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Joh 6:1-13. FIVE THOUSAND MIRACULOUSLY FED.
(See on Mr 6:31-44).
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
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"
or between three and six in the morning.
21. willingly received him into the ship--their first fears being
now converted into wonder and delight.
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.
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
25. when they had found him on the other side--at Capernaum.
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.
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."
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.
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