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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - JOHN 6
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    CHAPTER 6

    Joh 6:1-13. FIVE THOUSAND MIRACULOUSLY FED.

    (See on Mr 6:31-44).

    3. a mountain--somewhere in that hilly range which skirts the east side of the lake.

    4. passover . . . was nigh--but for the reason mentioned (Joh 7:1), Jesus kept away from it, remaining in Galilee.

    Joh 6:14-21. JESUS WALKS ON THE SEA.

    (Also see on Mr 6:45-56).

    14, 15. that prophet--(See on Joh 1:21).

    15. departed . . . to a mountain himself alone--(1) to rest, which He came to this "desert place" on purpose to do before the miracle of the loaves, but could not for the multitude that followed Him (see Mr 6:31); and (2) "to pray" (Mt 14:23; Mr 6:46). But from His mountain-top He kept watching the ship (see on Joh 6:18), and doubtless prayed both for them, and with a view to the new manifestation which He was to give them of His glory.

    16, 17. when even was come--(See on Mr 6:35).
    - entered into a ship--"constrained" to do so by their Master (Mt 14:22; Mr 6:45), in order to put an end to the misdirected excitement in His favor (Joh 6:15), into which the disciples themselves may have been somewhat drawn. The word "constrained" implies reluctance on their part, perhaps from unwillingness to part with their Master and embark at night, leaving Him alone on the mountain.
    - went--rather, "were proceeding."
    - toward Capernaum--Mark says (Mr 6:45), "unto Bethsaida," meaning "Bethsaida of Galilee" (Joh 12:21), on the west side of the lake. The place they left was of the same name (see on Mr 6:32).
    - Jesus was not come to them--They probably lingered in hopes of His still joining them, and so let the darkness come on.

    18, 19. sea arose, &c.--and they were "now in the midst of it" (Mt 14:24). Mark adds the graphic and touching particular, "He saw them toiling in rowing" (Mr 6:48), putting forth all their strength to buffet the waves and bear on against a head wind, but to little effect. He saw this from His mountain-top, and through the darkness of the night, for His heart was all with them; yet would He not go to their relief till His own time came.

    19. they see Jesus--"about the fourth watch of the night" (Mt 14:25; Mr 6:48), or between three and six in the morning.
    - walking on the sea--What Job (Job 9:8) celebrates as the distinguishing prerogative of GOD, "WHO ALONE spreadeth out the heavens, and TREADETH UPON THE WAVES OF THE SEA"--What AGUR challenges as GOD'S unapproachable prerogative, to "GATHER THE WIND IN HIS FISTS, and BIND THE WATERS IN A GARMENT" (Pr 30:4) --lo! this is here done in flesh, by "THE SON OF MAN."
    - drawing nigh to the ship--yet as though He "would have passed by them," Mr 6:48 (compare Lu 24:28; Ge 18:3, 5; 32:24-26).
    - they were afraid--"cried out for fear" (Mt 14:26), "supposing it had been a spirit" (Mr 6:49). He would appear to them at first like a dark moving speck upon the waters; then as a human figure, but--in the dark tempestuous sky, and not dreaming that it could be their Lord--they take it for a spirit. (How often thus we miscall our chiefest mercies--not only thinking them distant when they are near, but thinking the best the worst!)

    20. It is I; be not afraid--Matthew (Mt 14:27) and Mark (Mr 6:50) give before these exhilarating words, that to them well-known one, "Be of good cheer!"

    21. willingly received him into the ship--their first fears being now converted into wonder and delight.
    - and immediately the ship was at the land--This additional miracle, for as such it is manifestly related, is recorded here alone. Yet all that is meant seems to be that as the storm was suddenly calmed, so the little bark--propelled by the secret power of the Lord of Nature now sailing in it--glided through the now unruffled waters, and while they were wrapt in wonder at what had happened, not heeding their rapid motion, was found at port, to their still further surprise.

    Joh 6:22-71. JESUS FOLLOWED BY THE MULTITUDES TO CAPERNAUM, DISCOURSES TO THEM IN THE SYNAGOGUE OF THE BREAD OF LIFE--EFFECT OF THIS ON TWO CLASSES OF THE DISCIPLES.

    22-24. These verses are a little involved, from the Evangelist's desire to mention every circumstance, however minute, that might call up the scene as vividly to the reader as it stood before his own view.
    - The day following--the miracle of the loaves, and the stormy night; the day on which they landed at Capernaum.
    - the people which stood on the other side of the sea--not the whole multitude that had been fed, but only such of them as remained over night about the shore, that is, on the east side of the lake; for we are supposed to have come, with Jesus and His disciples in the ship, to the west side, to Capernaum.
    - saw that there was none other boat there, &c.--The meaning is, the people had observed that there had been only one boat on the east side where they were; namely, the one in which the disciples had crossed at night to the other, the west side, and they had also observed that Jesus had not gone on board that boat, but His disciples had put off without Him:

    23. Howbeit, &c.--"Howbeit," adds the Evangelist, in a lively parenthesis, "there came other boats from Tiberias" (which lay near the southwest coast of the lake), whose passengers were part of the multitude that had followed Jesus to the east side, and been miraculously fed; these boats were fastened somewhere (says the Evangelist)
    - nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks--thus he refers to the glorious "miracle of the loaves"--and now they were put in requisition to convey the people back again to the west side. For when "the people saw that Jesus was not there, neither His disciples, they also took shipping [in these boats] and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus."

    25. when they had found him on the other side--at Capernaum.
    - they said, &c.--astonished at His being there, and wondering how He could have accomplished it, whether by land or water, and when He came; for being quite unaware of His having walked upon the sea and landed with the disciples in the ship, they could not see how, unless He had travelled all night round the head of the lake alone, He could have reached Capernaum, and even then, how He could have arrived before themselves.

    26. Ye seek me, &c.--Jesus does not put them through their difficulty, says nothing of His treading on the waves of the sea, nor even notices their question, but takes advantage of the favorable moment for pointing out to them how forward, flippant, and superficial were their views, and how low their desires. "Ye seek Me not because ye saw the miracles"--literally, "the signs," that is, supernatural tokens of a higher presence, and a divine commission, "but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled." From this He proceeds at once to that other Bread, just as, with the woman of Samaria, to that other Water (Joh 4:9-15). We should have supposed all that follows to have been delivered by the wayside, or wherever they happened first to meet. But from Joh 6:59 we gather that they had probably met about the door of the synagogue--"for that was the day in which they assembled in their synagogues" [LIGHTFOOT]--and that on being asked, at the close of the service, if He had any word of exhortation to the people, He had taken the two breads, the perishing and the living bread, for the subject of His profound and extraordinary discourse.

    27. which the Son of man--taking that title of Himself which denoted His incarnate life.
    - shall give unto you--in the sense of Joh 6:51.
    - him hath God the Father sealed--marked out and authenticated for that transcendent office, to impart to the world the bread of an everlasting life, and this in the character of "the Son of man."

    28-31. What shall we do . . . the works of God--such works as God will approve. Different answers may be given to such a question, according to the spirit which prompts the inquiry. (See Ho 6:6-8; Lu 3:12-14). Here our Lord, knowing whom He had to deal with, shapes His reply accordingly.

    29. This is the work of God--That lies at the threshold of all acceptable obedience, being not only the prerequisite to it, but the proper spring of it--in that sense, the work of works, emphatically "the work of God."

    30. What sign showest thou, &c.--But how could they ask "a sign," when many of them scarce a day before had witnessed such a "sign" as had never till then been vouchsafed to men; when after witnessing it, they could hardly be restrained from making Him a king; when they followed Him from the one side of the lake to the other; and when, in the opening words of this very discourse, He had chided them for seeking Him, "not because they saw the signs," but for the loaves? The truth seems to be that they were confounded by the novel claims which our Lord had just advanced. In proposing to make Him a king, it was for far other purposes than dispensing to the world the bread of an everlasting life; and when He seemed to raise His claims even higher still, by representing it as the grand "work of God," that they should believe on Himself as His Sent One, they saw very clearly that He was making a demand upon them beyond anything they were prepared to accord to Him, and beyond all that man had ever before made. Hence their question, "What dost Thou work?"

    31. Our fathers did eat manna, &c.--insinuating the inferiority of Christ's miracle of the loaves to those of Moses: "When Moses claimed the confidence of the fathers, 'he gave them bread from heaven to eat'--not for a few thousands, but for millions, and not once only, but daily throughout their wilderness journey."

    32, 33. Moses gave you not, &c.--"It was not Moses that gave you the manna, and even it was but from the lower heavens; 'but My Father giveth you the true bread,' and that 'from heaven.'"

    33. For the bread of God is he, &c.--This verse is perhaps best left in its own transparent grandeur--holding up the Bread Itself as divine, spiritual, and eternal; its ordained Fountain and essential Substance, "Him who came down from heaven to give it" (that Eternal Life which was with the Father and was manifested unto us, 1Jo 1:2); and its designed objects, "the world."

    34. Lord, evermore give us this bread--speaking now with a certain reverence (as at Joh 6:25), the perpetuity of the manna floating perhaps in their minds, and much like the Samaritan woman, when her eyes were but half opened, "Sir, give Me this water," &c. (Joh 4:15).

    35. I am the bread of life--Henceforth the discourse is all in the first person, "I," "Me," which occur in one form or other, as STIER reckons, thirty-five times.
    - he that cometh to me--to obtain what the soul craves, and as the only all-sufficient and ordained source of supply.
    - hunger . . . thirst--shall have conscious and abiding satisfaction.

    36. But . . . ye have seen me, and believe not--seen Him not in His mere bodily presence, but in all the majesty of His life, His teaching, His works.

    37-40. All that, &c.--This comprehensive and very grand passage is expressed with a peculiar artistic precision. The opening general statement (Joh 6:37) consists of two members: (1) "ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVETH ME SHALL COME TO ME"--that is, "Though ye, as I told you, have no faith in Me, My errand into the world shall in no wise be defeated; for all that the Father giveth Me shall infallibly come to Me." Observe, what is given Him by the Father is expressed in the singular number and neuter gender--literally, "everything"; while those who come to Him are put in the masculine gender and singular number--"every one." The whole mass, so to speak, is gifted by the Father to the Son as a unity, which the Son evolves, one by one, in the execution of His trust. So Joh 17:2, "that He should give eternal life to all that which Thou hast given Him" [BENGEL]. This "shall" expresses the glorious certainty of it, the Father being pledged to see to it that the gift be no empty mockery. (2) "AND HIM THAT COMETH TO MEI WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT." As the former was the divine, this is just the human side of the same thing. True, the "coming" ones of the second clause are just the "given" ones of the first. But had our Lord merely said, "When those that have been given Me of My GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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