John 6

Jesus Christ, the true Bread, is that to the soul which bread is to the body, nourishing and supporting the spiritual life. Our bodies could live better without food than our souls without Christ. Those who have received this Bread are to be the distributors of it to other hungry souls.

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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;

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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?

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

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.

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.

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

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

48 I am that bread of life.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 6:1-14 – ​The Multitude Satisfied with Food

   In this chapter we have a further illustration of John’s method in selecting for his purpose the miracles which became the texts of our Lord’s discourses. These multitudes had evidently gathered on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover; and the imminence of that great festival, when the worshipers not only sacrificed but partook of the slain lamb, gave point to much that our Lord said after this memorable feeding of the multitude.
   Christ often tests us to see what we shall say and do in the presence of overwhelming difficulty, but He always knows the way out. We at once begin to calculate our paltry resources, and to confess their inadequacy. We come back to explain that when we have done our utmost, we can provide very little. Then He steps in, determined that everyone shall be filled, with an ample supply left over. He makes His guests sit down in comfort on the grass, because there is plenty of time, as well as an abundance of food, for a happy and comfortable meal. We must bring Him what we have, however slender; must enter into His great plan and arrange the people for the banquet; must distribute the food and gather up the broken pieces. The world is to be fed by the cooperation of Christ and His Church. —Through the Bible Day by Day

​John 6:12 – Why? Because they all come from Jesus, and nothing that comes from Him must be lost. Your mis-spent moments, your tardy services, your sluggish energies, your cold affections, your omitted duties – “gather them up.” They are lying on the ground, but must not remain there. Gather them up and use them for His glory. Ask the Lord to revive His work in your soul. Ask for a quickened spirit; for more zeal, more devotion, more love to His cause. Awake from slumber! Shake off all earthly, carnal sleep. Thousands are perishing around you! Thousands are dying in sin! The angel of death is on the wing, and the coming of the Lord draweth nigh! Up and warn the world! Be active, diligent, persevering for Christ! “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” (F. Whitfield)

John 6:15-21 – ​Jesus Brings Peace to Troubled Hearts

   The most conclusive proof that our Lord was no weak fanatic or enthusiast is afforded by the calm temper which refused the eager impulse of the crowds to make Him king. Here the temptation of the wilderness was repeated; and only one who was filled with the unwavering determination to do God’s will, could have refused this short cut to Messianic empire. Notice these withdrawals of our Lord to the calm of nature’s stillness and the bosom of God. If he needed such spaces of undisturbed meditation and communion, surely we do.
   He knew when he pressed the disciples into the boat, that the night would be full of storm, but He did not hesitate to expose them to its peril; he was conscious of His ability to turn that storm to the highest use by coming to their help. His advent is often delayed, but he always comes. Delays are not denials. He is as near in the storm as though already in the boat. The storm-waves are His pathway. Be not afraid! The people hurried across the Lake in the early morning, conveyed in the boats which had come to take them off; but as Jesus sorrowfully perceived, their object was to receive His gifts and not Himself. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 6:22-29 – ​Insincere Seekers of Truth

   The mention in John 6:23 of Christ’s giving thanks, recalls the vivid impression made by that solemn act, and the great importance which those who witnessed it attached to it. When the multitudes, disembarking on the other side of the Lake found Jesus there, though they knew that He had not accompanied His disciples in the one boat that left the farther shore on the previous night, His presence had the effect of an apparition. See John 6:25. Our Lord’s answer to the question of the crowd deals with the motive that dictated it. He exposed the spurious and carnal impulses that actuated them, and contrasted the satisfaction of natural hunger, John 6:26, with that true and effectual seeking which leads to the nourishment of the spirit, John 6:27. What a difference between these people, with their gross aspirations and carnal desires, and the spiritual Israel, which could say with the psalmist, “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:2)! All the labor described in John 6:27 is to maintain a pure heart and exercise an appropriating faith. God sealed Christ by His declaration at the water of baptism and the miracles which were wrought through the Father’s power, John 14:10. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 6:27—For Him hath God the Father sealed.

​   The seal is the mark of authentication. The Book of Esther often refers to the importance of the royal seal as giving validity and authenticity to documents to which it was appended. So at the waters of Jordan God authenticated our Lord; first by the voice that spake from heaven, and secondly by the holy anointing that came upon his head, setting Him apart for holy service. What the Father did for his Son, He does for his sons. “He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). In other words, God waits to authenticate us to ourselves and to the world, as his beloved children, in whom He is well pleased.
   The conditions of sealing.—In the case of our Lord there was entire subjection to the Father’s will, although it involved his leaving the blessed home of Nazareth and identifying Himself with the sins and sorrows of men, by baptism in waters where they had confessed their sins. We, too, must be prepared to obey utterly, even to death.
   The agent of sealing.—The Spirit descended and abode upon Him; He was filled with the Spirit, and returned in his power to Galilee. We, too, are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise; who stamps us with the die of our Savior’s image and superscription. Simultaneously with his gracious work upon us, we may detect his loving voice within us, witnessing with our spirits that we are children of God.
   The effect of sealing.—Secrecy, safety, and assurance. Secrecy, Song of Solomon 4:12. Safety, Matthew 27:65-66. Assurance, Romans 8:15-17. There is also a daily assimilation, though we know it not, to the glorious likeness of our Lord; so that those who see us bear witness that his name is on us. —Our Daily Homily

John 6:30-40 – ​The Father’s Will Jesus’ Law of Life

   On the day following, our Lord had to encounter, first the demand of the people for a continuation of the miracle of the preceding night, John 6:25-40; second, the murmur of “the Jews,” that is, their religious leaders, John 6:41-51; third, the growing heat of His opponents, John 6:52-59; and lastly, the failure of many of His disciples, John 6:60-71. But His mountain prayer had prepared Him, John 6:15.
   The manna was only a type of His mission to meet the hunger of the human spirit for truth, and love, and hope. He is the true bread from heaven, God’s best gift (of the reality of which all material substances are but emblems), not only satisfying passing hunger but imparting life, and only waiting to be appropriated by any that will. Let us come to Him, turning from all else. To come is to cease to hunger, to trust is to lose our thirst. Jesus suffices for heaven; shall he not suffice also for earth? Note the identical clauses of John 6:37. All whom the Father gives to Christ come to Him; and all who come to Him prove that they are included in the Father’s gift, bestowed before the worlds were made. See John 10:28-29; 17:6. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 6:41-51 – ​The Food of Eternal Life

   That phrase, the last day, was constantly on the Master’s lips, John 6:39-40, 44, 54; 12:48. It is an indefinite expression for those final scenes in which the history of our race is to be consummated through resurrection and judgment. Jesus lays great emphasis on His resurrection as completing His work for those who come to Him. It is not enough to impart eternal life. That would bless the spirit, but leave the body untouched. And He cannot rest until the whole of our complex nature shares in the emancipation and fullness of His salvation. A transfigured manhood and a glorified body must be the crown of His service to His own. By His mighty power, He will raise them up in the likeness of His glory, that they may share His royal and exalted state. Nothing less will satisfy Him, or undo the ruin that sin has introduced. Let us feed on Christ, by meditation on His words, and by communion with Himself, of which the sacred Feast of the Lord’s Table is a perpetual reminder. Notice that every soul which is taught of God will recognize Christ, John 6:45! —Through the Bible Day by Day

​John 6:51 – Christ calls Himself “the living bread” – the manna which came down from heaven. Remember how the manna fell. It lay all round the tents of Israel. The Israelite could not stir from his tent without doing one of two things – he must either gather the manna, or trample upon it. Every man living is doing either the one or the other now. Either the one or the other you are doing. Which is it? (F. Whitfield)

John 6:51 – ​He who has the Bread of heaven spends his life in the banqueting house of God. (Joseph Parker)

John 6:52-59 – ​Eat and Live

   In John 6:57 our Lord gives the secret of His inner life. At the beginning of His ministry He told the tempter that man did not live by bread alone, but by God’s Word. Here He goes further and says that He lived not only by the words of God, but by God Himself. There is also this other truth, that each of us is called to exercise toward Christ the same attitude and dependence that He exercised toward the Father. It is impossible by one illustration to set forth the eternal facts of the spiritual world. Metaphor has to be heaped on metaphor. Already our Lord had dealt with the symbol of manna and bread; He now goes further in order to emphasize the truth that the power to communicate life can only be acquired through death. Our Lord, therefore, describes the bread of the soul-life as His flesh, which he would give for the life of the world. Obviously flesh is that which has passed through death. But it should always be borne in mind that the Christian soul does not dwell exclusively on the death of Jesus, but on the life of Him who died. It is the risen and ascended Christ, who died for our sins but whom God exalted to His right hand, that should fill our thoughts. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 6:57 – ​To feed on Christ is to get His strength into us to be our strength. You feed on the cornfield, and the strength of the cornfield comes into you, and is your strength. You feed on Christ, and then go and live your life; and it is Christ in you that lives your life, that helps the poor, that tells the truth, that fights the battles, and that wins the crown. (Phillips Brooks)

John 6:60-71 – ​The Sifting of Jesus’ Followers

   The teaching of this chapter involves a deliberate act of Christ to arrest the revolutionary movement that was gathering around His person and making Him its figure-head, John 6:15. He therefore set Himself to teach that these people had misconceived the meaning of His ministry, which was not intended to raise a standard of revolt against Rome, but to lead to a spiritual revolution. The effect of His words was precisely what he expected, and must have shattered any ambitions that had begun to stir in the hearts of His disciples. In John 6:41 the men who the night before wished to crown Him, murmured at Him. In John 6:52 they strove among themselves. In John 6:60 many of His disciples said that His sayings were hard to be understood, and still harder to be obeyed. In John 6:66 many went back. And now as the shades of evening began to fall and the synagogue was almost empty, he was left alone with the little company of twelve, who had sorrowfully watched the overthrow of their hopes. Christ’s pathetic question–Will ye also go away?—elicited from Peter a reply which proved that the inner meaning of His words had already broken upon their souls. “Thou hast the words of eternal life.” —Through the Bible Day by Day

​John 6:63 – You cannot read the Bible as you do other books. I visited Mr. Prang’s chromo establishment in Boston and saw the process of printing a picture of some public man. The first stone made hardly an impression on the paper. The second stone showed no sign of change. The third no sign. The fifth and sixth showed only outlines of a man’s head. The tenth, the man’s face, chin, nose and forehead appeared. The fifteenth and twentieth looked like a dim picture. The twenty-eighth impression stood forth as natural as life. It looked as though it would speak to you. So, carefully and prayerfully read the Word of God – read the same chapter again and again – and the twenty-eighth time Christ Jesus will shine forth. (Moody)