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Bible Commentaries
John 6

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1 John gives us two names for the same body of water, and in Luk 5:1 it is called the "lake of Gennesaret." Jesus spent much time near this body of water.

Verse 2

2 Curiosity as well as genuine interest, drew great crowds after Him.

Verse 3

3 According to Mar 6:31, Jesus took his disciples and went into the mountain for relief from the crowds, for they interfered even with their meals.

Verse 4

4 This is the third occurrence of the Passover in the course of Christ's public ministry. The fourth and last is in chapter 13.

Verse 5

5 The diversion from the crowds was never very long. The compassion of Jesus was always present, and at this time he realized that the people would need food, being out in the unpopulated place. Jesus aroused the interest of one of the apostles by suggesting that they provide food for the multitude.

Verse 6

6 Prove is from PEIRAZO, and Thayer's definition at this plate is, "to try, make trial of, test." He then explains his definition to mean, "For the purpose of ascertaining his quality, or what he thinks, or how he will behave himself." Jesus did not have to use any such means for his own information (chapter 2:24, 25), but wished to make it a test for the sake of an example. It was a test of faith, for the apostles had previously seen Jesus perform miracles as great as feeding a multitude.

Verse 7

7 Philip's remark showed that the "proof" Jesus used was testing him.

Verse 8

9 Another apostle was being as sorely tested as Philip. He spoke as if the Lord expected them to feed the multitude with their personal supplies. John does not record any of the conversation that Jesus had on the merits of the test. But on another occasion, where this event along with another took place, He accused them of having little faith. (See Mat 16:8-10.)

Verse 10

0 There was much grass. This fact is mentioned to show the propriety of asking the people to sit down. It would have required another miracle to provide seats for five thousand people, hence it was perfectly reasonable to have them sit down, when there was an abundance of the green grass on which to be seated.

Verse 11

1 Jesus gave thanks, which was equivalent to "blessing" the bread.

Verse 12

2 That nothing be lost. This is the only instance of feeding the multitude, where the reason is given for gathering up the scraps. Jesus would never need them in his future service to the people, for even these materials had been miraculously produced. The reason for the instruction was to teach a lesson of economy.

Verse 13

3 People who are still hungry do not stop eating as long as there is yet something to eat at hand. The fact of having this much left after eating, proves that the multitude had a sufficiency of food.

Verse 14

4 The miracle served two purposes; it satisfied the hunger of the people, and also presented a proof of the personality of Jesus. This was one of the purposes of all miracles performed by Jesus. (See chapter 20:30, 31.)

Verse 15

5 Take him by force sounds as if mere human beings could overpower• the Son of God by superior strength. Of course we know that is not the idea, for He who could calm the storm and the raging sea, could certainty prevent any physical effort to take Him. But the people meant well in their intention to "draft" Jesus for the position of king. However, that was not the manner in which He was to come into his kingdom; besides, it was not the time for such a move. But rather than offend their good motives by overpowering force, Jesus quietly moved out and went into a mountain.

Verse 16

1 See the comments at Mat 14:22-34.

Verse 22

2 The people did not see when Jesus got out of the crowd to go into the mountain (verse 15), yet they realized He was not among the passengers on this boat.

Verse 23

3 These other boats came after the event of feeding the multitude. John mentions this to make the story clear to the reader. The people knew that Jesus did not get into the boat with the apostles. It might have been thought that Jesus was probably in one of these other boats. This is why John explains that the other boats came there after Jesus had given thanks, which would mean that He disappeared in some manner unknown to the crowd still remaining at that place.

Verse 24

4 Seeing that neither Jesus or his disciples were at that spot, they made use of these boats that had just come, and went across the sea to Ca-pernaum, seeking for Jesus. They had no direct information that Jesus would be in Capernaum, but went to that city as the place most likely to find him, that being his residence.

Verse 25

5 The surprise indicated by these people in their question was doubtless sincere. However, Jesus knew their chief motive in following, and rebuked them for it.

Verse 26

6 The leading motive of these people was their temporal appetite. Jesus did not mean it was wrong for a person to seek to satisfy his desire for food, for such a desire is natural and needs to be gratified.

Verse 27

7The Bible does not contradict itself, hence an apparent conflict in its language will be understood when all the passages involved are considered. Ephesians 4:28 directs men to labor for the necessities of life, so we are to understand our present passage to mean that our desire for them must not be our chief purpose in the world; it should all be regarded in the light of Matthew 6:33. Sealed is from SPHRAGIZO, and Thayer defines it at this place, "To confirm, authenticate, place beyond doubt." The idea is that we should seek the food that the Son of man offers which will lead to everlasting life. This is assured since the Father has placed his seal or stamp of approval on his Son's work.

Verse 28

8 The people were interested to the extent of making inquiry about carrying out the advice of Jesus that he had given for their benefit.

Verse 29

9 Much of John's account of the Gospel shows Jesus using temporal meat and drink to illustrate the spiritual. Work . . . that ye believe. Jesus meant that if a man really believes in Him, he will do the work that is required of him.

Verse 30

0 These Jews were still thinking of literal food, and were somewhat confused about how any improvement could be made over what God had provided for them in the wilderness. They called for some evidence that Jesus had anything better for them.

Verse 31

1 The Jews specified the provisions from God to which they referred in the preceding verse. They meant the manna that came down from heaven, a phrase quoted from Neh 9:15. The Hebrew Old Testament has but one word for the English word "heaven," whether the writer means the place of God's personal abode, or that in the material universe that surrounds the earth. It is true that the manna came literally from the latter heaven, but its true source was the Heaven of God. All of this led these Jews to think that no better food could be offered them.

Verse 32

2 In this verse Jesus distinguishes between the two kinds of bread. He does so by terming that from the Father as the true bread.

Verse 33

3 Jesus was presenting his comparisons in such a highly figurative form, that he drew the terms toward the application very gradually. In this verse the spiritual food is referred to as a person, without stating who that person is.

Verse 34

4 Give us this bread. This request seems to by-pass the highly figurative personal pronoun, and hold to the thought that the bread Jesus was talking about was something to be given and received, which indeed it was, except they appeared not to suspect what it was.

Verse 35

5 The Jews should have been prepared by this time for the direct application of the figures of which Jesus has been speaking, hence he came out with the unusual statement, I am the bread of life. However, this only brought the comparison far enough along to tell them for whom he of verse 33 stood. As to what sense in which He could be called the bread of life is still to be seen. For the meaning of never hunger and never thirst, see the comments at chapter 4:14.

Verse 36

6 All through the years that Jesus was in his public ministry, the controversy between him and the Jews revolved about His divinity. They pro-fessed to have great love for God, yet were averse to the idea that Jesus was the Son of God. That is the thought in this verse, for Jesus accusses them of refusing to accept the testimony of their own eyes.

Verse 37

7 The manner in which the Father gives people to his Son will be brought out further on in the chapter. The point to be noted now is that being given to Jesus, and coming to him, are virtually the same. I will. in no wise cast out. These words express the perfect cooperation between Jesus and God.

Verse 38

8 This verse is more along the line of cooperation between Jesus and his Father. Jesus came into the world to do that very thing (Heb 10:9).

Verse 39

9 Whatever was included in the Father's will was included also in the purpose of the Son when he came into the world. That comprehended not only the replacing of animal sacrifices (referred to in the quotation from Paul), but the personal interest in the salvation of those who were persuaded to come to Christ. That personal interest is to continue even unto the resurrection day, when the dead in Christ shall be raised in His likeness, never to die again.

Verse 40

0 Man cannot see God and live, but he can see the Son, and if he will follow up that seeing with sincere belief, Jesus will bring him out of the grave to enter into life everlasting.

Verse 41

1 The Jews continued to stumble over their literal interpretation of the statements of Jesus. He used several terms that should have taught them that something besides material bread was meant by the subject under consideration. All of these were ignored, and they went back to the introductory sentences of the conversation.

Verse 42

2 The Jews could see no one in Jesus but the Galilaean, whose family relations they knew. Considering Him as a man like all others, they were in a critical mood over the claim that he came down from Heaven.

Verse 43

3 Murmur is from GOGGUZO, and Thayer defines it, "To murmur, mutter, grumble, say anything in a low tone." That explains why Jesus added the words among yourselves. On many occasions Jesus read even the minds of his objectors and told them about it. It is perfectly right to hold certain subjects in confidence, but when people are making complaints against what they regard as wrong doing in another, the fair thing to do is to approach that person openly.

Verse 44

4 Advocates of the theory of unconditional predestination make much of this verse, but they do it by perverting it, and ignoring the rest of the teaching in connection with the subject. Verse 37 is virtually on the same thought, but the scriptural explanation is not given as directly as it is in the following verse.

Verse 45

5 It is written. The prophecy may be seen in Isa 54:13 and Mic 4:2. God draws mankind to his Son by teaching them about the ways that He would have them live. But the teaching offered to man will not avail anything unless he hears or heeds the things taught. This is the explanation promised the reader at verse 37.

Verse 46

6 See the comments on verse 40.

Verse 47

7 Verily, verily, has the idea of "most assuredly." To believe on Jesus so as to obtain life everlasting, one's faith must be proved by good works. (Jas 2:26.)

Verse 48

8 See comments at verses 33, 35.

Verse 49

9 The argument of Jesus in this verse, is that the manna which their fathers ate in the wilderness was not the bread that would produce everlasting life, seeing that all of those ancestors were dead.

Verse 50

0 The pronoun this means the kind of bread Jesus was talking about. Not die is said in the same sense as never 'hunger in verse 35.

Verse 51

1 In this verse the Lord takes another step in his application of the figures that he has been using. Here the statement is made that man must eat of bread that is called the flesh of the Son of man.

Verse 52

2 The preceding verse makes the first move toward introducing the very important matter of eating the flesh of Jesus. Of course Jesus knew the Jews would make a literal application of the statement. That would call for the true explanation of the subject, which will include several verses because of the deep spiritual significance of the topic in hand. The reader should patiently follow the comments through this interesting group of verses.

Verse 53

3 When people persist in making a literal application of some declaration, it may help them to see their error to repeat the statement, but do so in a still more unusual form. The Jews should have known that it would be impossible to drink literally of the blood of Christ. That was true for two reasons; namely, that blood was to be poured out on the ground beneath the cross and never recovered. The other reason was the fact that the blood of Christ was that of a dead man when it was shed, and such blood will produce death instead of life. (See Rev 16:3.)

Verse 54

4 Literal flesh and blood will not produce endless life, hence they should have begun to understand that Jesus was not talking of that kind of material.

Verse 55

5 This is the same thought as the preceding verse, but in another form.

Verse 56

6 There is an old saying that "man is what he eats." That is true, and it applies to this verse, for if Christ dwells in the man who eats of his flesh, then the adage means that if a man eats the flesh of Christ, part of that man is Christ.

Verse 57

7 In this verse the general thought pertains to the merging of three beings into one; the Father, the Son and the devoted partaker of Them.

Verse 58

8 Jesus intersperses his speech with contrasts between the literal manna in the wilderness, and the bread that he was really considering. This is done to keep their minds alive to the main thought that it was considered necessary to impress on them.

Verse 59

9 The synagogues were structures erected by the Jews, and used principally for the reading of the law, and for teaching and exhortation.

Verse 60

0 Not only the Jews in general, but even the disciples were puzzled over this strange (to them) speech that Jesus was making. Who can hear it. By this the disciples meant they could not understand it.

Verse 61

1 The disciples did not make their complaint audibly, but Jesus always knew what was in the mind of men. He let them know about it by asking them if they were offended or caused to stumble at what they herd.

Verse 62

2 See the comments on verse 53. The same principle is carried out in this verse, except it is in a still more baffling form. By suggesting an event that would make it impossible to eat of the literal body of Christ, the disciples ought to see the point finally, that their Lord did not mean his fleshly body. Hence he indicated that he was going to ascend to Heaven, and that they would see it occur.

Verse 63

3 Many brethren use the latter part of this verse as if Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you, they are the Holy Spirit." Such a use of this passage is not only a perversion of it, but it misses the very point that Jesus was making all through the chapter from verse 26. The Bit,le is nowhere spoken of as the Holy Spirit. It has been given by the work of the Holy Spirit, and it is the sword of the Spirit, but it is not the Holy Spirit itself. Jesus has been patiently laboring to show the disciples and the other Jews, that man must eat bread or die. But he wishes them to understand he does not mean temporal bread. After a number of statements along the same line, he concludes it is time to come out with the direct conclusion to his discourse on the subject of spiritual food, and he does so in this verse. It is as if he had said, "I have not been talking to you about literal flesh or literal bread, for that 'profiteth nothing.' I was meaning spiritual food; and to make you know just what I mean by that kind of food, I will inform you what it consists of. It is my words or teaching, for they are spirit (ual) and will sustain your spirit in the life for me."

Verse 64

4 But . . . some . . . believe not. This shows that eating the kind of food that Jesus had been discussing, meant to believe the words he had been saying. Jesus had specific reference to Judas, for he knew that he was going to be his betrayer. Judas had the same opportunity of hearing the words of Christ as the other apostles, but he did not heed and believe them, therefore he was considered as an unbeliever.

Verse 65

5 Jesus then went back to the forepart of his speech (verses 44, 45), and made a specific application of that passage to Judas. It is not given to any man by the Father to come to Christ who will not accept the words of his Son. Judas refused to believe them in the sense of heeding them, therefore God would not permit him to be attached to his Son in the great work of human redemption.

Verse 66

6 The disciples who went back were not very much interested in spiritual matters. They were the kind described by Jesus in verse 26.

Verse 67

7 This pathetic question that Jesus asked the apostles doubtless was intended as an inducement to obtain an expression from them. The all-important discourse that Jesus delivered was for the benefit of all hearers, but it was especially needed by the twelve. They were the ones expected to take the same teaching to the world.

Verse 68

8 Peter's answer showed he had caught the point in the speech of Jesus. Thou hast the words of eternal life. This was the very thought with which Jesus concluded according to verse 63. The words received from the Lord constituted the spiritual food that he offered as the meat that would sustain mankind unto life everlasting.

Verse 69

9 In this verse Peter was speaking for the group of apostles, and as far as he knew, all of them were favorable to the teaching of Christ.

Verse 70

0 Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him, but he did not point him out to the others yet. A. man with the kind of heart that Judas possessed, deserved to be called by the term which Jesus used.

Verse 71

1 Should betray him is worded, "was to betray him," by Moffatt.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on John 6". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/john-6.html. 1952.
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