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John Chapter Six


John 6

In chapter 6, then, it is the Lord come down from heaven, humbled and put to death, not now as the Son of God, one with the Father, the source of life; but as He who, although He was Jehovah and at the same time the Prophet and the King, would take the place of Victim, and that of Priest in heaven: in His incarnation, the bread of life; dead, the true nourishment of believers; ascended again to heaven, the living object of their faith. But He only glances at this last feature: the doctrine of the chapter is that which goes before. It is not the divine power that quickens, but the Son of man come in flesh, the object of faith, and so the means of life; and, though, as plainly declared by the calling of grace, yet it is not the divine side, quickening whom He will, but faith in us laying hold of Him. In both He acts independently of the limits of Judaism. He quickens whom He will, and comes to give life to the world.

It was on the occasion of the Passover, a type which the Lord was to fulfil by the death of which He spoke. Observe, here, that all these chapters present the Lord, and the truth that reveals Him, in contrast with Judaism, which He forsook and set aside. Chapter 5 was the impotence of the law and its ordinances; here it is the blessings promised by the Lord to the Jews on earth (Psalm 132:15), and the characters of Prophet and King fulfilled by the Messiah on earth in connection with the Jews, that are seen in contrast with the new position and the doctrine of Jesus. That of which I here speak characterises every distinct subject in this Gospel.

First, Jesus blesses the people, according to the promise of that which Jehovah should do, given them in Psalm 132, for He was Jehovah. On this, the people acknowledge Him to be "that Prophet," and desire by force to make Him their King. But this He declines now-could not take it in this carnal way. Jesus leaves them, and goes up by Himself into a mountain. This was, figuratively, His position as Priest on high. These are the three characters of the Messiah in respect of Israel; but the last has full and special application to the saints now also, as walking on the earth, who continue as to this the position of the remnant. The disciples enter a ship, and, without Him, are tossed upon the waves. Darkness comes on (this will happen to the remnant down here), and Jesus is away. Nevertheless He rejoins them, and they receive Him joyfully. Immediately the ship is at the place to which they were going. A striking picture of the remnant journeying on earth during the absence of Christ, and their every wish fully and immediately satisfied-full blessing and rest-when He rejoins them. [1]

This part of the chapter, having shewn us the Lord as already the Prophet here below, and refusing to be made King, and also that which will yet take place when He returns to the remnant on earth-the historical framework of what He was and will be-the remainder of the chapter gives us that which He is meanwhile to faith, His true character, the purpose of God in sending Him, outside Israel, and in connection with sovereign grace. The people seek Him. The true work, which God owns, is to believe in Him whom He has sent. This is that meat which endures unto everlasting life, which is given by the Son of man (it is in this character we find Jesus here, as in chapter 5 it was the Son of God), for He it is whom God the Father has sealed. Jesus had taken this place of Son of man in humiliation here below. He went to be baptised of John the Baptist; and there, in this character, the Father sealed Him, the Holy Ghost coming down upon Him.

The multitude ask Him for a proof like the manna. He was Himself the proof-the true manna. Moses did not give the heavenly bread of life. Their fathers died in the very wilderness in which they had eaten the manna. The Father now gave them the true bread from heaven. Here, observe, it is not the Son of God who gives, and who is the sovereign Giver of life to whom He will. He is the object set before faith; He is to be fed upon. Life is found in Him; he that eats Him shall live by Him, and shall never hunger. But the multitude did not believe in Him; in fact, the mass of Israel, as such, were not in question. Those that the Father gave Him should come unto Him. He was there the passive object, so to say, of faith. It is no longer to whom He will, but to receive those whom the Father brought Him. Therefore, be it who it might, He would in no wise cast them out: enemy, scoffer, Gentile, they would not come if the Father had not sent them. The Messiah was there to do His Father's will, and whomsoever the Father brought Him He would receive for life eternal (compare chap. 5:21). The Father's will had these two characters. Of all whom the Father should give Him, He would lose none. Precious assurance! The Lord saves assuredly to the end those whom the Father has given Him; and then every one that should see the Son and believe on Him should have everlasting life. This is the gospel for every soul, as the other is that which infallibly assures the salvation of every believer. But this is not all. The subject of hope was not now the fulfilment on earth of the promises made to the Jew, but being raised from the dead, having part in everlasting life-in resurrection at the last day (that is, of the age of the law in which they were). He did not crown the dispensation of the law; He was to bring in a new dispensation, and with it resurrection. The Jews [2] murmur at His saying that He came down from heaven. Jesus replies by the testimony that their difficulty was easy to be understood: no one could come unto Him except the Father brought him. It was grace that produced this effect; whether they were Jews or not made no difference. It was a question of eternal life, of being raised from the dead by Him; not of performing the promises as Messiah, but of bringing in the life of a widely different world to be enjoyed by faith-the Father's grace having led the soul to find it in Jesus. Moreover, the prophets had said they should all be taught of God. Every one, therefore, who had learned of the Father came unto Him. No man, doubtless, had seen the Father excepting Him who was of God-Jesus; He had seen the Father. He that believed in Him was already in possession of eternal life, for He was the bread come down from heaven, that a man might eat thereof and not die.

But this was not only by the incarnation, but by the death of Him who came down from heaven. He would give His life; His blood should be taken from the body which He had assumed. They should eat His flesh; they should drink His blood. Death should be the believer's life. And, in fact, it is in a dead Saviour that we see the sin taken away which He bore for us, and death for us is death to the sinful nature in which evil and our separation from God lay. There He made an end of sin-He who knew no sin. Death, which sin brought in, puts away the sin that attached to the life, which there comes to its end. Not that Christ had any sin in His own Person; but He took sin, He was made sin, on the cross, for us. And he who is dead is justified from sin. I feed, therefore, on the death of Christ. Death is mine; it is become life. It separates me from sin, from death, from the life in which I was separated from God. In it sin and death have finished their course. They were attached to my life. Christ, in grace, has borne them, and He has given His flesh for the life of the world; and I am freed from them; and I feed on the infinite grace that is in Him, who has accomplished this. The expiation is complete, and I live, being happily dead to all that separated me from God. It is death as fulfilled in Him that I feed upon, first for me, and entering withal into it by faith. He needed to live as man in order to die, and He has given His life. Thus His death is efficacious; His love infinite; the expiation total, absolute, perfect. That which was between me and God exists no longer, for Christ died, and it all passed away with His life here on earth-life as He had it before expiring on the cross. Death could not hold Him. To perform this work, He needed to possess a power of divine life which death could not touch; but this is not the truth expressly taught in the chapter before us, although it is implied.

In speaking to the multitude, the Lord, while rebuking them for their unbelief, presents Himself, come in the flesh, as the object of their faith at that moment (v. 32-35). To the Jews, in laying open the doctrine, He repeats that He is the living bread come down from heaven, of which if any man eat he should live for ever. But He makes them understand that they could not stop there-they must receive His death. He does not say here, "he that eateth me," but it was to eat His flesh and drink His blood, to enter fully into the thought-the reality-of His death; to receive a dead (not a living) Messiah, dead for men, dead before God. He does not exist now as a dead Christ; but we must acknowledge, realise, feed upon, His death-identify ourselves with it before God, participating in it by faith, or we have no life in us. [3] Thus it was for the world. Thus they should live, not of their own life, but by Christ, through feeding on Him. Here He returns to His own Person, faith in His death being established. Moreover, they should dwell in Him (v. 56)-should be in Him before God, according to all His acceptance before God, all the efficacy of His work in dying. [4] And Christ should dwell in them according to the power and grace of that life in which He had gained the victory over death, and in which, having gained it, He now lives. As the living Father had sent Him, and He lived, not by an independent life which had not the Father for its object or source, but by reason of the Father, so he that thus ate Him should live because of Him. [5]

Afterwards, in reply to those who murmured at this fundamental truth, the Lord appeals to His ascension. He had come down from heaven-this was His doctrine; He would ascend thither again. Material flesh profited nothing. It was the Spirit who gave life, by realising in the soul the mighty truth of that which Christ was, and of His death. But He returns to that which He had told them before; in order to come to Him thus revealed in truth, they must be led of the Father. There is such a thing as faith that is ignorant perhaps, although through grace real. Such was that of the disciples. They knew that He, and He only, had the words of eternal life. It was not only that He was the Messiah, which they indeed believed, but His words had laid hold of their hearts with the power of the divine life which they revealed, and through grace communicated. Thus they acknowledged Him as the Son of God, not only officially, so to speak, but according to the power of divine life. He was the Son of the living God. Nevertheless there was one among them who was of the devil.

Jesus therefore, come down to earth, put to death, ascending again to heaven, is the doctrine of this chapter. As come down and put to death, He is the food of faith during His absence on high. For it is on His death we must feed, in order to dwell spiritually in Him and He in us.


[1] The direct application of this is to the remnant; but then, as hinted in the text, we, as to our path on earth, are, so to speak, the continuation of that remnant, and Christ is on high for us, while we are on the waves below. The subsequent part of the chapter, of the bread of life, is properly for us. The world, not Israel, is in question. Indeed though Christ is Aaron within the veil for Israel, while He is there the saints have properly their heavenly character.

[2] In John, the Jews are always distinguished from the multitude. They are the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea. It would, perhaps, be easier to understand this Gospel, if the words were rendered "those of Judea," which is the true sense.

[3] This truth is of vast importance as regards the sacramental question. Sacraments are declared by the Puseyite school to bethe continuation of the incarnation. This is in every respect error, and, in truth, a denial of the faith. Both sacraments signify death. We are baptised to Christ's death; and the Lord's supper is confessedly emblematic of His death. I say "denial of the faith"; because, as the Lord shews, if they do not eat His flesh and blood, they have no life in them. As incarnate Christ is alone. His presence in flesh on earth shewed that God and sinful men could not be united. His presence as man in the world resulted in His rejection-proved the impossibility of union or fruit on that ground. Redemption must come in, His blood be shed, Himself lifted up from the earth, and so draw men to Him: death must come in, or He abode alone. They could not eat the bread unless they ate the flesh and drank the blood. A meat-offering without a bloody offering was null, or rather a Cain offering. Further, the Lord's supper presents a dead Christ, and a dead Christ only-the blood apart from the body. No such Christ exists; and therefore transubstantiation and consubstantiation and all such thoughts are a blundering fable. We are united to a glorified Christ by the Holy Ghost; and we celebrate that most precious death upon which all our blessing is founded, through which we got there. We do it in remembrance of Him, and in our hearts feed on Him, so given, and shedding His blood.

[4] Abiding imports constancy of dependence, confidence, and living by the life in which Christ lives. "Dwelling" and "abiding," though the word be changed in English, are the same in the original: so in chapter 15 and elsewhere.

[5] It may be well to note that in the Greek in this passage, in verses 51 and 53, eating is in the aorist tense-whosoever has done so. In verses 54, 56 and 57, it is the present tense-a present continuous action.

── John DarbySynopsis of John


John 6

Chapter Contents

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)

Commentary on John 6:1-14

(Read John 6:1-14)

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.

Commentary on John 6:15-21

(Read John 6:15-21)

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.

Commentary on John 6:22-27

(Read John 6:22-27)

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.

Commentary on John 6:28-35

(Read John 6:28-35)

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.

Commentary on John 6:36-46

(Read John 6:36-46)

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.

Commentary on John 6:47-51

(Read John 6:47-51)

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.

Commentary on John 6:52-59

(Read John 6:52-59)

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.

Commentary on John 6:60-65

(Read John 6:60-65)

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.

Commentary on John 6:66-71

(Read John 6:66-71)

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.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on John


John 6

Verse 3

[3] And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.

Jesus went up — Before the people overtook him.

Verse 5

[5] When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?

Jesus saith to Philip — Perhaps he had the care of providing victuals for the family of the apostles.

Verse 15

[15] When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

He retired to the mountain alone — Having ordered his disciples to cross over the lake.

Verse 16

[16] And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea,

Matthew 14:22; Mark 6:45.

Verse 22

[22] The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone;

Who had stood on the other side — They were forced to stay a while, because there were then no other vessels; and they stayed the less unwillingly, because they saw that Jesus was not embarked.

Verse 26

[26] Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

Our Lord does not satisfy their curiosity, but corrects the wrong motive they had in seeking him: because ye did eat - Merely for temporal advantage. Hitherto Christ had been gathering hearers: he now begins to try their sincerity, by a figurative discourse concerning his passion, and the fruit of it, to be received by faith.

Verse 27

[27] Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Labour not for the meat which perisheth — For bodily food: not for that only not chiefly: not at all, but in subordination to grace, faith, love, the meat which endureth to everlasting life. Labour, work for this; for everlasting life. So our Lord expressly commands, work for life, as well as from life: from a principle of faith and love.

Him hath the Father sealed — By this very miracle, as well as by his whole testimony concerning him. See John 3:33. Sealing is a mark of the authenticity of a writing.

Verse 28

[28] Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

The works of God — Works pleasing to God.

Verse 29

[29] Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

This is the work of God — The work most pleasing to God, and the foundation of all others: that ye believe - He expresses it first properly, afterward figuratively.

Verse 30

[30] They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?

What sign dost thou? — Amazing, after what they had just seen!

Verse 31

[31] Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

Our fathers ate manna — This sign Moses gave them.

He gave them bread from heaven — From the lower sublunary heaven; to which Jesus opposes the highest heaven: in which sense he says seven times, John 6:32,33,38,50,58,62, that he himself came down from heaven.

Verse 32

[32] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

Moses gave you not bread from heaven — It was not Moses who gave the manna to your fathers; but my Father who now giveth the true bread from heaven. Psalms 78:24.

Verse 33

[33] For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

He that — giveth life to the world - Not (like the manna) to one people only: and that from generation to generation. Our Lord does not yet say, I am that bread; else the Jews would not have given him so respectful an answer, John 6:34.

Verse 34

[34] Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

Give us this bread — Meaning it still, in a literal sense: yet they seem now to be not far from believing.

Verse 35

[35] And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

I am the bread of life — Having and giving life: he that cometh - he that believeth - Equivalent expressions: shall never hunger, thirst - Shall be satisfied, happy, for ever.

Verse 36

[36] But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

I have told you — Namely, John 6:26.

Verse 37

[37] All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

All that the Father giveth me — All that feel themselves lost, and follow the drawings of the Father, he in a peculiar manner giveth to the Son: will come to me - By faith. And him that thus cometh to me, I will in nowise cast out - I will give him pardon, holiness, and heaven, if he endure to the end-to rejoice in his light.

Verse 39

[39] And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

Of all which he hath already given me - See John 17:6,12. If they endure to the end. But Judas did not.

Verse 40

[40] And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Here is the sum of the three foregoing verses.

This is the will of him that sent me — This is the whole of what I have said: this is the eternal, unchangeable will of God. Every one who truly believeth, shall have everlasting life.

Every one that seeth and believeth — The Jews saw, and yet believed not.

And I will raise him up — As this is the will of him that sent me, I will perform it effectually.

Verse 44

[44] No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Christ having checked their murmuring, continues what he was saying, John 6:40.

No man comes to me, unless my Father draw him — No man can believe in Christ, unless God give him power: he draws us first, by good desires. Not by compulsion, not by laying the will under any necessity; but by the strong and sweet, yet still resistible, motions of his heavenly grace.

Verse 45

[45] It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

Every man that hath heard — The secret voice of God, he, and he only believeth. Isaiah 54:13.

Verse 46

[46] Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

Not that any one — Must expect him to appear in a visible shape.

He who is from or with God — In a more eminent manner than any creature.

Verse 50

[50] This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

Not die — Not spiritually; not eternally.

Verse 51

[51] I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

If any eat of this bread — That is, believe in me: he shall live for ever - In other words, he that believeth to the end shall be saved.

My flesh which I will give you — This whole discourse concerning his flesh and blood refers directly to his passion, and but remotely, if at all, to the Lord's Supper.

Verse 52

[52] The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

Observe the degrees: the Jews are tried here; the disciples, John 6:60-66, the apostles, John 6:67.

Verse 53

[53] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

Unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of man — Spiritually: unless ye draw continual virtue from him by faith. Eating his flesh is only another expression for believing.

Verse 55

[55] For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

Meat — drink indeed - With which the soul of a believer is as truly fed, as his body with meat and drink.

Verse 57

[57] As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

I live by the Father — Being one with him.

He shall live by me — Being one with me. Amazing union!

Verse 58

[58] This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

This is — That is, I am the bread - Which is not like the manna your fathers ate, who died notwithstanding.

Verse 60

[60] Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

This is a hard saying — Hard to the children of the world, but sweet to the children of God. Scarce ever did our Lord speak more sublimely, even to the apostles in private.

Who can hear — Endure it?

Verse 62

[62] What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

What if ye shall see the Son of man ascend where he was before? — How much more incredible will it then appear to you, that he should give you his flesh to eat?

Verse 63

[63] It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

It is the Spirit — The spiritual meaning of these words, by which God giveth life.

The flesh — The bare, carnal, literal meaning, profiteth nothing.

The words which I have spoken, they are spirit — Are to be taken in a spiritual sense and, when they are so understood, they are life - That is, a means of spiritual life to the hearers.

Verse 64

[64] But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

But there are some of you who believe not — And so receive no life by them, because you take them in a gross literal sense.

For Jesus knew from the beginning — Of his ministry: who would betray him - Therefore it is plain, God does foresee future contingencies: - "But his foreknowledge causes not the fault, Which had no less proved certain unforeknown."

Verse 65

[65] And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Unless it be given — And it is given to those only who will receive it on God's own terms.

Verse 66

[66] From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

From this time many of his disciples went back — So our Lord now began to purge his floor: the proud and careless were driven away, and those remained who were meet for the Master's use.

Verse 68

[68] Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

Thou hast the words of eternal life — Thou, and thou alone, speakest the words which show the way to life everlasting.

Verse 69

[69] And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

And we — Who have been with thee from the beginning, whatever others do, have known - Are absolutely assured, that thou art the Christ.

Verse 70

[70] Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

Jesus answered the — And yet even ye have not all acted suitable to this knowledge.

Have I not chosen or elected you twelve? — But they might fall even from that election.

Yet one of you — On this gracious warning, Judas ought to have repented; is a devil - Is now influenced by one.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on John


John 6:35, 51

During World War II, the Germans forced many twelve- and thirteen-year-old boys into the Junior Gestapo. These boys were treated very harshly and given inhumane jobs to perform. When the war ended, most had lost track of their families and wandered without food or shelter. As part of an aid program to post-war Germany, many of these youths were placed in tent cities. Here doctors and psychologists worked with the boys in an attempt to restore their mental and physical health. They found that many of the boys would awaken in the middle of the night, screaming in terror. One doctor had an idea for handling that fear/ After feeding the boys a large meal, he put them to bed with a piece of bread in their hands, which they were told to save until morning. The boys then slept soundly because, after so many years of hunger, they finally had the assurance of food for the next day.

Do you have Jesus as your Savior? If you do, you hold the Bread of Life in your hands and therefore have the assurance that you will not go out of this life in terror and fear.

── F.E. MarshFive Hundred Bible Readings


Chapter 6. The Bread of Life

Food That Perishes
Food That Endures to Eternal Life

I. Miracles on Land and at Sea

  1. Five Loaves and Two Fish
  2. Gather up Fragments
  3. Jesus Walks on the Sea

II. Jesus the True Bread from Heaven

  1. Filled with Loaves
  2. Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood
  3. Spiritual Life

III. Three Kinds of Following Jesus

  1. Go Away Halfway
  2. Vow to Follow in Spite of Death
  3. Judas the Traitor
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament



John 6:27-35.

     Among the many “ I Am’s” of the Gospel of John, is the one that speaks of Christ as the Bread of Life. There are seven things that relate to Christ as the Bread of Life.

. Christ is the Sealed Bread, as attesting His genuineness (ver.27). In the East, bakers who were found selling bread that was not of good quality, were severely punished. In Turkey, not very long since, cheating bakers were nailed up by the ear; and in Persia they have been roasted in their own ovens. The Oriental bakers are in the habit of stamping their name upon their bread, or, as they would say, “ sealing it,” as a measure of precaution, lest they should be made to suffer for the sins of their neighbours, and also as attesting its good quality. “ The Talmudic word for baker is nakhtom, or nakhtoma, which has been connected with khatham, to seal.” Christ was sealed by His Father, at His baptism, whit the Holy Spirit, and His works afterwards by the Holy Spirit’s power told out in unmistakable language that He was the Sealed of God (Acts10:38).

. Christ is the Sent Bread, as to the authority of His coming (6:32,33). If there was one thing more than another that Christ affirmed again and again, it was, that He was sent from God to do a specific work. As proof of this, look through the Gospel of John, and mark the word “sent,” which occurs over forty times.

. Christ is the “ True Bread,” in contrast to everything that is false and fleeting (verse 32). He is the “ True Light” (John 1:9), in contrast to the false lights of earth; He is the “ True Vine” (John 15:1), in contrast to Israel, who proved to be a false vine; and He is the” True Bread,” because He is unlike the manna that feel in the wilderness, which only satisfied for a time, whilst He saves and satisfies for ever. Man-invented theories and pursuits are all false and misleading. Pleasure with its fascination, money with its glitter, honour with its applause, worldliness with its charm, lust with its seeming satisfaction, pride with its ambition, and self with its assertiveness, are all disappointing, delusive, and destructive. Christ alone is the “ True Bethlehem” (House of Bread) where salvation and satisfaction are found (Ruth 1:19).

.  Christ is the Living Bread as to His enduringness (verse 35). Those who live upon Him partake of His life; and those who do not are spiritually dead. “ There is a pathetic story which comes to us from the earlier explorers of Australia. There grows there a strange plant called the nardoo, bearing leaves like clover. The Britishers, Burke and Wills ,who were making these explorations, in the failure of other food, followed the example of the natives, and began to eat the leaves and roots of the nardoo. It seemed to satisfy them; it seemed to fill them with a pleasant sense of comfort and repletion. But they grew weaker every day, and more emaciated; they were not hungry, for the plant seemed to satisfy. But all the effects of an unfulfilled hunger began to appear in them; their flesh wasted from their bones, their strength failed till they scarcely had the energy of an infant; they could not crawl on in their flesh wasted from their bones, their strength failed till they scarcely had the energy of an infant; they could not crawl on in their journey more than a mile or two a day. At last one of them perished of starvation; the other was rescued when in the last extremity. On analysis, it was discovered that the bread made of this plant lacked an element essential to the sustenance of a European. And so, even though they seemed fed, the explorers wasted away, and one of them died, because they were feeding on a sustenance inappropriate.” In like manner, those who feed on anything else than Christ will find that they have been deceived, and will enter into that state described as the “ second death.”

. Christ must be the Sought Bread (verse 27). Christ rebukes the people who were following Him for the sake of the food they obtained, and urges them to labour for that food which is imperishable. Those who seek, have the promise that they shall surely find, but those who are listless and careless have no promise.

.  Christ must be the Received Bread (verse 29). To receive Christ is to believe in Him (John 1:12), even as the disciples received Him into the boat, and thus showed their confidence in Him, by placing themselves absolutely in His hands (John 6:21).

. Christ is the Satisfying Bread (verse 35). Fuller has well said, “ The old Grecians that had fed altogether on acorns before, after bread came in amongst them they made no reckoning of their mast any more, but kept it only for swine. And leathern and iron money began to grow out of request amongst the Lacedemonians after gold and silver came into use. So, when a man hath once found the favour of God in his heart, and the love of God in Christ hath once lighted on it, and got assurance of it, he ceaseth then to be greedy of the world’s trash, which is , in regard of it but dross or pebble stones to gold and diamonds, as mast to the best bread corn; yea, rather of far less worth or value to that, than either of these is to it.”

── F.E. MarshFive Hundred Bible Readings

Two Kinds Of Food (6:27)
1. Among the miracles of Jesus that attracted great attention was the
   feeding of 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish - Jn 6:1-13
   a. Many came to believe in Him as the Prophet to come - Jn 6:14; cf.
      Deu 18:15
   b. Some wanted to take Him by force and make Him king - Jn 6:15
   c. People sought to follow Him - Jn 6:22,24-25
2. Jesus, who knew the hearts of men (Jn 2:25), perceived their selfish
   a. They were interested only in the food, not what the miracle
      indicated - Jn 6:26
   b. Prompting Jesus to warn them about the food for which they labor
      - Jn 6:27
[The words of Jesus in our text (Jn 6:27) reveal there are "Two Kinds Of
Food", one that perishes and another that endures.  As we seek to apply
Jesus' admonition to our own lives, let's consider...]
      1. Literally, it is the food we eat
         a. It quickly perishes, even with the benefit of preservatives
         b. It fails to satisfy for long, soon we are hungry and thirsty
            again - cf. Jn 4:13
      2. Figuratively, there are other "foods" which soon perish
         a. The food of human wisdom
         b. The food of folly
         c. The food of mirth and pleasure
         d. The food of great wealth and industrious labor
         -- Which Solomon found to provide no lasting fulfillment - cf.
            Ecc 1:17; 2:1-2,3-11
      1. This does not mean we are to make no effort to supply our needs
         a. A Christian is to provide for his family - 1 Ti 5:8
         b. If a man does not work, neither should he eat - 2 Th 3:10-12
      2. But that we not do so to the neglect of food which endures
         a. The "food" which perishes should not be our priority in life
            - cf. Mt 6:33
         b. A lesson that Martha needed to learn - Lk 10:38-42
[Sadly, many people expend much time, energy, and money for "food" which
soon perishes.  Jesus would have people direct their life's efforts
      1. In other texts, it is the Word of God
         a. By which man truly lives - cf. Mt 4:4
         b. Which Job treasured more than necessary food - Job 23:12
         c. Which David valued more than gold and fine food - Psa 19:10;
         d. Which Jeremiah found to be the rejoicing of his heart - Jer
         e. Which causes rebirth, and endures forever - 1 Pe 1:22-25
      2. In our text, it is Jesus, the Word of God
         a. Jesus, the Logos (Word) of God - Jn 1:1,14,18
         b. He is the true bread from the Father in heaven - Jn 6:31-35
         c. He is the bread of life who offers everlasting life  - Jn 6:
      1. Jesus must be the primary focus of our labors, in which we
         a. To believe in Him, for therein is everlasting life - Jn 6:
         b. To follow Him, for He has the words of eternal life - Jn 6:
         c. To know Him, for that is eternal life - Jn 17:1-3
         d. To obey Him, for to those who obey He is the author of
            eternal life - He 5:9
      2. Are we laboring for the food which endures to everlasting life?
         a. Let Paul's attitude be our example - Ph 3:7-15
            1) Seeking to know the Lord more and more
            2) Never content with our current understanding, always
               pressing further
         b. Let Peter's exhortation to diligence in growing in the
            knowledge of Jesus Christ set the standard - 2 Pe 1:5-8;
            1) Seeking to become like the Lord more and more
            2) Always abounding, always growing in grace and knowledge
1. Dear friends and brethren, for what "food" do you labor...?
   a. Is your focus in life on that which is temporary?
   b. Do you strive for that which cannot truly satisfy?
   -- If so, consider what Isaiah wrote 700 years before Christ came
      - Isa 55:1-4
2. Jesus is the true bread of life, the living water, who truly
   a. He alone provides the hope of eternal life - Jn 6:40
   b. He alone offers the abundant life even now - Jn 10:11
Though written by Isaiah, these words may serve as the invitation Jesus
offers to all...
   "Why do you spend money for [what is] not bread, And your wages
   for [what] does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat
   [what is] good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
   Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live;
   And I will make an everlasting covenant with you - The sure mercies
   of David." (Isa 55:2-3)


To Whom Shall We Go? (6:67-69)
1. When Jesus talked about being the Bread of Life, it troubled some
   a. He used figurative language, which sounded cannibalistic - cf. Jn
   b. Difficult to understand, some were offended (those lacking in
      faith) - cf. Jn 6:60-65
   c. Many of His disciples left Him - cf. Jn 6:66
   -- Prompting Jesus to ask the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"
      - Jn 6:67
2. Peter's response serves as the text of our lesson...
   a. "To whom shall we go?" - Jn 6:68a
   b. He acknowledged that Jesus alone has the words of eternal life
      - Jn 6:68b
   c. He also confesses their faith in Him as the Christ, the Son of the
      living God - Jn 6:69
   -- His question is one that we do well to ask today
[For the answers to our true purpose and mission in life, to find the
words of eternal life, "To Whom Shall We Go?"  There are many places we
could turn to, indeed many do turn to, but they are not the right ones.
For example, consider...]
      1. Many people look to whatever the majority believes
         a. E.g., what their peers thinks
         b. E.g., whatever the latest polls indicate
      2. But consider the words of Jesus, in describing the end of the
         majority - Mt 7:13-14
      3. If you followed the majority...
         a. In Noah's day, you would have perished in the flood
         b. In Joshua's day, you would have perished in the wilderness
      1. Many feel that human wisdom can lead them to truth and life
         a. Especially that pronounced by educated professors
         b. Or that pronounced by "pop" psychologists on talk shows
      2. But God's thoughts and ways are not always our own - cf. Isa
      3. In fact, God has chosen to save man in a manner specifically
         designed to confound those who depend solely upon human wisdom
         - cf. 1 Co 1:18-29
      1. It is common for people to trust their preacher, priest, or
      2. They reason that surely these "men of God" could not be wrong
         or lead them astray
         a. Yet Paul warned of how we can easily be misled - cf. 2 Co
         b. And Jesus warned about the "blind leading the blind" - Mt
      1. "Let your conscience be your guide" is the motto of many
      2. But our conscience cannot always be reliable
         a. Paul had served God with a good conscience throughout his
            life - Ac 23:1
         b. Even at a time when he was persecuting Christians! - cf. Ac
      3. Our conscience is like a clock, which works properly only if
         set properly
      1. This is often where many people turn
         a. Who go by whatever "feels right"
         b. Who place stock in things "better felt than told"
      2. Yet the Bible declares the danger of trusting in "feelings"
         a. "There is a way which seems right...but its end is the way
            of death." - Pro 14:12
         b. "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool..." - Pro 28:26
         c. "O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not
            in man who walks to direct his own steps." - Jer 10:23
[None of these should be the ultimate source to where we turn if we are
looking for the words of eternal life.  As confessed by Peter, there is
only One...]
      1. As Peter confessed in our text - Jn 6:68-69
      2. He is the one who provides "food which endures to everlasting
         life" - Jn 6:27,35,40
      3. He is the way, the truth and the life - Jn 14:6
      4. Upon this One has God "set His seal" - Jn 6:27
         a. I.e., confirmed Him to be the source of eternal life
         b. Through the miracles, and ultimately His resurrection - Jn
            5:36; Ro 1:4
      -- Yet how does one "go to Jesus" when He no longer walks on the
         earth?  We must turn to...
      1. Jesus prepared and equipped His apostles to carry on and
         complete His work
         a. He told them of the Holy Spirit - Jn 16:7-11
         b. Who would guide them into all the truth - Jn 16:12-13
      2. To receive the apostles (apostolos, lit., one sent) is to
         receive Jesus - Jn 13:20
      3. Thus the apostles were authoritative spokesmen for Christ
         - e.g., 1 Th 4:1-2,8; 1 Jn 4:6; Ju 17
      4. They received all things pertaining to life and godliness
         - 2 Pe 1:3
      5. They did not shun to proclaim the whole counsel of God - Ac 20:
      -- But how do we "go to the apostles" when they no longer live on
         the earth?  We must turn to...
      1. The apostles wrote that we might benefit from their
         understanding- e.g., Ep 3:3-5
      2. We must view their words as the commandments of the Lord
         - e.g., 1 Co 14:37
      3. Therefore we are to hold fast to what they taught - cf. 2 Th
         2:15; 3:15; Ju 3
      4. As exemplified by the very first church in Jerusalem - Ac 2:42
      -- The words of the apostles preserved in their writings, can lead
         us to Him who alone has the words of eternal life!
1. To whom shall we go...?
   a. The answer must be "Jesus!"
   b. He is "...the Christ, the Son of the living God"
   c. He alone has "...the words of eternal life"
2. Where will you find Jesus...?
   a. Not in the words of modern theologians and filmmakers, who have
      sought to remake Jesus according to their own image
   b. But in the words of His apostles, eyewitnesses of His majesty and
      inspired by the Spirit to reveal all that we need to experience
      life and godliness
Don't let the cacophony of modern voices lead you away from Jesus and
His words of eternal life. Make sure that it is His apostles' writings,
the Word of God, that leads you to Him who is the way, the truth and the


--《Executable Outlines