6:1 After these things Jesus went a over the sea of Galilee, which is [the sea] of Tiberias.
(a) Not that he cut across the lake of Tiberias,
but by sailing across the large creeks he made his journey shorter: therefore
he is said to have gone over the sea, when in reality he passed over from one
side of the creek to the other.
1 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?
(1) They that follow Christ sometimes hunger, but
they are never without help.
2 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.
(2) Not only is Christ not delighted by a
preposterous worship, but he is greatly offended by it.
6:16 3 And
when even was [now] come, his disciples went down unto the sea,
(3) The godly are often in peril and danger, but
Christ comes to them in time, even in the midst of the tempests, and brings
them to the haven.
6:17 And entered into a ship, and went over the sea
b toward Capernaum. And it was now dark,
and Jesus was not come to them.
(b) In (Mark
6:45) they are told to go ahead to Bethsaida, for Bethsaida was along the
way to Capernaum.
Then they c willingly received him into
the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.
(c) They were afraid at first, but when they
recognized his voice they became new men and took him willingly into the ship,
the very one whom they had shunned and fled from before.
4 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.
(4) They that seek the kingdom of heaven lack
nothing: nevertheless, the gospel is not the food of the stomach but rather of
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 e sealed.
(d) Bestow your labour and pain.
(e) That is, whom God the Father had
distinguished from all other men by planting his own power in him, as though
he had sealed him with his seal, so that he might be a vivid example and
representation of him: and furthermore he installed him to this office, to
reconcile us men to God, and bring us to everlasting life, which office
belongs only to Christ.
6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do,
that we might work the f works of God?
(f) Which please God: for they think that
everlasting life depends upon the condition of fulfilling the law: therefore
Christ calls them back to faith.
Jesus answered and said unto them, g
This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
(5) Men torment themselves in vain when they try
to please God without faith.
(g) That is, this is the work that God requires,
that you believe in me, and therefore he calls them back to faith.
6:30 6 They
said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and
believe thee? what dost thou work?
(6) The spiritual virtue of Christ is condemned
by those that desire earthly miracles.
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not h
that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
(7) Christ, who is the true and only author and
giver of eternal life, was represented unto those in the Old Testament by the
(h) He denies that manna was the true heavenly
bread, and says that he himself is the true bread, because he feeds the true
and everlasting life. And as for (1 Corinthians
10:1-5), where Paul calls manna spiritual food, it does not contradict
what is said here, for Paul joins the thing signified with the sign: but in
this whole disputation, Christ deals with the Jews after their own opinion and
conceit of the matter, who thought of the manna only in terms of physical
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread i
of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me
shall never thirst.
(i) Which has life and gives life.
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will
in no wise cast out.
(8) The gift of faith proceeds from the free
election of the Father in Christ, after which everlasting life necessarily
follows: therefore faith in Christ Jesus is a sure witness of our election,
and therefore of our glorification, which is to come.
6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine k
own will, but the will of him that sent me.
(k) See above in (John
6:40 And this is the will of
him that sent me, that every one which l
seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise
him up at the last day.
(l) Seeing and believing are joined together: for
there is another type of seeing which is general, which the demons have, for
they see: but here he speaks about that type of seeing which properly belongs
to the elect.
6:41 9 The
Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from
(9) Flesh cannot perceive spiritual things, and
therefore the beginning of our salvation comes from God, who changes our
nature, so that we, being inspired by him, may remain to be instructed and
saved by Christ.
It is written in the m prophets, And
they shall be all n taught of God. Every
man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
(m) In the book of the prophets, for the Old
Testament was divided by them into three general parts: into the law, the
prophets, and the holy writings.
(n) That is, they will be children of the Church,
for so the prophet Isaiah expounds it in (
54:13); that is to say, ordained to life, See Geneva,
and therefore the knowledge of the heavenly truth is the gift and work of God,
and does not rest in any power of man.
6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, o
save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
(o) If only the Son has seen the Father, then it
is only he that can truly teach us and instruct us.
I am that bread of life.
(10) The true use of sacraments is to ascend from
them to the thing itself, that is, to Christ: and by the partaking of him
alone we get everlasting life.
This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and
(p) He refers to himself when he speaks these
6:51 11 I
am the q living bread which came down
from heaven: if any man r 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.
(11) Christ being sent from the Father is the
selfsame unto us for the getting and keeping of everlasting life, as bread and
flesh, yea, meat and drink, are to the use of this transitory life.
(q) Which gives life to the world.
(r) That is to say, whoever is truly a partaker
of Christ, who is our food.
6:52 12 The
Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us [his]
flesh to eat?
(12) Flesh cannot make a difference between
fleshly eating, which is done by the help of the teeth, and spiritual eating,
which consists in faith: and therefore it condemns that which it does not
understand: yet nonetheless, the truth must be preached and taught.
6:53 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 s no life in you.
(s) If Christ is present, life is present, but
when Christ is absent, then death is present.
As t the living Father hath sent me, and
I live by the u Father: so he that
eateth me, even he shall live by me.
(t) In that Christ is man, he receives that power
which quickens and gives life to those that are his, from his Father: and he
adds this word "the" to make a distinction between his Father and
all other fathers.
(u) Christ means that although he is man, yet his
flesh can give life, not by its own nature, but because his flesh lives by the
Father, that is to say, sucks and draws out of the Father that power which it
has to give life.
Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard [this], said, This is an
hard saying; who can hear it?
(13) The reason of man cannot comprehend the
uniting of Christ and his members: therefore let it worship and revere that
which is better than itself.
It is the x spirit that quickeneth; the
flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and
[they] are life.
(14) The flesh of Christ therefore quickens us,
because he that is man is God: and this mystery is only comprehended by faith,
which is the gift of God, found only in the elect.
(x) Spirit, that is, that power which flows from
the Godhead causes the flesh of Christ (which is otherwise nothing but flesh)
both to live in itself and to give life to us.
From that [time] many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
(15) Such is the malice of men, that they bring
about their own destruction, even in hearing the very doctrine of salvation,
but there are a few who believe through the singular gift of God.
16 Jesus answered them, Have not I
chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
(16) The number of the professors of Christ is
very small, and among them also there are some hypocrites, and those worse
than all others.