Berean Bible Study Notes

John 6



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We ended last time with three claims of Jesus, all of which support His deity - and all of which show that indeed, He was claiming to be God:

Claim #1: The Son can do whatever the Father does. (That must have gone over well)

Claim #2: The Son will raise the dead and give life to whoever He wants to. (Both spiritual and physical)

Claim #3: All judgment has been given to the Son.

Jesus is claiming to be in charge of "Judgment Day," or the "Day of the Lord." Think about how these three sounded to the Jewish leadership! Amazing. Jesus also says that all of these things are true so that:

John 5:23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

John, chapter 5, is a very good chapter to remember if you are in a discussion with someone who claims that Jesus never said He was God - or who says that Jesus was just the "son of God." Again, remember the words of C.S. Lewis. He said there are only three possibilities. Either Jesus knew He wasn't God and was therefore a liar. Or, He only thought He was God, and was a raving lunatic. In either case, He deserves no honor. He deserves no worship. He should not be thought of as even a "good" man, let alone worthy of following. The only other possibility is that they are true, and that Jesus is God and truly deserves our honor, our worship, our obedience, our very lives.



Jesus feeds 5,000

John 6:1 (NKJV) After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.

4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.

7 Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little."

8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, 9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"

10 Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."

This is one of the very few things that is in all four Gospels, so we're supposed to pay attention to it. Here are the other accounts:

Matthew 14:8 So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, "Give me John the Baptist's head here on a platter." (You remember this story, right? King Herod was having a party and asked his wife's daughter to dance for him and his guests. They were so pleased that he said he'd give her anything she wanted. At her mother's request, she asked for the head of John the Baptist)

9 And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. 10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. 11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. 15 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food."

16 But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."

17 And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish."

18 He said, "Bring them here to Me." 19 Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. 21 Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.



Mark 6:27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb.

30 Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. 31 And He said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.

33 But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him. 34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things. 35 When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, "This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. 36 Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat."

37 But He answered and said to them, "You give them something to eat." And they said to Him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?"

38 But He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see."

And when they found out they said, "Five, and two fish."

39 Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties. 41 And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. 42 So they all ate and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. 44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.



Luke 9:7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him; and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again. 9 Herod said, "John I have beheaded, but who is this of whom I hear such things?" So he sought to see Him.

10 And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. 11 But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing. 12 When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, "Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here."

13 But He said to them, "You give them something to eat."

And they said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people." 14 For there were about five thousand men.

Then He said to His disciples, "Make them sit down in groups of fifty." 15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.

16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17 So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.



OK, let's go back to the John account:

John 6:1 (NKJV) After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.

This is now more than a year after Jesus met the woman at the well in Samaria. That was sometime between late November and mid-February. Then, in chapter 5, Jesus went to Jerusalem for "a feast of the Jews," which could have been any of the three main ones - Passover, Pentecost or Tabernacles. Now, it's near Passover again. The big event, which is not mentioned here in John, is that John the Baptist has just been beheaded. The disciples had been with Jesus as He traveled throughout Galilee, teaching about the kingdom. Although it's not mentioned in John, that teaching was in the form of parables (see the chapters immediately before Matthew 13). Then, Jesus had sent the twelve disciples out to teach also:

Mark 6:7 And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. 12 So they went out and preached that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.

Now, the disciples are back. Everyone is tired and hungry. John the Baptist has just been killed. So, they go by boat over the sea of Galilee to a mountainous area near Bethsaida. If you remember, three of the disciples are from there:

John 1:44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida.

Lots of people followed on foot, because they had seen His miracles and His healing of the sick. That's why they came. It's the same today. People will go great distances for a chance to be well. That's where Martin Luther King's widow was when she died a few years ago - seeking help from an alternative medicine clinic in Mexico. So, these folks are not thinking "this is the savior." It's more like the crowds who used to go to "miracle night" at the old local Assembly of God church here in town.

Only the Gospel of John says that the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. There's more going on here than just a time reference. You need to understand that everything Jesus does is for a purpose. It's no accident that Passover was near. What is a big part of Passover? Unleavened bread. What does leaven represent? Sin. So, what does unleavened bread speak of? Sinlessness. For seven days, the Jews weren't supposed to have any leaven in their houses. Why seven? Seven speaks of completeness. So, you've got a picture of complete sinlessness. What (or who in this case) is the fulfillment of the Feast of Unleavened bread? Jesus is.

Now, back to physical bread. What was the physical, unleavened bread that simply appeared for the people?

Exodus 16:4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you.

God called it "bread from heaven." The people called it "manna," which means "what is it?" Now, keep all that in mind as we continue:

John 6:5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.

7 Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little."

8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, 9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"

Why Philip? Well, for one thing, Philip was from the area. So were Andrew and Peter. It's kind of funny, though, that in the Bible, where there is a list of disciples, Philip is always listed 5th:

Matthew 10:2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Mark 3:16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, Philip , Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Luke 6:13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip , Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Acts 1:13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.

He was called fifth, so perhaps that's the only reason. If you look at the lists, though, you'll see that other names are not in the order called. Some commentators believe that five seems to be the number of grace, as here:

Genesis 43:34 When portions were served to them from Joseph's table, Benjamin's portion was five times as much as anyone else's. So they feasted and drank freely with him.

It's easier to tell with some numbers than others. In any case, there will be a lot of "fives" in this story. Let's go on:

John 6:5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.

7 Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little."

8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, 9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"

This was a test, as it clearly says. What kind of a test? The simple test was just to trust Jesus to provide, somehow. This was also a Scriptural test. They don't have enough money to buy bread, but the Messiah offers more than physical bread, all without cost:

Isaiah 55:1 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come , buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.

In the other Gospels, Jesus says, You give them something to eat. The disciples' response is confusion, because they didn't have enough money to feed everyone. Then, in Mark 6, Jesus said, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they found out they said, "Five, and two fish." Here, in John, it explains that Andrew has found a boy who brought some lunch with him - five loaves and two little fish. The bread was barley, poor man's food:

Nelson's Bible Dictionary says (Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1995. Nelson's new illustrated Bible dictionary. T. Nelson: Nashville):

John 6:10 Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

In Luke, Jesus it says, Make them sit down in groups of fifty. So, five thousand men (plus women and children) sat down in groups of fifty. There are those fives again!

Now, there's more to the Now there was much grass in the place than just a comfortable place to sit. Through the Holy Spirit, John says nothing without a reason. He's the only one that specifies that there is much grass. I believe it looks back to this:

Deuteronomy 11:15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.

That word "satisfied", is saba` (saw-bah') and it means to be full, satiated, filled to the brim.

Now, if you look up "grass," you'll find a lot of verses that say that "men are like grass." You'll also find many verses about "the grass withers." These verses have both:

Isaiah 40:6 A voice says, "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?" "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."

It is just so amazing that EVERYTHING in this account ties together. Besides being a place to sit, there was much grass, may also refer to the many people who should want eternal life more than physical bread. I hope you can see how this all goes together as we go on:

John 6:11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."

That word "filled" in the NKJV or "enough" in the NIV, is in the superlative form. They were more than filled; they were stuffed! They couldn't hold any more. The five little loaves had multiplied exceedingly, so that twelve baskets were filled. We'll come back to that nothing is lost part.

So, what does twelve mean in the Bible? If you've read the Old Testament, what should immediately come to mind are the twelve tribes of Israel. Some will try to say that twelve is the number of the church because of the twelve apostles, but remember that those apostles were Jewish. The number that Jesus seems to use with the church is seven, as in the complete church. There were seven letters, seven stars, seven golden lampstands:

Revelation 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.

Plus, these folks that have just eaten are not going to be outstanding examples of believers, as we'll see. So, if twelve alludes to the Jews, then I believe this is showing that Jesus can supply everything and more that Israel needs. The Gospel of John does not refer to the other great feeding of a multitude. In that case there were seven loaves, 4,000 men (plus women and children) and seven baskets left over. Four seems to represent the entire earth and all of creation. (Four headwaters, four corners of the earth, four winds, four living creatures, etc) So, in that instance, Jesus is showing that He can completely supply everything needed and more for all the rest of the world, too. Here's kind of a wrap-up of that:

Mark 8:19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" "Twelve," they replied. 20 "And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand , how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" They answered, "Seven." 21 He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"

The disciples were to understand that Jesus could completely supply the needs of everyone, Jew and Gentile.

What did the people mean when they said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."? Well, they had just been fed miraculously, as had Israel in the wilderness with manna. They were thinking that Moses had supplied the manna, and Moses had said:

Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.

Before we leave this section, let's note a couple of things. In Mark's account of this, Jesus asked the disciples, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." Then, He used what they had and multiplied it until it was more than enough. He does this for us all the time. He takes what faith we have, and He makes it enough. He doesn't give us more than we can bear. Who distributed the food? Yet, who did the work? Again, it is the same with us. Jesus asks us to "distribute the bread of life," to others, but He is the one who makes it work, who makes it enough.

Jesus had compassion on the people, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and He had them sit down on the green grass. He wanted for them as this Psalm speaks:



Psalm 23:1 (NIV) The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. 



Or, if you're like me, and remember this being read to you from the King James:

Psalm 23:1 (KJV) The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Feeding the five thousand was the fourth miracle of seven in the Gospel of John. Now, notice that last verse and the next one:

John 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world." 15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.

They believe He is the prophet who was to come. Now, they want to make Him king. What is missing in their view of Him? He is prophet, priest and king. Before He can be their king, He must first be their priest. He cannot allow that to happen (His time is not yet come), so He leaves. It's helpful to look at all the accounts:



Jesus Walks on the Sea

John 6:15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.

16 Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. 18 Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. 19 So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. 20 But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." 21 Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

Here are the other accounts of the same thing:

Matthew 14:22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.

27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."

28 And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."

29 So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"

31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."



Mark 6:45 (NKJV) Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away.

The NIV actually reads better:

Mark 6:45 (NIV) Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.

Mark 6:46 (NKJV) And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. 47 Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. 48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. 49 And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." 51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. 52 For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.

OK, get in your mind what's going on, here. The people have just been fed - glutted is probably a better word. They decide this must be the prophet that Moses told them to look for. So, the crowd starts to buzz. There are well over 5,000 people there when you include the women and children. Crowds are a weird thing. They can get a "mob mentality" going which feeds on itself. They're about to force Jesus into being their king. The word used is "harpazo," which may sound familiar to you. It means to snatch away forcefully.

Jesus, however, knows exactly what's about to happen. He commands His disciples to get back to the boat (remember that they're in a solitary place) and get to Bethsaida. They're in an area near Bethsaida, but they aren't AT Bethsaida. The word used implied that they went reluctantly, as you can imagine. Jesus is going to catch up with them on foot later. He goes up to the mountain to pray. The Gospel of John only talks about Jesus praying one time, and that is His prayer of intercession before His crucifixion, but both Matthew and Mark mention that He is going to pray.

He has told them to go to Bethsaida (Mark 6:45), but once they get on the water, a great wind begins to blow. It's a huge wind, and it's contrary. That means it's blowing in the opposite direction from where they want to go. So, instead of easily getting the little way they were supposed to go, close to the shore, now they've been pushed out into the middle of the lake. It's totally dark, 3:00 in the morning, and they've been rowing 8 or 9 hours. They're getting nowhere fast against this wind. They're exhausted, and the boat is getting tossed about by the waves.

Jesus sees them straining at the oars (Mark 6:48), even though they are 3-4 miles out and it's totally dark, so He walks to them on the water. The disciples were tired even before the whole "feeding" episode (Mark 6:31), and now they've been up all night rowing against this mighty wind. When they see something coming towards them on the water, of course they are terrified. Jesus calls out and reassures them. Matthew records Peter and his water walking adventure. After that, Jesus gets into the boat, the terrible wind vanishes and the boat is suddenly at Capernaum.

The Sea of Galilee is smaller than Lake Winnebago here in Wisconsin. Lake Winnebago is about 30 miles long and over 10 miles across at its widest point. The Sea of Galilee is about 13 miles long and 7-8 miles across at its widest point. It is surrounded by mountains on all but its southern tip. Winds can sweep down the mountains and quickly stir up storms in the fairly shallow water (although at 150 feet deep, it's a whole lot deeper than Lake Winnebago).

From Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1995. Nelson's new illustrated Bible dictionary. T. Nelson: Nashville):

Pictures of the Sea of Galilee

Why does the Sea of Galilee have sudden storms?

The Sea of Galilee

John 6:15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.

16 Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. 18 Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. 19 So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. 20 But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." 21 Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

Verses 15 and 16 are happening at the same time, as you can see by the other accounts. In the Greek, what Jesus said to them was "I am. Do not be afraid." It was at that point that Peter says (in the Jacqui paraphrase) "If that's who you are, Lord, than make me walk on the water, too." Jesus tells Peter, "Come," in the form of a command. I always picture Him laughing as He does it.

This is the fifth miracle in the Gospel of John, but it is a 4-part miracle. Jesus walks on the water, Jesus makes Peter walk on the water, the huge wind vanishes, and the boat is instantly at the shore. Matthew and Mark include a couple other things that John doesn't:

Matthew 14:32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshipped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."

Mark 6:51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. 52 For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.

In Mark, that greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure means they were just astounded, surprised beyond all measuring - the greatest amount of shock and amazement that you can have. Yet, they shouldn't have been, because they'd just seen Him feed thousands of people from five little buns and two tiny fish.

OK, now before we leave this portion, some things to note. Jesus knew what the people were thinking - that they were going to force Him to be king. He could see the disciples in trouble, even though they were miles away and it was 3:00 in the morning. Did He not know there would be this great wind? Did He not realize that He was sending the disciples right into it? Of course He knew. He went up on the mountain, alone, leaving the disciples to face whatever would come. It was a little preview of a time in the not too distant future when He would ascend and they would need to face whatever would come without Him. Except. Except that they were never out of His sight, either on the water in the night or in the world after He ascended to His Father. He does the very same for us. Remember what He said?

Matthew 28:20(b) "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Here is an article from Jon Courson that I think you'll like (Courson, J. 2003. Jon Courson's Application Commentary . Thomas Nelson: Nashville, TN):

OK, let's move on!

The Bread from Heaven

John 6:22 (NKJV) On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone - 23 however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks - 24 when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You come here?"

So, the people who had eaten bread stayed overnight to see what would happen the next day. The New Living Translation explains this very clearly:

John 6:22 (NLT) The next morning, back across the lake, crowds began gathering on the shore, waiting to see Jesus. For they knew that he and his disciples had come over together and that the disciples had gone off in their boat, leaving him behind. 23 Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten. 24 When the crowd saw that Jesus wasn't there, nor his disciples, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him. 25 When they arrived and found him, they asked, "Teacher, how did you get here?"

As usual, Jesus skips all the preamble and gets to the heart of the matter:

John 6:26 (NKJV) Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him."

Their minds are on the food they ate the day before, and now they want Jesus to keep taking care of them that way. He's telling them, "No, that's not what I'm here for." He was there to give them eternal life. Their minds immediately go the Law, and God's requirements of them:

John 6:28 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"

Jesus is telling them that the job of the Law is done. The one they were supposed to recognize is here. He's talking "give," and they're talking "do."

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."

Look how they answer Him:

John 6:30 Therefore they said to Him, "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"

They're basically saying, "Look, buddy, the bread yesterday was great, but it wasn't any different than what Moses did. And Moses was the one who gave us the Law to keep. Who are you to tell us something different?"

John 6:32 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

Their response sounds promising:

John 6:34 Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always."

But, Jesus knows they do not really believe:

John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

This is the first of seven "I am" comparisons in the Gospel of John. We could dwell and dwell on this, and I could say all kinds of things that have occurred to me when reading it. Here are a couple. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. He's speaking spiritually, but is He also speaking physically? I think He is, based on this passage and others:

Matthew 6:31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

And, what do you do with a statement like of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day? Remember how Jesus had the disciples gather up all the fragments, so that nothing would be lost? To me, this is so meaningful, in so many ways. It reminds me of this verse:

1 Corinthians 10:17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

I encourage you to read these verses in John again and again, and ask God to teach you in a real and deep way what they mean. I think there's so much there that I don't want to minimize it by trying to explain it. I honestly believe it will do more for you if you just read it over and over and ask God to make it part of you.



John 6:41 The Jews then complained about 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 says, 'I have come down from heaven'?"

Remember that "the Jews" in John always refers to the leadership. This is all taking place in Galilee, the region that Jesus was raised in. They saw Him grow up and have no idea what He means when He says, 'I have come down from heaven.'

John 6:43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, "Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

There's a ton of stuff packed into that verse. It makes you think of this:

1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

And those with the Holy Spirit are sealed, which guarantees our future resurrection and inheritance:

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

2 Corinthians 1:21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.



John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

There's a lot there, too. They were being taught by God, right there. And, also, if they had been taught by God, they would come to Jesus and believe.

John 6:46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.

We've talked about this before. It wasn't God the Father that appeared to people in the Old Testament. It was Jesus.

John 6:47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."

To "eat of this bread" means to believe. Jesus is not speaking of the Lord's Supper here or in the passages that follow. If you truly "eat" of Jesus, then you are truly believing in Him and His Words. When you have that faith, you will live forever. Jesus is the bread of life. He is telling them here that He will give His life in exchange for the life of the world.

John 6:52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

53 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

I know this sounds like He's talking about the Lord's Supper, but He isn't. Look again at what Jesus says:

John 6:53 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

If this meant the Lord's Supper (Holy Communion, Eucharist), then not only is it a salvation requirement (which would be works), but a sort of magic formula to get to heaven. This would contradict very clear passages elsewhere in the Bible, such as this one:

1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you - unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

Nowhere does the Bible speak of the bread of Communion as Jesus' flesh. He says, "This is my body." If Holy Communion was required for Salvation and actually gives salvation as would be implied by verse 54 (if it referred to Communion, that is), then Jesus is suddenly saying something different than He has been building up in the entire book of John so far. Remember what He said the work was? "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." That is what He means by the eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood - to believe that Jesus was the Savior, the Messiah.

Here's what Gary Baumler says in The People's Bible: John (Baumler, Gary. The People's Bible, John, 1997, Northwestern Publishing House, Milwaukee)



CHRIST IN THE PASSOVER

Christ in the Capernaum Synagogue



It is a very hard thing that Jesus was saying, as his disciples said:

John 6:60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?"

John 6:61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?

I have to say that I don't fully understand the point here.

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

This is such an amazing verse. He is saying that the words ARE spirit and ARE life. His very words create that in you. That's why God's Word is different from any other book in the world. No other book has the power to actually change you from the inside out. That word "life" is zoe {dzo-ay'}. It means (from BlueLetterBible):

1) life

a) the state of one who is possessed of vitality or is animate

b) every living soul

2) life

a) of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypostatic "logos" and to Christ in whom the "logos" put on human nature

b) life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever

 

John 6:64 But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."

66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"

68 But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

70 Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" 71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.







The Berean Bible Study of the Gospel of John




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Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. - Acts 17:11

© 2012 This study was written by Jacqui Komschlies and last updated 2/1/2012. If you have questions, comments, corrections or concerns, please write me.

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