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After these things (μετα ταυτα). A common, but indefinite, note of time in John (John 3:22; John 5:1; John 6:1; John 7:1). The phrase does not mean immediate sequence of events. As a matter of fact, a whole year may intervene between the events of chapter 5 in Jerusalem and those in chapter 6 in Galilee. There is no sufficient reason for believing that chapter 6 originally preceded chapter 5. The feeding of the five thousand is the only event before the last visit to Jerusalem recorded in all Four Gospels (Mark 6:30-44; Matthew 14:13-21; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13). The disciples have returned from the tour of Galilee and report to Jesus. It was the passover time (John 6:4) just a year before the end.
To the other side of the Sea of Galilee (περαν της θαλασσης της Γαλιλαιας). The name given in Mark and Matthew. It is called Gennesaret in Luke 5:1 and "Sea of Tiberias" in John 21:1. Here "of Tiberias" (της Τιβεριαδος) is added as further description. Herod Antipas A.D. 22 built Tiberias to the west of the Sea of Galilee and made it his capital. See verse John 6:23 for this city. Luke (Luke 9:10) explains that it was the eastern Bethsaida (Julias) to which Jesus took the disciples, not the western Bethsaida of Mark 6:45 in Galilee.
Followed (ηκολουθε). Descriptive imperfect active, picturing the crowd, but without the details of the boat for Christ and the rapid race of the crowd on foot (Mark 6:32; Matthew 14:13).
They beheld (εθεωρουν). Imperfect active of θεωρεω. They had been beholding the signs which Jesus had been doing (εποιε, imperfect again) for a long time (John 2:23), most of which John has not given (Mark 1:29; Mark 2:1; Mark 3:1; Mark 6:5). The people were eager to hear Jesus again (Luke 9:11) and to get the benefit of his healing power "on them that were sick" (επ των ασθενουντων, the weak or feeble, without strength, α privative and σθενος, strength).
Into the mountain (εις το ορος). From the level of the Jordan valley up into the high hill on the eastern side. Mark (Mark 6:46) and Matthew (Matthew 14:23) mention that after the miracle Jesus went further up into the mountain to pray.
Sat (εκαθητο). Imperfect middle of καθημα, was sitting, a picture of repose.
The feast of the Jews (η εορτη των Ιουδαιων). Here used of the passover (το πασχα) as in John 7:2 of the tabernacles. This is probably the third passover in Christ's ministry (John 2:13 and one unmentioned unless John 5:1 be it). In John 2:13, here, and John 11:55 (the last one) the adverb εγγυς (near) is used. John is fond of notes of time. Jesus failed to go to this passover because of the hostility in Jerusalem (John 7:1).
Lifting up his eyes (επαρας τους οφθαλμους). First aorist active participle of επαιρω. See the same phrase in John 4:35 where it is also followed by θεαομα; John 11:41; John 17:1; Luke 6:20. Here it is particularly expressive as Jesus looked down from the mountain on the approaching multitude.
Cometh unto him (ερχετα προς αυτον). Present middle indicative, "is coming to him." The same οχλος πολυς (here πολυς οχλος) of verse John 6:2 that had followed Jesus around the head of the lake.
Whence are we to buy? (Ποθεν αγορασωμεν;). Deliberative subjunctive (aorist active). John passes by the earlier teaching and healing of the Synoptics (Mark 6:34; Matthew 14:14; Luke 9:11) till mid-afternoon. In John also Jesus takes up the matter of feeding the multitude with Philip (from the other Bethsaida, John 1:44) whereas in the Synoptics the disciples raise the problem with Jesus. So the disciples raise the problem in the feeding of the four thousand (Mark 8:4; Matthew 15:33). See Numbers 11:13-22 (about Moses) and 2 Kings 4:42. (about Elisha).
Bread (αρτους). "Loaves" (plural) as in Matthew 4:3.
That these may eat (ινα φαγωσιν ουτο). Purpose clause with ινα and the second aorist active subjunctive of εσθιω (defective verb).
To prove him (πειραζων αυτον). Present active participle of πειραζω, testing him, not here in bad sense of tempting as so often (Matthew 4:1).
What he would do (τ ημελλεν ποιειν). Indirect question with change of tense to imperfect. As in John 2:25 so here John explains why Jesus put the question to Philip.
Two hundred pennyworth of bread (διακοσιων δηναριων αρτο). "Loaves of two hundred denarii." The Roman coin originally for ten asses (afterwards sixteen), about 16 2/3 cents. The denarius was the usual pay for a day's labour (Matthew 20:2; Matthew 20:9; Matthew 20:13). This item in Mark 6:37, but not in Matthew or Luke.
That every one may take a little (ινα εκαστος βραχυ λαβη). Final clause with ινα and second aorist active subjunctive of λαμβανω. This detail in John alone.
One of (εις εκ). So in John 12:4; John 13:23; Mark 13:1 without εκ.
Simon Peter's brother (ο αδελφος Σιμωνος Πετρου). So described in John 1:40. The great distinction of Andrew was precisely this that he brought Simon to Christ. Philip and Andrew appear together again in John 12:20-22, but in the Synoptics he is distinguished only in Mark 13:3. In the Muratorian Fragment Andrew received the revelation for John to write the Fourth Gospel.
A lad here (παιδαριον ωδε). Old word, diminutive of παις, here only in N.T., not genuine in Matthew 11:16. How he came to have this small supply we do not know.
Barley (κριθινους). Adjective, here and verse John 6:13 only in N.T., in the papyri, from κριθη, barley (Revelation 6:6). Considered an inferior sort of bread.
Fishes (οψαρια). Late diminutive of οψον, common in papyri and inscriptions for delicacies with bread like fish. In N.T. only here, verse John 6:11; John 21:9-13. Synoptics have ιχθυας.
Sit down (αναπεσειν). Literally, "fall back," lie down, recline. Second aorist active infinitive of αναπιπτω.
Much grass (χορτος πολυς). Old word for pasture, green grass (Mark 6:39) or hay (1 Corinthians 3:12). It was spring (John 6:4) and plenty of green grass on the hillside.
The men (ο ανδρες). Word for men as distinct from women, expressly stated in Matthew 14:21.
In number (τον αριθμον). Adverbial accusative (of general reference).
About (ος). General estimate, though they were arranged in orderly groups by hundreds and fifties, "in ranks" like "garden beds" (πρασια, Mark 6:40).
The loaves (τους αρτους). Those of verse John 6:9.
Having given thanks (ευχαριστησας). The usual grace before meals (Deuteronomy 8:10). The Synoptics use "blessed" ευλογησεν (Mark 6:41; Matthew 14:19; Luke 9:16).
He distributed (διεδωκεν). First aorist active indicative of διαδιδωμ, old verb to give to several (δια, between).
To them that were set down (τοις ανακειμενοις). Present middle participle (dative case) of ανακειμα, old verb to recline like αναπεσειν in verse John 6:10.
As much as they would (οσον ηθελον). Imperfect active of θελω, "as much as they wished."
And when they were filled (ως δε ενεπλησθησαν). First aorist (effective) passive indicative of εμπιμπλημ, old verb to fill in, to fill up, to fill completely. They were all satisfied. The Synoptics have εχορτασθησαν like John 6:26 (εχορτασθητε).
Gather up (συναγαγετε). Second aorist active imperative of συναγω, to gather together.
Broken pieces (κλασματα). From κλαω, to break. Not crumbs or scraps on the ground, but pieces broken by Jesus (Mark 6:41) and not consumed.
Be lost (απολητα). Second aorist middle subjunctive of απολλυμ with ινα in purpose clause. Only in John. There was to be no wastefulness in Christ's munificence. The Jews had a custom of leaving something for those that served.
Twelve baskets (δωδεκα κοφινους). One for each of the apostles. What about the lad? Stout wicker baskets (coffins, Wycliff) in distinction from the soft and frail σφυριδες used at the feeding of the four thousand (Mark 8:8; Matthew 15:37). Here all the Gospels (Mark 6:43; Matthew 14:20; Luke 9:17; John 6:13) use κοφινο. The same distinction between κοφινο and σφυριδες is preserved in the allusion to the incidents by Jesus in Mark 8:19; Mark 8:20; Matthew 16:9; Matthew 16:10.
Unto them that had eaten (τοις βεβρωκοσιν). Articular perfect active participle (dative case) of βιβρωσκω, old verb to eat, only here in N.T., though often in LXX.
Saw the sign which he did (ιδοντες α εποιησεν σημεια). "Signs" oldest MSS. have. This sign added to those already wrought (verse John 6:2). Cf. John 2:23; John 3:2.
They said (ελεγον). Inchoative imperfect, began to say.
Of a truth (αληθως). Common adverb (from αληθης) in John (John 7:40).
The prophet that cometh (ο προφητης ο ερχομενος). There was a popular expectation about the prophet of Deuteronomy 18:15 as being the Messiah (John 1:21; John 11:27). The phrase is peculiar to John, but the idea is in Acts (John 3:22; John 7:37). The people are on the tiptoe of expectation and believe that Jesus is the political Messiah of Pharisaic hope.
Perceiving (γνους). Second aorist active participle of γινωσκω. It was not hard for Christ to read the mind of this excited mob.
They were about (μελλουσιν). Present active indicative of μελλω. Probably the leaders were already starting.
Take him by force (αρπαζειν). Present active infinitive of αρπαζω, old verb for violent seizing (Matthew 11:12; Matthew 13:19). There was a movement to start a revolution against Roman rule in Palestine by proclaiming Jesus King and driving away Pilate.
To make him king (ινα ποιησωσιν βασιλεα). Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist active subjunctive of ποιεω with βασιλεα as predicate accusative. It was a crisis that called for quick action.
Himself alone (αυτος μονος). At first he had the disciples with him (verse John 6:3). But he sent them hurriedly by boat to the western side (Mark 6:45; Matthew 14:22) because clearly the apostles were sympathetic with the revolutionary impulse of the crowd. Then Jesus sent the multitudes away also and went up into the mountain alone. He was alone in every sense, for no one but the Father understood him at this stage, not even his own disciples. He went up to pray (Mark 6:46; Matthew 14:23).
When evening came (ως οψια εγενετο). "The late hour" (ωρα understood), and so in late Greek the adjective is used as a substantive. It is late evening (real evening), not the early evening in mid-afternoon (Matthew 14:15). The disciples were in no hurry to start back to Bethsaida in Galilee (Mark 6:45), Capernaum in John (John 6:17).
Were going (ηρχοντο). Picturesque imperfect.
It was now dark (σκοτια ηδη εγεγονε). Past perfect active of γινομα. While they were going, "darkness had already come."
And Jesus had not yet come to them (κα ουκ εληλυθε προς αυτους ο Ιησους). Another past perfect active of ερχομα with negative ουπω. Darkness had come, but Jesus had not come, while they were going over the sea. The tenses in these verses are very graphic.
And the sea was rising (η τε θαλασσα διεγειρετο). Imperfect (without augment) passive of διεγειρω, late compound to wake up thoroughly, to arouse.
By reason of a great wind that blew (ανεμου μεγαλου πνεοντος). Genitive absolute with present active participle of πνεω, to blow, "a great wind blowing."
When therefore they had rowed (εληλακοτες ουν). Perfect active participle of ελαυνω, old verb to march (Xenophon), to drive (James 3:4), to row (Mark 6:48).
Furlongs (σταδιους). Stadia, accusative of extent of space, a little over halfway across, "in the midst of the sea" (Mark 6:47). It was about forty stadia (six miles) across.
They behold (θεωρουσιν). Graphic dramatic present active indicative of θεωρεω, vividly preserving the emotions of the disciples.
Walking (περιπατουντα). Present active participle in the accusative case agreeing with Ιησουν.
Drawing nigh unto the boat (εγγυς του πλοιου γινομενον). Present middle participle of γινομα describing the process. "Coming near the boat." They behold Jesus slipping closer and closer to them on the water.
They were afraid (εφοβηθησαν). Ingressive aorist passive indicative of φοβεομα, "they became afraid." Sudden change to the regular historical sequence.
Be not afraid (μη φοβεισθε). Prohibition with μη and present middle imperative of φοβεομα. So in Mark 6:50 (Matthew 14:27). John does not tell that the disciples thought Jesus was an apparition (Mark 6:49; Matthew 14:26), nor does he give the account of Peter walking on the water (Matthew 14:28-31).
They were willing therefore (ηθελον ουν). Inchoative imperfect, "they began to be willing." This does not contradict Mark 6:51 as Bernard thinks. Both Jesus and Peter climbed into the boat.
Whither they were going (εις ην υπηγον). Progressive imperfect active, "to which land they had been going" (intransitive use of υπαγω, to lead under, to go under or away as in verse John 6:67; John 7:33; John 12:11; John 18:8.
Which stood (ο εστηκως). Perfect active (intransitive) participle of ιστημ, to put, to stand. Jesus had sent the multitudes away the evening before (Mark 6:45; Matthew 14:22), but evidently some did not go very far, still lingering in excitement on the eastern side of the lake next morning.
Boat (πλοιαριον). Diminutive of πλοιον, little boat (Mark 3:9).
Entered not with (ου συνεισηλθεν). Second aorist active of the double compound verb συνεισερχομα, followed by associative instrumental case μαθηταις.
Went away alone (μονο απηλθον). Second aorist active indicative of απερχομα, to go away or off. Μονο is predicate nominative. These people noted these three items.
Howbeit (αλλα). Verse 23 is really an explanatory parenthesis in this long sentence. Tiberias, capital of Herod Antipas, diagonally across the lake, is only mentioned in John in the N.T. (John 6:1; John 6:23; John 21:1).
Boats (πλοια). Called "little boats" (πλοιαρια) in verse John 6:24.
When the multitude therefore saw (οτε ουν ειδεν ο οχλος). Resumption and clarification of the complicated statements of verse John 6:22.
That Jesus was not there (οτ Ιησους ουκ εστιν εκε). Present indicative retained in indirect discourse. They still did not understand how Jesus had crossed over, but they acted on the basis of the plain fact.
They themselves got into (ενεβησαν αυτο εις). Second aorist active indicative of εμβαινω followed by εις (both εν and εις together as often in N.T.).
Seeking Jesus (ζητουντες τον Ιησουν). Present active participle of ζητεω. They had a double motive apart from the curiosity explained in verse John 6:22. They had clearly not given up the impulse of the evening before to make Jesus king (John 6:15) and they had hopes of still another bountiful repast at the hands of Jesus as he said (John 6:26).
When they found him (ευροντες αυτον). Second aorist active participle of ευρισκω. Found him after search and in the synagogue as John explains (verse John 6:59) in Capernaum, perhaps that very synagogue built by a centurion (Luke 7:5).
Rabbi (Ραββε). See on John 1:38 for this courteous title.
When camest thou hither? (ποτε ωδε γεγονασ;). Second perfect active indicative of γινομα. "When hast thou come?" We sought you anxiously on the other side of the lake and could not see how you came across (verses John 6:22-24).
Not because ye saw signs (ουχ οτ ειδετε σημεια). Second aorist active indicative of the defective verb οραω. They had seen the "signs" wrought by Jesus (verse John 6:2), but this one had led to wild fanaticism (verse John 6:14) and complete failure to grasp the spiritual lessons.
But because ye ate of the loaves (αλλ' οτ εφαγετε εκ των αρτων). Second aorist active indicative of εσθιω, defective verb.
Ye were filled (εχορτασθητε). First aorist passive indicative of χορταζω, from χορτος (grass) as in verse John 6:10, to eat grass, then to eat anything, to satisfy hunger. They were more concerned with hungry stomachs than with hungry souls. It was a sharp and deserved rebuke.
Work not for (μη εργαζεσθε). Prohibition with μη and present middle imperative of εργαζομα, old verb from εργον, work.
The meat (την βρωσιν). The act of eating (Romans 14:17), corrosion (Matthew 6:19), the thing eaten as here (2 Corinthians 9:10). See on John 4:32.
Which perisheth (την απολλυμενην). Present middle participle of απολλυμ. They were already hungry again.
Unto eternal life (εις ζωην αιωνιον). Mystical metaphor quite beyond this crowd hungry only for more loaves and fishes. Bernard thinks that John has here put together various sayings of Christ to make one discourse, a gratuitous interpretation.
Will give (δωσε). Future active indicative of διδωμ. The outcome is still future and will be decided by their attitude towards the Son of man (verse John 6:51).
For him the Father, even God, hath sealed (τουτον γαρ ο πατηρ εσφραγισεν ο θεος). Literally, "For this one the Father sealed, God." First aorist active indicative of σφραγιζω, to seal. See elsewhere in John 3:33 (attestation by man). Sealing by God is rare in N.T. (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30). It is not clear to what item, if any single one, John refers when the Father set his seal of approval on the Son. It was done at his baptism when the Holy Spirit came upon him and the Father spoke to him. Cf. John 5:37.
What must we do? (Τ ποιωμεν;). Present active deliberative subjunctive of ποιεω, "What are we to do as a habit?" For the aorist subjunctive (ποιησωμεν) in a like question for a single act see Luke 3:10. For the present indicative (ποιουμεν) of inquiry concerning actual conduct see John 11:47 (what are we doing?).
That we may work the works of God (ινα εργαζωμεθα τα εργα του θεου). Final clause with ινα and the present middle subjunctive, "that we may go on working the works of God." There may have been an element of vague sincerity in this question in spite of their supercilious attitude.
The work of God that ye believe (το εργον του θεου ινα πιστευητε). In 1 Thessalonians 1:3 Paul speaks of "your work of faith" (υμων του εργου της πιστεως). So here Jesus terms belief in him as the work of God. These Jews were thinking of various deeds of the Pharisaic type and rules. Jesus turns their minds to the central fact. "This simple formula contains the complete solution of the relation of faith and works" (Westcott). Note the present active subjunctive πιστευητε, "that ye may keep on believing."
On him whom he hath sent (εις ον απεστειλεν εκεινος). The pronominal antecedent (εις τουτον ον) is omitted and the preposition εις is retained with the relative ον really the direct object of απεστειλεν (sent). Note εκεινος for God (emphatic he).
For a sign (σημειον). Predicate accusative, as a sign, with τ (what). As if the sign of the day before was without value. Jesus had said that they did not understand his signs (verse John 6:26).
That we may see, and believe thee (ινα ιδωμεν κα πιστευσωμεν). Purpose clause with ινα and the second aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive of οραω and the first aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive of πιστευω, "that we may come to see and come to have faith in thee." It is hard to have patience with this superficial and almost sneering mob.
What workest thou? (Τ εργαζηι;). They not simply depreciate the miracle of the day before, but set up a standard for Jesus.
Ate the manna (το μαννα εφαγον). The rabbis quoted Psalms 72:16 to prove that the Messiah, when he comes, will outdo Moses with manna from heaven. Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah and able to give bread for eternal life (verse John 6:27). Lightfoot (Biblical Essays, p. 152) says: "The key to the understanding of the whole situation is an acquaintance with the national expectation of the greater Moses." They quote to Jesus Exodus 16:15 (of. Numbers 11:7; Numbers 21:5; Deuteronomy 8:3). Their plea is that Moses gave us bread "from heaven" (εκ του ουρανου). Can Jesus equal that deed of Moses?
It was not Moses that gave you (ου Μωυσης εδωκεν υμιν). "Not Moses gave you." Blunt and pointed denial (aorist active indicative of διδωμ) that Moses was the giver of the bread from heaven (the manna). Moses was not superior to Christ on this score.
But my Father (αλλ ο πατηρ μου). Not "our Father," but same claim as in John 5:17. Which caused so much anger in Jerusalem.
Gives (διδωσιν). Present active indicative, not aorist (εδωκεν). Continual process.
The true bread out of heaven (τον αρτον εκ του ουρανου τον αληθινον). "The bread out of heaven" as the manna and more "the genuine bread" of which that was merely a type. On αληθινος see John 1:9; John 4:23.
The bread of God (ο αρτος του θεου). All bread is of God (Matthew 6:11). The manna came down from heaven (Numbers 11:9) as does this bread (ο καταβαινων). Refers to the bread (ο αρτος, masculine). Bernard notes that this phrase (coming down) is used seven times in this discourse (John 6:33; John 6:38; John 6:41; John 6:42; John 6:50; John 6:51; John 6:58).
Giveth life (ζωην διδους). Chrysostom observes that the manna gave nourishment (τροφη), but not life (ζωη). This is a most astounding statement to the crowd.
Lord (Κυριε). Used now instead of Rabbi (25) though how much the people meant by it is not clear.
Evermore give us this bread (παντοτε δος ημιν τον αρτον τουτον). Second aorist active imperative second singular like δος in Matthew 6:11 (urgent petition). What kind of bread do they mean? The Jewish commentaries and Philo speak of the manna as typifying heavenly bread for the soul. Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:3 seems to refer to the manna as "spiritual food." Like the woman at the well (John 4:15) they long "always" to have "this bread," a perpetual supply. It is probably to this crowd as the water in John 4:15 was to the woman.
I am the bread of life (Εγω ειμ ο αρτος της ζωης). This sublime sentence was startling in the extreme to the crowd. Philo does compare the manna to the θειος λογος in an allegorical sense, but this language is far removed from Philo's vagueness. In the Synoptics (Mark 14:22; Matthew 26:26; Luke 22:19) Jesus uses bread (αρτος) as the symbol of his body in the Lord's Supper, but here Jesus offers himself in place of the loaves and fishes which they had come to seek (John 6:24; John 6:26). He is the bread of life in two senses: it has life in itself, the living bread (John 6:51), and it gives life to others like the water of life, the tree of life. John often has Jesus saying "I am" (εγω ειμ). As also in John 6:41; John 6:48; John 6:51; John 8:12; John 10:7; John 10:9; John 10:11; John 10:14; John 11:25; John 14:6; John 15:1; John 15:5.
He that cometh to me (ο ερχομενος προς εμε). The first act of the soul in approaching Jesus. See also verse John 6:37.
Shall not hunger (ου μη πειναση). Strong double negative ου με with first aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive, "shall not become hungry."
He that believeth on me (ο πιστευων εις εμε). The continuous relation of trust after coming like πιστευητε (present tense) in verse John 6:29. See both verbs used together also in John 7:37.
Shall never thirst (ου μη διψησε πωποτε). So the old MSS. the future active indicative instead of the aorist subjunctive as above, an even stronger form of negation with πωποτε (John 1:18) added.
That ye have seen me (οτ κα εωρακατε με). It is not certain that με is genuine. If not, Jesus may refer to verse John 6:26. If genuine, some other saying is referred to that we do not have. Note κα (also or even).
And yet believe not (κα ου πιστευετε). Use of κα = and yet.
All that (παν ο). Collective use of the neuter singular, classic idiom, seen also in John 6:39; John 17:2; John 17:24; 1 John 5:4. Perhaps the notion of unity like εν in John 17:21 underlies this use of παν ο.
Giveth me (διδωσιν μο). For the idea that the disciples are given to the Son see also John 6:39; John 6:65; John 10:29; John 17:2; John 17:6; John 17:9; John 17:12; John 17:24; John 18:9.
I will in no wise cast out (ου μη εκβαλω εξω). Strong double negation as in verse John 6:35 with second aorist active subjunctive of βαλλω. Definite promise of Jesus to welcome the one who comes.
I am come down (καταβεβηκα). Perfect active indicative of καταβαινω. See on John 6:33 for frequent use of this phrase by Jesus. Here απο is correct rather than εκ with του ουρανου.
Not to do (ουχ ινα ποιω). "Not that I keep on doing" (final clause with ινα and present active subjunctive of ποιεω).
But the will (αλλα το θελημα). Supply ινα ποιω after αλλα, "but that I keep on doing." This is the fulness of joy for Jesus, to do his Father's will (John 4:34; John 5:30).
That of all that which (ινα παν ο). Literally, "That all which" (see verse John 6:37 for παν ο), but there is a sharp anacoluthon with παν left as nominativus pendens.
I should lose nothing (μη απολεσω εξ αυτου). Construed with ινα, "that I shall not lose anything of it." Απολεσω, from απολλυμ, can be either future active indicative or first aorist active subjunctive as is true also of αναστησω (from ανιστημ), "I shall raise up."
At the last day (τη εσχατη εμερα). Locative case without εν. Only in John, but four times here (John 6:39; John 6:40; John 6:44; John 6:54) "with the majesty of a solemn refrain." In John 7:37 it is the last day of the feast of tabernacles, but in John 11:24; John 12:48 of the day of judgment as here. Christ is the Agent of the general resurrection in John 5:28 as in 1 Corinthians 15:22 while here only the resurrection of the righteous is mentioned.
Should have eternal life (εχη ζωην αιωνιον). Present active subjunctive with ινα, "that he may keep on having eternal life" as in John 3:15; John 3:36.
Beholdeth (θεωρων). With the eye of faith as in John 12:45.
And I will raise him up (κα αναστησω). Future active indicative (volitive future, promise) as in John 6:54.
Murmured (εγογγυζον). Imperfect active of the onomatopoetic verb γογγυζω, late verb in LXX (murmuring against Moses), papyri (vernacular), like the cooing of doves or the buzzing of bees. These Galilean Jews are puzzled over what Jesus had said (verses John 6:33; John 6:35) about his being the bread of God come down from heaven.
How doth he now say? (Πως νυν λεγει;). They knew Jesus as the son of Joseph and Mary. They cannot comprehend his claim to be from heaven. This lofty claim puzzles sceptics today.
Murmur not (μη γογγυζετε). Prohibition with μη and the present active imperative, "stop murmuring" (the very word of verse John 6:41). There was a rising tide of protest.
Except the Father draw him (εαν μη ελκυση αυτον). Negative condition of third class with εαν μη and first aorist active subjunctive of ελκυω, older form ελκω, to drag like a net (John 21:6), or sword (John 18:10), or men (Acts 16:19), to draw by moral power (John 12:32), as in Jeremiah 31:3. Συρω, the other word to drag (Acts 8:3; Acts 14:19) is not used of Christ's drawing power. The same point is repeated in verse John 6:65. The approach of the soul to God is initiated by God, the other side of verse John 6:37. See Romans 8:7 for the same doctrine and use of ουδε δυνατα like ουδεις δυνατα here.
Taught of God (διδακτο θεου). A free quotation from Isaiah 54:13 with this phrase in the LXX. There is here the ablative case θεου with the passive verbal adjective διδακτο (Robertson, Grammar, p. 516). In 1 Thessalonians 4:9 we have the compound verbal θεοδιδακτο. The same use of διδακτος with the ablative occurs in 1 Corinthians 2:13.
And hath learned (κα μαθων). Second aorist active participle of μανθανω. It is not enough to hear God's voice. He must heed it and learn it and do it. This is a voluntary response. This one inevitably comes to Christ.
This one has seen the Father (ουτος εωρακεν τον πατερα). Perfect active indicative of οραω. With the eyes no one has seen God (John 1:18) save the Son who is "from God" in origin (John 1:1; John 1:14; John 7:29; John 16:27; John 17:8). The only way for others to see God is to see Christ (John 14:9).
He that believeth (ο πιστευων). This is the way to see God in Christ.
I am the bread of life (εγω ειμ ο αρτος της ζωης). Jesus repeats the astounding words of verse John 6:35 after fuller explanation. The believer in Christ has eternal life because he gives himself to him.
And they died (κα απεθανον). Physical death. The manna did not prevent death. But this new manna will prevent spiritual death.
That a man may eat thereof, and not die (ινα τις εξ αυτου φαγη κα μη αποθανη). Purpose clause with ινα and the second aorist active subjunctive of εσθιω and αποθνησκω. The wonder and the glory of it all, but quite beyond the insight of this motley crowd.
The living bread (ο αρτος ο ζων). "The bread the living." Repetition of the claim in John 6:35; John 6:41; John 6:48, but with a slight change from ζωης to ζων (present active participle of ζαω). It is alive and can give life. See John 4:10 for living water. In Revelation 1:17 Jesus calls himself the Living One (ο ζων).
For ever (εις τον αιωνα). Eternally like αιωνιον with ζωην in John 6:47.
I shall give (εγω δωσω). Emphasis on εγω (I). Superior so to Moses.
Is my flesh (η σαρξ μου εστιν). See on John 1:14 for σαρξ the Incarnation. This new idea creates far more difficulty to the hearers who cannot grasp Christ's idea of self-sacrifice.
For the life of the world (υπερ της του κοσμου ζωης). Over, in behalf of, υπερ means, and in some connexions instead of as in John 11:50. See John 1:30 for the Baptist's picture of Christ as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. See also John 3:17; John 4:42; 1 John 3:16; Matthew 20:28; Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Romans 5:8. Jesus has here presented to this Galilean multitude the central fact of his atoning death for the spiritual life of the world.
Strove (εμαχοντο). Imperfect (inchoative) middle of μαχομα, to fight in armed combat (Acts 7:26), then to wage a war of words as here and 2 Timothy 2:24. They were already murmuring (John 6:41), now they began bitter strife with one another over the last words of Jesus (John 6:43-51), some probably seeing a spiritual meaning in them. There was division of opinion about Jesus in Jerusalem also later (John 7:12; John 7:40; John 9:16; John 10:19).
How can? (Πως δυναται;). The very idiom used by Nicodemus in John 3:4; John 3:9. Here scornful disbelief.
This man (ουτος). Contemptuous use pictured in verse John 6:42.
His flesh to eat (την σαρκα αυτου φαγειν). As if we were cannibals! Some MSS. do not have αυτου, but the meaning is clear. The mystical appropriation of Christ by the believer (Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17) they could not comprehend, though some apparently were against this literal interpretation of "flesh" (σαρξ).
Except ye eat (εαν μη φαγητε). Negative condition of third class with second aorist active subjunctive of εσθιω. Jesus repeats the statement in verses John 6:50; John 6:51. Note change of μου (my) in verse John 6:51 to του υιου του ανθρωπου with same idea.
And drink his blood (κα πιητε αυτου το αιμα). Same condition with second aorist active subjunctive of πινω. This addition makes the demand of Jesus seem to these Jews more impossible than before if taken in a baldly literal sense. The only possible meaning is the spiritual appropriation of Jesus Christ by faith (verse John 6:47), for "ye have not life in yourselves" (ουκ εχετε ζωην εν εαυτοις). Life is found only in Christ.
He that eateth (ο τρωγων). Present active participle for continual or habitual eating like πιστευετε in verse John 6:29. The verb τρωγω is an old one for eating fruit or vegetables and the feeding of animals. In the N.T. it occurs only in John 6:54; John 6:56; John 6:58; John 13:18; Matthew 24:38. Elsewhere in the Gospels always εσθιω or εφαγον (defective verb with εσθιω). No distinction is made here between εφαγον (John 6:48; John 6:50; John 6:52; John 6:53; John 6:58) and τρωγω (John 6:54; John 6:56; John 6:57; John 6:58). Some men understand Jesus here to be speaking of the Lord's Supper by prophetic forecast or rather they think that John has put into the mouth of Jesus the sacramental conception of Christianity by making participation in the bread and wine the means of securing eternal life. To me that is a violent misinterpretation of the Gospel and an utter misrepresentation of Christ. It is a grossly literal interpretation of the mystical symbolism of the language of Jesus which these Jews also misunderstood. Christ uses bold imagery to picture spiritual appropriation of himself who is to give his life-blood for the life of the world (John 6:51). It would have been hopeless confusion for these Jews if Jesus had used the symbolism of the Lord's Supper. It would be real dishonesty for John to use this discourse as a propaganda for sacramentalism. The language of Jesus can only have a spiritual meaning as he unfolds himself as the true manna.
Meat indeed (αληθης βρωσις). So the best MSS., "true food." See on John 4:32 for βρωσις as equal to βρωμα (a thing eaten).
Drink indeed (αληθης ποσις). Correct text, "true drink." For ποσις see Romans 14:17; Colossians 2:16 (only N.T. examples).
Abideth in me and I in him (εν εμο μενε καγω εν αυτω). Added to the phrase in John 6:54 in the place of εχε ζωην αιωνιον (has eternal life). The verb μενω (to abide) expresses continual mystical fellowship between Christ and the believer as in John 15:4-7; 1 John 2:6; 1 John 2:27; 1 John 2:28; 1 John 3:6; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:12; 1 John 4:16. There is, of course, no reference to the Lord's Supper (Eucharist), but simply to mystical fellowship with Christ.
The living Father (ο ζων πατηρ). Nowhere else in the N.T., but see John 5:26 and "the living God" (Matthew 16:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16). The Father is the source of life and so "I live because of the Father" (καγω ζω δια τον πατερα).
He that eateth me (ο τρωγων με). Still bolder putting of the mystical appropriation of Christ (John 6:51; John 6:53; John 6:54; John 6:56).
Because of me (δι' εμε). The same idea appears in John 14:19: "Because I live ye shall live also." See John 11:25. Jesus Christ is our ground of hope and guarantee of immortality. Life is in Christ. There is no real difficulty in this use of δια with the accusative as with δια τον πατερα just before. It occurs also in John 15:3. As the Father is the fount of life to Christ, so Christ is the fount of life to us. See 1 John 4:9 where δια is used with the genitive (δι' αυτου) as the intermediate agent, not the ground or reason as here.
This is the bread (ουτος εστιν ο αρτος). Summary and final explanation of the true manna (from verse John 6:32 on) as being Jesus Christ himself.
In the synagogue (εν συναγωγη). Definite like our in church, though article absent. Only use of the word in John except John 18:20. "Among the ruins at Tell Hum, the probable site of Capernaum, have been found among the remains of a synagogue a block of stone perhaps the lintel, carved with a pot of manna, and with a pattern of vine leaves and clusters of grapes" (Vincent).
A hard saying (σκληρος). "This saying is a hard one." Old adjective, rough, harsh, dried hard (from σκελλω, to dry), probably the last saying of Jesus that he was the bread of life come down from heaven and they were to eat him. It is to be hoped that none of the twelve joined the many disciples in this complaint.
Hear it (αυτου ακουειν). Or "hear him," hear with acceptation. For ακουω with the genitive see John 10:3; John 10:16; John 10:27.
Knowing in himself (ειδως εν εαυτω). Second perfect active participle of οιδα. See John 2:25 for this supernatural insight into men's minds.
Murmured (γογγυζουσιν). Present active indicative retained in indirect discourse. See John 6:41 for γογγυζω.
At this (περ τουτου). "Concerning this word."
Cause to stumble (σκανδαλιζε). Common Synoptic verb from σκανδαλον for which see Matthew 5:29. In John again only in John 16:1.
What then if ye should behold (εαν ουν θεωρητε). No "what" in the Greek. Condition of third class with εαν and present active subjunctive, "if ye then behold."
Ascending (αναβαινοντα). Present active participle picturing the process.
Where he was before (οπου ην το προτερον). Neuter articular adjective as adverb (accusative of general reference, at the former time as in John 9:8; Galatians 3:13). Clear statement of Christ's pre-existence in his own words as in John 3:13; John 17:5 (cf. John 1:1-18).
That quickeneth (το ζωοποιουν). Articular present active participle of ζωοποιεω for which see John 5:21. For the contrast between πνευμα (spirit) and σαρξ (flesh) see already John 3:6.
The words (τα ρηματα). Those in this discourse (I have just spoken, λελαληκα), for they are the words of God (John 3:34; John 8:47; John 17:8). No wonder they "are spirit and are life" (πνευμα εστιν κα ζωη εστιν). The breath of God and the life of God is in these words of Jesus. Never man spoke like Jesus (John 7:46). There is life in his words today.
That believe not (ο ου πιστευουσιν). Failure to believe kills the life in the words of Jesus.
Knew from the beginning (ηιδε εξ αρχης). In the N.T. we have εξ αρχης only here and John 16:4, but απ' αρχης in apparently the same sense as here in John 15:27; 1 John 2:7; 1 John 2:24; 1 John 3:11 and see Luke 1:2; 1 John 1:1. From the first Jesus distinguished between real trust in him and mere lip service (John 2:24; John 8:31), two senses of πιστευω.
Were (εισιν). Present active indicative retained in indirect discourse.
And who it was that should betray him (κα τις εστιν ο παραδωσων). Same use of εστιν and note article and future active participle of παραδιδωμ, to hand over, to betray. John does not say here that Jesus knew that Judas would betray him when he chose him as one of the twelve, least of all that he chose him for that purpose. What he does say is that Jesus was not taken by surprise and soon saw signs of treason in Judas. The same verb is used of John's arrest in Matthew 4:12. Once Judas is termed traitor (προδοτης) in Luke 6:16. Judas had gifts and was given his opportunity. He did not have to betray Jesus.
Except it be given him of the Father (εαν μη η δεδομενον αυτω εκ του πατρος). Condition of third class with εαν μη and periphrastic perfect passive subjunctive of διδωμ. Precisely the same point as in verse John 6:44 where we have ελκυση instead of η δεδομενον. The impulse to faith comes from God. Jesus does not expect all to believe and seems to imply that Judas did not truly believe.
Upon this (εκ τουτου). Same idiom in John 19:12. "Out of this saying or circumstance." Jesus drew the line of cleavage between the true and the false believers.
Went back (απηλθον εις τα οπισω). Aorist (ingressive) active indicative of απερχομα with εις τα οπισω, "to the rear" (the behind things) as in John 18:6.
Walked no more with him (ουκετ μετ' αυτου περιεπατουν). Imperfect active of περιπατεω. The crisis had come. These half-hearted seekers after the loaves and fishes and political power turned abruptly from Jesus, walked out of the synagogue with a deal of bluster and were walking with Jesus no more. Jesus had completely disillusioned these hungry camp-followers who did not care for spiritual manna that consisted in intimate appropriation of the life of Jesus as God's Son.
Would ye also go away? (Μη κα υμεις θελετε υπαγειν;). Jesus puts it with the negative answer (μη) expected. See John 21:5 where Jesus also uses μη in a question. Judas must have shown some sympathy with the disappointed and disappearing crowds. But he kept still. There was possibly restlessness on the part of the other apostles.
Lord, to whom shall we go? (Κυριε, προς τινα απελευσομεθα;). Peter is the spokesman as usual and his words mean that, if such a thought as desertion crossed their minds when the crowd left, they dismissed it instantly. They had made their choice. They accepted these very words of Jesus that had caused the defection as "the words of eternal life."
We have believed (ημεις πεπιστευκαμεν). Perfect active indicative of πιστευω, "We have come to believe and still believe" (verse John 6:29).
And know (κα εγνωκαμεν). Same tense of γινωσκω, "We have come to know and still know."
Thou art the Holy One of God (συ ε ο αγιος του θεου). Bernard follows those who believe that this is John's report of the same confession given by the Synoptics (Mark 8:27; Matthew 16:13-20; Luke 9:18), an utterly unjustifiable conclusion. The details are wholly different. Here in the synagogue in Capernaum, there on Mt. Hermon near Caesarea Philippi. What earthly difficulty is there in supposing that Peter could make a noble confession twice? That is to my mind a wooden conception of the apostles in their growing apprehension of Christ.
And one of you is a devil (κα εξ υμων εις διαβολος εστιν). Jesus does not say that Judas was a devil when he chose him, but that he is one now. In John 13:2; John 13:27 John speaks of the devil entering Judas. How soon the plan to betray Jesus first entered the heart of Judas we do not know (John 12:4). One wonders if the words of Jesus here did not cut Judas to the quick.
Of Simon Iscariot (Σιμωνος Ισκαριωτου). So his father was named Iscariot also, a man of Kerioth (possibly in Judah, Joshua 15:25, possibly in Moab, Jeremiah 48:24), not in Galilee. Judas was the only one of the twelve not a Galilean. The rest of the verse is like John 12:4.
One of the twelve (εις εκ των δωδεκα). The eternal horror of the thing.
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 6". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13