness, sanctification, and eternal life. The Saviour has in mind the gift which he is about to make on the cross, of his flesh and blood for the life of the world. The view which he here gives of eating his flesh and drinking his blood, is the same that underlies the ordinance of the Lord’s supper, afterwards instituted by him.
Meat indeed-drink indeed ; I am the giver and sustainer of endless spiritual life.
Dwelleth in me ; has a vital, saving union with me by faith, John 15:5 ; 1 Corinthians 6:17 ; resembling in some respects the union between me and my Father. John 17:21 .
His disciples ; disciples is here used in a general sense, for those who attended on his teaching.
What and if ye shall see ; are you offended at the honor which I now claim as the bread of life? What will you say, then, when you see me receiving greater honor than this, by ascending to heaven, whence I came?
It is the Spirit that quickeneth ; it was the spiritual, not the literal meaning of his words, which would profit them. The literal eating of his flesh would not benefit them. It was only the spiritual meaning, understood, believed, and obeyed, that would be the means of spiritual life to their souls.
They are spirit-they are life ; they contain spiritual food and life; for by receiving them, you receive me. The words of Christ have a spiritual meaning, and it is the right apprehension and cordial reception of this meaning which is life-giving to the soul. Men naturally do not receive this meaning, because such is their wickedness that they have not spiritual discernment. Hence the propriety of praying, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law; quicken thou me according to thy word." Psalms 119:18 ; Psalms 119:25 ; 1 Corinthians 2:14 .
That believe not ; this shows that by eating his flesh he meant believing on him.
Given unto him of my Father ; the meaning of this is the same as his being drawn or taught of God, ver John 6:45 .
Thou hast the words ; teachest the way of eternal life.
A devil ; under the control of Satan, and like him in character.
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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 6". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent