John 6#Joh 6:1| LXIII. FIRST WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY AND RETURN. (Spring, A.D. 29.) A. RETURN OF THE TWELVE AND RETIREMENT TO THE EAST SHORE OF GALILEE. #Mt 14:13 Mr 6:30-32 Lu 9:10 Joh 6:1| After these things. See TFG "#Mt 14:13|". Jesus went away to the other side of the sea of Galilee. See TFG "#Mr 6:32|". Which is the sea of Tiberias. See TFG "#Lu 5:1|". #Joh 6:2| LXIII. FIRST WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY AND RETURN. (Spring, A.D. 29) B. FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND. #Mt 14:13-21 Mr 6:33-44 Lu 9:11-17 Joh 6:2-14| And a great multitude followed him. See TFG "#Mr 6:33|". #Joh 6:3| And Jesus went up into the mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. The level plain did not afford a good platform from which to address the people. (TFG 375) #Joh 6:4| Now the passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. This passover is computed to have been held on April 16, A.D. 29. This statement as to the time of year prepares us for his further statement that there was much grass in the plain. It also explains in part the gathering of a multitude in this secluded region. Pilgrims on their way to the passover would gladly go several miles out of their way to see the great Prophet perform a miracle. The excitement, due to the mission of the twelve and the death of the Baptist, also tended to swell the crowd. (TFG 375) #Joh 6:5-7| Whence are we to buy bread, that these may eat? Jesus tested Philip to see which way he would turn in his weakness. Jesus asked where the bread might be bought, knowing that power to feed the multitude resided in himself (#Isa 55:1|), but Philip wondered where the money was to be had to buy it. (TFG 376) #Joh 6:7| Two hundred shillings' worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. See TFG "#Mr 6:37|". #Joh 6:9| There is a lad here, who hath five barley loaves, and two fishes. See TFG "#Mr 6:38|". #Joh 6:10| Jesus said, Make the people sit down. See TFG "#Mr 6:39|". So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. See TFG "#Mr 6:44|". #Joh 6:11| And having given thanks. See TFG "#Mr 6:41|". #Joh 6:12,13| Gather up the broken pieces which remain over, that nothing be lost. Christ is the economist of the universe. This command was in keeping with his laws which permit nothing to suffer annihilation. Ruin and destruction have no other effect than merely to change the form of things. Every atom of the material world which was here at the beginning of creation is here today, though it may have changed its form a million times in the progress of events. (TFG 378) #Joh 6:14| This is of a truth the prophet that cometh into the world. That is to say, this is the Messiah, the prophet promised at #De 18:15|. Their desire to avenge the death of John made them feverishly anxious for the appearance of the Messiah, but this faith was inconstant. (TFG 378) #Joh 6:15| LXIII. FIRST WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY AND RETURN. (Spring, A.D. 29.) C. THE TWELVE TRY TO ROW BACK. JESUS WALKS UPON THE WATER. #Mt 14:22-36 Mr 6:45-56 Joh 6:15-21| Jesus therefore perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, withdrew again into the mountain himself alone. Jesus had descended to the plain to feed the multitude, but, perceiving this mistaken desire of the people, he frustrated it by dismissing his disciples and retiring by himself into the mountain. (TFG 379) #Joh 6:17| And it was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. See TFG "#Mr 6:47|". #Joh 6:18| And the sea was rising by reason of a great wind that blew. See TFG "#Mr 6:48|". #Joh 6:19| When therefore they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs. That is, about three and a half miles, or about half way across the sea. They behold Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the boat. See TFG "#Mr 6:48|". And they were afraid. See TFG "#Mr 6:49|". #Joh 6:20| But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. See TFG "#Mr 6:50|". #Joh 6:21| They were willing therefore to receive him into the boat. Superstitious fears are not always so soon allayed. His voice brought great assurance. (TFG 380) #Joh 6:22| LXIV. DISCOURSE ON SPIRITUAL FOOD AND TRUE DISCIPLESHIP. PETER'S CONFESSION. (At the synagogue in Capernaum.) #Joh 6:22-71| On the morrow. The morrow after Jesus fed the five thousand. The multitude that stood on the other side of the sea. On the east side, opposite Capernaum. Saw that there was no other boat there, save one, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples went away alone. This sentence (#Joh 6:22-24|) is a complicated one, because it contains much in a condensed form. On the evening of the miracle the multitude had seen that there was but one boat, and that the disciples had gone away in it, leaving Jesus in the mountain. Jesus had dispersed the multitude, but many of them had not gone very far. On the morrow they came again to the scene of the miracle, and were perplexed at not finding Jesus. After some time they became convinced that he was not there, because if he had been, his disciples would have returned to seek him. (TFG 383) #Joh 6:23| Howbeit there came boats from Tiberias. In the meantime the keen-eyed boatmen about Tiberias, then the largest city on the lake, seeing the multitude on the farther shore, saw in their presence there an opportunity to earn a ferry fee, so they soon crossed the lake to accommodate the people. (TFG 383) #Joh 6:24| When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they themselves got into the boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. As Capernaum was the well-known headquarters of Jesus, the boatmen were directed to proceed thither that the multitude might find him. (TFG 383) #Joh 6:25| Rabbi, when camest thou hither? They found him at Capernaum in the synagogue, having but lately arrived from the land of Gennesaret. Though their question relates only to the time when Jesus crossed, it implies and includes a desire to know the manner also. (TFG 383) #Joh 6:26| Verily, verily. His answer was as serious as their question was flippant. See TFG "#Joh 1:51|". Ye seek me, not because ye saw signs. Jesus includes the healing of the sick as well as the feeding of the multitude. But because ye ate of the loaves, and were filled. They did not seek Jesus because they saw in him a divine Friend who could satisfy the deep needs of the soul, but as a wonder-worker who could fill their bodies with food when occasion required. (TFG 383) #Joh 6:27| Work not for the food which perisheth. Bodily food. But for the food which abideth unto eternal life. Spiritual food. Which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him the Father, even God, hath sealed. In our land a man consents to and makes a written instrument his own--an expression of his will--by signing it; but in the East he did this by affixing his seal to it (#1Ki 21:8| #Es 3:12 8:10| #Jer 32:10|). The meaning of Jesus' words, therefore, is that God the Father had commissioned him as Messiah, and had authenticated his mission as such by the works which he had given him to do (#Joh 5:36|). (TFG 383-384) #Joh 6:28| What must we do, that we may work the works of God? They wished to know what to do in order to earn the abiding food; that is, by what works they might so please God as to obtain it. Humanity, in seeking to answer this question, has invented pilgrimages, penances, fasts, mutilations and many other methods of self-punishment; not heeding the plain and decisive answer of Jesus. (TFG 384) #Joh 6:29| This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. Belief in Jesus as the Son of God is the one all-comprehensive work which pleases God (#Heb 11:6|). Jesus reiterates this important truth several times in this discourse; see, #Joh 6:35,36,40,47|, etc. and the doctrine contained in it is elaborated in the epistles of Paul. (TFG 384) #Joh 6:30| What then doest thou for a sign, that we may see, and believe thee? what workest thou? The trend of questions and answers in this discourse forms a close parallel to that at #Joh 4:1-42|, but with a different conclusion. There Jesus discoursed of life under the figure of water, and here under the figure of bread. There the woman vacillated between her good and evil impulses until her better nature triumphed. Here there was a like vacillation, terminating in opposite result. (TFG 384) #Joh 6:31| Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. In #Joh 4:12|, the woman compared Jesus with Jacob, the well-digger; here the people compare him with Moses, the manna-giver--each comparing him unfavorably. As it is written. See #Ps 78:24 105:40|. He gave them bread out of heaven to eat. See #Ex 16:4,15|. (TFG 384) #Joh 6:32,33| Verily, verily. See TFG "#Joh 1:51|". It was not Moses that gave you the bread out of heaven. In testing the claims of Jesus the Jews proceeded upon the hypothesis that the Messiah must be greater than all the prophets, and that this greatness must be authenticated or sealed by greater signs than those wrought by others. Proceeding under this method, they compared the miracle just wrought by Jesus with the fall of manna in the days of Moses and drew conclusions unfavorable to Jesus. They reason thus: "Moses fed many millions for forty years with bread from heaven, but Moses was less than Messiah. This man fed but five thousand for only one day and gave them barley bread. This man is even less than Moses, and consequently far less than the Messiah." But my Father giveth you the true bread out of heaven. See #Joh 6:48,50|. (TFG 385) #Joh 6:34| Lord, evermore give us this bread. They readily recognized the insufficiency of manna and the possibility of God sending a better bread, and in a vague, wondering, half-credulous mood they asked for it just as the woman asked for water (#Joh 4:15|). In answer to each set of questions Jesus proceeded to reveal himself, and to show that the blessings sought were not external to himself, but were in himself and were obtained by belief in him. When Jesus stood thus self-revealed, the Samaritan woman believed in him and was satisfied; but these Jews at Capernaum disbelieved and murmured. (TFG 385) #Joh 6:35| I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. Compare #Joh 4:10,13,14|. #Joh 6:36| But I said unto you, that ye have seen me, and yet believe not. The personality of Jesus was the great proof of his divinity, but the Jews, though familiar with that personality, refused to consider it, and kept clamoring for a sign. Hence Jesus states the hopelessness of the situation. If one refuses to believe in the sun when he sees its light, feels its heat and witnesses its life-giving power, by what sign will you demonstrate to him the existence of the sun? (TFG 385) #Joh 6:37| All that which the Father giveth me shall come unto me. These words of Christ arise naturally out of the situation. The Jews, having wavered between belief and disbelief, had settled in a proud disbelief which was about to be expressed in murmuring and scorn. They were complacently self-satisfied, and felt that they had displayed great wisdom in arriving at this decision. But Jesus strikes at their pride by informing them that they are not his because God has rejected them as unworthy to be given to him. There is no suggestion or hint that the Father acts arbitrarily in selecting whom he shall give to Christ. The Son of God followed a prescribed course in the winning of men. If this did not win them, it was the Father's decree that they were not his. And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. If this course did win them, Jesus in nowise rejected them, no matter how lowly their station, or how vile their past record. (TFG 386) #Joh 6:40| For this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholdeth the Son, and believeth on him, should have eternal life. It was the purpose of God the Father to offer to the sons of men an eternal life through the life-giving power of Jesus Christ. The power which was to work in men a fitness for this exalted honor was a belief in the Son. How could signs and wonders be wrought contrary to the Father's will? They ought to have believed for the signs and wonders he had already wrought, instead of pretending that he had wrought none that were conclusive of his claims. And I will raise him up at the last day. See #Joh 6:44,54|. (TFG 386) #Joh 6:41| The Jews therefore murmured concerning him. The Jews had entered with Christ upon a discussion as to whether he was a greater prophet than Moses, and as they denied even this fact, it is not to be wondered that they murmured at the turn which the discussion had taken. (TFG 386-387) #Joh 6:42| How doth he now say, I am come down out of heaven? In asserting that he came down from heaven, etc., he ascribed to himself a participation in the divine glory which entitled him to an absolute superiority over all men, prophets or others. This claim was to them insufferable, and they thought they had a sufficient answer to it in that they supposed themselves to be acquainted with his birth and parentage. (TFG 387) #Joh 6:43| Murmur not among yourselves. Jesus rebukes their murmuring as out of place. They thought themselves offended by what they believed to be an intolerable assumption on his part. (TFG 387) #Joh 6:44| No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him. But they were really offended in him for an entirely different cause, namely: because they were not drawn by the Father. And I will raise him up in the last day. See #Joh 6:40,54|. (TFG 387) #Joh 6:45| It is written in the prophets. #Isa 54:13 Jer 31:33,34 Joe 3:16,17|. And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me. The Father had given the law as a tutor to draw to Christ (#Ga 3:24|), and he had also sent forth his prophets for the same purpose. Those who had availed themselves of this instruction, and had learned the Father's lessons, were ready to come to Christ. The sense of misery and desire of redemption begotten by the law drove one to Christ, and all the yearnings and aspirations inspired by the prophets attracted him thither. The Father had taught, but the people had not learned, just as their fathers had not learned; and Jesus accuses them in language kindred to the accusation of Moses when he says, "But Jehovah hath not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day" (#De 29:4|). In each case the people were to blame. (TFG 387) #Joh 6:46| Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he that is from God, he hath seen the Father. The Jews might have construed the words of Jesus as indicating an immediate relation to the Father and of obtaining instruction directly from him. Such a doctrine would strike at the mediation of Christ. Jesus therefore guards against this false apprehension by denying humanity's direct access to God the Father, and claiming it as his own exclusive right. The teaching of the Father which he spoke of was obtained through the Scriptures and (in earlier times) the prophets, who were the authors of the Scriptures. (TFG 387-388) #Joh 6:47| Verily, verily. See TFG "#Joh 1:51|". #Joh 6:48| I am the bread of life. Jesus here reasserts the proposition to which the Jews had objected. Having paused to speak of the cause of their objections, he now asserts the main propositions, that he may enlarge upon them. (TFG 388) #Joh 6:49| Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. Manna did not stay death. During the forty years' sojourn in the wilderness all the grown men who started from Egypt died save two (#Nu 26:65|). (TFG 388) #Joh 6:50| This is the bread which cometh down out of heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. He quietly condescends to contrast the two breads. Manna simply sustained the body like any other natural food; it did no more. Jesus is supernatural food; he sustains the spirit unto eternal life. (TFG 388) #Joh 6:51| The bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world. He had declared himself to be the bread of life, but bread must be assimilated. The assimilation of natural bread requires eating, but Jesus, the spiritual bread, is assimilated by believing on him. But he was not then perfected as the bread of life. It was necessary that he should sacrifice himself for our sins before sins could be forgiven, and it was necessary for sins to be forgiven before men could have life with God. By his sacrifice on the cross he opened the fountain of forgiveness. By raising his humanity from the dead and by taking it with him in his ascension into heaven, he showed the results which men may expect to accrue to them by his death upon the cross. (TFG 388) #Joh 6:52| The Jews therefore strove one with another, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? They were not all of one mind with regard to Christ, and they discussed from opposite sides the problem raised by these mysterious words. (TFG 388-389) #Joh 6:53| Verily, verily. See TFG "#Joh 1:51|". Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves. He here expressed in words what he afterward expressed in symbols, when he gave the Lord's supper. The vital force of a disciple is proportioned to his belief in, remembrance of, and desire to assimilate the Christ. (TFG 389) #Joh 6:54,55| He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life. The flesh to be eaten must be broken, and the blood, if it is to be drunk, must be poured out. Christ speaks of himself as the sacrifice given for the saving of the world, and one must appropriate to himself by faith this expiation and find in it reconciliation with God if he would live; but #Joh 6:56| enlarges the thought and shows that it includes more than the idea of expiation. And I will raise him up at the last day. See #Joh 6:40,44|. (TFG 389) #Joh 6:56| He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me, and I in him. The thought of drinking blood was startling to the Jew, for he was forbidden to taste even the blood of animals, and the reason assigned was very pertinent--because the blood was the life of the animal (#Ge 9:4 Le 17:10-14|). By insisting, therefore, on the drinking of his blood, Jesus has insisted that his very life be absorbed and assimilated. To be disciples of other teachers it is only necessary that we accept and follow their doctrine. But to be a disciple of Christ is to do more than this. His divinity permits us to have a spiritual communion and fellowship with him, an abiding in his presence, an indwelling of his Spirit, and a veritable assimilation of life from him. Were it otherwise he could not be food for the spirit--bread of life. He had started to show to the Jews that he was to the spirit what bread was to the body. It was difficult to bring home to their carnal minds so spiritual a thought, and therefore Jesus clothed it in carnal metaphors and made it as plain as possible. Christians today, being more spiritually minded, and more used to spiritual language, are somewhat confused by the carnal dress in which Jesus clothed his thought. (TFG 390) #Joh 6:57| So he that eateth me, he also shall live because of me. The result of our union or abiding with Christ is a perfect life. The life of the Father enters the soul of the disciple through the mediatorship of the Son. The Father, who is the fountain of life, sent forth the Son that he might bestow it upon all who believe in him and abide in him. (TFG 390) #Joh 6:58| He that eateth this bread shall live for ever. Thus Jesus sums up the comparison which the Jews had thrust upon him between himself and the manna. (TFG 390) #Joh 6:59| These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. It was in the synagogue built by the centurion, which we have before mentioned. See TFG "#Lu 7:5|". Pots of manna appear to have been engraved upon its walls, possibly upon the frieze, for Colonel Wilson says of it: "It was not without a certain strange feeling that, on turning over one of the blocks (in the ruins), we found the pot of manna engraved on its face, and remembered the words, 'I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.'" (TFG 390) #Joh 6:62| What then if ye should behold the Son of man ascending where he was before? If the prophecy of his sacrifice disturbed their dreams of a temporal kingdom, what would be the effect of his ascension on those dreams? The Book of Acts answers our Lord's question. In the very hour of the ascension the very apostles were still expecting the revival of the kingdom of David, with Jerusalem for its capital. But ten days later, at Pentecost, they had abandoned the earthly idea and looked upon Jesus as enthroned at the right hand of God (#Ac 1:6 2:32-36|). (TFG 390) #Joh 6:63| The words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, are are life. Jesus here tells them plainly that his words relate to the spiritual realm, and to life in that realm. It is his Spirit in our spirit which gives eternal life. His flesh in our flesh would profit nothing, even were a priest able, by his blessing, to perform the miracle of transubstantiation. The life-principle of Jesus lay in his divinity, and his divinity lay in his Spirit, and not in his flesh. We would not come in contact with his divinity by eating that which represented his humanity. (TFG 391) #Joh 6:64,65| But there are some of you that believe not. Jesus here distinguishes between those who were drawn to him by divine influences, and who were therefore ready to follow him as he really was, and those who were drawn to him by mistaken notions concerning him, and who would desert him as soon as they discovered that their conceptions of him were incorrect. He knew the reason which prompted each to become his disciple. (TFG 391) #Joh 6:66| Upon this many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. He had sifted them, for their false following could be of no benefit either to them or to his kingdom. (TFG 391) #Joh 6:67| Jesus said therefore unto the twelve, Would ye also go away? Jesus had sifted the outer circle of his disciples, and the loss, though prophetically anticipated, was not without its pang. In this sixty-seventh verse he proceeds to sift the innermost circle, and his words are full of pathos. By giving them an opportunity to depart he called forth from them an expression of loyalty which bound them more closely to him. (TFG 391) #Joh 6:71| Now he spake of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. We have seen from #Joh 6:64| that Jesus has already had the betrayer in his mind. Here he speaks of him openly. In a discourse which forecasted his passion it was natural that he should allude to his betrayer, especially, when his presence enforced remembrance. But there was another reason to mention him at this time. He was an illustration of the truth that no man could be a real follower of Jesus unless he became such by the drawing of the Father. (TFG 392)
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