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Bible Commentaries
John 6

Harvey's Notes on the Gospel of JohnHarvey's Notes on John

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Verse 1

John 6:1

After Jesus healed the man that suffered from a thirty-eight-year-old infirmity (John 5:5-15), and then He discussed the matter at length with the Jewish leadership (John 5:16-47), Jesus went across the Sea of Tiberias to the other side.

Just as Gadarenes (Mark 5:1) and Gergesenes (Matthew 8:26-28) are two different words for the same place, Tiberias is another name for the Sea of Galilee. Interestingly, Tiberias was also the name of a city (John 6:23) which likely was named after the Roman emperor (Luke 3:1). The city of Tiberias was built up along the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, and it has continued to survive since its founding. We have no record that Jesus ever visited the city of Tiberias, but He spent a lot of time near or on the sea.

Verse 2

John 6:2

News about miracles sparks curiosity and will motivate even the loss to watch a religious leader. What they seek is a sign. What they need is a revelation. In the end, it is all about them. They want to be entertained. They want to be impressed. They want to be healed. What will one do with their healing though? Will they still follow Him? See the sign, but receive the revelation that Jesus heals us so well we shall never die.

Verse 3

John 6:3

Jesus would often go to a mountain to get solitude (John 6:15, Matthew 14:13), or be alone with His disciples (Matthew 5:1, Matthew 17:1, Matthew 24:3, Matthew 26:30, Mark 3:13, Mark 9:2, Mark 13:3, Mark 14:26, Luke 19:37, Luke 21:37, Luke 22:39, John 8:1), or simply to pray (Matthew 14:23, Mark 6:46, Luke 6:12, Luke 9:28, Luke 6:12, Luke 9:28).

Verse 4

John 6:4

If the feast spoken of in John 5:1 was the Passover Feast, and since the feast occurred once every year, then this was nearly a year later than the healing of the impotent man by the pool (see notes on John 2:13 about the Passover and notes on John 5:1 about the significance of mentioning the Passover in consideration of establishing a timeline to Jesus’ ministry). In John 6:1, it said, “After these things.” Was there a year in between the two chapters? Perhaps, there was a year between verses 2 and 3 of this chapter?

Verse 5

John 6:5

“When Jesus then lifted up his eyes,” indicated Jesus might have been praying. We learned from the Matthew 14:1-21 that this scene took place on the day that Jesus learned of John the Baptist’s death. Upon receiving the news of the Baptist’s martyrdom, Jesus had been emotionally affected and wanted to be alone (Matthew 14:13). The miracle seeking crowd (John 6:2) continued to follow Him though, and He was moved by compassion for them to help them despite His personal grief and emotional pain (Matthew 14:14).Here was our Lord. Even at rest (John 6:3), He was thinking of others and their needs.

One of the other things Jesus was thinking about was Philip’s spiritual development (see notes on John 6:6). Even with everything else going on, both in Jesus and around Him, He took the opportunity to teach someone important to Him a significant lesson.

When we are tested, although the testing may not be pleasant at the time, we are always better off for having gone through the process.

Verse 6

John 6:6

The Lord will test us, as He did Abraham and so many others (Genesis 22:1). He has the answers for the test. Don’t you suppose that He also knew what Philip would say? If we pass the test, if we are willing to cross over, we get to go to the next level. If we fail, it means more time in the wilderness. In the wilderness, we struggle. God’s promise for us lies on the other side, but we need to cross over.

We see in John 6:3 that His disciples were there with Him. As always though, Jesus does everything for a reason, and He had a purpose in choosing Philip. Philip was ready to go to the next level in His life. Jesus was giving him the opportunity to cross over. Unfortunately, Philip chose to look to financial resources rather than Jesus as the source of everything. The Lord is our Jehovah Jireh (Genesis 22:14), and He will provide.

Verse 7

John 6:7

All things and everything, even nothing, becomes sufficient in the hands of Jesus. However, Philip didn’t see anything sufficient enough to fill the need. So, he spoke words that expressed his inadequacies rather than the Lord’s ability to provide for us.

Through the spoken word (and words are boxes full of life and death (Proverbs 18:21) - full of power), we speak things into our lives. Had Philip spoken in faith and not lack and doubt, would he have been able to do the same miracle (John 14:12)?

They were on a mountain, but they were also facing a mountain of hunger and lack. Jesus teaches us to speak to the mountains in our lives. Use the power of the word spoken in faith to remove the mountain (Matthew 17:20). Philip was given the opportunity to put this principle to work in his own life and ministry. Instead of faith though he spoke in the natural (Hebrews 11:1). He had no evidence... in his mind... of the necessary provision, and he knew of no substance big enough to meet the need.

Verse 8

John 6:8

Philip failed the test Jesus had given him (see notes on John 6:5-7). It was Andrew’s turn next to speak in faith instead of doubt and lack.

Verse 9

John 6:9

Our God conquers lack! He can make a little go a long way. Instead of confidence in Jehovah Jireh (Genesis 22:14), Andrew too spoke in the natural. Philip saw a lack of financial resources to meet the need. Andrew saw only a lack of food to meet the need. Unfortunately, they both chose to talk about what appeared to be too little to scale such a big mountain.

It was enough to report the natural condition: five loaves and two fishes. Andrew could have stopped there, “but” he chose instead to open his mouth and speak doubt into the situation. By doing so, Andrew neutered his faith to perform the miracle (see notes on John 6:7) and remove the mountain (Matthew 17:20). Our God conquers lack! He can make a little go a long way. Instead of confidence in Jehovah Jireh (Genesis 22:14), Andrew too spoke in the natural. Philip saw a lack of financial resources to meet the need. Andrew saw only a lack of food to meet the need. Unfortunately, they both chose to talk about what appeared to be too little to scale such a big mountain.

It was enough to report the natural condition: five loaves and two fishes. Andrew could have stopped there, “but” he chose instead to open his mouth and speak doubt into the situation. By doing so, Andrew neutered his faith to perform the miracle (see notes on John 6:7) and remove the mountain (Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:23).

We need to learn that we can depend on our Jehovah Jireh (see notes on John 6:13) ... not our employer-jireh, or our commission-jireh, or our family-jireh or any other source for what we need (Matthew 6:34, 2 Corinthians 3:5, 2 Corinthians 12:9).

21:21, Mark 11:23).

Verse 10

John 6:10

Jesus essentially said, “Now … let me show you what is possible through faith.” Why do we rely on our own thinking and perceptions (Proverbs 3:5), rather than rely on God’s ability to work things out for us (see notes on John 6:9)?

To illustrate the magnitude of the problem, i.e., feeding the crowd, John wrote that there were five thousand men in attendance. Women were likely there as well. What about children? There may have easily been around ten-thousand hungry people to feed.

Verse 11

John 6:11

“Jesus took the loaves.” That’s what we want Jesus to do. We want Him to take our problem and fix it for us. He wants us to learn how to live like He showed us. He wants us to have life abundantly, not in lack (John 10:10). He wants us to live by faith, and speak in faith, and exhibit the power of God in our lives (see notes on John 6:7-9).

Verse 12

John 6:12

Jesus wants to gather up all the fragments of our families and lives as well. Whatever is broken, whatever is lost, He can use it. He doesn’t want anything or anyone lost (2 Peter 3:9).

Why would He have them gather up the fragments and not want anything lost? Everyone there was full and satisfied. Perhaps, there were some other people He wanted to send it to and bless.

Verse 13

John 6:13

God is able to not only meet our needs but to give to us above and beyond what we can even imagine (Ephesians 3:20), according to our faith and the Holy Spirit working within us. Knowing this, why should we doubt? Let us therefore have full confidence in our Jehovah Jireh. We must learn to lean and rely on Him and His supernatural ability to meet our needs (Philippians 4:19). And, we must learn to quit relying on our own understanding of how things naturally work.

Verse 14

John 6:14

Surely such a miracle would enlighten anyone into knowledge of the truth, i.e., Jesus isn’t just anybody... He’s special. They believed though, because they saw a sign. The Lord wants faith in Him, belief in Him, not knowledge based in evidence (John 20:29, Hebrews 11:1). Jesus spoke of His dismay at our need for a sign (Matthew 12:39, John 4:48). The greatest evidence though, is the transformed life. There is evidence of inner change, because there has been a true change in one’s character. As a result, that person knows... it had to be Jesus.

Because of this sign, these people believed Jesus was the great prophet spoken of in the books of the prophets Genesis 49:10, Deuteronomy 18:15-16).

Verse 15

John 6:15

We know from Matthew 14:22-23 that Jesus had sent His disciples ahead of Him and sent away the multitude of other people, so He was alone. In this verse, we learn that the people were of a mind to crown Him king themselves. Had He not squelched the movement quickly by dismissing them and sending them away, they would have carried Him off to Jerusalem and proclaimed His right to be the king of the Jews.

Verse 16

John 6:16

The disciples were directed by Jesus to go across the sea (Matthew 14:22).

Verse 17

John 6:17

The disciples headed towards Capernaum on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee. They ended up landing at Gennesaret (Matthew 14:34). They were likely blown off course by the winds they encountered along the way (John 6:18).

“And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.” Sometimes in our darkest hours, it can seem like Jesus has left us all alone to fend for ourselves. The forces of our own natures can cause us to drift off course, but keep believing. Help is on the way. Your encounter with Jesus is just up ahead.

Verse 18

John 6:18

The disciples were in a boat out in the middle of the sea. They are right where Jesus told them to be. We can be smack-dab in the middle of what God told us to do and still find the environment hostile towards us. Resist the temptation to find fault in God, and keep believing (Hebrews 13:5). Our Lord would not place you in any situation in which you were not enabled to accomplish what you have been led to do (Isaiah 40:29-31, Isaiah 41:10, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Philippians 4:13).

Verse 19

John 6:19

The disciples had rowed out into the middle of the sea. When you are in trouble, just keep rowing ahead. In the middle of your struggle, Jesus will show you His presence. “Drawing nigh unto the ship”... He will come to where you are. He can walk all over the very thing you fear might swallow you up. Nothing is impossible to Him.

“And they were afraid.” They were afraid of drowning in the storm tossed sea, but they were also afraid of the apparition they were seeing walking towards them on the water like some ghost (Matthew 14:26). No mortal man should be able to walk on water, or so they thought. Since it isn’t a mortal, it must be a spirit. Besides, they had learned of John the Baptist’s death earlier that day (Matthew 14:12). Perhaps, being the cousin of Jesus, John and Jesus looked similar. In the dark and in a storm, walking on the water, Jesus might have looked like the ghost of John appearing to them.

A lot of our “ghosts” in life, those things that frighten us and seem beyond our abilities to grasp a hold of, are phantoms of our own imaginations. Seeing how feeble we are to consistently understand the realities of the situations we face, it is best that we rely on the Holy Spirit rather than our own reasoning (Proverbs 3:5).

Verse 20

John 6:20

Just as angles will say to people they appear to, “Fear not,” Jesus comforted them with assurance that there was no need for fear. Their fear had been expected. It is only natural to be uncomfortable during an encounter with the supernatural.

Verse 21

John 6:21

John avoided telling the whole episode with the part about Peter getting out of the boat and walking to Jesus on the water (Matthew 14:28-31). Perhaps, John wished the reader’s focus to stay on Jesus.

Three more points of interest here:

· When Jesus got into the boat, keep in mind now that they had been in deep water and Peter sank into it, suddenly they find themselves at their destination. It is as if they and the boat they were in were transported to the other side instantly. The makers of Star Trek didn’t invent the idea of teleportation. The maker of the universe demonstrated it over two thousand years ago. Cool, huh?

· Notice how that after Jesus enters your boat, no matter how rough the waters have been, your long ordeal can be over “immediately.”

· Their trial was over when they “willingly received” Jesus. We will still have problems as Christians, but too often even Christian people try to handle difficulties on their own and according to their own knowledge. It is greater wisdom that willingly receives the help of the Lord.

Verse 22

John 6:22

The multitude of people knew from the day before that Jesus had sent His disciples away ahead of Him. Therefore, they knew Jesus planned to join His disciples on the other side of the lake. Seeing that the disciples had entered the only boat that was there yesterday, and there was no boat there today, they assumed Jesus must still be on the mountain.

Verse 23

John 6:23

Other boats eventually arrive from Tiberias (for more on Tiberias, see notes on John 6:1). This verse helps explain how the people “also took shipping” in John 6:24.

Verse 24

John 6:24

They came to Capernaum where they had heard He planned to be. They came seeking for Jesus. We should all be seekers of Jesus.

Verse 25

John 6:25

They found Him. They might have found Him a little south of Capernaum in the “land of Gennesaret” (Matthew 14:34), or by the time they found Him, Jesus had made His way to Capernaum on foot. At any rate, the people had one burning question, when did He leave where they had been before (see notes on John 6:22)?

Verse 26

John 6:26

When the Lord fills us up, we want more of that experience. Consequently, some people still today go from one experience to the next seeking not the Spirit Himself, but the experience the Spirit provides. Unfortunately, some use the Spirit as a drug. There is a euphoria that some experience in the Lord’s presence. There can be a feeling of ecstasy in the presence of God. The Lord made communion with Him pleasurable so that we would want to be with Him more. However, going from one Christian event to another, like a drug addict seeking the next fix, is evidence of the wrong heart. We should seek the Lord for the Lord’s sake, not for our own gratification.

Verse 27

John 6:27

Meat is a source of protein, and it gives us strength to work, to play, to live. But, living in the world according to the flesh, living to satisfy our bodily desires, is only being half alive (Ecclesiastes 6:7). To be alive in the flesh, i.e., physically alive, but spiritually dead, is only half living (1 Corinthians 6:13). Meat supplies our physical needs for energy to live physical lives. However, to be fully living, we need spiritual meat as well (Isaiah 55:2, Matthew 6:19, Colossians 3:2). Spiritual meat fuels our spiritual lives and gives us energy and strength to do the work the Lord has given us to do (Judges 1:20).

If all one does is strive to earn enough money to eat and live well, all of the labor’s reward is spent and consumed or becomes spoiled (Ecclesiastes 5:11-16, James 1:11, 2 Peter 3:11-14). The acquisition of spiritual meat, however, leads to eternal life (Habakkuk 2:13, Matthew 6:31-33, 2 Corinthians 4:18). Our spirit man needs this spiritual meat and water (John 4:14) in order to function, thrive and grow.

Spiritual food comes from exposure to the Word, worship in partnership with the Holy Spirit, assembling ourselves with other believers, fasting, service to others and prayer.

Verse 28

John 6:28

This is the question! This is the issue at hand. This is what Jesus had given Philip the opportunity to seize in his life and ministry (see notes on John 6:6). We too can work the works of God, through faith in Him alone (John 14:12). To do spiritual work though, we need spiritual strength which comes from spiritual food (see notes on John 6:27 & John 6:29).

Verse 29

John 6:29

Yes, and it is a big job. Our work is to believe on Him. Belief, when Jesus used the word, meant to rely on, have full confidence in, and place your trust in Jesus as your source (see notes on John 3:15).

It is work to believe... to trust etc.., when temptation comes. It is easy to believe when we are not being tempted by something that would gratify the flesh. To resist the thing that the world would take, that we would likely have taken before we came to Christ, requires a spiritual strength and a reserve of self control that only comes from spiritual food (see note on John 6:27) and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

The good news is that every believer is gifted with the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13), and the fruit of the Spirit is already within us. So, we already have the ability to control ourselves. We need to trust the Lord then that we will, with His help, be able to do and to say and to think that which is right (1 Corinthians 10:13). Having placed our confidence in Him to shield us from temptations we cannot resist, when temptation comes, we need to look for the way of escape.

To be truly successful though, and here’s the hard part, seeing the way out of the temptation, we need to use it. We can get away from the temptation, but we need to actually try to get away when we see the open door to freedom (Genesis 39:12). Sometimes, we need to actually physically run from the place where the temptation is trying to grab hold of us.

Verse 30

John 6:30

See notes on John 2:18, John 4:48, and John 4:53.

Verse 31

John 6:31

They pointed to a clear sign that God was working to support the ministry of Moses (Exodus 16:4-15, Exodus 16:35, Numbers 11:6-9, Psalms 78:24-25, Psalms 105:40), so they wanted proof that Jesus was accepted by God too. However, the miracle of “Angel’s Food,” or manna, from Heaven was not done to impress the children of Israel with Moses’ support from or closeness to God, but to support them with the basics of life even in the desert (Deuteronomy 8:3, Nehemiah 9:15, Nehemiah 9:20). What they failed to understand was that Manna only provided for the maintenance of physical life (John 6:49). Jesus has come to give them both abundant life here on Earth (John 10:10) and eternal life (John 3:16).

Verse 32

John 6:32

Jesus brought the characters in the scripture narrative into proper perspective. God, the Father, was the giver and sustainer of life. Moses was the servant of God.

The Jewish people were still impressed with the manna miracles. Jesus pointed out that manna, although it was bread from Heaven, was only meant to feed them physically. We should be seeking after spiritual food as well (Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4). Jesus is that bread from Heaven (John 6:35, John 6:48-58).

Verse 33

John 6:33

Saying that, “the bread of God is he” made it clear that Jesus meant He was talking about a man that came down from Heaven (1 John 1:1-2). This heavenly man brought spiritual life, not physical life (Matthew 18:11, 1 John 4:9). Moreover, this man brought life to the “world,” not just to the Jewish people (John 1:29, John 4:42, John 11:51-52, John 12:47, 1 John 2:2).

See notes on John 5:24 about spiritual life compared to physical life.

Verse 34

John 6:34

The manna would be gathered in the mornings, and it would melt away in the heat of the day (Exodus 16:21). The people hearing Jesus and understanding that the bread He spoke of was superior to the bread from Heaven provided in the desert, asked for some of this bread all the time ... not just in the mornings. However, they still misunderstood, because it wasn’t physical bread Jesus spoke of. He explained what He meant in His reply to them (John 6:35).

See notes on John 6:32.

Verse 35

John 6:35

See notes on John 6:31-34.

Jesus clarified what He meant in the previous four verses. The Great I Am says, “I am” ... “the bread of life.” In other words, He provides the food or energy for Spiritual life, just as bread provides food or energy for physical life. However, bread baked in an Earthly oven provides for only a little while. His Heavenly bread feeds one forever. Additionally, Earthly water can only quench one’s thirst for a brief while, yet Heavenly water satisfies forever (John 4:13-14).

See notes on John 5:24 about spiritual life compared to physical life.

Verse 36

John 6:36

Some say, “Seeing is believing.” However, these Jews disproved the theory. They have seen, but they don’t believe (John 1:5, John 1:10). Some see and so they believe (John 20:29), but Jesus wants us to believe through faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Verse 37

John 6:37

If the Father gives you to Jesus, He will ensure that you will not be lost (John 6:39, 2 Peter 3:9, and see also the notes on “nothing lost” in John 6:12).

I love this. If we come to Him, He will not say that we aren’t good enough (Matthew 11:28). He won’t say we are too bad (John 8:11). He will not reject us because of us (Deuteronomy 4:31), Hebrews 13:5). No, not Jesus (1 Peter 3:18). He accepts us as we are (Ephesians 2:7, 1 Timothy 1:16). He accepts us ... despite us (Romans 5:8).

Verse 38

John 6:38

Hallelujah! Jesus yielded what was best for Him physically to what was best for everyone else spiritually (Matthew 26:39). The spiritual well being of everyone was what the Father was interested in. Our relationship with the Father had to be restored, and then final reunification at the Day of the Lord would be possible (John 6:39).

In Luke 22:42, we hear the wonderful word “nevertheless.” Thank God for that nevertheless. I’m in that nevertheless. You are in that nevertheless. We are all in that nevertheless. Had Jesus not yielded to the will of the Father, had He not acknowledged that He agreed to forego His will in favor of the Father’s plan, there would have been no redemption ... no forgiveness of sins. There would have been no quickening for us and no transformation. He shrank from the upcoming torture and humiliation, but ... nevertheless! He did it for me. He did it for you. Thank God for the nevertheless!

Verse 39

John 6:39

See notes on “nothing lost” in John 6:12.

Wow! What is the will of God for you? God’s will is that we not be lost, but that we should be resurrected from the dead on Judgment Day (John 11:24, 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 1 Corinthians 15:48-54, Philippians 3:21), and then been found purified by the blood of the lamb and the word of His testimony (Ephesians 5:26-27, Hebrews 13:12, 1 Peter 1:18-19, Revelation 7:14).

Verse 40

John 6:40

The word “seeth” (KJV) is from the Greek word theoreo G2334, pronounced theh-o-reh’-o, and it means, “to be a spectator of, that is, discern, (literally, figuratively [experience] or intensively [acknowledge]): - behold, consider, look on, perceive, see.”

Most of us today have never “seen” Jesus, but we can discern that He is in our lives. We can experience His presence for ourselves and feel the wonderful anointing power of His spirit within us as He blesses us and encourages us and prompts us to change. We can perceive His workings on our behalf and consider where we would be had we never acknowledged Him.

Verse 41

John 6:41

Jesus had said so many profound things with such deep ramifications that the Jews (see notes on John 1:19) had much more to murmur about than the bread from heaven comments.

Verse 42

John 6:42

These people knew Him, because He was near His old neighborhood of Capernaum (John 6:17). There was a prevailing thought of that time that the Christ would just sort of appear (Daniel 7:13) and no one would know where he came from (John 7:27). Since they knew Jesus and His family and of His home, they discounted His potential as the Messiah.

Imagine a young boy in your neighborhood. Imagine further that the child grows up a few houses away from where you live. You know his parents. You know his siblings. You’ve seen him play and skip and run and even fall. You’ve noticed from time to time how he’s grown, and now he stands right in front of you and says he is the son of God (see notes on John 4:26, John 5:18, John 8:54, John 17:3). Wouldn’t it then be harder for you to believe such a claim than it would be for someone whom never knew the man the way you do? Jesus spoke directly to this issue in Matthew 13:57 and Mark 6:4.

Notice how, at this point, the Jews (see notes on John 1:19) consider Jesus as the son of His Earthly father, but in John 5:18 they automatically assumed He spoke of God when He spoke of His father.

Verse 43

John 6:43

Remarkable; we should never grow numb to the incredible nature of Jesus among us. Should we just take for granted that He was the Son of God and pass off Jesus’ abilities as just part of His divine nature? Or should we stop, from time to time, and marvel at His awesome persona?

They were asking a question amongst themselves (John 6:42). As a typical human being, one wouldn’t normally be privy to their speculations. However, Jesus knew what was in their hearts (Jeremiah 17:10, Matthew 9:4, Mark 2:8, Mark 3:5, Luke 5:22, Luke 16:15, Luke 24:38, Hebrews 4:12-13), and this verse starts with Jesus answering the question they had without them having actually asked Him openly. They were murmuring against Him.

Their historically consistent murmuring before God sprung out of a deep root of bitterness within the heart of Israel. Once again the Children of Israel show a poor attitude in the face of their giving and caring God that only sought to provide for them both physically and spiritually (Exodus 16:7-8, Numbers 14:27, Numbers 17:5, Deuteronomy 1:27, Psalms 106:25, Psalms 144:14).

Although the Jewish people had a history of complaining against God in Heaven, here was God, right in front of them, standing in their midst, and still they complain against Him. Jesus responds in two ways. First, He tells them to stop it. Second, He proceeds with His intent that day of teaching them the doctrine of His gospel. All of this was in fulfillment of what Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 29:24.

Verse 44

John 6:44

Jesus went back into what He was saying before He was interrupted (John 6:41-42) by the complaining tone within the hearts of some of His listeners (see notes on John 6:43). He began with a recap of John 6:37-40. Please refer to the notes for those verses.

Verse 45

John 6:45

Jesus likely referred to Isaiah 54:13. However, Isaiah 2:3 and Micah 4:2 seem to apply as well.

Jesus had been telling them the truth about His relationship with the Father, and they heard His teaching, but they didn’t listen. One must pay attention to what is being taught in order that one may learn the teaching (see notes on John 5:37). The Lord added that everyone who did pay attention actually learned the truth and believed.

Verse 46

John 6:46

See notes on John 1:18.

Verse 47

John 6:47

Jesus stated the Gospel in clear and simple terms (compare John 6:40, and see the notes for John 3:16 and John 3:36).

Verse 48

John 6:48

Jesus was telling them again what He had already told them in John 6:32-40 (see the notes for those verses). Obviously, this is a point He’d like us to pay attention to.

Also note that Jesus began this sentence with the words, “I am.” Although the Jews (see notes on John 1:19) He was addressing would glorify Moses and the miracle of manna in the desert (see notes on John 6:31), Moses didn’t perform the miracle … God did that. Moses was only the servant of the God whom he met in the desert (Exodus 3:1-6), our Lord, the God who told Moses that His name was “I Am” (Exodus 3:14). By saying, “I am,” Jesus was drawing a direct line between Himself and the God of Moses.

Verse 49

John 6:49

Physical food, even manna from heaven (John 6:31-32), isn’t meant to keep you alive forever. The Israelites in the wilderness didn’t starve to death, nonetheless all but the little children and the two spies with good reports died there anyway (Numbers 14:1-38). As is the case with us all (2 Samuel 14:14, Job 14:5, Job 30:23, Job 34:15, Psalms 89:48, Psalms 90:10, Ecclesiastes 3:19-20 Ecclesiastes 9:5, Ecclesiastes 12:7, Romans 5:12, Hebrews 9:27), even the two and the young ones born in the wilderness eventually died as well; so much for manna in the eternal scope of things. It is better to have that which brings eternal life.

Verse 50

John 6:50

Jesus said that He is better for them than manna (see notes on John 6:33, John 6:51). Manna was physical food and was only able to sustain physical life temporarily (see notes on John 6:49), but the words that came from Jesus were spiritual food (Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4, see notes on John 5:24 about spiritual life compared to physical life), and His body, that would be broken for us, gave spiritual life that would last forever (Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22-23, Luke 22:19, John 6:51-53, 1 Corinthians 11:24).

Verse 51

John 6:51

Manna wasn’t a living thing. Although bread from heaven, it was just bread. It helped to sustain life, but it wasn’t alive. It was used to fill bellies, but once the spirit of Christ is within us, He will spring forth from our bellies bringing life to others around us (John 7:38). Moreover, Jesus has always been a living thing, and He lives yet today and forever more (John 1:1-3, Proverbs 8:22-30, Hebrews 13:8).

See notes on John 6:35 and John 6:48.

Verse 52

John 6:52

It is only natural for fleshly mankind to think according to what we see as rational terms that are based in a worldview unavoidably constructed around faulty perceptions biased by evidence gathered through fleshly means. Our propositions and premises are tainted and stained through fallacies not perceived, because our intellectual vision is affected by our twisted and perverted worldviews (Romans 7:11, 1 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Corinthians 13:9, 2 Timothy 3:13, Titus 3:3, James 1:23).

So, these people reasonably asked, “How can this ...” be? Jesus hadn’t spoken of His actual flesh being literally eaten (Hebrews 5:14). Deluded and deceived as they were, they were incapable of spiritual discernment (Matthew 16:3).

Verse 53

John 6:53

Although the people He was speaking to couldn’t understand it (see notes on John 6:52), Jesus was talking about spiritual life; not physical life (see the notes on John 5:24, John 6:35, John 6:48). Spiritual life doesn’t come from any work of the flesh which we can perform (Psalms 143:2, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Isaiah 6:5, Isaiah 53:6, Isaiah 64:6, Romans 10:1-3, Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:11, Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5), such as adherence to the law (Acts 13:39, Romans 8:3, Galatians 2:16-21, Romans 9:32, Romans 10:5-8, Galatians 3:11, Galatians 3:18-24, Hebrews 7:19, Hebrews 10:1) or taking communion (Matthew 26:26-28), it comes through faith in Christ and what He did at the cross (Romans 3:22-28, Romans 4:3-13, Romans 5:1-2, Romans 9:31-32, Galatians 3:8-11, Galatians 3:24, Ephesians 2:16, Colossians 1:20, Colossians 2:14, Philippians 3:9, Hebrews 12:2).

Faith comes from hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17, Ephesians 5:26-27). The word is Jesus (John 1:14). So, we eat and drink of Him when we partake of the word (Galatians 3:5) through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Job 32:8, Romans 5:5, 1 Corinthians 2:10-12, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Galatians 4:6, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 3:16-19, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21). Jesus’ Holy Spirit sustains us and gives to us eternal life (Romans 8:2, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Galatians 3:2-5, Ephesians 4:30, Titus 3:5).

Eating the communion bread and drinking from the communion cup then is not to partake of Him, as though the substance we eat changes into Him, it is instead a vehicle of remembrance and joining with Him (Luke 22:19, 1 Corinthians 11:23-28). It is our spirits communing with the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 10:16, Revelation 3:20). It is a spiritual connection, despite our physical limitations, utilizing physical points of contact, which are the bread and the cup.

Verse 54

John 6:54

Jesus wasn’t speaking about a one-time eating, but an ongoing practice. He would have us return to the table often (1 Corinthians 11:26). Jesus gives to us our spiritual food, and we need our “daily bread” (Job 23:12, Matthew 6:11, Luke 11:3). The Word of God is a part of what we need to sustain our spiritual life (see note on John 6:53). Jesus told us so in His words to Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4).” Jesus is the Word (John 1:14), and Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35). So, we need to continue in the Word (see notes on John 15:4). In addition to His daily word, we need to come to the cross daily (Luke 9:23 and 1 Corinthians 15:31) and be cleansed in the blood of the Lamb of God. We need to eat of him, but we also need to drink His blood.

Verse 55

John 6:55

See notes for John 6:53-54.

Verse 56

John 6:56

See notes for John 6:53-54. See also John 14:20-23, John 15:4-5, 1 John 4:15-16.

Verse 57

John 6:57

The Father sent Jesus on His mission to preach the gospel (John 5:23, John 5:30, John 5:36-37, John 5:39, John 6:44, John 8:16-18, John 12:49, John 14:24, John 17:21, John 17:25), and Jesus sends us out on a similar task (John 17:18-19, Matthew 10:16, Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-18, John 20:21). As we receive nourishment from Jesus (see notes on John 6:47-56) to accomplish our work, so too did Jesus receive nourishment from the Father (John 4:32).

Verse 58

John 6:58

See notes on John 6:48-50.

Verse 59

John 6:59

This discourse (John 6:26-58) was delivered in the synagogue. He had landed near Capernaum (John 6:24-25), and when the people had found Him in the city at the Synagogue, not by the sea shore, they began to ask Him questions (John 6:25).

Verse 60

John 6:60

They heard the message filtered only through their physical and carnal understandings. This would indeed be a hard saying to agree to, if one only understood that Jesus meant to actually eat His flesh and drink His blood in some cannibalistic way. However, Jesus had been speaking about spiritual things ... not physical. See the notes on John 6:48-58.

Verse 61

John 6:61

Notice again how Jesus has the ability to discern what is in our hearts (see the notes on John 6:43). Looking into their hearts, He saw that they were offended. They found Jesus’ message of eating His flesh and drinking His blood (John 6:48-58) offensive (Matthew 11:6). We often can be offended by what is hard to understand and seems to go against our norms and sensitivities.

Verse 62

John 6:62

What was it going to take for them to believe? Would they need to witness Him ascending into Heaven right before their eyes? Well ... He would later do that (Acts 1:9-11).

Verse 63

John 6:63

We were given physical life through the breath of God breathed into our bodies (Genesis 2:7, Isaiah 2:22, Isaiah 42:5, Ezekiel 37:5), and every breath we take is a gift from God (Isaiah 42:5, Acts 17:25). We continue only by His grace and mercy (Job 9:18, Job 12:10, Job 34:14-15, Psalms 104:29, Daniel 5:23, Colossians 1:17). The breath of God (Job 33:4) breathed into us is by the Holy Spirit (Job 27:3), so it is the Spirit that quickens the flesh.

The Spirit quickens our flesh, but living in the flesh pales in significance to spiritual life (see notes on John 5:24, John 6:60). Physical life is only temporary, but spiritual life has eternal benefits. Jesus’ Holy Spirit made our spirits (Zechariah 12:1), and He quickens our spirits (1 Corinthians 15:45, Ephesians 2:1-10, Ephesians 5:14, Colossians 2:13) and gives us eternal life. By Him we live in every way (Acts 17:28), so praise Him (Psalms 150:6).

Verse 64

John 6:64

In case you were wondering... Judas’ betrayal of Jesus was not any surprise to Him. In fact, even when Jesus called Judas into relationship with Him, He knew Judas would betray Him (John 6:71). Jesus had chosen Judas as one of The Twelve (see notes on John 20:24) even after praying all night in preparation for His selections (Luke 6:12-16). Jesus knew it from the beginning (Acts 15:18), but He went through it all anyway.

Additionally, He knew Judas was a thief (John 2:24-25, John 12:6, Hebrews 4:13), and yet Jesus made Judas the treasurer of the group (John 13:29).

On other occasions, Jesus was purposeful about whom he chose to be in mission with Him (Matthew 17:1, Mark 5:37, Mark 9:2, Mark 14:33, Luke 8:51, Luke 9:28), but His inclusion of Judas into the team of twelve apostles would seem to some to have been a colossal mistake. However, what seems ridiculous to us in our limited scope is exactly what makes complete sense when viewed from God’s infinitely boundless vantage point (Isaiah 55:8, Ezekiel 18:25). Judas’ selection was on purpose despite the projected outcome. Jesus knew who would betray Him, and the betrayal had to happen. Jesus purposefully went to the cross one step at a time knowing that each step brought Him closer to the shame (Hebrews 12:2).

Verse 65

John 6:65

He said what He said in John 6:44, because of His foreknowledge of events (see notes on John 6:64).

Verse 66

John 6:66

They were offended by what He said. It seemed too hard and weird for them to take hold of. So rather than change their point of view, they walked away (1 Timothy 4:1-3, 2 Timothy 4:3-4, 2 Thessalonians 2:3). These were not just passersby that had a chance meeting with Him. These were not all just sign seekers (Mark 8:12, Luke 11:29, 1 Corinthians 1:22) that followed Him from across the lake, although there were some (John 6:14-26). Among those that left Him that day were disciples. Not any (John 6:67) of The Twelve (see notes on John 20:24), but disciples nonetheless. As disciples, they were people that had dedicated themselves to following Him, because they had believed in what He taught them.

However, when faced with a hard teaching, they turned away. Let us learn from their error. Let us try the teachings we hear through prayer, fasting, and in light of other Biblical truths before we simply reject them. Rely on the Spirit to teach you (Psalms 143:10, John 6:45, John 16:13, Romans 8:14, Galatians 5:18, 2 Peter 1:20, 1 John 4:6, 1 John 5:6) and not trust your own reasoning to figure out what is best (Proverbs 3:5).

Ironically, the chapter and verse allotments happened to identify this verse about a turning away from God with the Biblical address of 6:66. Those that turn away from God, those that choose to walk in another direction, are following after the spirit of antichrist (1 John 2:18-22, 1 John 4:3, 2 John 1:7), and the number of the beast will be 666 (Revelation 13:18).

Verse 67

John 6:67

Other disciples had already left (John 6:66), but The Twelve (see notes on John 20:24) had stayed.

Verse 68

John 6:68

Peter nailed it! It might have made human sense for others to leave, but when the Spirit of God bears witness to your spirit of the truth (Matthew 16:17-18), why would you then go back into a lie? To go back into sin after tasting the bread of life is like leaving a five star restaurant and choosing to eat out of a fast food dumpster instead (Proverbs 26:11). Having tasted of Jesus’ words, they knew what we have come to understand; His word is life (see notes on John 6:63).

Verse 69

John 6:69

What a declaration! Marvelous and inspiring are the revelations from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 16:15-17, 1 Corinthians 2:9-12, Ephesians 1:17-18, Ephesians 3:4-5, Colossians 1:26).

Verse 70

John 6:70

See notes on John 6:64.

Verse 71

John 6:71

See notes on John 6:64.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on John 6". "Harvey's Notes on the Gospel of John". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shj/john-6.html.
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