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25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” 28Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” 29Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” 32Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; 38for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”

41 Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. 44No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”


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25. when they had found him on the other side—at Capernaum.

they said, &c.—astonished at His being there, and wondering how He could have accomplished it, whether by land or water, and when He came; for being quite unaware of His having walked upon the sea and landed with the disciples in the ship, they could not see how, unless He had travelled all night round the head of the lake alone, He could have reached Capernaum, and even then, how He could have arrived before themselves.

26. Ye seek me, &c.—Jesus does not put them through their difficulty, says nothing of His treading on the waves of the sea, nor even notices their question, but takes advantage of the favorable moment for pointing out to them how forward, flippant, and superficial were their views, and how low their desires. "Ye seek Me not because ye saw the miracles"—literally, "the signs," that is, supernatural tokens of a higher presence, and a divine commission, "but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled." From this He proceeds at once to that other Bread, just as, with the woman of Samaria, to that other Water (Joh 4:9-15). We should have supposed all that follows to have been delivered by the wayside, or wherever they happened first to meet. But from Joh 6:59 we gather that they had probably met about the door of the synagogue—"for that was the day in which they assembled in their synagogues" [Lightfoot]—and that on being asked, at the close of the service, if He had any word of exhortation to the people, He had taken the two breads, the perishing and the living bread, for the subject of His profound and extraordinary discourse.

27. which the Son of man—taking that title of Himself which denoted His incarnate life.

shall give unto you—in the sense of Joh 6:51.

him hath God the Father sealed—marked out and authenticated for that transcendent office, to impart to the world the bread of an everlasting life, and this in the character of "the Son of man."

28-31. What shall we do … the works of God—such works as God will approve. Different answers may be given to such a question, according to the spirit which prompts the inquiry. (See Ho 6:6-8; Lu 3:12-14). Here our Lord, knowing whom He had to deal with, shapes His reply accordingly.

29. This is the work of God—That lies at the threshold of all acceptable obedience, being not only the prerequisite to it, but the proper spring of it—in that sense, the work of works, emphatically "the work of God."

30. What sign showest thou, &c.—But how could they ask "a sign," when many of them scarce a day before had witnessed such a "sign" as had never till then been vouchsafed to men; when after witnessing it, they could hardly be restrained from making Him a king; when they followed Him from the one side of the lake to the other; and when, in the opening words of this very discourse, He had chided them for seeking Him, "not because they saw the signs," but for the loaves? The truth seems to be that they were confounded by the novel claims which our Lord had just advanced. In proposing to make Him a king, it was for far other purposes than dispensing to the world the bread of an everlasting life; and when He seemed to raise His claims even higher still, by representing it as the grand "work of God," that they should believe on Himself as His Sent One, they saw very clearly that He was making a demand upon them beyond anything they were prepared to accord to Him, and beyond all that man had ever before made. Hence their question, "What dost Thou work?"

31. Our fathers did eat manna, &c.—insinuating the inferiority of Christ's miracle of the loaves to those of Moses: "When Moses claimed the confidence of the fathers, 'he gave them bread from heaven to eat'—not for a few thousands, but for millions, and not once only, but daily throughout their wilderness journey."

32, 33. Moses gave you not, &c.—"It was not Moses that gave you the manna, and even it was but from the lower heavens; 'but My Father giveth you the true bread,' and that 'from heaven.'"

33. For the bread of God is he, &c.—This verse is perhaps best left in its own transparent grandeur—holding up the Bread Itself as divine, spiritual, and eternal; its ordained Fountain and essential Substance, "Him who came down from heaven to give it" (that Eternal Life which was with the Father and was manifested unto us, 1Jo 1:2); and its designed objects, "the world."

34. Lord, evermore give us this bread—speaking now with a certain reverence (as at Joh 6:25), the perpetuity of the manna floating perhaps in their minds, and much like the Samaritan woman, when her eyes were but half opened, "Sir, give Me this water," &c. (Joh 4:15).

35. I am the bread of life—Henceforth the discourse is all in the first person, "I," "Me," which occur in one form or other, as Stier reckons, thirty-five times.

he that cometh to me—to obtain what the soul craves, and as the only all-sufficient and ordained source of supply.

hunger … thirst—shall have conscious and abiding satisfaction.

36. But … ye have seen me, and believe not—seen Him not in His mere bodily presence, but in all the majesty of His life, His teaching, His works.

37-40. All that, &c.—This comprehensive and very grand passage is expressed with a peculiar artistic precision. The opening general statement (Joh 6:37) consists of two members: (1) "All that the Father Giveth me shall come to me"—that is, "Though ye, as I told you, have no faith in Me, My errand into the world shall in no wise be defeated; for all that the Father giveth Me shall infallibly come to Me." Observe, what is given Him by the Father is expressed in the singular number and neuter gender—literally, "everything"; while those who come to Him are put in the masculine gender and singular number—"every one." The whole mass, so to speak, is gifted by the Father to the Son as a unity, which the Son evolves, one by one, in the execution of His trust. So Joh 17:2, "that He should give eternal life to all that which Thou hast given Him" [Bengel]. This "shall" expresses the glorious certainty of it, the Father being pledged to see to it that the gift be no empty mockery. (2) "And him that cometh to me I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT." As the former was the divine, this is just the human side of the same thing. True, the "coming" ones of the second clause are just the "given" ones of the first. But had our Lord merely said, "When those that have been given Me of My Father shall come to Me, I will receive them"—besides being very flat, the impression conveyed would have been quite different, sounding as if there were no other laws in operation, in the movement of sinners to Christ, but such as are wholly divine and inscrutable to us; whereas, though He does speak of it as a sublime certainty which men's refusals cannot frustrate, He speaks of that certainty as taking effect only by men's voluntary advances to Him and acceptance of Him—"Him that cometh to Me," "whosoever will," throwing the door wide open. Only it is not the simply willing, but the actually coming, whom He will not cast out; for the word here employed usually denotes arrival, as distinguished from the ordinary word, which rather expresses the act of coming (see Joh 8:42, Greek), [Webster and Wilkinson]. "In no wise" is an emphatic negative, to meet the fears of the timid (as in Re 21:27, to meet the presumption of the hardened). These, then, being the two members of the general opening statement, what follows is meant to take in both,

38. For I came down from heaven not to do Mine own will—to play an independent part.

but—in respect to both the foregoing things, the divine and the human side of salvation.

the will of Him that sent Me—What this twofold will of Him that sent Him is, we are next sublimely told (Joh 6:39, 40):

39. And this—in the first place.

is the will of Him that sent me, that of all—everything.

which He hath given Me—(taking up the identical words of Joh 6:37).

I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day—The meaning is not, of course, that He is charged to keep the objects entrusted to Him as He received them, so as they should merely suffer nothing in His hands. For as they were just "perishing" sinners of Adam's family, to let "nothing" of such "be lost," but "raise them up at the last day," must involve, first, giving His flesh for them (Joh 6:51), that they "might not perish, but have everlasting life"; and then, after "keeping them from falling," raising their sleeping dust in incorruption and glory, and presenting them, body and soul, perfect and entire, wanting nothing, to Him who gave them to Him, saying, "Behold I and the children which God hath given Me." So much for the first will of Him that sent Him, the divine side of man's salvation, whose every stage and movement is inscrutable to us, but infallibly certain.

40. And this—in the second place.

is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son and believeth on Him—seeing the Son believeth on Him.

may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day—This is the human side of the same thing as in the foregoing verse, and answering to "Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out"; that is, I have it expressly in charge that everyone that so "beholdeth" (so vieweth) the Son as to believe on Him shall have everlasting life; and, that none of Him be lost, "I will raise him up at the last day." (See on Joh 6:54).

41-46. Jews murmured—muttered, not in our Lord's hearing, but He knew it (Joh 6:43; Joh 2:25).

he said, I am the bread, &c.—Missing the sense and glory of this, and having no relish for such sublimities, they harp upon the "Bread from heaven." "What can this mean? Do we not know all about Him—where, when, and of whom He was born? And yet He says He came down from heaven!"

43, 44. Murmur not … No man—that is, Be not either startled or stumbled at these sayings; for it needs divine teaching to understand them, divine drawing to submit to them.

44. can come to me—in the sense of Joh 6:35.

except the Father which hath sent me—that is, the Father as the Sender of Me and to carry out the design of My mission.

draw him—by an internal and efficacious operation; though by all the means of rational conviction, and in a way altogether consonant to their moral nature (So 1:4; Jer 31:3; Ho 11:3, 4).

raise him up, &c.—(See on Joh 6:54).

45. written in the prophets—in Isa 54:13; Jer 31:33, 34; other similar passages may also have been in view. Our Lord thus falls back upon Scripture authority for this seemingly hard saying.

all taught of God—not by external revelation merely, but by internal illumination, corresponding to the "drawing" of Joh 6:44.

Every man therefore, &c.—that is, who hath been thus efficaciously taught of Him.

cometh unto mewith absolute certainty, yet in the sense above given of "drawing"; that is, "As none can come to Me but as divinely drawn, so none thus drawn shall fail to come."

46. Not that any man hath seen, &c.—Lest they should confound that "hearing and learning of the Father," to which believers are admitted by divine teaching, with His own immediate access to Him, He here throws in a parenthetical explanation; stating, as explicitly as words could do it, how totally different the two cases were, and that only He who is "from God" hath this naked, immediate access to the Father. (See Joh 1:18).

47-51. He that believeth, &c.—(See on Joh 3:36; Joh 5:24).

48. I am the bread of life—"As he that believeth in Me hath everlasting life, so I am Myself the everlasting Sustenance of that life." (Repeated from Joh 6:35).

49. Your fathers—of whom ye spake (Joh 6:31); not "ours," by which He would hint that He had a higher descent, of which they dreamt not [Bengel].

did eat manna … and are dead—recurring to their own point about the manna, as one of the noblest of the ordained preparatory illustrations of His own office: "Your fathers, ye say, ate manna in the wilderness; and ye say well, for so they did, but they are dead—even they whose carcasses fell in the wilderness did eat of that bread; the Bread whereof I speak cometh down from heaven, which the manna never did, that men, eating of it, may live for ever."

51. I am, &c.—Understand, it is of Myself I now speak as the Bread from heaven; of Meif a man eat he shall live for ever; and "THE Bread which i will give is my Flesh, which i will give for the life of the world." Here, for the first time in this high discourse, our Lord explicitly introduces His sacrificial death—for only rationalists can doubt this not only as that which constitutes Him the Bread of life to men, but as THAT very element IN Him which possesses the life-giving virtue.—"From this time we hear no more (in this discourse) of "Bread"; this figure is dropped, and the reality takes its place" [Stier]. The words "I will give" may be compared with the words of institution at the Supper, "This is My body which is given for you" (Lu 22:19), or in Paul's report of it, "broken for you" (1Co 11:24).

52. Jews strove among themselves—arguing the point together.

How can, &c.—that is, Give us His flesh to eat? Absurd.

53-58. Except ye eat the flesh … and drink the blood … no life, &c.—The harshest word He had yet uttered in their ears. They asked how it was possible to eat His flesh. He answers, with great solemnity, "It is indispensable." Yet even here a thoughtful hearer might find something to temper the harshness. He says they must not only "eat His flesh" but "drink His blood," which could not but suggest the idea of His death—implied in the separation of one's flesh from his blood. And as He had already hinted that it was to be something very different from a natural death, saying, "My flesh I will give for the life of the world" (Joh 6:51), it must have been pretty plain to candid hearers that He meant something above the gross idea which the bare terms expressed. And farther, when He added that they "had no life in them unless they thus ate and drank," it was impossible they should think He meant that the temporal life they were then living was dependent on their eating and drinking, in this gross sense, His flesh and blood. Yet the whole statement was certainly confounding, and beyond doubt was meant to be so. Our Lord had told them that in spite of all they had "seen" in Him, they "did not believe" (Joh 6:36). For their conviction therefore he does not here lay Himself out; but having the ear not only of them but of the more candid and thoughtful in the crowded synagogue, and the miracle of the loaves having led up to the most exalted of all views of His Person and Office, He takes advantage of their very difficulties and objections to announce, for all time, those most profound truths which are here expressed, regardless of the disgust of the unteachable, and the prejudices even of the most sincere, which His language would seem only designed to deepen. The truth really conveyed here is no other than that expressed in Joh 6:51, though in more emphatic terms—that He Himself, in the virtue of His sacrificial death, is the spiritual and eternal life of men; and that unless men voluntarily appropriate to themselves this death, in its sacrificial virtue, so as to become the very life and nourishment of their inner man, they have no spiritual and eternal life at all. Not as if His death were the only thing of value, but it is what gives all else in Christ's Incarnate Person, Life, and Office, their whole value to us sinners.

54. Whoso eateth … hath, &c.—The former verse said that unless they partook of Him they had no life; this adds, that whoever does so "hath eternal life."

and I will raise him up at the last day—For the fourth time this is repeated (see Joh 6:39, 40, 44)—showing most clearly that the "eternal life" which such a man "hath" cannot be the same with the future resurrection life from which it is carefully distinguished each time, but a life communicated here below immediately on believing (Joh 3:36; 5:24, 25); and giving to the resurrection of the body as that which consummates the redemption of the entire man, a prominence which in the current theology, it is to be feared, it has seldom had. (See Ro 8:23; 1Co 15:1-58, throughout).

56. He that eateth … dwelleth in me and I in him—As our food becomes incorporated with ourselves, so Christ and those who eat His flesh and drink His blood become spiritually one life, though personally distinct.

57. As the living Father hath sent me—to communicate His own life.

and I live by the Father—literally, "because of the Father"; My life and His being one, but Mine that of a Son, whose it is to be "of the Father." (See Joh 1:18; 5:26).

he that eateth me, … shall live by me—literally, "because of Me." So that though one spiritual life with Him, "the Head of every man is Christ, as the head of Christ is God" (1Co 11:3; 3:23).

58. This is that bread, &c.—a sort of summing up of the whole discourse, on which let this one further remark suffice—that as our Lord, instead of softening down His figurative sublimities, or even putting them in naked phraseology, leaves the great truths of His Person and Office, and our participation of Him and it, enshrined for all time in those glorious forms of speech, so when we attempt to strip the truth of these figures, figures though they be, it goes away from us, like water when the vessel is broken, and our wisdom lies in raising our own spirit, and attuning our own ear, to our Lord's chosen modes of expression. (It should be added that although this discourse has nothing to do with the Sacrament of the Supper, the Sacrament has everything to do with it, as the visible embodiment of these figures, and, to the believing partaker, a real, yea, and the most lively and affecting participation of His flesh and blood, and nourishment thereby of the spiritual and eternal life, here below).




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