Five thousand miraculously fed. (Verse 1-14.)
Jesus walks on the sea. (Verse 15-21.)
He directs to spiritual food. (Verse 22-27.)
His discourse with the multitude. (Verse 28-65.)
Many of disciples go back. (Verse 66-71.)
1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
[Matt 10:23, Matt 12:15, Matt 14:13, Mark 3:7, Mark 6:32, Luke 9:10]
2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
[Matt 5:1, Mark 3:13, Luke 9:28, John 6:15]
4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
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?
6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
[pennyworth – a day’s wages]
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,
9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
[Matt 14:17, Matt 16:9]
10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
the number of men was 5,000. There could have been many more women and children.
11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
note Christ’s displeasure with waste.
13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
[Matt 21:11, Luke 7:16, John 7:40, John 9:17]
“that prophet” was a reference to the prophecy made by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15 which said, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;”
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.
[Matt 14:23, Mark 6:46, Matt 5:1, Mark 3:13, Luke 9:28, John 6:3]
The twelve apostles picked up the fragments that remained of the fish and the bread which all came from a small lad’s lunch as many like to teach but I am not sure the lad was going to eat five barely loaves himself.
I am sure that God had ordained that the people saw the wonderful works of God on that day.
As passover was approaching the minds of the people would be directed to the past when their ancestors were delivered out of the hands of Pharaoh by many miracles and here they had just seen a miracle in their own day.
God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, and he also supernaturally supplied their physical needs by feeding them with manna from heaven every day for forty years.
Here was this man who could heal people and now he was feeding upwards of 15,000 people possibly double that with just one boy’s lunch. Surely some of them thought, this must be the Messiah (their promised king).
Just before they would try to make him their king, Jesus departed into a mountain alone. It was not time for him to be Israel’s King.
Jerusalem’s leaders would have to reject him first and crucify him, so he could die as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world, and only then could the kingdom be offered to Israel.
Israel has to go through the time of Jacob’s trouble before her kingdom will be set up, and before her King could rule over them.
Jesus could not take any short cuts along the way, because our eternity was counting on Jesus being that perfect Lamb without spot or blemish.
16 And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea,
17 And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.
18 And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.
19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.
a “furlong” was about 200 meters or 600 feet.
20 But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.
21 Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.
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;
23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)
24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.
25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?
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.
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.
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
many people are trying to work their way to heaven by being good people, going to church, etc. Jesus says the only work necessary is to believe on him. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Good works are not adequate to get anyone to heaven; salvation is a gift from God that must be accepted through belief, not earned by good works.
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
manna was the bread that God miraculously fed his people with as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years as recorded in Exodus 16:12-15 – “I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God. And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.”
Once again, we see the Jews wanting to see a sign right after 5,000 people were just fed by him and they even mention being fed by God in the wilderness.
It sounds as if there were some people here that were hungry and wanted Jesus to feed them again and so they said if you are who you claim to be, then feed us like God did in Moses’ day.
What did Jesus say another time when Israel’s leaders were asking for a sign? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.
It definitely drives home the point that they Jews requires a sign as they became a nation as the result of signs when they left Egypt.
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.
[Exod 16:15, 1st Cor 10:3]
just as Christ identified himself with living water back in chapter four, he now identifies himself as living bread that can give eternal life to the world – note v. 35
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
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.
36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
[Matt 26:39, John 5:30, Phil 2:8]
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.
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.
They did not want eternal life if it meant following him, they for the most part wanted bread to fill their stomach and all his talk about himself being the bread to the carnal hearer must have sounded like, I am all the bread you are going to get.
They didn’t care that he was offering them the kingdom and eternal life in it if they would believe in him, they wanted him to do something for them right now to satisfy their hunger.
Jesus knew this and would not bow to their wishes and be coaxed into doing a miracle for them.
41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
[Isa 49:7, Isa 53:3, Matt 13:55, Mark 6:3]
Jesus claimed to have come down out of heaven from God the Father. Some in the crowd knew that his father was Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth. Had those in the crowd who said these things checked out their “facts” better, they would have found out that Joseph was not Jesus’ father, but only his step-father. Mary became pregnant with Jesus by the Holy Ghost, not by Joseph. In Luke 1:35 we read, “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
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.
compare with John 12:32.
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.
46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
[Matt 11:27, John 1:18, 10:15]
47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
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.
[1st Cor 11:27]
52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
The problem here was that while Jesus said some pretty amazing things that no man ever said before, he was clear earlier that when he was referring to them hearing and receiving his word it was the same thing as receiving him like eating bread or flesh.
If someone didn’t receive his word’s they would not have eternal life because his words were life, just like bread and fish are life to a hungry man.
They did not receive his words because they didn’t want to. Most of them just wanted something to eat and for Jesus to do something for them to make the life here and now better.
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.
the student of the word of God must always take the scriptures literally unless the passage at hand clearly indicates otherwise. Verse 53 along with verses 54-56 would seem to indicate that in order to have eternal life, one must literally eat the physical body and drink the physical blood of Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic Church in particular has taken this passage to prove their doctrine of the mass – their teaching is that their members are eating the real body and blood of Jesus Christ and therefore can get eternal life. However, Jesus never intended these words to be taken in the literal sense of people eating his body. Verse 63 very clearly states how Jesus intended these words to be taken. Back in verse 35 Jesus declared himself to be the “bread of life” and described those who partook of him as “coming” and “believing.” Only after the Jews begin to reject what he is teaching (vs. 41, 43, 52) does Jesus begin to veil the simple truths he stated with “spiritual language.” Drinking blood and the eating of human flesh are clearly forbidden in the Bible and Jesus did not intend for this meaning to be given. As the bread of life he was comparing “eating” to “coming” and “drinking” to “believing.” No mass, communion, or eucharist can help a person get everlasting life; salvation comes only through the repentance of one’s sins and a belief in Jesus Christ alone. Some may ask, why would Jesus speak in what appears to be a confusing manner? While on earth Jesus preached the truth. Those who accepted what he said were given more and more understanding of this truth. Those who rejected what he preached were given less and less truth. In reference to spiritual knowledge, Jesus said in Matthew 13:12-13, “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” As those people listening to Jesus rejected what he had to say, Jesus simply began to make the truths he was teaching more vague. Those who believed would understand (see verses 68-69); those who did not believe would become more confused and further from the truth as a result of their rejection of the truth.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
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.
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.
59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
[Matt 11:6, Matt 13:57, Matt 24:10, Matt 26:31 Mark 6:3, Mark 14:27]
62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
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.
[John 7:39, 1st Cor 12:13]
[quickeneth = to make alive, or give life]
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.
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.
66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
Statements that Jesus is the Christ, Son of God.
Temptation in the Wilderness. Matt 4:3, 6,
By Disciples after He walked on the water. Matt 14:33
By Peter Matt 16:16, Mark 8:29, Luke 9:20 John 6:69
Asked by High Priest Matt 26:63
By Unclean Spirits Mark 3:11, Mark 5:7 Luke 4:41
By the Angel to Mary Luke 1:35
By John John 1:34
By Nathanael John 1:49
By Martha John 11:27
By the Ethiopian Eunuch Acts 8:37
By Saul of Tarsus Acts 9:20
Necessary for God to dwell in you 1st John 4:15
Necessary to overcome the world 1st John 5:5
70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.
Judas was a devil, wow! Jesus would go from one shocking statement or sermon right to another, He was not trying to build a big crowd by saying what would please the masses.
What did Jesus mean when he called Judas a devil? Was he just saying that to betray the Son of man was a devilish act or was he meaning Judas was a wolf in sheep’s clothing or a literal devil?
Compare the statement Jesus makes here in verse seventy with the following verses and you will have a clearer understanding of just who and what Judas was:
Both betrayed God:
In Acts chapter one when choosing a replacement for Judas called a devil by Christ, Peter declared that Judas fell by transgression (betraying God the Son) and went unto his own place. Acts 1:25
Lucifer an angel fell by transgression (sin) and he betrayed God, and became the devil. Isaiah 14:10-19
Both are called the son of perdition:
John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Both Judas and devil are also called a thief.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.