John 6:1
After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
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(1) After these things . . .—Allowing an undefined interval, which is filled up by the earlier Gospels. We need not adopt the purely arbitrary supposition that a portion of the Gospel between John 5, 6 has been lost, nor yet connect them in immediate order of time. For St. John the discourse is that for which the whole is recorded. The exact sequence of events is by him left undetermined.

Went over the sea of Galileei.e., crossed over from Galilee to the eastern side of the lake.

Sea of Tiberias.—Comp. John 21:1; but the phrases are not precisely the same. There it is simply “sea of Tiberias.” Here it is “sea of Galilee, of Tiberias,” the latter term being either an alternative rendering for Greek readers (comp. Note on John 1:28), or a limitation to that part of the lake which was opposite to Tiberias. We shall find reason to believe that the last chapter of the Gospel should be regarded as an appendix, and the present passage may mark the transition between the older names for the lake which meet us in the other Gospels, and the later name, which meets us for the first time in St. John, but was afterwards common in Greek writers. The town itself is named in the New Testament only in this John John 6:23. It was on the west of the lake, and is the present well-known Tabarîyeh. Built by Herod the Tetrarch, it was, in accordance with the Herodian policy of courting Rome, named after the Emperor Tiberius. Eusebius tells us that it was commenced in the fourteenth year of Tiberius, which is itself an uncertain date (comp. Note on John 2:20); but we may accept it as placing the building in the time of our Lord, and as explaining that the name of the town does not meet us in the earlier Gospels, while it has at a late date, and at all events for Greek readers, extended to the lake.

John 6:1-4. After these things — The history of between ten and eleven months is to be here supplied from the other evangelists; Jesus went over the sea of Galilee — Luke tells us (Luke 9:10) he went with his disciples into a desert belonging to Bethsaida: of the reason of which, see notes on Matthew 14:13-14; Mark 6:30-32. And a great multitude followed him — Eagerly desiring to hear so divine a teacher; because they saw his miracles, wrought on them that were diseased — And were struck with the power and goodness which he manifested in performing them. And Jesus went up into a mountain — That he might be heard and seen with the greater advantage; and there he sat with his disciples — And the multitude about him. And the passover was nigh — This circumstance, together with the observation made John 6:10, that there was much grass in the place, shows that the spring was now far advanced, and therefore determines the time of the following miracle with sufficient precision.

6:1-14 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.Jesus went over - Went to the east side of the sea. The place to which he went was Bethsaida, Luke 9:10. The account of this miracle of feeding the five thousand is recorded also in Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17. John has added a few circumstances omitted by the other evangelists. CHAPTER 6

Joh 6:1-13. Five Thousand Miraculously Fed.

(See on [1787]Mr 6:31-44).John 6:1-14 Christ feedeth five thousand men with five loaves and

two fishes.

John 6:15-21 He withdraweth himself from the people, who would

have made him a king, and walketh on the sea.

John 6:22-29 The multitude flocking to him, he reproveth their

carnal views, and requireth their faith in him whom

God hath sent.

John 6:30-59 They ask a sign like that of the manna in the

wilderness; he declareth himself to be the bread of

life from heaven, and that none can live but by

eating his flesh and drinking his blood.

John 6:60-65 Many of his disciples taking offence thereat, he

showeth his meaning to be spiritual.

John 6:66-71 Many leaving him, Peter in the name of the twelve

professes stedfast faith in him: Jesus pronounces

one of them to be a devil.

Some good time (some think near a year) after the passages in the former chapter Christ went over the lake of Galilee (for the Jews called all great collections of waters seas); it is also called the lake of Tiberias, and the lake of Gennesaret, Luke 5:1. These waters received their name from the whole province whose coast they washed, so they were called

the sea of Galilee; or the particular shore or cities they washed, so they are sometimes called

the sea of Tiberias, sometimes the lake of Gennesaret. It appeareth by Mark 6:31, that he went upon the apostles coming to give him an account of what they had done and taught.

After these things,.... After Christ's curing the man at Bethesda's pool, and the vindication of himself for doing it or the sabbath day, and for asserting his equality with God; near a year after these things: for these were done at the feast of the passover, and now it was near another; and what is related here, was after the death of John the Baptist, and when the disciples had returned from preaching in the several cities and towns, where Christ afterwards went, and had given an account of their success; see Matthew 14:12. Quickly after the passover was ended, Christ departed from Jerusalem, and went into Galilee, and preached in the several cities and towns in those parts, and wrought many miracles: and after these things, in process of time,

Jesus went over the sea of Galilee; the same with the lake of Gennesaret, Luke 5:1;

which is the sea of Tiberias; and is frequently so called by the Jewish writers (x), who often make mention of , "the sea of Tiberias"; and by other writers, it is called the lake of Tiberias (y); Pliny, who calls it the lake of Genesara (z), says,

"it was sixteen miles long, and six broad, and was beset with very pleasant towns; on the east were Julias and Hippo, and on the south Tarichea, by which name some call the lake, and on the west Tiberias, wholesome for the hot waters.''

And these are the waters which the Jews call , or, the hot baths of Tiberias (a); and from the city of Tiberias built by Herod, and called so in honour of Tiberius Caesar, the sea took its name.

(x) T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 81. 2. & Bava Bathra, fol. 74. 2. Becorot, fol. 55. 1. Megilla, fol. 5. 2. & 6. 1. Moed. Katon, fol. 18. 2. & T. Hieros. Kilaim, fol. 32. 3. & Erubin, fol. 25. 2.((y) Solin, c. 48. Pausan. l. 5. p. 298. (z) Lib. 5. c. 15. (a) T. Hieros. Peah, fol 21. 2. & Sheviith, fol. 38. 4. Kiddushin, fol. 61. 1. R. Benj. Itinerar. p. 53.

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.

John 6:1. The account of the Feeding is the same with that given in Matthew 14:13 ff., Mark 6:30 ff., Luke 9:10 ff., and serves as the basis of the discourse which follows, though Schweizer denies that John 6:1-26 proceed from John. The discrepancies in matters of detail are immaterial, and bear witness to the independence of John’s account. The author of this narrative, according to Baur, must have appropriated synoptical material for the purpose of his own exposition, and of elevating into a higher sphere the miracle itself, which in the Synoptics did not go beyond the supply of temporal needs. The historical connection with what precedes is not the same in John and in the Synoptics, and this must be simply acknowledged. To introduce more or less synoptical history into the space implied in μετὰ ταῦτα (Ebrard, Lange, Lichtenstein, and many), is not requisite in John, and involves much uncertainty in detail, especially as Matthew does not agree with Mark and Luke; for he puts the mission of the disciples earlier, and does not connect their return with the Miraculous Feeding. To interpolate their mission and return into John’s narrative, inserting the former at chap. John 5:1, and the latter at John 6:1, so that the disciples rejoined Jesus at Tiberias, is very hazardous; for John gives no hint of it, and in their silence concerning it Matthew and John agree (against Wieseler and most expositors). According to Ewald, at a very early date, a section, “probably a whole sheet,” between chap. 5 and 6, was altogether lost. But there is no indication of this in the text, nor does it form a necessary presupposition for the succeeding portions of the narrative (as John 7:21).

μετὰ ταῦτα] after these transactions at the feast of Purim, chap. 5.

ἀπῆλθεν] from Jerusalem; whither? πέραν τ. θαλ., κ.τ.λ., tells us. Thuc. i. 111. 2, ii. 67. 1 : πορευθῆναι πέραν τοῦ Ἑλλησπόντου; Plut. Per. 19; 1Ma 9:34; and comp. John 6:17. To suppose some place in Galilee, of starting from which ἀπῆλθεν is meant (Brückner, Luthardt, Hengstenberg, Godet, and earlier critics),

Capernaum, for example,—is, after John 5:1, quite arbitrary. Ἀπῆλθε πέραν, κ.τ.λ., rather implies: ἀπολιπὼν Ἱεροσόλυμα ἦλθε πέραν, κ.τ.λ. Comp. John 10:40, John 18:1.

τῆς Τιβερ.] does not imply that He set sail from Tiberias (Paulus), as the genitive of itself might indicate (Kühner, II. 160), though this use of it does not occur in the N. T.; it is the chorographical genitive (Krüger, xlvii. 5. 5–7), more closely describing τῆς θαλάσσ. τῆς Γαλιλ. (comp. Vulg. and Beza: “mare Galilaeae, quod est Tiberiadis”). Therefore “on the other side of the Galilaean lake of Tiberias,” thus denoting the southern half of the lake, on the western shore of which lay the town built by Antipas, and called after the emperor Tiberias. Comp. John 21:1. In Pausan. v. 7. 3, the entire lake is called λίμνη Τιβερίς. In Matthew and Luke we find the name θάλασσα τῆς Γαλιλ. only; in Luke 5:1 : λίμνη Γεννησαρέτ. Had John intended τῆς Τιβεριάδος not as a more exact description of the locality, but only for the sake of foreign readers (Lücke, Godet, Ewald, and others), it would have been sufficient to have omitted τῆς Γαλιλ. (comp. John 21:1), which indeed is wanting in G. and a few other witnesses.

John 6:1-13. The miracle narrated.

1–15. The Sign on the Land; Feeding the Five Thousand

1. After these things] See on John 5:1. How long after we cannot tell; but if the feast in John 5:1 is rightly conjectured to be Purim, this would be about a month later in the same year, which is probably a.d. 29. But S. John is not careful to mark the precise interval between the various scenes which he gives us. Comp. the indefinite transitions from the First Passover to Nicodemus, John 2:23, John 3:1; from Nicodemus to the Baptist’s discourse, John 3:22; John 3:25; from that to the scene at Sychar John 4:1-4; &c., &c. The chronology is doubtless correct, but it is not clear: chronology is not what S. John cares to give us. The historical connexion with what precedes is not the same in the four accounts. Here it is in connexion with the miracles at Bethesda and probably after the death of the Baptist (see on John 5:25): in S. Matthew it is in connexion with the death of the Baptist: in S. Mark and S. Luke it is after the death of the Baptist, but in connexion with the return of the Twelve. The notes on Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:40-44, and Luke 9:10-17 should be compared throughout.

went over the sea of Galilee] To the eastern or north-eastern shore. The scene shifts suddenly from Judaea (John 5:18) to Galilee; but we are told nothing about the transit.

which is the sea of Tiberias] (Here, John 6:23 and John 21:1 only). Added to describe the sea more exactly, especially for the sake of foreign readers. Another slight indication that this Gospel was written outside Palestine: inside Palestine such minute description would be less natural. Perhaps we are to understand that the southern half of the lake is specially intended; for here on the western shore Tiberias was situated. The name Tiberias is not found in the first three Gospels. The town was built during our Lord’s life time by Herod Antipas, who called it Tiberias out of compliment to the reigning Emperor; one of many instances of the Herods paying court to Rome. Comp. Bethsaida Julias, where this miracle took place, called Julias by Herod Philip after the infamous daughter of Augustus. The new town would naturally be much better known and more likely to be mentioned when S. John wrote than when the earlier Evangelists wrote.

John 6:1. Μετὰ ταῦτα, after these things) John intimates, that here the history of many months is to be sought from the other Evangelists. [The feeding of 5000 men is the only miracle between the baptism and passion of Christ, which John describes in common with the other Evangelists; by this very fact confirming their narrative. However he presents to our view some things, not noticed by the rest, ch. John 6:22-70; and indeed, especially, the intimation of the intervening Passover (John 6:4), which if neglected, the leap from the preceding Pentecost to the following Feast of Tabernacles would have been too great (namely, it would have flown over an interval of a year and a half), nor would the possibility have been given of any harmony of the Evangelists being constructed. This is the one and only feast of the Passover, between the Lord’s baptism and His passion, in which He did not go up to Jerusalem, John 7:1-2, etc.—Harm., p. 331.]—τῆς) The Sea of Galilee, expresses the whole sea: the Sea of Tiberias, a part.

Verses 1-71. -

2. Christ declares himself to be the Sustainer and Protector of the life of which he is the Source. Verses 1-15. -

(1) The supply of human wants illustrated by a well known "sign" of power. Chronological difficulties beset our treatment of this miraculous narrative with its varied consequences and results. Many curious and even violent measures have been resorted to with a view to solve them. Some have supposed that ch. 5. and 6. have been inverted in order, and that thus the presence of our Lord in Galilee, mentioned in ch. 4, would account for the statement of ch. 6:1 and the journey to Jerusalem of ch. 5:1, be brought into closer relation with ch. 7. We cannot see the faintest indication or evidence whatever of any such treatment of the Gospel by the authors of the manuscripts or the quotations or versions. The evangelist has just completed his record of the conflict between Jesus and the recognized leaders of the people in Jerusalem. He had introduced our Lord's own vindication (based on the highest grounds) of his own right to deal with the rabbinical restrictions upon sabbath duty. These grounds were the eternal relations of his own inner nature and consciousness with the Father's. On no occasion had Christ made the uniqueness of his personal claims and powers more explicit. He called for entire obedience to his word as the condition of eternal life, and as the key to the Scriptures of God. If we had no synoptic tradition to give a closer historical setting of the narrative which here follows, we might take Meyer's view, and say that the "after these things" (μετὰ ταῦτα) of ver. 1 referred to the discourse of the previous chapter, and that the "departed" (ἀπῆλθε) referred to Jerusalem as its starting point; and, notwithstanding the extreme awkwardness of the expression, we might have supposed that "the other side" of the sea was the other side of it from Jerusalem (cf. John 10:40; John 18:1). Some commentators appear to have a morbid fear of reducing a difficulty, or seeing a harmony, between these four narratives. One thing is dear, that they are independent of one another, are not derived from each other, do each involve side views of the event distinct from the rest, and yet concur in the same general representation. The synoptists, however, place the "feeding of the multitudes" in the midst of a group of most remarkable and varied events. It is for them one page out of many descriptive of the Galilaean ministry, and which ultimately led to grievous departure from and diminution of the temporary popularity of the great Prophet. It would seem that bitter hostility, as well as excited enthusiasm, was checkering his early ministry. The synoptics take pains to show the combined effect of his self-revelations

(1) on his own fellow townsmen (Luke 4:16-30; Mark 6:1-6);

(2) upon his own family (Mark 3:19-21, 31-35);

(3) upon the populace (Matthew 15:31);

(4) upon Herod Antipas (Mark 6:14-16);

(5) upon the twelve disciples (Matthew 16:13-28);

(6) upon John the Baptist (Matthew 11:3); and

(7) upon the Father in heaven (Matthew 17:1-13 and parallel passages).

The canvas is crowded with scenes, the signs and wonders of healing and teaching are abundant. The blind see, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the daemons are exorcised. The twelve apostles are chosen the sermon on the mount is delivered, the twelve are sent forth in every direction with the proclamation of the coming of the kingdom and with the call to repentance, and an excitement produced by the mission of the twelve had proved to be extensive. The crowds throng him; they have no time even to eat bread. And we judge from Luke 9:10 that this very excitement, amounting to feverish self-glorification on their part, appears to have been one at least of our Lord's motives for the temporary withdrawal of his disciples from the multitudes. Another event of singular significance contributed to the same result. Matthew (Matthew 14:12) takes the opportunity of describing the tragic close of John's imprisonment, and relates how John's "disciples came to tell Jesus" of the bloody deed. A sudden panic was felt by the multitude. A crisis had arrived. The great Prophet must avenge his forerunner's death or lose his hold upon the affections of the fickle mass. The people appeared to the eyes of Jesus (Mark 6:34) "as sheep without a shepherd." He had compassion on them, but he must make them understand the nature of the royalty as well as of the realm of the Messianic King. The true grounds for Christ's retirement are not incompatible, but mutually explanatory. The death of the renowned forerunner, of the idol of the multitude brought vividly to the mind of the Lord his own death - the foreseen sacrifice of himself. The conviction that he must give himself to a violent death - give his flesh to the hungry and starving multitude, made the decadence of his popularity in Galilee a certain consequence of any right apprehension of his mission or claims. This mastery over the powers of nature which his compassion for others prevailed on him to manifest would be misunderstood. The moral and mystic meaning of it was far more important than the superficial inferences drawn by the Galilaeans. The real lesson of the miracle would grievously offend them. But it sank deeply into the apostolic mind, and hence the various aspects which it presents in the fourfold narrative. John selects this one specimen of the Galilaean ministry on account of its typical character, and records the high and wonderful results which the Lord educed from this high and striking manifestation of his power. There is, moreover, remarkable correspondence between the fifth and sixth chapters in this respect, that Galilee, like Jerusalem, recoils from the highest claims of Jesus, and developed an antagonism or an indifference as deadly if not as malignant as that which has displayed itself in the metropolis. "He came to his own, and his own received him not." Verse 1. - After these things (see note on John 5:1; not μετὰ τοῦτο, which would mean after this particular scene in Jerusalem) - i.e. after a group of events, one of which may have been this visit to the metropolis, but which included also the early Galilaean ministry as presented in the synoptic narrative, and with which John and his readers were familiar - Jesus departed from the side of the sea on which he was, and as we may judge (ver. 24) from Capernaum, now known to be his chief resting place, most probably the home of his mother, brothers, and nearest friends, to the other side of the sea of Galilee, of Tiberias; or, of the Galilaean sea of Tiberias. It does not follow that the evangelist had the southernmost portion of the lake in his mind (as Meyer suggests). Tiberius was the showy city built by Herod Antipas on the western shore of the lake. Herod called the place after the name of Tiberius Caesar, and conferred upon it many Gentile characteristics. From the time of Antipas to that of Agrippa it was the chief town of the tetrarchy. After the destruction of Jerusalem it became for centuries the site era celebrated school of Hebrew learning, and one of the sacred cities of the Jews. Jewish tradition makes it the scene of the last judgment and the resurrection of the dead. It was a modern city, which may account for the omission of its name in the synoptic narrative. Christ never visited it that we know cf. He preferred the fishing village of Bethsaida, or the more thoroughly Hebrew aspect of Capernaum. Nevertheless, "Tiberias" gave to Gentile cars the best and least dubious designation of the lake. So Pausanias (5, 7, 3) calls it the λίμνη Τιβερίς ("the lake Tiber"). Luke (Luke 5:1) calls it the "Lake Gennesaret," and Matthew and Mark "the Sea of Galilee" without any other epithet. John (John 21:1) calls it "the Sea of Tiberias." This multiplicity of lake names, due in the first instance to some peculiarity of the including shores, finds easy parallels in Derwentwater and Keswick Lake, and in the "Lake of the Four Cantons," called also" Lake of Luzern," etc. Christ sought retirement from the surging crowd, and for himself and his excited disciples a time of rest and communion with the Father, who had accepted, as part of his Divine plan, the awful sacrifice of the life of John the Baptist. He went "by ship," says Matthew (Matthew 14:13) to a desert place. In Luke's account this solitary place was towards or near (εἰς) a city called "Bethsaida." It is difficult to believe that this is the familiar Bethsaida or "fishing town," situated a little south of Capernaum, because we are met in the account of Mark (Mark 6:45) with the statement that, after the miracle, the disciples were urged to go to the other side of the lake (πρὸς Βηθσαι'δάν) towards Bethsaida. This, compared with ver. 17, is obviously in the same direction as Capernaum. Indeed, the term, "Bethsaida of Galilee," referred to in ch. 12:21 (as the Apostle Philip's residence), seems used with the view of distinguishing it from some other place of the same name. Now, Josephus ('Ant.,' 18:02, 1) mentions a Bethsaida Julias situated on the northeastern extremity of the lake. The "ruins of this city may be still seen on the rising hilly ground which here retires somewhat from the river and the lake. It was situated in Gaulonitis, in the tetrarchy of Philip, and therefore beyond the jurisdiction of Herod, yet not far from the road into Peraea by which the Galilaean pilgrims to the metropolis might be expected to travel. The silence of these hills provided the opportunity of retirement. But it was frustrated by the eager excitement of the multitude. John 6:1The sea

See on Matthew 4:18.

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