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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
John 6

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-71

CHAPTER 6

1. The Feeding of the Five Thousand Men. (John 6:1-14.)

2. The Attempt to Make Him King, (John 6:15.)

3. The Stormy Sea. “It is I, be not afraid.” (John 6:16-21.)

4. The Discourse on the Bread of Life. The Food of the Believer. (John 6:22-59.)

5. The Falling Away of Disciples. (John 6:60-66)

6. Peter’s Confession. (John 6:67-71.)

The events which are recorded in this chapter happened at the Sea of Galilee, the sea of Tiberias. John exclusively uses this name, an evidence that he wrote after the fall of Jerusalem. By this name the lake had become known to the Gentiles. The feeding of the five thousand is the same mentioned by the Synoptics. This great sign showed that Jehovah was in their midst, He Who had fed His Israel with manna in the wilderness and promised to satisfy the poor with bread. (Psalms 132:15.) When they had seen the great sign they acknowledged Him to be the promised Prophet who should come (Deuteronomy 18:15) and wanted to make Him King. But He departed into a mountain. He knew that all they meant by making Him King was to become the leader of a carnal movement to overthrow the hated Roman government.

The storm on the sea and His coming across the stormy sea we have had in the other Gospels.

The great discourse on the Bread of Life follows. It is connected with the sign of the feeding of the multitude. When He speaks of being the Bread from Heaven He refers to His incarnation. “For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven and giveth His life for the world.” They rejected that Bread. Then He speaks of eating His flesh and drinking His blood both for the reception of life and for the sustenance of that life. These words have nothing whatever to do with the Lord’s supper. Bishop Ryle, who was a leader in a ritualistic church, repudiated this wrong interpretation in the following words: “For one thing, a literal ‘eating and drinking’ of Christ’s body and blood would have been an idea utterly revolting to all Jews, and flatly contradictory to an often-repeated precept of their law.--For another thing, to take a literal view of ‘eating and drinking,’ is to interpose a bodily act between the soul of man and salvation. This is a thing for which there is no precedent in Scripture. The only things without which we cannot be saved are repentance and faith.--Last, but not least, to take a literal view of ‘eating and drinking,’ would involve most blasphemous and profane consequences. It would shut out of heaven the penitent thief. He died long after these words were spoken, without any literal eating and drinking. Will any dare to say he had ‘no life’ in Him?--It would admit to heaven thousands of ignorant, godless communicants in the present day. They literally eat and drink, no doubt! But they have no eternal life, and will not be raised to glory. Let these reasons be carefully pondered.

“The plain truth is, there is a morbid anxiety in fallen man to put a carnal sense on Scriptural expressions, wherever he possibly can. He struggles hard to make religion a matter of forms and ceremonies,--of doing and performing,--of sacraments and ordinances,--of sense and of sight.”

The Bread of God, He Himself, gave His life for the world. He gave His body and shed His blood on the cross. It is His sacrificial, atoning death. By faith we partake of it. Without it there is no life. Note the difference in John 6:53-54. In John 6:53 He speaks of those who have eaten His flesh and drunk His blood, apart from which there is no life. By faith the sinner appropriates Him, Who gave His body and shed His blood, and then receives eternal life. In John 6:54 He speaks of a continuous eating and drinking. He is the Source of eternal life. The believer feeds on Him; the eternal life the believer has must be sustained, nourished and kept by Himself, by ever feeding on His dying love. “The life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20.) And the believer eating and drinking becomes one with Him. “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth (literally: abideth) in Me and I in him.” It is a wonderful discourse on His incarnation, His sacrificial, atoning death, and the blessed assurances given to those who believe on Him. Precious are the promises of this great chapter. “He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35.) “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37.) “Every one who seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” [“The last day” does not mean a day of a final and universal judgment followed by the end of the world. It is the end of the Jewish age to which our Lord refers (the age which is yet to be completed in great tribulation.--Matthew 24:1-51). The first resurrection includes Old Testament saints, New Testament saints and the Jewish believers, who are martyred during the great tribulation. The first resurrection will be completed at the close of the tribulation period and followed by the setting up of the Kingdom.] (John 6:40.) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” (John 6:47.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on John 6:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/john-6.html. 1913-1922.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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