John Six

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

John 6:1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.

John 6:2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.

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

John 6:4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.

John 6:5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?

John 6:6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.

John 6:7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.

two hundred pennyworth. The Greek word for “penny” is denarius. One denarius was a day's wage for an unskilled laborer (Matthew 20:2), so that two hundred denarii would represent about seven months' wages.

John 6:8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him,

John 6:9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

John 6:10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

John 6:11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

John 6:12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.

John 6:13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

John 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

the miracle. This is the fourth of the seven great miracles of creation described by John (see John 20:31), to demonstrate the deity of Christ. In this case, Jesus superseded the law of conservation of matter by creating a great amount of bread and meat for the multitude. This law, considered one of the most basic and universal laws of physics, states that matter (or “mass”) can neither be created nor destroyed. The miraculous feeding of the multitude is one of the few events described in all four gospels (see Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17).

that prophet. The “prophet” mentioned here was the subject of one of the instances in which, as Jesus said, “Moses … wrote of me” (John 5:46). In Deuteronomy 18:15, 18, God had said to Moses: “I will raise them up a Prophet, … and will put my words in His mouth.”

John 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

John 6:16 And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea,

John 6:17 And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.

John 6:18 And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.

John 6:19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.

thirty furlongs. He was “in the midst of the sea” (Mark 6:47). Also see note on Luke 24:13.

walking on the sea. This fifth miracle of creation described in John's gospel was also a fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 43:2. “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.” In this instance, Christ evidently created an anti-gravitational force of some kind, enabling Him to set aside the most basic of all scientific laws. The law of conservation of energy stipulates that energy (that is, the capacity to accomplish work, moving forces through distances) be neither created nor annihilated. Jesus, as the Creator, alone can supersede or extend this law.

John 6:20 But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.

John 6:21 Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.

John 6:22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone;

John 6:23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)

John 6:24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.

John 6:25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

John 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

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

the work of God. All man-made religions involve systems of works (that is, works capable of being achieved by man) as prerequisites to salvation. The Christian faith alone is based solely on faith in the finished work of Christ. The “works of God” (John 6:28) are impossible to attain, requiring absolute obedience to God's law (Deuteronomy 27:26; James 2:10) to be acceptable to God. Only Jesus in His perfect humanity was able to accomplish this, but His righteousness is imputed to all those who believe on Him apart from works (Romans 4:5). This is possible only because He, perfectly righteous Himself, could then voluntarily and in love bear “our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). Jesus had just cautioned them to work “not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth” (John 6:27).

John 6:30 They said therefore unto him, What sign showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?

What sign shewest thou. As they often did, the Jews required some miraculous sign before they would believe (e.g., John 2:18; 4:48). On one occasion, Jesus said He would give them no sign, except that of Jonah (Matthew 12:39). Nevertheless, He did perform many miracles—not to satisfy human doubt or curiosity, but to meet human needs—and John selected seven of these (see note on John 2:11) to encourage belief that He was, indeed, the Son of God (John 20:30-31).

John 6:31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

John 6:32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

cometh down from heaven. They claimed that Moses had authenticated His authority by giving them the sign of the manna. Jesus not only denied their demand for a sign from Him, but denied that the manna was a sign from Moses. It was, rather, a gift from God. Then, in effect, Jesus told them that He Himself was their sign, having been sent from heaven as God's bread of life.

John 6:34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

the bread of life. There are seven great “I am” claims of Christ recorded in the Gospel of John (see also John 8:12; 10:9; 10:11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1). Each of these amounts to an assertion of deity, amplifying His great claim to be the “I am” (see note on John 8:58).

shall never thirst. These promises obviously apply to spiritual hunger and thirst, but the crowd had wanted to apply them to their physical wants (John 6:26, 34).

John 6:36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

cast out. This remarkable claim both asserts that no one can come to Christ merely of his own volition (though he may think, sincerely, that he is doing so, not being consciously aware of all the influences God has been bringing on him in order to lead him to that decision) and also promises that none so led of the Father to Christ can ever be cast out. This involves the mystery of divine election versus human freedom. Both are true, because both are taught in Scripture, but our human minds are incapable of full comprehension of this divine paradox.

John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

down from heaven. At least eight times in John we are told that Christ came down from heaven—six times in this chapter (John 6:33, 38, 41, 50, 51, 58) and twice in John 3 (John 3:13, 31). Seven times it is said either than He came from above or from God (John 3:2, 31; 8:42; 13:3; 16:27, 28; 17:8).

John 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

John 6:42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

John 6:43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

hath sent me. At least forty-two times in John's gospel we are told, usually by Christ Himself, that He had been “sent” into the world by the Father.

draw him. See note on John 6:37.

John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

written in the prophets This is a reference to the great promise of Isaiah 54:13.

John 6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

John 6:48 I am that bread of life.

John 6:49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

manna in the wilderness. The Lord Jesus here confirms the historicity of the miraculous feeding of the Israelite multitudes during their wilderness wanderings.

John 6:50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

John 6:52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

my blood is drink. It should be obvious here that Christ is speaking of the symbolic food and drink represented by His flesh and blood; it would be cannibalistic, even if it were physically possible, to actually eat and drink His physical flesh and blood. He made this clear in John 6:63, when He explained: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” This spiritual concept was later to be incorporated in the institution of the Lord's supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

John 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

John 6:57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

John 6:58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

John 6:59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

in the synagogue. This synagogue may be the one built by the Roman centurion out of respect for the Jewish people (Luke 7:1, 5). It is interesting that the remains of an ancient synagogue still exist at the site of Capernaum.

John 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

John 6:61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?

John 6:62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

John 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

John 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

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

went back. It is possible, therefore, to be a “disciple” of Christ yet not a true believer, for these disciples would not have gone back otherwise (note John 6:39; also xTerm 2:19). It may be only coincidence, since the verse divisions were not in the original autographs, but it is at least worth noting (in light of the significance of the number 666—see Revelation 13:18) that this verse, John 6:66, which marks those disciples who were false disciples, is the only “6:66” verse in any of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. Note also John 6:70.

John 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

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

John 6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

John 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

is a devil. Judas was not a true disciple, but he did not “go away” (note John 6:66) at this time. He continued with the twelve until he could find opportunity to betray Jesus. Even at this time, however, he was a “devil.” The Greek word here is diabolos, and usually refers to the Devil. It seems most probable that Satan was already controlling Judas, though he didn't “enter into” him and fully possess him until later (Luke 22:3).

John 6:71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.