John 6

1 The Sea of Galilee had many names. At this time, the Romans had renamed it in honor of Tiberias Caesar.
2 Jesus had been teaching in Galilee for many months. Undoubtedly, as Jesus performed more miracles, people were drawn to Him. Unfortunately, they followed Him because of the miracles and not because of His message.
3 Jesus and His disciples intended to have a retreat in this remote location, but the crowd followed them. The other Gospels indicate that Jesus healed and taught the people, but John also indicates that Jesus spent some private time teaching the disciples.
4 This occurred near the end of Jesus' second year of ministry.
5 When Jesus is finished teaching His disciples He looks around and sees a large number of people. The other Gospels say that the disciples asked Jesus to send the crowds away to get food. Since they were in a remote place, Jesus knows that the people will need to travel some distance to get to any place that would sell them food. Jesus uses this opportunity to test His disciples' faith.
7 A denarius was a days wages and could buy approximately 30 meals (Wycliffe). Thus, even if they had 200 denarii (they had neither the money nor a place to buy from), they could only feed 6000 people. The crowd had 5000 men and an unspecified number of women and children. Philip dismisses the possibility of feeding the multitude outright. He did not expect a miracle to happen.
9 Andrew, the disciple known for bringing people to Jesus, found a boy who was willing to share his lunch. Barley was used to make loves that poor people could afford to buy. Thus, the only food found was five small loaves of low-quality bread and two small fish. Although Andrew found a spark of hope, he sees the overall situation as hopeless.
10 Jesus wants the distribution of food to be organized. This was the most efficient way to get food to all the people. The men (and probably their families) formed groups that made counting them easier (Luke 9:14).
11 Though the rations looked meager, Jesus gave thanks for them anyway, and then handed the loaves to His disciples to begin the distribution process. The disciples had no reason to believe that this would accomplish anything, but they obeyed anyway. In the distribution process, the bread was miraculously multiplied so that not only did all the people eat until they were full; there were leftovers besides. The lesson is clear: God can take what little we have to offer and not only meet our needs, but exceed them.
12 Although there was abundance, nothing was to be wasted. God is very generous, but we should not waste the excess He gives us, nor should we take His blessings for granted.
13 What looked like too little to do the job was more than enough when placed in the hands of Jesus.
14 Some have discounted this miracle by theorizing that when the people saw the generosity of the young boy they were shamed into sharing the food that they secretly had with them. However, this ignores the fact that the people recognized this as a genuine miracle. It was previously indicated that there was a need for food. The response shows that the people recognized that Jesus provided the food miraculously. In addition, Jesus repeats this miracle under more dire circumstances later (Mat 15:32-38).

The people identify Jesus as the Prophet spoken of by Moses (Deu 18:15).

15 The healings and the feeding proved to the people that Jesus was a man of great power. Surely, if anyone could overthrow the Roman government, Jesus could. If anyone could provide for the people, Jesus could. If anyone could lead Judah and make it a great kingdom again, Jesus could. The people became determined to make Jesus their king. Of course, Jesus was their King, but His kingdom was spiritual, not political. Jesus would not be influenced by man's agenda, since God's will was much more important. Jesus somehow got away by Himself.

Jesus does not want to have a kingdom of worldly-minded people. He wants a kingdom of people who have a loving relationship with Him. Each Christian must ask himself if he is the kind of citizen that Jesus would want in His kingdom. Our quality as citizens is directly related to our relationship with Him.

17 Jesus had sent the disciples to the sea and apparently gave them instructions to leave without Him if He had not arrived by a certain time (Mark 6:45).
19 The disciples were already concerned because of the storm. When they saw Jesus walking on the water they did not recognize Him, and initially assumed He was a ghost (Mat 14:26).

It is difficult to say how far away from the boat Jesus was. It was dark, so one might assume that He came close to the boat before someone noticed Him. The text indicates there was wind, but not that there was cloud cover. Jesus may have been visible by the light of the moon.

This miracle showed that Jesus had power over the elements and natural laws.

20 Jesus knows that His appearance on the water startled the disciples, so He encourages them by revealing His identity.
21 The disciples may have been saying something like, "stay away" when they were afraid. Once they realized that it was Jesus, they wanted Him on the boat.

When they first saw Jesus the disciples were far from shore. As soon as Jesus entered the boat, they immediately arrived where they were going. The implication is that Jesus performed a miracle that showed He could transcend time and space limitations.

22 The people saw the disciples go to the sea and Jesus go to the mountain. They were expecting Jesus to return, but He had gone to His disciples unnoticed by the people.
23 The people went to investigate near the sea. The spot where they were now at was some distance from the place they had eaten the bread the day before. They consulted with some boat crews from the previous location to ask if they had seen Jesus.
24 Eventually the people concluded that Jesus was no longer in the region. They must have heard that the disciples had gone to Capernaum and decided to look for Him there.

Five-thousand men (and additional women and children) would not all fit in the boats. Instead, only the self-appointed "leaders" and influential men would have gone to Capernaum in the boats. Thus, in the following discourse Jesus had a smaller audience with which to contend.

25 The question sounds like the people felt that Jesus was accountable to them. It is apparent that the people wanted to make Jesus a puppet king who would provide for their physical needs and do their bidding. Ironically, this is opposite of how kingships operate (i.e., kings tax people and rule over them). Of course, Jesus' heavenly Kingdom will be unlike any kingdom on earth.
26 Jesus does not answer their irrelevant question, but goes right to the point of their motivation. The miracles that Jesus performed were intended to draw people to God to fill their spiritual needs. However, most people only saw the physical benefits of Jesus' miraculous ability. If the people could control and harness Jesus' power, they would never have to work for food again or suffer physical ailments.
27 Jesus' miracles were amazing, but their physical nature meant that they were not permanent. The people that were physically healed would possibly get sick again. Those He raised to life would eventually die again. He fed the people bread until they were full, but they would get hungry again.

The miracles were intended to make people aware of their spiritual needs. When He heals the spiritually sick from sin, the cure is permanent. When He brings people back to life on Judgement Day, they will never die again. Those who seek Jesus to fill their hunger of God will be forever satisfied.

Jesus also contrasts the method of attainment. Physical needs are met as the result of work. Even now, the people were working to attain the physical things that Jesus could provide. However, the more valuable spiritual provisions are free for the asking.

28 Jesus just told them that they do not have to work to attain God's spiritual gifts, but they immediately ask what work they might do for God. They either were not listening, or simply could not understand what Jesus was saying. They had just called Jesus "teacher," but they were not willing to learn from Him.
29 It very clear that the only thing one can do to please God is to believe in Jesus. Salvation can not be attained by works -- it must be accepted by faith (Eph 2:8-9).
30 When they thought that Jesus was "merely" a prophet they were willing to believe the miracles. Here, though, Jesus had used terms like "Son of Man," "sealed by God," and "Sent by God" to describe Himself. The people now felt that Jesus needed even greater miracles to bolster His claims.
31 Jesus had "only" fed 5000 of them one meal, but they imply that Moses had fed all Israel for 40 years. They reasoned that if Jesus was greater than Moses was He could certainly feed all Israel forever.
32 First, Jesus corrects their misinterpretation. Moses did not bring down the manna in the wilderness -- God graciously provided it for His chosen people. Secondly, there is a "bread" that is far more important than the manna in the wilderness. Jesus is the spiritual bread that can meet a person's eternal needs.
33 Jesus was the one who gave life to the physical world, and He is the only one that can provide eternal life on Judgement Day.
34 The people now ask for this life-giving, heaven-sent bread. However, it is obvious that they are still thinking of physical food. If they understood that Jesus was talking about spiritual matters, they would have believed in Him.
35 Jesus again tries to clarify that He is the physical incarnation of the spiritual "bread" from heaven. If one would just believe in Him, He would satisfy all their spiritual needs.
36 The people had seen Jesus' miracles and heard His teachings, yet they did not believe in Him. Some people will not be convinced no matter how much evidence they are given. The people did not believe Jesus by their own will, not for lack of evidence.
37 When someone truly seeks God, He will direct him to Jesus. One's gender, ethnicity, past sins, social status, etc. do not matter. Jesus will accept everyone who comes to Him.
38 Jesus did not come from heaven for His own sake, but because this is the plan that the Father devised to save people from their sins.
39 Almost all those who believe in Jesus will die physically, but Jesus will bring them back from death on Judgement Day. This is a guarantee from God for all who believe in Jesus.
40 Today we do not have the benefit of seeing Jesus in the flesh, but we can "see" Him through the testimony of biblical writers and the lives of those who have believed in Him.
42 Some of these people lived in the same town where Jesus grew up. They did not know about His miraculous birth (Luke 1:31-35), so they assumed that He was born in the normal manner. If Jesus was conceived naturally then His claim to come from heaven was invalid.
44 Jesus does not explain or defend His birth. Instead, He makes claims that are more important.

Some people use this verse in combination with other verses about the "elect" and "predestination" in an attempt to show that God "forces" people to believe in Him rather than giving them a choice. The problem with this doctrine is that God desires everyone to know Him (Ezek 18:23, 1 Tim 2:3-4) and calls and draws everyone (John 12:32, Acts 17:26-27). It is also told us that people can and do resist God's calling to them (Neh 9:30, Acts 7:51, Rom 1:20-21). The truth is that God has made salvation through Jesus available to all people, and He actively seeks all people, but an individual must accept the gift to enjoy its benefits (John 3:16). Jesus is the gift, so if a person rejects Him, he will forever be separated from God (John 3:18, 38).

45 It is very interesting that Jesus quotes from Isa 2:2-4. These verses speak of the "last days" when Gentiles will come to be taught by God (note that Heb 1:2 says that the "last days" started when Jesus began His ministry). In essence, Jesus is claiming that His teaching is God's teaching (implying Jesus is God).

God draws people to Him through teaching. It is still the person's responsibility to respond. If he responds positively then He will believe in Jesus and receive the reward of eternal life.

46 Jesus has seen the Father and therefore He is qualified to speak of Him. No other person can make this claim. There are several records of people seeing a theophany, a physical manifestation of God, but only Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) has seen the Father in His complete and natural spiritual state.
47 Again, Jesus promises that those who believe in Him will receive an eternal reward with God.
49 The Jews wanted very much to see the miracle of manna again. However, Jesus tells them that this would be of little value to them since they would still die physically. Manna could nourish the body, but it could not nourish the spirit (remember that many who ate the manna never put their faith in God).
51 Jesus' body would become the spiritual bread of life. The unsaved person is doomed to both physical death and spiritual death (i.e., eternal separation from God). However, when Jesus died on the cross, He made it possible for those who had faith in Him to find forgiveness of their sins. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit marks the beginning of a Christian's eternal relationship with God. The Christian will likely die physically, but on Judgement Day he will be brought back to life and live in the presence of God forever.
52 The people did not understand that Jesus was speaking of spiritual matters. They thought Jesus was telling them that they had to become cannibals. Of course, this was completely repugnant to them.
53 Jesus knew their confusion, but He continues in this manner of speaking anyway. These people had not tried to understand anything else that Jesus said, even when He spoke clearly about spiritual matters. It would have made little difference to explain that only through faith in His coming death and resurrection would people be cleansed of their sins and granted eternal life with God. It is only through Jesus' sacrifice that we gain spiritual nourishment.

As will be seen at the end of this shocking statement, the "pretend" disciples will leave. It is interesting to note that most churches strive to make Jesus as "palatable" as possible to retain members. Consequently, many churches are anemic because they are filled with people who go to church only for comfort and entertainment. These are "pretend" disciples because their "faith" is based on church activities, not on Jesus. Churches, Bible studies, etc. should provide fellowship, but they should also be training grounds where Christians learn to face the real and difficult challenges of faith.

54 The earthly cannibal may superstitiously believe that he gains the power and life of someone that he eats, but we see that he dies just like any other person. Since Jesus is promising eternal life, we can understand that He is speaking of spiritually "eating" His flesh. Jesus acknowledges that His followers will die physically, but He has the ability to resurrect them on Judgement Day.
55 Physical food sustains the physical body, but the limitations imposed by sin prevent such food from having eternal value. The spiritual food that Jesus provides will sustain the believer forever. Thus, in the larger perspective of reality, such spiritual food is far more valuable than physical food. Therefore, spiritual food is "more real" than physical food.
56 If Jesus were merely speaking of food consumption, then there would be no benefit to Him. Here we see that Jesus lives in the Christian and the Christian lives within Jesus. Thus, the Christian benefits by gaining eternal life and Jesus benefits by regaining a proper relationship with His creation.
57 The meaning of this verse is that we must depend on Jesus. Life came through Jesus at Creation, and He is the sustainer of life. People do not have life within themselves -- they attain it from God whether they choose to acknowledge it or not. The Christian, who acknowledges and acts on his dependence on Jesus, will continue to have this source of life forever because of his relationship with Him. The unbeliever's source of life with God will be cut off when they die.
58 The Jews had used the manna in the wilderness as a source of spiritual encouragement. They wanted physical bread to fall from heaven as it did for their ancestors. Jesus tells them that this is not the "bread from heaven" they should be looking for. Jesus came to the earth to provide the true bread of heaven that would nourish the partakers into eternal life.
59 Jesus had been speaking in the public Jewish meeting place in Capernaum, the town at which He was headquartered.
60 There were many "disciples" beyond the core twelve. Jesus knew that they were offended and confused by Jesus' words. He appeared to be an ordinary man claiming powers and authority that belonged to God. He made Himself out to be greater than Moses and further perplexed them with the discussion about eating His flesh.
62 Jesus knew their concerns, but told them that if they thought this was perplexing, they would be even more amazed when they saw or heard about His resurrection.
63 The flesh will die; meaning that no eternal profit can be gained in the material world. A person's spirit will live forever because God's Spirit (which can not die) gives it life. Jesus' words were Spiritual truth put in verbal form. Thus, if one would follow His words, they would gain the eternal, spiritual benefits they would provide.
64 Jesus knows that some people had not and would not believe, and He was not afraid to say it. Undoubtedly this was both sad and frustrating for Jesus. He wanted so much for all to believe Him because He knew that His message was the only hope for them. However, people are free to choose, and given the sinful nature of people, many would choose poorly. Most people are so accustomed to their physical reality that they can not accept the spiritual reality because it is intangible.
65 In a sense, it takes an "act of God" to get people to come to Jesus. When one hears about Jesus and responds with even a little bit of faith, God will then act to grow that faith into a solid relationship with Jesus.
66 The peripheral disciples would no longer accept Jesus' teachings and left Him. This was not how they expected the Messiah to be, so they decided to wait for another. Jesus' message of faith, relationship, death, judgement, and salvation was foreign to them. They felt that they were accepted by God simply because He chose Israel as the keepers of the Law. They felt they only needed the Messiah King to conquer their enemies for them to be complete in God. They could not see that God's salvation work was to be based on an individual's faith relationship with the Messiah, Jesus.
67 Jesus' message was undoubtedly confusing to the core disciples as well. Jesus knew their hearts, but He wanted them to verbalize their feelings.
68 The human mind is incapable of understanding many things about God. When we recognize this, then faith can continue even when our minds do not understand what God is doing. Peter's response is the correct one. We already know that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and has the words of eternal life. We can not turn away from Him simply because we do not understand everything He is or says. By faith we know that His words are true and we hope that one day we can fully understand them.
70 Jesus handpicked these twelve men to be His core disciples because they had persevering faith. Yet, even one of them would prove to be faithless. Jesus already knew that one of His these men did not believe in Him. Yet, for whatever reason, Judas Iscariot remained with the group somehow thinking that he could profit from his association with them. Of course, the disciples had no idea that Judas would betray Jesus until the night of Jesus' arrest. Since they were already confused by Jesus' previous discussion, they probably did not comprehend what Jesus said about one of them being a devil.