John 6 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of 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,

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 6:67.

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.