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Bible Commentaries
John 6

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


After this. Not immediately, but perhaps one year later. John tells us very little of what Jesus did and said in the early years of his public ministry. Jesus went back across Lake Galilee. The scene of his ministry has shifted to the lake where he spent a lot of his time. The area along the western shore was heavily populated. John’s Gentile readers knew the lake better as Tiberias.

Verses 2-13


A large crowd followed him. This is the only miracle recorded by all four Gospels. The Passover Feast is the third since Jesus’ baptism. John the Baptist is dead, and this may be as late as the third year of his public ministry. See the notes on Matthew 14:13-21. John shows that it took place near the time for Passover, that is, early in the spring, about a year before the crucifixion of Jesus. Pick up the pieces left over. God does not allow wastefulness. Nature wastes nothing, but recycles everything! The wastefulness of man brings famine. If war, greed, etc., could be eliminated, the earth could support a much larger population.

Verse 14


Surely this is the Prophet. Moses predicted The Prophet (compare John 1:21). The Jews expected this Prophet to declare himself King, and set up a political kingdom which would make Israel great again, as it was in the time of David. In other words, they were saying: “This is the Messiah!”

Verse 15


To make him king by force. If Jesus had intended to become a political king, this was his opportunity! He frustrates their plans by dismissing his disciples and going off by himself into the hills.

Verses 16-21


When evening came. For notes on this storm on the lake, See Matthew 14:22-33. It is I! This is the message of the Good News. Don’t be afraid, It is I! Christ brings the peace that the world does not have and cannot give.

Verse 22


Next day the crowd. This is the day following the feeding of the Five Thousand and the storm at night on the lake. They had stayed because there were no other boats, and, they had seen that Jesus had not gone in the boat with his disciples.

Verse 23


Other boats, from Tiberias. Tiberias was the largest city on the lake. It was built by Herod, and named for Emperor Tiberias. Herod Antipas used it as the capital of Galilee.

Verse 24


And went to Capernaum, looking for him. They knew Jesus made this town his home.

Verse 25


Teacher, when did you get here? They knew he had not gone with his disciples. This is the Sabbath day, and this conversation takes place in the synagogue at Capernaum (see John 6:59).

Verse 26


Because you ate the bread. They have no high spiritual motives. Most people are more interested in their stomach than in their spirit. This is especially true of those who see religion as a way to get rich (1 Timothy 6:3-5).

Verse 27


Do not work for the food that spoils. “The world and everything in it that men desire is passing away; but he who does what God wants lives forever” (1 John 2:17), Material needs are important (Matthew 6:11), but we must put our spirit first in priority (Matthew 6:25-34). Has put his mark of approval on him. Legal documents must be stamped with an official seal. God made it plain that he authorized the work Jesus was doing! The miracles were one mark of approval.

Verse 28


In order to do God’s works. Jesus had told them: “Work for the food that lasts for eternal life. “ They ask how to go about doing this.

Verse 29


This is the work God wants you to do. Faith is a work. God’s works are those things which God authorizes and requires to be done by men. These people are startled to hear that to please God requires that they first believe in Jesus.

Verse 30


What sign of power will you perform? These are the people who were just fed by a miracle! He mentioned God’s mark of approval. Now they ask some special sign that only God can give, as a condition of believing in him. But they demand a miracle while refusing to believe the one already done!

Verse 31


Our ancestors ate manna in the desert. Jesus may have fed a few thousands, but they say their ancestors were fed by a miracle in the desert for forty years! Lipscomb thinks they expected Jesus to feed them miraculously the rest of their lives, as a miracle to get them to believe.

Verse 32


What Moses gave you was not the bread from heaven. The manna was not the true spiritual bread from God. It is my Father. God gives the true spiritual bread which feeds his people in the desert which is this world, as they travel to that heavenly “Canaan.”

Verse 33


Is he who comes down. The true bread: (1) comes down from heaven; (2) gives life to the spirit; (3) is for the entire world. Jesus is that bread, and he alone can give life to mankind.

Verse 34


Give us this bread always. Compare the woman at the well, and what Jesus said to her there (John 4:10-15). They “half believe,” but do not understand what it is all about.

Verse 35


I am the bread of life. Jesus himself is the spiritual bread. He gives spiritual and eternal life to those who come to him. He who comas, believes: we must reach out to seize this Jesus and become part of him! See John 6:53.

Verse 36


But will not believe. The fact they had asked for a “sign of power” is proof they do not believe. Jesus had shown himself to them in his teaching, his actions, and his miracles. But they did not believe, and so could not receive this life.

Verse 37


Everyone whom my Father gives me. The Bible shows us that a certain type of person responds to the Good News. People who will respond are called “my people” by God before they confess him (Acts 18:9-11). God’s salvation must be understood in this way. Jesus followed a predetermined set of actions to induce men to come to him. Those who do not respond, are not the Father’s people. Everyone who does respond will be accepted; no one will be turned away! Lipscomb says: “God has called and predestinated to eternal life all willing to receive him.”

Verse 39


Because I have come. Jesus came from heaven to earth, to lead men and women to eternal life. Jesus came to be the world’s Savior.

Verses 39-40


For what my Father wants is this. God intends that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him, should have eternal life. (1) There is no “secret decree” of “election.” People “sort themselves out” on the basis of believing in Christ. (2) Eternal life comes to all who reach out through faith to seize the sacrifice of Christ and make themselves part of it. (See notes on Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3-11.) (3) Christ has shown us life. He is the “resurrection and the life.

Verses 41-42


This man is Jesus the son of Joseph. Joseph was his legal father. They knew (or thought they knew) his earthly origin. His claims seemed impossible to them.

Verse 44


Draws him to me. Two things are required to come to Christ; the human desire; the divine drawing. Man has the choice to refuse, or to come (see John 5:40; Matthew 23:37; Revelation 22:17). [Lazarus, in the grave, had not such freedom of choice. He could neither refuse nor come.]

Verse 45


All men will be taught by God. The Good News is the drawing power of God (Romans 1:16-17). All men will be taught by God, therefore all men are called by God! The Law and the Prophets had pointed these people to the Messiah (Galatians 3:24), but they had refused God’s teaching and rejected God’s call. Everyone who hears the Father. To “hear” is to “learn.” It is the truth learned from the Good News that makes people willing to come.

Verse 46


This does not mean. They are drawn by hearing the word, not by seeing God. He who is from God. Only Jesus has seen the Father, and only Jesus can be our “go-between” [mediator] with the Father.

Verse 47


Whoever cats it will not die. The miraculous manna was no different from other food. Jesus is supernormal food; he gives eternal life!

Verse 48


Which I give so that the world may live. See John 2:21; Hebrews 10:20.

Verses 53-56


If you do not eat the flesh. John 6:63 shows us these words are symbolic. The very thought of drinking blood was offensive to the Jews, who were forbidden to taste blood (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:10-14); and this was reaffirmed for Christians (Acts 15:20). To “eat the flesh and drink the blood” of the Son of God, is to “reach out through faith to seize the sacrifice of Christ and make yourself part of it.” See note on Acts 2:38. No reference to the Lord’s Supper[Holy Meal] is here intended! Origen, Basil, Zwingle, Calvin, Luther, Melancthon, et. al., are agreed on this. The flesh and blood of Jesus symbolize the same fact which the Lord’s Supper [Holy Meal] symbolizes – union with God! Jesus is implying in these words that his death is necessary to the world’s life. McGarvey says: “It was difficult to bring home to their carnal minds so spiritual a thought, and therefore Jesus clothed it in carnal metaphors and made it as plain as possible. Christians today, being more spiritually minded, and more used to spiritual language, are somewhat confused by the carnal dress in which Jesus clothed his thought.”

Verse 57


The living Father sent me. The Father, who is the source of life, sends life to the believer through the Son. “Perfect life” comes through our union with Christ (Romans 8:1-4).

Verse 58


This, then, is the bread. This is the comparison between himself and the manna. He may have pointed to himself as he said this.

Verse 59


As he taught in the synagogue. This was the synagogue built by the Roman officer. See note on Matthew 8:5. “Pots of manna” were sculptured on the inner walls.

Verses 60-62


This teaching is too hard. About eating and drinking his flesh and blood. They wanted the glory of raising an army to fight the Romans. Even as Jesus got ready to go up to heaven, the disciples still thought in terms of a political kingdom (Acts 1:6). But just ten days later, at Pentecost, they abandoned the earthly idea and saw Jesus “raised to the right side of God” (Acts 2:32-36).

Verse 63


What gives life is God’s Spirit. The fact that they were Abraham’s descendants meant nothing. His actual flesh and blood in them would also mean nothing. If they had stood at the Cross and let the blood drop on them, it would still have meant nothing. Because men and women “eat” Jesus by faith. His words are Spirit and life. The power of God’s act in Jesus to set men free operates through faith in the Son of God.

Verses 64-65


This is the very reason. It is correct to say that the Holy Spirit gives or produces faith through hearing and believing the gospel (Galatians 3:2). See notes on John 6:44-45.

Verses 66-67


Many of his followers turned back. They were offended by the things which he said [in this chapter]. It costs you something to follow Jesus. Not all are willing to pay the price. God lets us choose!

Verses 68-69


Lord, to whom would we go? No one else could give eternal life. Peter understood this. Eternal life is worth paying any price to follow Jesus! You are the Holy One from God. Peter’s declaration here is much the same as Matthew 16:16.

Verses 70-71


Yet one of you is a devil. Devil means “one who falsely accuses; one who is malicious.” The shadow of sadness still hovers over Jesus. [Notice the progression in this chapter. In John 6:33 he announces the “bread that God gives.” In John 6:48; John 6:50 he says that he is the bread of life [himself]. In John 6:51-56 he shows that life comes ONLY through eating and drinking his flesh and blood. John 6:63 shows that this is done by feeding on his life and his words SPIRITUALLY.]

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 6". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/john-6.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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