<Previous

Table of Contents

Next>

The Gospel of John: Revealing the Invisible God 

A Bible Study by Fred Kenison

 

Chapter 6


 

 

The fourth miracle: the five loaves and two fishes

The fifth miracle: Jesus walks on water

Jesus teaching in Capernaum

"I am the bread of life"

Peter's confession

 

Summary Highlights of Chapter 6

 

 

This book is a verse-by-verse commentary.  To go to the commentary for any particular verse in Chapter 6, please click on a number below.

 

 

 

The fourth miracle: the five loaves and two fishes

 

Return to top

 

6:1     After these things, Jesus went away over the sea of Galilee [of Tiberas].

 

After Jesus completed his conversation with the Jews, he went away, supposedly to get some rest. He sought solitude, but solitude would be difficult to come by.

 

Matthew 14 relates that Jesus crossed over the Sea of Galilee when he heard about the decapitation of John, the Baptist. The scriptures also refer to the Sea of Galilee as the Sea of Tiberias, and the Sea of Chinnereth. It was approximately 13 miles long by 6 miles wide. Tiberias was also the capital city of the province of Galilee (see Smith, p. 113).

 

Return to top

 

6:2     And a great crowd followed him because they saw of him the signs which he wrought upon those who were sick.

 

Since this was the Sea of Galilee, there were many boats available for crossing. This great crowd most likely used these boats as it would have been a long journey to walk around the sea. In addition, people also came from other small cities nearby.

 

Doctors were few and far between in those days, and not even especially effective. The reason people were attracted to Jesus was because he healed the sick. These people were not there because of what Jesus could teach them about his father, but because he could heal their bodies. They had seen some of the signs, or miracles, which Jesus had performed elsewhere.

 

Return to top

 

6:3     And Jesus went up into the mountain, and sat there with his disciples.

 

A small range of mountains (actually more like hills) bordered the sea, although the scriptures do not specify which mountain Jesus visited. They do say that he went there with his disciples. However, their intended rest was short lived.

 

Return to top

 

6:4     And the passover, the feast of the Jews, was near.

 

Smith (p. 234) offers a good explanation of the Passover.

"PASSOVER [Heb. PESACH; Greek Pascha]. The first of the three great annual festivals of the Hebrews, held in Nisan, 14th to 21st. There are several distinct passages relating to the Passover in Exodus and Deuteronomy, where its original intention, the unleavened bread, the first-born sanctified, are mentioned, and the paschal lamb. In Ex. 23:14-19, the paschal lamb is mentioned as My Sacrifice, and the feast is called "'of unleavened bread." The redemption of the first-born is noticed in 24:18-26. In Deut. 16:1-8, the command is given to keep the Passover in Jerusalem. A lamb was roasted whole­not a bone of it to be broken­and eaten entirely, the same night, with bitter herbs; if not all eaten, the remnant to be burnt. The blood of the victim was to be sprinkled on the door-post."

 

"The meaning was to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt, when the Lord passed over the first-born of the Hebrews and smote those of the Egyptians. The Rabbis affixed the penalty of whipping to any one who should not kill the paschal lamb in the court of the Temple, and separated the people into three companies at that time to avoid confusion. During the killing trumpets were blown and the Hallel was sung by the Levites."

 

"The position of sitting down to the meal or reclining was adopted by the Hebrews as a sign of their freedom, as though just out of Egypt."

 

Verse 6:4 notes that the Passover was near. Earlier, verse 2:13 related that Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover feast. Apparently, John's gospel was not written chronologically, but written down as he recalled different events in the life of Jesus.

 

Return to top

 

6:5     Then Jesus, having lifted up [his] eyes, and having seen that a great crowd is coming to him, he says to Phillip, Whence shall we buy loaves that these may eat?

 

When Jesus took his eyes off his disciples, he looked out and saw "that a great crowd is coming to him." The phrase "is coming" is written as present tense, indicative. This indicates that the crowd was constantly coming, and the coming was truth, or fact.

 

The crowd who came to Jesus was growing larger. Phillip must have thought Jesus was concerned for their welfare, since he asked where to buy food for the crowd.

 

Return to top

 

6:6     But this he said trying him, for he knew what he was about to do.

 

The word trying comes from peirazoon, which means,

"to try, make trial of, test: tina, for the purpose of ascertaining his quality, or what he thinks, or how he will behave himself. Jn.6:6" (Thayer, p. 499).

 

Jesus was not tempting Phillip, but testing him to see how he would react to an impossible situation. Would he react in faith, or in a worldly manner?

 

Return to top

 

6:7     Phillip answered him, Loaves for two hundred denari are not sufficient for them that each of them may receive some little.

 

Phillip flunked the test! He looked at the problem as one to be solved by money. A denarius was a small silver coin worth about 25 cents. The KJV translated this word as a penny. It was the wage for a day's work in the parable that Jesus told about the workmen in the vineyard. Since it was equivalent to a day's wage, a denarius would buy several loaves of bread, but not enough for the crowd.

 

Return to top

 

6:8     One of his disciples says to him, Andrew the brother of Simon Peter.

 

Another of the early disciples spoke up. Will his reaction be one of faith, or a worldly reaction to the problem?

 

Return to top

 

6:9     A little boy is here, who has five barley loaves, and two small fishes; but what are these for so many?

 

Andrew did not pass the test any better than Phillip did. He, too, did not look at the problem from the viewpoint of faith. They both forgot the miracles they had seen Jesus perform. And, instead of looking to him, they tried to solve the problem rationally.

 

Barley was the grain of the poor, while the wealthy ate bread made of wheat. This little boy seemed wiser than his elders, since he came prepared with something to eat. He not only had five barley loaves, but he also had two fishes. Five plus two equals seven, and seven is often used in the scriptures to signify completeness, or fulfillment. Here, the five loaves and the two fishes were all that Jesus would need to feed the crowd.

 

Return to top

 

6:10     And Jesus said, make the men to recline. Now much grass was in that place: therefore the men reclined, the number about five thousand.

 

The phrase, "make the men to recline" has significance beyond simply being a manner of eating. The Jews in Egypt had been slaves and they served the meals, thus they stood while their masters reclined at meals. Jesus, by making this statement, was quietly making the point that the Jews were now free men and no longer slaves as they formerly were in Egypt. The number present "was about five thousand."

 

Return to top

 

6:11     And Jesus took the loaves, and having given thanks, distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those reclining; and in like manner of the small fishes as much as they wished.

 

"And Jesus took the loaves." Did Jesus take only five loaves? Were they multiplied after he gave thanks? It must have been only the five loaves as the number of  loaves it would take to feed about 5,000 men would inundate him with bread. The question also arises as to whether the new loaves were now made of wheat, or still of barley, as were the original loaves. Did Jesus treat them with the food of the wealthy? The scripture does not indicate this.

 

The phrase "and having given thanks" comes from euxaristeesas, which means,

"mindful of favors, grateful." (Thayer, p. 264).

 

Jesus was always mindful of the blessings he had received. Was he giving thanks for the bread, or thanks that The God had empowered him with the ability to multiply the loaves and fishes? As this was not a sacramental prayer, or one that blessed the food, the latter is more likely.

 

Return to top

 

6:12     And when they were filled, he says to his disciples, Gather together the fragments over and above, that nothing may be lost.

 

Surely, Jesus did not believe in wasting food. Note that he did not say the "left-over loaves," but the fragments, or pieces of bread which were not consumed.

 

God's blessings are not to be wasted, yet waste is one of the great sins of our nation. Americans waste more than many countries have to live on. Food is thrown out by the tons, instead of being saved. Is The God happy with this situation? If this verse is any indication, then the answer must be a resounding, no!

 

Return to top

 

6:13     They gathered together therefore and filled twelve hand-baskets of fragments from the five barley loaves which were over and above to those who had eaten.

 

Twelve hand-baskets, or wicker baskets, would not be a great amount considering how many loaves and fishes it took to feed the five thousand men. Twelve, however, is also a number with great significance in the scriptures, indicating completeness.

 

According to the order of Jesus, the scraps were not to be wasted. Did he use them to feed himself and the disciples?  Was he demonstrating that he and his followers were not too good to eat the left-over scraps?  The scriptures do not tell us whether or not Jesus and his disciples partook of the meal with the 5,000 men.

 

Return to top

 

6:14     The men therefore having seen what sign Jesus had done, said, This is truly the prophet who is coming into the world.

 

These 5,000 men, "having seen what sign Jesus had done," at least showed more faith in him than the earlier Jews who sought to kill him after seeing him work miracles. The word sign comes from seemeion, often translated as miracle, and also translated as token and wonder in the KJV.

 

The conclusion the men drew from their observation is admirable. "This is truly the prophet who is coming into the world."  In the later books of the Old Testament, the coming of a messiah became more and more prominent in the writings of the late prophets. Then, during the inter-testament period, the people increasingly looked forward to the coming messiah. These people simply drew a proper conclusion from what they had seen.

 

Everyone seemed to understand that the messiah would also be "the prophet," unlike any former one. For this reason, they used the definite article, the prophet. This one is coming into the world, cosmos, or the worldly organization of men.

 

Is coming is written in the present tense, which shows continuous action. These people expected still more from this one they now believed to be the prophet. They saw Jesus' coming as the messiah to be a progressive matter. And, they saw correctly. His work was not nearly over.

 

Return to top

 

 

The fifth miracle: Jesus walks on water

 

6:15     Therefore, Jesus knowing that they are about to come and seize him, that they may make him king, withdrew again to the mountain himself alone.

 

Jesus, knowing crowd psychology, did not want them to seize him. The word seize comes from aparzoo, which indicates force. The crowd of rejoicing people, having found their messiah, would not ask him to come with him, but would require it. They were on the verge of doing so, "that they may make him king."

 

"May make him king" varies from the KJV, which says "to make him a king."  The verb, "to make," would indicate an infinitive, but the Greek is actually written in the subjunctive as it is something which has not yet come to pass. It could also have been translated as "might make," which is the common translation in the KJV. As stated previously, when such a word is written in the aorist subjunctive, such as this is, then there is no maybe, or might, about it. It will occur. If given the opportunity, they would have made him king.

 

This was not yet the time which The God had chosen for him to come into Jerusalem as king. Therefore, Jesus "withdrew again to the mountain himself, alone."  This time, Jesus did not take his disciples with him. As time went on, Jesus often sought time alone for prayer and communion with his heavenly father.

 

Return to top

 

6:16     And when it became evening, his disciples went down to the sea.

 

Knowing their master, the disciples did not know when Jesus might return. So, they left the spot where the miracle of the fishes and loaves had occurred, and they journeyed to the seashore.

 

Return to top

 

6:17     And having entered into the ship, they were going over the sea to Capernaum. And it had become dark already, and Jesus had not come to them.

 

Capernaum was a city on the other side of the sea. That was where they had departed a few days earlier, to go to the place where the miracle took place. "They were going" is written in the indicative imperfect, which means that it was a continuous action. They were still progressing toward their goal. They had apparently waited until dark before sailing. They assumed that Jesus would not be coming after dark, so they left.

 

Return to top

 

6:18     And the sea was agitated by a strong wind blowing.

 

"Was agitated" is written in the imperfect indicative passive. The imperfect, as explained above, shows continuous action, and the passive shows that it was the strong wind blowing which was causing the large waves, or the agitation. This is the background for the fifth miracle that John related. The disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee, a strong wind is blowing up a storm, and Jesus was not on board the boat.

 

Return to top

 

6:19     Then having rowed about twenty-five, or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.

 

"Having rowed about 25-30 furlongs," meant they had come most of the distance to Capernaum, fighting the storm along the way. Someone must have spied Jesus walking on the sea, coming near the boat. The boat could not have been traveling very fast as Jesus was gaining on it while walking. The disciples were struggling against the storm, while Jesus had no trouble at all walking on the sea.

 

When they saw Jesus, one would have expected a joyful reception, but the scriptures tell us "they were frightened." Maybe they did not realize what they were seeing. Maybe they just could not believe it. Maybe they were not sure if this was a real person. Matthew 14:26 says they thought he was an apparition.

 

In that time, many people believed that the huge waves and storms were caused by demons which dwelt in the depth of the sea. Remember the hogs which the demons entered and drove into the sea (Matthew 8:30-32)? The demons were merely returning to what many considered to be their domain.

 

Return to top

 

6:20     But he says to them, I am [he]; fear not.

 

Jesus spoke to calm their fear. There is some question about the statement "I am."  Some think that the ellipsis [he] should not be there, as they believe Jesus was proclaiming himself to be the "I am" of the Old Testament. Others, however, believe the ellipsis should be included to clarify his statement. We agree with the latter group, that Jesus was simply saying to them, "It is I, Jesus."

 

Return to top

 

6:21     They were willing then to receive him into the ship, and immediately the ship was at the land to which they were going.

 

Once they knew it was really Jesus, the disciples calmed down and "they were willing to receive him into the ship."  Then, another sign occurred to indicate that Jesus' ministry was truly ordained by the father: "immediately the ship was at the land to which they were going."  The disciples no longer had to battle the waves, or even to apply the oars to move the ship forward. This might even be considered another miracle.

 

Return to top

 

 

Jesus teaching in Capernaum

 

6:22     On the morrow the crowd which stood the other side of the sea, having seen that no other small ship was there except that one into which entered his disciples, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the small ship, but his disciples went away alone.

 

With this verse, John returned to the actions of the crowd which was left behind when the disciples set out for Capernaum. They had just experienced the feeding of 5,000, and on the next day, or "on the morrow," they remembered "having seen no other ship."  They also knew that "Jesus went not with his disciples."  This must have caused a great deal of wonder when they realized that Jesus had not gone with his disciples, but he was no longer with them either.

 

Return to top

 

6:23     (But other small ships came from Tiberias near the place where they ate the bread, the Lord having given thanks;)

 

This verse is an inserted explanation differing from the thought of verse 6:22. Grammatically, this is called an anacoluthon, meaning there is a break in the sequence between the first part of the sentence and the latter part, which proceeds in a different manner than begun. The first thought may be interrupted by a parenthesis, by a change of person, from singular to plural, or sometimes the thought is simply abandoned. In verse 6:22, John was speaking of the crowd; then, he interrupted that thought to insert an unrelated comment about the coming of some small ships.

 

Return to top

 

6:24     Then therefore the crowd saw that Jesus is not there, nor his disciples, they also themselves entered into the ships and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

 

One might assume from this verse that Jesus had converted nearly 5,000 people to his cause. Was this actually the case? Why did these people come seeking Jesus? Were they true converts? Did their hearts cry out for more of the spiritual guidance which would be available from Jesus?

 

Return to top

 

6:25     And having found him the other side of the sea, they said to him, Rabbi, when hast thou come here?

 

When the crowd found Jesus, their first thought was one of curiosity. How had Jesus gotten there? "When hast thou come here?"  Rienecker (p. 232) says this:

"Gegonas, perfect active, second singular. The perfect brings two ideas together, 'When did you come?' and 'How long have you been here.' Were you here all night, or did you come over sometime today? We did not see you leave with your disciples in the only boat we saw. How did you get here, anyway?"

 

Return to top

 

6:26     Jesus answered them, and said, Verily, verily, I say to you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw signs, but because ye ate of the loaves and were satisfied.

 

Jesus did not appear to be pleased that the crowd had found him. His answer was rather curt, and not particularly polite. He did not commend the people for following him; instead, he reprimanded them. What a difference from many religious leaders today!

 

Most preachers today would be so happy to see 5,000 people that they would not ask any questions about why they had come. Most would assume that The God must surely be blessing their ministry!

 

Virtually every denomination today insists that large numbers are the primary indication of their spiritual success. Actually, large numbers may indicate just the opposite, that the ministry is not a spiritual success at all. When Jesus began to teach the spiritual truths of the scriptures, most of those who had previously followed him quickly fell away. Why should it be different today?

 

Many people today go to church meetings to be entertained. Television preachers sit on gilded chairs like kings, standing to pontificate to the people, striving to produce an emotional high in the audience. They ask a gullible audience for money "to support the work of the lord," and they amass millions of dollars from ignorant people who fall prey to their manipulation.

 

Many preachers claim that they "preach the gospel," but they do not preach the same gospel preached by Jesus and the apostles. John, the Baptist, Paul, Peter, and Jesus preached the "good news," or the gospel of the kingdom, that the long awaited messiah had come. They preached that Jesus was the savior of the world, that salvation was completed and imparted to every person in the world, and those yet to come. Why do we not hear that in churches today?

 

The scriptures tell people they already have salvation, and demand a response. Yet, churches today tell you what you must do in order to get The God to save you. People no longer need to "be saved."  The God has already done that for everyone. The question is what are you going to do about it?

 

Jesus did not want a large band of followers who were there for the wrong reasons. Knowing their hearts, he told them the truth about themselves. "Ye seek me, not because ye saw signs."  The signs, or miracles, Jesus had done in their presence were done to prove that he had been sent from The God as messiah.

 

These people, who had crossed the sea to Capernaum, were not the least bit interested in spiritual things, but physical things. Jesus said they had come "because ye ate of the loaves and were satisfied." They were only interested in "riding the gravy train."

 

Return to top

 

6:27     Work not [for] the food which perishes, but [for] the food which abides unto life eternal, which the Son of man will give to you. For him the Father, even The God has sealed

 

This particular speech is loaded with truth for people today. It tells us what The God expects from us, as well as from those who had crossed the sea from Capernaum.

 

The first admonition is "work not for the food which perishes." This does not mean that Jesus wanted them to stop working in order to earn a living. However, it does mean they should look to The God for their sustenance instead of depending upon themselves. Colossians 3:17 puts this quite well.

"And everything, whatsoever ye may do in word or in work, [do] all in [the] name of [the] Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God [the] Father by him."

 

If our priorities are correct, the primary emphasis of our lives will be to seek that "food which abides unto life eternal."  Then, The God will provide the food for our bodies. If we live our lives in dependence upon The God, we will be granted eternal life, or entrance into the next age in a place of blessing. This is something which the son of man will give.

 

This statement was preparation for the long dialogue which followed as Jesus explained his meaning. Men can do nothing of themselves to earn this eternal life; it is a gift of the son of The God. The fact that it is a gift cannot be over-emphasized. The messages heard from pulpits today mainly emphasize what you must do in order to get salvation. There is nothing you can do. It is a gift, and you already have it.

 

The son of man will give this gift because, "For him the Father, even The God has sealed."  Jesus was referring to The God's comment quoted in Matthew 17:5:

"While he [Peter] was yet speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: And, lo, a voice out of the cloud said, This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I have found delight. Hear ye him."

 

Return to top

 

6:28     They said therefore to him, What do we, that we may work the works of God?

 

This question is as old as mankind. Adam and Eve flunked out in the Garden of Eden because they were misled about the meaning of this question. "What do we, that we may work the works of The God?"  These people, like many worldly people today, wanted to know the truth about what The God expects from them. How do they serve The God in an acceptable manner?

 

In religious organizations today, the usual answer is to join the church, tithe (a definite must), and find something to do in the church, such as teach a Sunday School class. While they are promised grace, people are immediately placed under the bondage of the organized church. They forfeit their liberty, and they are told what works they must do. Then, they depend on what they have done, instead of the accomplished salvation provided by Jesus.

 

These people asked, "What do we? What are the works of The God?" Today, many in the church would be astonished if they ever heard the answer Jesus gave to these people.

 

Return to top

 

6:29     Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of The God, that ye should believe on him whom he sent.

 

This is very different from what most people believe. For example, many people believe that one must "be in full time service" to be pleasing to The God. This means going somewhere as a missionary, or being a pastor, or being a Bible teacher, or some other religiously related activity.

 

The answer Jesus gave was, "that you should believe on him whom he sent." Is not that a simple answer?  No, not at all! Should believe comes from pisteuseete, a present subjunctive. The present means that it should be a continual believing, while the subjunctive means it is something which they are not yet doing. Doing the work of The God is believing on him whom The God sent, or believing on Jesus. It also means believing the work which Jesus accomplished to complete The God's salvation for all people everywhere.

 

Why is "believing on him whom he has sent" necessary to do the works of The God? For those who have heard, faith in Jesus, as messiah, is a basic need in order to submit to that portion of holy spirit which has been poured out upon all flesh. Only then will The God begin his work in us, to will and to do.

 

Believing, as often used in the scriptures, also carries the meaning of obedience. Obedience comes only after a total commitment to The God, and to his purposes. Many people may come to a position of believing that Jesus is the christ, but they go no further than a mental acceptance of that truth. Too many "christians" simply do not obey (or even pay attention to) the portion of holy spirit given to them.

 

Return to top

 

6:30     Therefore they said unto him, What sign then doest thou, that we may see and may believe thee? What dost thou work?

 

The response of these people is reminiscent of I Corinthians 2:10b-14, which says,

"For the spirit searches all things, even the depths of The God. But we received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which [is] from The God, that we might know the things granted to us by The God: which also we speak, not words taught of human wisdom, but in [those] taught of [the] holy spirit, by spiritual [means] communicating spiritual things. But the natural man receives not the things of the spirit of The God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot know [them[, because they are spiritually discerned."

 

These people following Jesus, still being carnal, and seeking the free food, clearly did not understand what Jesus said. They understood nothing of what they had seen when Jesus fed the 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes. In spite of that, they now asked to see some miracle in order to believe he is from The God. Refer back to John 4:48 to renew your memory about the signs that people demand to see.

 

Return to top

 

 

"I am the bread of life"

 

6:31     Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, as it is written, Bread out of the heaven he gave them to eat.

 

These people were still fixated on food, and they wanted Jesus to perform another miracle to feed them. This was the reason they crossed the sea to find Jesus. They thought he would continue to feed them as Jehovah had fed the Israelites in the wilderness. They were looking for a constant supply of some kind of bread or manna.

 

Return to top

 

6:32     Therefore, Jesus said to them, Verily, verily I say to you, Moses has not given you the bread out of the heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread out of the heaven.

 

Jesus knew that it was not (the absolute ou) Moses who had given the manna. Instead it was he, acting as Jehovah, on behalf of the invisible god, who had provided manna for the people. Jesus again used the term "my father." When he had previously said these same words to the Pharisees, they sought to kill him, claiming that this made him equal with their god, Jehovah.

 

Jesus was introducing the invisible god, who was still unknown because the way into the heavenly holy of holies was not yet opened. This would not happen until Jesus' flesh had been rent at the crucifixion. His flesh was the veil which continued to hide the existence of the heavenly holy of holies. Even though the earthly tabernacle shadowed these truths, they were only understood later. Manna, like the earthly tabernacle, was only a shadow of heavenly things.

 

Jesus began an explanation of this not-yet-understood, foreshadowed truth when he told them, "my Father gives you the true bread out of the heaven."  The words, "true bread," are an introduction to the long explanation which follows as Jesus explained this term more fully.

 

Return to top

 

6:33     For the bread of The God is he who comes down out of the heaven, and gives life to the world.

 

"True bread" is also "the bread of The God." Both the words "bread" and "god" are accompanied with the definite article, which sets each apart as a specific item. There is only one of this kind of bread, and there is only one such god, according to the context.

 

The bread of The God "is he who comes down out of the heaven." Refer back to the comments on John 3:13 for an explanation of "he who comes down out of the heaven." Jesus was speaking of himself, as he was the only one who had come down out of the heaven. He left his position as the spiritual Jehovah, to become the fleshly Jesus.

 

In the phrase "and gives life to the world," life comes from zoee, or spiritual life. This life is for the world, kosmos, or the whole of the human race.

 

"Out of the heavens" is where Jehovah came from in order to become Jesus. Thus, Jesus claimed his Old Testament role as Jehovah. Out of comes from the preposition ek, which is best illustrated by putting a dot in a circle and then drawing a line to another point outside that circle. Therefore, the one who gives this life is that one who came out of the heaven. If Jesus were The God, as some erroneously proclaim, than The God no longer dwelt in heaven but was abiding here on the earth. However, Jesus always spoke of "my father" as still being in the heavens.

 

Return to top

 

6:34     Therefore they said to him, Lord, always give to us this bread.

 

Jesus used bread metaphorically, as an illustration, but these people still thought he was going to give them some kind of physical bread. They were still looking for something to eat.

 

Return to top

 

6:35     And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of the life: he that comes to me in no wise may hunger, and he that believes on me in no wise may thirst at any time.

 

Jesus was speaking metaphorically about bread, but the people did not understand that. Jesus identified it for them when he said, "I am the bread of the life." He was not made of bread, but of flesh and bone. He was a man.

 

Jesus continued the metaphor and said, "He that comes to me in no wise may hunger." No wise comes from ou-mee, which is a combination word using two negatives. Ou is the absolute denial, and mee is the conditional denial. Ou absolutely denies hunger as a fact, and mee denies hunger conditionally. Used together, this equates to an emphatic denial of hunger. It is the most emphatic denial of the Greek language.

 

Then Jesus said, "he that believes on me in no wise may thirst at any time." Believes is a present tense participle. A participle has no time sense of its own, but derives its sense of time from the main verb of the sentence. However, the present tense does give it a durative, or continuous, action. Therefore, this "believing" is not a one time event, but a continual believing, a continuing activity of faith.

 

This must have sounded great to a crowd of people who had followed Jesus because he had recently fed them. Now, he appeared to be telling them that he would continue to feed them, and also provide them with water to drink, that they "may never thirst." The no wise used here is the same ou-mee used earlier in this verse.

 

Return to top

 

6:36     But I said to you that ye also have seen me and believe not.

 

This is clearly a statement concerning their unbelief. Jesus used the absolute ou, or not, about their believing. They have no belief at all. To "believe" not only has the sense of giving mental assent, but also conveys a sense of obedience to the one toward which that faith is directed.

 

Today, the obedience element is too often soft-pedaled in order to get people to " accept Jesus as their personal savior" and join the church.  The obedience (if any) which is taught is usually that they should tithe, attend church services regularly, and help out with the routine work of the church.

 

The dedication which Jesus taught his disciples went far beyond this. He asked for their total commitment to him, and to his father, The God. He desired not only believing, but also dedication of self. This crowd of people had not even begun to exhibit the faith desired by Jesus. They believed nothing of his ministry, but desired only to get bread and water they would not have to work for.

 

Return to top

 

6:37     All that the Father gives to me shall come, and him that comes to me, not at all will I cast out.

 

The first part of this verse, "all that the father gives to me shall come," is often used by those who teach predestination theory. They claim that The God will only save certain people, while all the others will be condemned to hell. Bear in mind, however, that Jesus came under law, and operated under the Old Testament economy. He was speaking here of those who would accept him as messiah, the son of The God, or the king of Israel. Only those enabled by his father, The God, would come to him now, while he was on earth.

 

Later (John 12:32), Jesus said,

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all to myself."

 

This statement referred to his crucifixion. After that event, he would draw all people to himself, not just those drawn by the Father during his time on earth, which were the people referred to in this verse.

 

After his resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father, the Old Testament economy was passé, and a new one of holy spirit was begun. Now, everyone has a portion of holy spirit poured out upon them, and this portion of holy spirit draws them to Jesus, the Christ. Jesus no longer teaches under law, but under grace. Anyone who is not thankful for his sacrifice, which ushered in this new era of grace, should be ashamed!

 

"Not at all will I cast out," was also a statement made under the Old Testament concept. Jesus was speaking about those who accompany him in his ministry, which was first of all to Israel. This verse simply cannot be applied to this age of grace, yet people persist in doing so.

 

The phrase not at all also comes from ou-mee, although it was translated differently in this verse. It would be better if it had also been translated as "in no wise." Cast out comes from ekbaloo, a compound word of ek, out, or out from, and baloo, which means basically, to divide. Jesus will never separate those who come to him from himself, or divide them from the others.

 

As an aside, when baloo is used with the preposition, dia, which makes diabaloo, commonly written as diabalo, it is translated as devil. This personifies the devil as being a "dividing one."

 

Return to top

 

6:38     For I have come down out of the heaven, not that I should do my will, but the will of him who sent me.

 

Jesus clearly stated his origin, as he often did. This is an issue that John, the author of this book, often emphasized. He spoke of the mysterious, spiritual side of Jesus, which the other three gospel writers ignored. He "came down out of the heaven" as the spiritual Jehovah, but when he came to this earth he took upon himself flesh and bone as a human being named Jesus.

 

Jesus also stated his purpose for coming to this earth: "not that I should do my own will, but the will of him who sent me." The word will comes from theleema. This is not the will after deliberation, which would be boulamai, but the will which springs from inclination (see Thayer, p. 284).

 

Jesus absolutely was not, ouk, even inclined to do what he wanted, but rather to do the will, or inclination "of him who sent me." How often Jesus said of the Father that he was the one who sent me. If this is not a separation of two entities, it would be difficult to find anything that was. In spite of all the trinity nonsense preached, Jesus is not The God, but the one whom The God sent.

 

Return to top

 

6:39     And this is the will of the Father who sent me, that [of] all that he has given me, I should not lose [any] of it, but should raise it up in the last day.

 

Jesus frequently made the distinction that he was sent by the Father. Here, he began a further explanation of the Father's will. Jesus did this so that others could distinguish the truth that he was not claiming to be equal to "him who sent me."  These words demonstrated his submission and subordination to one greater than himself.

 

"That of all that he has given me, I should not lose any of it" offers further explanation of the will of the Father. Should not lose comes from apollumi, which means to destroy something so it is useless for the purpose for which it was created. For example, a cracked pitcher may still appear outwardly whole, but it will no longer hold liquid, and cannot serve the purpose for which it was created.

 

The word it comes from  autos, a compound word of the particle au with the demonstrative pronoun tos. Its very basic meaning is "again," which points one to some thing or person mentioned earlier. Here, it was translated as "it." Thayer (pp.89-90) devotes two entire pages to the usage of this word.

 

In other places in the scriptures, Jesus was spoken of as the one who came "to save the world, not to destroy it" (see John 3:17). The "it" here refers to the whole of the world, including all of nature, as well as mankind. The whole of creation is groaning while it awaits the revelation of the son of god (Romans 8:22). When mankind sinned, it also caused the whole of nature to be less than it had been.

 

Return to top

 

6:40     And this is the will of him who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes on him, should have life eternal; and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

Will again comes from theleema. And again, Jesus repeated that it was the will of "him who sent me." Jesus never claimed equality with "him who sent me," but instead showed obedience to that higher authority.

 

Another aspect of The God's will is that, "everyone who sees the son and believes on him, should have life eternal." The word sees comes from thooroon, and means to be a spectator, or to look upon someone who is noteworthy (Thayer, p. 289). This present group of spectators was composed mostly of those who had been fed with the loaves and fishes. Although that was a miracle, plain and simple, they still asked for another miracle to prove that Jesus was sent from the Father. This group had seen the son, yet they still did not believe.

 

"Believes" is a present active participle, durative in action. One should continue to believe. If anyone sees and believes on Jesus, the promise to them is that they "should have life eternal."

 

Life eternal, or eternal life, is a much misunderstood concept. This eternal life is not concerned with chronological time, but rather with a quality of life. Believing on him allows holy spirit to work in one's life, and thereby a god-like quality permeates that person's earthly life. The words "should have" form a present subjunctive, which means the quality of life eternal is

"present already as a divine power before resurrection." (Rienecker, p. 233).

 

Jesus told the people standing before him, that if they saw and believed continuously, that a power of The God would be loosed in their lives. Many "christians" do not seem to understand this. If this power of The God is not loosed in a person's life, then no matter how many good things they do, their works will only be works of the flesh, and will not stand the fire at the judgment seat of Christ. Only those works done by The God acting through a person will stand in that day as good works (see Romans 5:9-10).

 

"And I will raise him up at the last day." Who will Jesus raise up, or resurrect? It will be those in this group to whom he was speaking, who have both seen and believed. When will the people to whom he spoke while on this earth be resurrected? In the last day.

 

Raise him up is written in the future indicative, which means that it shall come to pass. This was a promise which Jesus made to those present before him. And when will this resurrection take place? It will be "at the last day." The last day will be the final day of this age of grace. It will be the day when Jesus returns the second time to rule and reign over this earth.

 

Zecariah 14:4-9 says,

"And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst threreof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto A-zal; yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in the day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark. But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night But it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one."

 

Return to top

 

6:41     Therefore the Jews were murmuring about him because he said, I am the bread which came down out of the heaven.

 

It is little wonder that these people were murmuring about him. The apostle John, the writer of this gospel, often spoke about the mystical aspects of Jesus. Admittedly, it was difficult to understand the relationship which Jesus, as a man, claimed to have with his father, The God. It was also difficult to understand what Jesus said about himself as being the bread, or manna, which came down from the heaven.

 

In fact, there was a double entendre in the words Jesus spoke about the subject. He was the Old Testament manna, in a manner of speaking, as that was a shadow of his coming in the person of Jesus. As Jesus, he would be the one who, after ascending to the Father in heaven, would spiritually feed everyone in the world, through faith in him. Even today, these things are still difficult for people to grasp.

 

Hard as it was for those people to believe, Jesus said that those who believed without seeing would be more blessed than those who had seen (John 20:29). Based on his accomplishments on the cross, Jesus is lord of all today, and anyone who feeds upon him will be spiritually well nourished. Jesus is indeed that bread, whether that point is understood or not.

 

Return to top

 

6:42     And were saying, Is this not Jesus the Son of Joseph, of whom we know the father and the mother? How therefore says he, out of the heaven I have come down?

 

Most people would consider this to be a valid question. Suppose the grown son of a family you had known all your life, even from his birth, came one day and said he had come down from heaven, and that he was sent by God. How would you react? How would the other people who knew him react? How, even, would his family react?

 

Technically, these people made a false assumption when they said that Jesus was the "son of Joseph." Chapter 1 of Matthew contains a genealogy of Jesus. Verse 1:16 says,

"And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called, Christ."

 

This refers to his mother, not Joseph. According to other scriptures, Joseph could not be the father of Jesus.

 

The genealogy listed in Matthew shows Jechonias as an ancestor of Joseph. Jechonias is the Greek rendering of the Old Testament Coniah. Jeremiah 22:28-30 says,

"Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? Is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? Wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land they know not? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah."

 

Therefore, this scripture shows that Joseph, who was a descendant of Coniah, or Jechonias as he was known in the New Testament, would never have any of his descendants rule over Judah. Jesus, who became king over Israel, or Judah, could not be a blood relative of Joseph. This is another proof of the virgin birth of our lord Jesus, the Christ.

 

So, these people naturally wondered about Jesus. Lacking faith in the miracles which Jesus did to prove his words, these people reacted as most people probably would in similar circumstances. They knew whom they considered to be his father and his mother. How could he claim to come down out of heaven? How could he say his father in heaven had sent him when they knew both of his parents? This would require a quantum leap of faith on the part of these folks.

 

However, it was nothing new for Jesus to have people question him about his words. Luke 4:22-24 reported about Jesus teaching in a synagogue.

"And all bore witness to him, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, Is this not the son of Joseph? And he said to them, Surely ye will say to me this parable, Physician, heal thyself; whatsoever we have heard being done in Capernaum, do also here in thine [own] country. But he said, Verily, I say to you, that no prophet is acceptable in his [own] country."

 

The people in the synagogue had the same question as those from Capernaum who had seen the miracle of the five loaves and the two fishes. Those in the synagogue had only heard about it, but both groups had the same reservations about his claim to be the christ, or the messiah.

 

Return to top

 

6:43     Therefore Jesus answered and said to them, Murmur not with one another.

 

Jesus, after hearing all their comments and questions, advised them not to murmur with one another. Although they had many questions, he knew that the only answer did not lie in the realm of human reasoning. Only faith could provide the correct answer, and these folks were apparently very lacking in faith.

 

Return to top

 

6:44     No one is able to come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

This is almost a restatement of verse 6:37. The difference is that in verse 6:37, the Father gave people to Jesus, whom he will not cast out. In this verse, the Father draws people to Jesus, whom he will raise up at the last day. Earlier, The God gave, but here he draws.

 

Return to top

 

6:45     It is written in the prophets, and they shall all be taught of The God. Everyone therefore that has heard from the Father and has learnt, comes to me.

 

This was referring to Isaiah 54:13, which says,

"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord: and great shall be the peace of thy children."

 

Isaiah was speaking about a future time, about the glories of Jerusalem and its citizens. Jesus referred to this prophecy as he spoke to the people surrounding him. Essentially, he was revealing to them that if they had a proper faith, they would understand that he was the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. But, as so often happened with the Jewish people, they did not seize the opportunity offered them to bring in the kingdom of The God at that time, nor did they understand the results of not doing so.

 

Their rejection would cause Jesus to turn to the Gentiles to "get a name for himself" or "to get a people for himself." After several futile attempts to bring the Jewish community to belief, Jesus finally turned to the Gentiles who would hear him. [For further notes on this point, see our comments on Romans 9:30-33 in our book, The Truth Revealed in Romans.]

 

"They shall all be taught of The God." Shall be taught appears in the English as though it were a verb. But, in the Greek, taught is an adjective. This was describing a future condition in which the people of Israel shall all be "taught ones." They will be an educated people concerning spiritual things of The God. At this point in his ministry, Jesus had not revealed that those Gentiles who accept him as being the messiah will also be a part of Israel. As later revealed in Galatians 3:29, those Gentiles believers shall also be educated ones about The God.

 

In the latter part of this verse, Jesus pointed out that there are two requisites for coming to him. People must have "heard," and must have "learnt." Jesus was no longer talking about Isaiah's prophecy. He was again teaching the people present about their responsibility. The word, "therefore," points back to Isaiah's prophecy about being educated ones, or learnt ones. If those in the presence of Jesus were going to be educated ones, then they must hear. Hear means not only to hear the words, but also to understand what is said.

 

Second, they must not only hear, but also learn. People sometimes hear what someone is teaching, but without understanding or learning from it. The Jews were sometimes accused of both hearing and hearing not (for example, see Ezra 12:2 and Matthew 13:13). They heard what Jesus said, but they did not understand. Jesus was probably not expecting a great surge of understanding.

 

Remember, these people were more interested in physical food than in spiritual food. For those few who would both hear and learn, Jesus told them that they would be the ones who came to him. They would be disciples, or ones who have committed their lives to his purposes.

 

Return to top

 

6:46     Not that anyone has seen the Father, except he who is from The God. He has seen the Father.

 

The not used here is the absolute not; absolutely no one has seen the father. Those people who claim that Jesus and The God are one and the same, must surely ignore this verse. Many people saw Jesus, and if he were the same as the Father, then many people would also have seen the Father. John made it clear in other scriptures that while Jesus has a peculiar relationship with The God, he is absolutely a separate entity from him (refer back to the comments on verse l:18).

 

Many people cite John 14:8-9 as proof that Jesus is the same as The God.

"Philip says to him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it suffices us. Jesus says to him, So long a time am I with you, and thou hast not known me Philip? He that has seen me, has seen the Father; and how sayest thou, Shew us the Father?"

 

This sounds like a contradiction to verse 6:46. However, if we consider the two verses together, the contradiction disappears. Jesus was telling Philip that he had been manifesting the Father for some time. He was not saying that he and the Father were one and the same. If this were so, then Jesus would have been contradicting his words as recorded in verse 6:46.

 

There is only one exception to what Jesus said, and that is himself. He went on to explain this by saying, "except he who is from The God, he has seen the father." Jesus was referring to himself when he was Jehovah, the word of the Old Testament. Jehovah was the spokesperson for The God before he became the man, Jesus. Jehovah was also the one who acted to bring The God's will into concrete existence. For example, when The God spoke the world into existence, it was Jehovah who made that happen. This is why Jesus can be given credit for creating the world.

 

Please note that a careful study of the scriptures regarding this point will reveal that Jehovah/Jesus was the secondary influence, not the first. He was the tool, so to speak, used by The God.

 

In this verse, John again touched upon the mystery of the relationship which Jesus had with The God before he became flesh. Of all the gospel writers, only John touched on many of the nuances of this mystical relationship between Jesus and the Father.

 

Return to top

 

6:47     Verily, verily , I say to you, He that believes on me has life eternal.

 

Again, Jesus emphasized the importance of "believing on me." Only those who believe what Jesus did, and what he said, will be the ones from this group (those he was speaking to) to receive life eternal. We commented earlier on the meaning of life eternal, but notice here the word "has."  This life eternal is a present possession of those who believe, which allows The God to begin working in their lives. Remember, only the works done through us by The God will not be burned up at the judgment seat of Jesus, the Christ, when he comes again.

 

Return to top

 

6:48     I am the bread of the life.

 

Jesus used the present tense verb, am, as he spoke to the group present. They need not wait until his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension to the Father in heaven to have this bread. However, they do need to listen to his teachings and understand his words if they are to feed upon him as the bread of the life.

 

Berry's Interlinear often does not translate the definite article, even though it is present in the Greek manuscript, as indicated above. The definite article sets life apart as a specific kind of life which Jesus spoke of. "The life" is a synonymous term for "eternal life." The scriptures indicate that either "the life" or "eternal life" may be experienced here in this lifetime as well as during the coming kingdom age.

 

Return to top

 

6:49     Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and died.

 

Jesus was repeating many of the same ideas expressed earlier. However, these people were blatantly carnal in their thinking, as are many today, and he often repeated concepts. Here, he reminded them that when the Israelites were fed the manna, they still died. Jehovah had sent enough manna to support about two million people as they wandered in the wilderness. Although that manna only fed their bodies, it was still indicative of the coming of Jesus as the christ of the New Testament.

 

Did those people in the desert understand this? No! They saw the physical food, but they did not discern the spiritual meaning of it. They continued in their carnal ways, and of all the older men who had come out of Egypt, only Joshua and Caleb entered into the promised land.

 

Jesus was drawing a comparison between that bread of the desert, and that which he was offering to those people present.

 

Return to top

 

6:50     This is the bread which out of the heaven comes down, that anyone of it may eat and not die.

 

"This" is a pronominal demonstrative adjective used as a noun. It is also in the masculine singular, which refers back to the "I" of verse 6:48. Thus the "I" and the "this" are both referring to Jesus. By using this grammatical construction, Jesus connected his earlier teaching with what he said in this verse. He is the bread which comes down out the heaven. There is no other.

 

This bread has a property all its own. That comes from the purposive hina, and it points to the reason this bread came down out of heaven. That purpose was in order that "anyone may of it eat and not die." Just as Joshua led the Israelite people into the promised land, Jesus is the one who will lead people into the blessings of the next age, the kingdom of The God. However, they must first eat of him as the bread.

 

Jesus used eat to symbolize hearing, believing, and obeying what he taught. He was not speaking of actually eating himself; he was speaking metaphorically.

 

Return to top

 

6:51     I am the living bread, which came down out of the heaven; if anyone shall have eaten of this bread, he shall live for ever. Also the bread which I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

 

This is almost a repeat of his previous statement. However, Jesus added one word that was not used earlier: the word "living." By the addition of living, he was more directly pointing to himself. He, as the bread, was not an inanimate object as was the manna of the Old Testament, but he was alive, and he could give eternal life. The requirement for the ability to have eternal life is that "anyone shall have eaten of the bread." If there is no partaking of Jesus, and his ministry, there shall be no eternal life.

 

"Also the bread which I will give is my flesh." Now, Jesus was being more specific, but he was still speaking metaphorically. He was equating his flesh with the bread. Hebrews 10:5 explains this more clearly.

"Wherefore coming into the world, he says, Sacrifice and offering thou willedst not, but a body thou didst prepare me."

 

This clearly speaks to the truth that when Jehovah became flesh in the person of Jesus, that The God gave him a fleshly body to be a future sacrifice.

 

Hebrews 10:10 explains the result of this sacrifice.

"By which will (The God's) we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

 

We are sanctified, or set apart to The God, because Jesus had given his body. This was done once for all. There will never be another Jesus who will give his body for this purpose again. It is over. The God's will has been accomplished. This sacrifice of his body is the bread.

 

Luke 22:19-20 says,

"And having taken a loaf, having given thanks, he broke, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in the remembrance of me. In like manner also the cup after having supped, saying, This cup [is] the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."

 

The Passover bread was unleavened, baked without yeast, and was often used symbolically in reference to sin. Jesus had never committed sin, hamartia, and thus was a fit symbol for the Passover bread. He was unleavened by this sin.

 

These two verses in Luke mention both his body, or flesh, and his blood. The soul is in the blood. Thus, if one's blood is shed, their soul dies. Jesus gave his soulish (physical) life, not his spiritual life, for the redemption of mankind.

 

His flesh, Jesus said, was that "which I will give for the life of the world." Note that Jesus put his sacrifice in the future, his flesh was something which "he will give." That time had not yet come, but, nevertheless, Jesus was teaching the people about when it would happen.

 

That will be "the bread he will give for the life of the world." At his sacrifice, everyone in the cosmos, or the populated earth, will be given zooee, or spiritual life. So much misery and doubt could be avoided if only more churches would teach this about the grace of The God. Instead, they teach people that they must do something to cause The God to act and give them spiritual life. Only the sacrifice of Jesus brought life about!

 

Return to top

 

6:52     Therefore the Jews were contending with one another saying, How is he able to give us [his] flesh to eat?

 

This response indicates how carnal minds react to spiritual truths. After Jesus compared the manna with himself, these people still had no comprehension of what he had just told them. However, before we condemn them too much we should note that this was a new concept to these Jews.

 

"How is he able to give us his flesh to eat?" This was a legitimate question since they had misunderstood Jesus. They had obviously taken his words to be literal rather than spiritual.

 

Return to top

 

6:53     Therefore Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, Unless ye shall have eaten the flesh of the Son of the man, and shall have drunk his blood, ye have not life in yourselves.

 

This answer did not seem likely to lessen their misunderstanding. Jesus only repeated what he had said earlier. Note carefully that both "shall have eaten" and "shall have drunk" are both future tense. If this had been noted by those to whom he was speaking, perhaps they would have understood that he was not speaking of his present body at all.

 

Being Jews, they would also know that both of these items were forbidden by the law of Moses. They were not allowed to drink the blood of any animal because the soul was in the blood. When an animal was slain, the blood was to be buried. Jesus, though, was speaking of having faith in his future sacrifice, not about actually eating his flesh and drinking his blood.

 

Return to top

 

6:54     He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day.

 

Eats, written as a present participle, means,

"to munch, to eat audibly, to crunch" (Rienecker, p. 234).

 

The present tense means they are to eat continually of his flesh.

 

The terminology Jesus used here related to his words in verse 6:47, where he said that those who believe will have eternal life. Believing and eating were used as synonymous terms. Those who eat and drink have the same result as those who believe: they will have eternal life. Both will be raised up in the last day.

 

Return to top

 

6:55     For my flesh truly is food, and my blood truly is drink.

 

A carnal mind can never understand such a statement as this. Jesus, however, continued to use such language when he spoke to this crowd of people.

 

Verse 6:52 noted that the Jews were "contending with one another," or having difficulty understanding what Jesus had told them. This latest statement would surely not help them understand. Jesus was not deliberately trying to mislead them; but, knowing the hearts of all men, he knew that most of these people were there only because they wanted a ready supply of food. When Jesus spoke to them about spiritual food and drink, they had no concept of what he said.

 

Return to top

 

6:56     He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me, and I in him.

 

The phrase, "abides in me, and I in him," adds another dimension to the result of eating his flesh and the drinking of his blood. John stated this more clearly in I John 3:23-24, where he wrote,

"And this is his [The God's] commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and should love one another, even as he gave commandment to us. And he that keeps his commandments, in him abides, and he in him: and by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he gave to us."

 

Abides has the sense of a continual close fellowship with one another. Those who want a close relationship with Jesus must continually eat his flesh and drink his blood, or always be aware of his sacrificial offering for mankind.

 

I John 3:24 adds that those who have this fellowship, or abiding, know it is true because of the spirit which he gave to us. That was a statement concerning Jesus after his crucifixion, when a portion of holy spirit was poured out upon all people.

 

Return to top

 

6:57     As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, also he that eats me, he also shall live because of me.

 

Again Jesus said the Father sent him. It is difficult to understand why people persist in proclaiming that Jesus was The God while he was here on this earth. He and The God are not the same, and Jesus said so many times.

 

Here, Jesus also spoke of the "living father."  This is a present tense participle, and again, the present speaks of a continually living father.

Jesus said, "and I live because of the father."  The word because comes from dia, usually signifying a secondary influence, just as it does here. Jesus had life because the Father gave it to him. All life finds its source in The God. He is the originator of all life in all living beings, including the man, Jesus.

 

"Also he that eats me, he also shall live because of me."  Earlier, both "living" and "life" were present tense, showing continuous action. Here, "shall live" is in the future tense. This refers to the truth that eternal life, which is granted to those who eat, will not reach its total fulfillment until the next age, when Jesus returns to this earth to rule and reign. Those who are the overcomers will experience "life" in its fullness with bodies like that of the resurrected Jesus. Then they "shall live."

 

However, this does not rule out having a taste of that eternal life in the here and now! But, those who live in the faith and obedience of the lord, Jesus, the Christ, experience in this life only a sample of what that future living will be.

 

Return to top

 

6:58     This is the bread which came down out of the heaven. Not as the fathers of you ate the manna, and died: he that eats this bread shall live for ever.

 

We have previously commented on all the concepts in this verse, except for the word "forever." There are three Greek expressions which have been translated as "forever." Here, it is eis ton aioona, or "into the age." That age is the next age, which will be the kingdom of The God. Forever has also been translated from the expression meaning "into the ages," and also the expression "into the ages of the ages." This last term is what most people understand as eternity.

 

Return to top

 

6:59     These things he said teaching in [the] synagogue in Capernaum.

 

Earlier, we learned that Jesus had crossed the sea back to Capernaum, from whence he had left to go feed the 5,000, many of whom followed him back to Capernaum.

 

Return to top

 

6:60     Many of his disciples having heard, said, This is a hard word; who is able to hear it?

 

Disciples, as used here, was referring to more than the 12. It also included many who had believed it would be easy to follow Jesus. They still had little understanding of what Jesus had been teaching them about eating his flesh and the drinking his blood. Therefore, they considered this as "hard words."

 

The word hard comes from skleeros. Thayer (p. 578) defines it as,

"hard, harsh, rough, stiff."

 

It was too much for them to believe that they must eat the actual flesh, and drink the actual blood, of Jesus. Hence, they turned away.

 

They also asked, "who is able to hear?"  Hear comes from the Greek word akouein, and it means not only to hear, but to have an appreciation of what is said. They had no understanding, and thus they also had no appreciation for what Jesus had said to them.

 

Jesus covered many aspects of salvation in commenting on himself as the bread of the life, and it covered so much scripture, that a summary seems to be in order.

 

As the bread out of heaven, Jesus gives life to the world (6:33).

Jesus identified himself as being that bread of the life (6:35).

Jesus came to do the will of the Father, which was that he should not

    lose any who were given him by the Father, but to raise them up at

    the last day (6:38).

Everyone who has heard from the Father, and learned, comes to

    Jesus (6:45).

Everyone who believes on Jesus has eternal life now, as a presence in

    their lives (6:47).

Jesus said he was living bread, that anyone who eats of this bread shall

    live forever. His flesh is the bread of eternal life (6:51).

Jesus added the drinking of his blood as a requirement to have eternal

    life (6:53).

Jesus said that any who eat his flesh, and drink his blood, abides in him

    and he in them (6:56).

Jesus equated having eternal life for those who eat his flesh to living

    forever, or into the next age (6:58).

Jesus loses some disciples (6:66-71).

 

Return to top

 

6:61     But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmur concerning this, said to them, Does this offend you?

 

Again, "his disciples" signifies more than just the 12 who later composed the nucleus of those who followed him. There were still many tag-a-longs who were following Jesus at this time. They were the ones who were murmuring among themselves about Jesus and his teachings.

 

The question Jesus had for those who were murmuring was this: "Does this offend you?" The word offend comes from skandalizei, from which we derive the English word scandalize. Thayer (p. 577) defines this as,

"Any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall, {a stumbling block]."

 

Jesus was commenting more than he was questioning. His question was only a preliminary to his next statement.

 

Return to top

 

6:62     If then ye should see the Son of man ascending up where he was before?

 

These murmuring disciples were the ones who earlier were having a war of words about Jesus claiming to be the "bread of life come down from the heaven." Knowing they did not believe what he had said about himself, Jesus posed a greater question to them: "What if you see the son of the man ascending up where he was before?"  If you will not believe that I came down from heaven, and this confounds you, what is going to be your reaction if you see me ascending back up to the heavens where I came from?

 

This question would seem to be one to further their unbelief. Even Jesus could not, or would not, force anyone to believe in himself. People were then, and still are today, free to believe or not believe. No one is forced to believe what the Bible has to say about Jesus, the Christ.

 

Return to top

 

6:63     It is the spirit which quickens, the flesh profits nothing; the words which I speak to you, are spirit and are life.

 

What did Jesus mean when he said, "It is the spirit which quickens?" Jesus taught from the Old Testament (the New Testament was not yet written). Zecariah 12:1 says,

"The burden of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formed the spirit of man within him."

 

That "spirit of man" is always in need of a quickening, and this is the quickening of which Jesus spoke.

 

Man's spirit is one of selfishness, and only when acted upon by the spirit of The God does it become one with The God and his cause. Jesus was telling these wayward disciples that if they only understood with their carnal minds, their flesh, it would "profit them nothing." They need the aid of holy spirit to understand spiritually.

 

Many people seek to manipulate The God, doing what they want to do, and assuming that it will please him. Unfortunately, they do not realize that the only works which will count are the ones based in love and faith.

"But the words which I speak to you are spirit and are life." With this statement ,Jesus was again emphasizing spiritual things over the carnal.

 

Paul also wrote of this in Romans 7:25:

"I thank The God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I myself with the mind indeed serve God's law, but with the flesh sin's law."

 

Jesus, and later, Paul, emphasized the mental, or spiritual, concept over the carnal, or fleshly, nature. Both emphasized that we should care more about spiritual things than fleshly ones.

 

Organized religions today place more emphasis upon not sinning, or adhering to moral concepts, than they do on the matter of faith, and spiritual matters. Faith is the basis of scriptural teaching, not morals. Morals may follow, but morals are a consequence, not a requirement.  When we truly submit ourselves to The God, holy spirit will take are of our behavior, and transform us into what we should be.

 

Fleshly behavior can be moral, even without a commitment to The God. Jesus emphasized this distinction when he said, "the words which I speak to you they are spirit, and they are life." His words, or teachings, are spiritual ones, and they give life its real meaning. These, not the flesh, are what profit us, or are useful to us.

 

Return to top

 

6:64     But there are some of you who believe not. For Jesus knew from [the] beginning who they are who believe not, and who is he who shall deliver him up.

 

Many of those listening to Jesus did not believe. Not is the absolute ou, or ouk. After all that Jesus had said, there was not even a hint of faith on their part. The words, "Jesus knew from the beginning who they are who believe not" again indicate his ability know what is in the heart of men. He also knew from the beginning "he who shall deliver him up." Deliver up is a future participle, which points forward to his betrayal by Judas.

 

Return to top

 

6:65     And he said, Therefore have I said to you, that no one is able to come to me unless it be given to him from my father.

 

Jesus was referring to his previous remarks. The phrase, "unless it be given to him from my father," is somewhat different than his previous remarks where he indicated that his father would draw them (see verses 6:37 and 6:44).

 

Return to top

 

 

Peter's confession

 

6:66     From that [time] many of his disciples went away back, and no more walked with him.

 

His comments about the bread of life, and eating his flesh, and drinking his blood were difficult words for many of his early followers. Many of those who had been following Jesus, decided to no longer walk with him. They did not want to be identified as a follower of Jesus.

 

Today, many churched people are still reluctant to enter into any conversation which would identify them as followers of Jesus. They will talk about Jesus at church, but not in the course of their daily lives. In "good society," it is not polite to talk about religious ideas in public. This attitude constitutes a denial of their relationship with Jesus, the Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 10:33,

"But whosoever shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who [is] in [the] heavens."

 

Return to top

 

6:67     Jesus said therefore to the twelve, are ye also wishing to go away?

 

Out of the thousands who had been in the crowd, only the original 12 disciples remained. The plain truth of The God's word is not palatable to most people. They want it softened or weakened to make it acceptable to them. If preachers taught the plain truth of the Bible, their church congregations would be much smaller.

 

Total commitment of oneself to the purposes of The God is nearly an unheard of tenet in most churches today. If it is stated, it is usually watered down to simply mean believing that Jesus died for you. Jesus asked much more than that from those who wanted to walk with him then, and much more is still asked of those who will do so today. When the requirements that Jesus put upon discipleship are clearly taught, there will be no large crowds remaining to follow him.

 

Return to top

 

6:68     Simon Peter therefore answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

 

Peter answered for all of them with the question "to whom shall we go?" At least Peter, and we assume the other 11 disciples, must have had some inkling that Jesus had been teaching them about eternal life. They understood, and believed, that not only was he the coming king of Israel, but also that he was the one who had come down out of the heavens as the bread of the life. They knew of no other person who could teach them about these matters.

 

True, accurate, scriptural teaching today is an endangered profession. There are many who claim they teach the word of The God, but for the most part, they teach it only within the parameters of their specific denomination. What comes out of most pulpits is largely the distortion of men, masquerading as The God's word. For this reason, many are starved for the real scriptural word. Peter's question is worth repeating today: "To whom shall we go?"

 

People who wish to learn more of The God's word are starving. Churches offer only a repetition of the same old church doctrines, Sunday after Sunday, regardless of the themes they are dressed in. Where can they go? No matter how many churches they visit, they find only the same worn-out phraseology, perhaps with minor variations, but nothing on which they can grow spiritually. Pity the poor people!

 

Return to top

 

6:69     And we have believed and have known that thou art the Christ the Son of the living god.

 

Verse 6:45 contained two requirements for those who would "come to me." Those two requirements were to hear, and to learn. In this verse, Peter was telling Jesus nearly those same two things. He repeats them as "have believed and have known." Therefore, the disciples have heard and have learned.

 

Peter told Jesus that they understood that he is "the christ, the son of the living god." The christ, with the definite article, limits this to being one specific christ, and the son, with the definite article, limits this as one specific son. Whose son? The son of The God, the revealed god of the scriptures. This statement was equal to portraying Jesus as the king of Israel, the one who would deliver Israel from all its enemies and make it the leading nation of the world.

 

Return to top

 

6:70     Jesus answered them, Did I not choose you the twelve, and one of you is a devil?

 

This seems like a peculiar answer to Peter's declaration of faith. Jesus apparently wanted to clarify the fact that although he had chosen the 12 to be his disciples, not all of them shared Peter's faith that he was the christ, or the messiah. Jesus said, "One of you is a devil."

 

When the word "devil" appears, many people immediately think of an evil spirit. In this verse, Jesus spoke of Judas, who would betray him in the future, as a devil. Jesus had also called Peter a devil when Peter denied that Jesus would be crucified (Matthew 16:23). Is there a common denominator linking these two disciples? Judas meant to betray Jesus to his death. Peter, on the other hand, tried to persuade Jesus not to be crucified. Peter spoke out of his love for Jesus, while Judas acted out of greed for the silver he would be paid. But, Jesus called both of them a devil.

 

The word devil comes from diabolos, a compound word of dia and bolos. Dia means through, and bolos means thrust. Thus, the word devil means to thrust through, or to divide. Both the actions of Judas, and the words of Peter, were an attempt to thwart the purpose of Jesus, which was to do the will of his heavenly father.

 

Judas attempted to acquire his end results by having Jesus killed, which would prove that he was not the christ, as people believed that the christ could not die. Peter, however, acted to comfort Jesus as he faced his future. However, if Jesus had listened to him, then he would have been diverted from the purpose for which he came. The common link between Judas and Peter is that they both attempted to divert, or divide, Jesus from his purpose.

 

Anyone who attempts to thwart the will of The God is a devil, or a satan. [For further comments on satan, see our article, A Study of Satan.]

 

Return to top

 

6:71     But, he spoke of Judas, Simon's [son], Iscariot, for he was about to deliver him up, being one of the twelve.

 

Jesus knew that it was Judas who would "deliver him up."  Deliver him up comes from paradidonai, which means to give one over to another as a captive. This makes it quite clear that Jesus was aware of the conniving which Judas must have thought was a secret.

 

Matthew 26: 14-16 says,

"Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, having gone to the chief priests, said, What are ye willing to give me, and I will deliver him up to you? And they appointed thirty pieces of silver to him. And from that time he sought an opportunity that he might deliver him up."

 

This was the action of a devil!

 

Return to top

 

 

Summary Highlights of Chapter 6

 

# The reason people were attracted to Jesus was because he could heal

     their bodies and feed them.  They were more interested in physical

     well-being than in spiritual well-being.

 

# Virtually every denomination today insists that large numbers are the

     primary indication of their spiritual success. Actually, large numbers

     may indicate just the opposite, that the ministry is not a spiritual

     success at all. When Jesus began to teach the spiritual truths of the

     scriptures, most of those who had previously followed him quickly fell

     away. Why should it be different today?

 

# Many people today go to church meetings to be entertained. Television

     preachers sit on gilded chairs like kings, standing to pontificate to the

     people, striving to produce an emotional high in the audience. They

     ask a gullible audience for money "to support the work of the lord,"

     and they amass millions of dollars from ignorant people who fall prey

     to their manipulation.

 

# Many preachers claim that they "preach the gospel," but they do not

     preach the same gospel preached by Jesus and the apostles. John, the

     Baptist, Paul, Peter, and Jesus preached the "good news," or the gospel

     of the kingdom, that the long awaited messiah had come. They

     preached that Jesus was the savior of the world, that salvation was

     completed and imparted to every person in the world, and those yet to

     come. Why do we not hear that in churches today?

 

#  If we live our lives in dependence upon The God, we will be granted

     eternal life, or entrance into the next age in a place of blessing.

 

# The messages heard from pulpits today mainly emphasize what you

     must do in order to get salvation. There is nothing you can do. It is a

     gift, and you already have it.

 

# Doing the work of The God is believing on him whom The God sent, or

     believing on Jesus. It also means believing the work which Jesus

     accomplished to complete The God's salvation for all people

     everywhere.

 

# Too many "christians" simply do not obey (or even pay attention to) the

     portion of holy spirit given to them.

 

# The bread of The God "is he who comes down out of the heaven."  Jesus

     was speaking of himself, as he was the only one who had come down

     out of the heaven. He left his position as the spiritual Jehovah, to

     become the fleshly Jesus.

 

# To "believe" not only has the sense of giving mental assent, but also

     conveys a sense of obedience to the one toward which that faith is

     directed. Today, the obedience element is too often soft-pedaled in

     order to get people to " accept Jesus as their personal savior" or join the

     church.

 

# Now, everyone has a portion of holy spirit poured out upon them, and

     this portion of holy spirit draws them to Jesus, the Christ. Jesus no

     longer teaches under law, but under grace. Anyone who is not thankful

     for his sacrifice, which ushered in this new era of grace, should be

     ashamed!

 

#  In spite of all the trinity nonsense preached, Jesus is not The God, but

     the one whom The God sent.

 

# Life eternal, or eternal life, is a much misunderstood concept. This

     eternal life is not concerned with chronological time, but rather with a

     quality of life. Believing on Jesus allows holy spirit to work in one's life,

     and thereby a god-like quality permeates that person's earthly life.

 

# Life eternal is a present possession of those who believe, which allows

     The God to begin working in their lives.

 

# Many "christians" do not seem to that if the power of The God is not

     loosed in a person's life, then no matter how many good things they

     do, their works will only be works of the flesh, and will not stand the

     fire at the judgment seat of Christ. Only those works done by The God

     acting through a person will stand in that day as good works (see

     Romans 5:9-10).

 

# We are sanctified, or set apart to The God, because Jesus had given his

     body. This was done once for all. There will never be another Jesus who

     will give his body for this purpose again. It is over. The God's will has

     been accomplished. This sacrifice of his body is the bread.

 

# The Passover bread was unleavened, baked without yeast, and was

     often used symbolically in reference to sin. Jesus had never committed

     sin, hamartia, and thus was a fit symbol for the Passover bread. He was

     unleavened by this sin.

 

# He and The God are not the same, and Jesus said so many times.

 

# All life finds its source in The God. He is the originator of all life in all

     living beings, including the man, Jesus.

 

#  Jesus covered many aspects of salvation in commenting on himself as

     the bread of the life, and it covered so much scripture, that a summary

     seems to be in order.

     −As the bread out of heaven, Jesus gives life to the world (6:33).

     Jesus identified himself as being that bread of the life (6:35).

     − Jesus came to do the will of the Father, which was that he should not

         lose any who were given him by the Father, but to raise them up at

         the last day (6:38).

    − Everyone who has heard from the Father, and learned, comes to

         Jesus (6:45).

     − Everyone who believes on Jesus has eternal life now, as a presence in

         their lives (6:47).

     − Jesus said he was living bread, that anyone who eats of this bread

         shall live forever. His flesh is the bread of eternal life (6:51).

     − Jesus added the drinking of his blood as a requirement to have

         eternal life (6:53).

     − Jesus said that any who eat his flesh, and drink his blood, abides in

         him and he in them (6:56).

     − Jesus equated having eternal life for those who eat his flesh to living

         forever, or into the next age (6:58).

     − Jesus loses some disciples (6:66-71).

 

# Man's spirit is one of selfishness, and only when acted upon by the spirit

     of The God does it become one with The God and his cause.

 

# People need the aid of holy spirit to understand spiritually.

 

# Many people seek to manipulate The God, doing what they want to do,

     and assuming that it will please him. Unfortunately, they do not

     realize that the only works which will count are the ones based in love

     and faith.

 

#  Jesus, and later, Paul, emphasized the mental, or spiritual, concept over

     the carnal, or fleshly, nature. Both emphasized that we should care

     more about spiritual things than fleshly ones.

 

# Organized religions today place more emphasis upon not sinning, or

     adhering to moral concepts, than they do on the matter of faith, and

     spiritual matters. Faith is the basis of scriptural teaching, not morals.

     Morals may follow, but morals are a consequence, not a requirement.

     When we truly submit ourselves to The God, holy spirit will take are of

     our behavior, and transform us into what we should be.

 

# Many of those who had been following Jesus, decided to no longer walk

     with him. They did not want to be identified as a follower of Jesus.  Out

     of the thousands who had been in the crowd, only the original 12

     disciples remained. The plain truth of The God's word is not palatable to

     most people. They want it softened or weakened to make it acceptable

     to them. If preachers taught the plain truth of the Bible, their church

     congregations would be much smaller.  When the requirements that

     Jesus put upon discipleship are clearly taught, there will be no large

     crowds remaining to follow him.

 

# There are many who claim they teach the word of The God, but for the

     most part, they teach it only within the parameters of their specific

     denomination. What comes out of most pulpits is largely the distortion

     of men, masquerading as The God's word. For this reason, many are

     starved for the real scriptural word. Peter's question is worth repeating

     today: "To whom shall we go?"

 

# People who wish to learn more of The God's word are starving.  No

     matter how many churches they visit, they find only the same worn-

    out phraseology, perhaps with minor variations, but nothing on which

     they can grow spiritually. Pity the poor people!

 

# The christ, with the definite article, limits this to being one specific

     christ, and the son, with the definite article, limits this as one specific

     son. Whose son? The son of The God, the revealed god of the scriptures.

 

# Both the actions of Judas, and the words of Peter, were an attempt to

     thwart the purpose of Jesus, which was to do the will of his heavenly

     father.  Anyone who attempts to thwart the will of The God is a devil, or

     a satan.

 

 

RETURN TO TOP OF PAGE

 

September 2009