John 6

* Five thousand miraculously fed. (1-14) Jesus walks on the sea.

(15-21) He directs to spiritual food. (22-27) His discourse with

the multitude. (28-65) Many of disciples go back. (66-71)

1-14 John relates the miracle of feeding the multitude, for its

reference to the following discourse. Observe the effect this

miracle had upon the people. Even the common Jews expected the

Messiah to come into the world, and to be a great Prophet. The

Pharisees despised them as not knowing the law; but they knew

most of Him who is the end of the law. Yet men may acknowledge

Christ as that Prophet, and still turn a deaf ear to him.
15-21 Here were Christ's disciples in the way of duty, and

Christ was praying for them; yet they were in distress. There

may be perils and afflictions of this present time, where there

is an interest in Christ. Clouds and darkness often surround the

children of the light and of the day. They see Jesus walking on

the sea. Even the approaches of comfort and deliverance often

are so mistaken, as to become the occasions of fear. Nothing is

more powerful to convince sinners than that word, "I am Jesus

whom thou persecutest;" nothing more powerful to comfort saints

than this, "I am Jesus whom thou lovest." If we have received

Christ Jesus the Lord, though the night be dark, and the wind

high, yet we may comfort ourselves, we shall be at the shore

before long.
22-27 Instead of answering the inquiry how he came there, Jesus

blamed their asking. The utmost earnestness should be employed

in seeking salvation, in the use of appointed means; yet it is

to be sought only as the gift of the Son of man. Him the Father

has sealed, proved to be God. He declared the Son of man to be

the Son of God with power.
28-35 Constant exercise of faith in Christ, is the most

important and difficult part of the obedience required from us,

as sinners seeking salvation. When by his grace we are enabled

to live a life of faith in the Son of God, holy tempers follow,

and acceptable services may be done. God, even his Father, who

gave their fathers that food from heaven to support their

natural lives, now gave them the true Bread for the salvation of

their souls. Coming to Jesus, and believing on him, signify the

same. Christ shows that he is the true Bread; he is to the soul

what bread is to the body, nourishes and supports the spiritual

life. He is the Bread of God. Bread which the Father gives,

which he has made to be the food of our souls. Bread nourishes

only by the powers of a living body; but Christ is himself

living Bread, and nourishes by his own power. The doctrine of

Christ crucified is now as strengthening and comforting to a

believer as ever it was. He is the Bread which came down from

heaven. It denotes the Divinity of Christ's person and his

authority; also, the Divine origin of all the good which flows

to us through him. May we with understanding and earnestness

say, Lord, evermore give us this Bread.
36-46 The discovery of their guilt, danger, and remedy, by the

teaching of the Holy Spirit, makes men willing and glad to come,

and to give up every thing which hinders applying to him for

salvation. The Father's will is, that not one of those who were

given to the Son, should be rejected or lost by him. No one will

come, till Divine grace has subdued, and in part changed his

heart; therefore no one who comes will ever be cast out. The

gospel finds none willing to be saved in the humbling, holy

manner, made known therein; but God draws with his word and the

Holy Ghost; and man's duty is to hear and learn; that is to say,

to receive the grace offered, and consent to the promise. None

had seen the Father but his beloved Son; and the Jews must

expect to be taught by his inward power upon their minds, and by

his word, and the ministers whom he sent among them.
47-51 The advantage of the manna was small, it only referred to

this life; but the living Bread is so excellent, that the man

who feedeth on it shall never die. This bread is Christ's human

nature, which he took to present to the Father, as a sacrifice

for the sins of the world; to purchase all things pertaining to

life and godliness, for sinners of every nation, who repent and

believe in him.
52-59 The flesh and blood of the Son of man, denote the

Redeemer in the nature of man; Christ and him crucified, and the

redemption wrought out by him, with all the precious benefits of

redemption; pardon of sin, acceptance with God, the way to the

throne of grace, the promises of the covenant, and eternal life.

These are called the flesh and blood of Christ, because they are

purchased by the breaking his body, and the shedding of his

blood. Also, because they are meat and drink to our souls.

Eating this flesh and drinking this blood mean believing in

Christ. We partake of Christ and his benefits by faith. The soul

that rightly knows its state and wants, finds whatever can calm

the conscience, and promote true holiness, in the redeemer, God

manifest in the flesh. Meditating upon the cross of Christ gives

life to our repentance, love, and gratitude. We live by him, as

our bodies live by our food. We live by him, as the members by

the head, the branches by the root: because he lives we shall

live also.
60-65 The human nature of Christ had not before been in heaven,

but being God and man, that wondrous Person was truly said to

have come down from heaven. The Messiah's kingdom was not of

this world; and they were to understand by faith, what he had

said of a spiritual living upon him, and his fulness. As without

the soul of man the flesh is of no value, so without the

quickening Spirit of God all forms of religion are dead and

worthless. He who made this provision for our souls, alone can

teach us these things, and draw us unto Christ, that we may live

by faith in him. Let us apply to Christ, thankful that it is

declared that every one who is willing to come unto him shall be

made welcome.
66-71 When we admit into our minds hard thoughts of the words

and works of Jesus, we enter into temptation, which, if the Lord

in mercy prevent not, will end in drawing back. The corrupt and

wicked heart of man often makes that an occasion for offence,

which is matter of the greatest comfort. Our Lord had, in the

foregoing discourse, promised eternal life to his followers; the

disciples fastened on that plain saying, and resolved to cleave

to him, when others fastened on hard sayings, and forsook him.

Christ's doctrine is the word of eternal life, therefore we must

live and die by it. If we forsake Christ, we forsake our own

mercies. They believed that this Jesus was the Messiah promised

to their fathers, the Son of the living God. When we are tempted

to backslide or turn away, it is good to remember first

principles, and to keep to them. And let us ever remember our

Lord's searching question; Shall we go away and forsake our

Redeemer? To whom can we go? He alone can give salvation by the

forgiveness of sins. And this alone brings confidence, comfort,

and joy, and bids fear and despondency flee away. It gains the

only solid happiness in this world, and opens a way to the

happiness of the next.

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