John 6:16
And when even was now come, his disciples went down to the sea,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) And when even was now come.—Comp. Note on Matthew 14:15.

6:15-21 Here were Christ's disciples in the way of duty, and Christ was praying for them; yet they were in distress. There may be perils and afflictions of this present time, where there is an interest in Christ. Clouds and darkness often surround the children of the light and of the day. They see Jesus walking on the sea. Even the approaches of comfort and deliverance often are so mistaken, as to become the occasions of fear. Nothing is more powerful to convince sinners than that word, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest; nothing more powerful to comfort saints than this, I am Jesus whom thou lovest. If we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, though the night be dark, and the wind high, yet we may comfort ourselves, we shall be at the shore before long.See this miracle of walking on the sea explained in the notes at Matthew 14:22-33. Compare Mark 6:45-52.16, 17. when even was come—(See on [1791]Mr 6:35).

entered into a ship—"constrained" to do so by their Master (Mt 14:22; Mr 6:45), in order to put an end to the misdirected excitement in His favor (Joh 6:15), into which the disciples themselves may have been somewhat drawn. The word "constrained" implies reluctance on their part, perhaps from unwillingness to part with their Master and embark at night, leaving Him alone on the mountain.

went—rather, "were proceeding."

toward Capernaum—Mark says (Mr 6:45), "unto Bethsaida," meaning "Bethsaida of Galilee" (Joh 12:21), on the west side of the lake. The place they left was of the same name (see on [1792]Mr 6:32).

Jesus was not come to them—They probably lingered in hopes of His still joining them, and so let the darkness come on.

This piece of history is related much more fully by the other evangelists, Matthew 14:23-33 Mark 6:46-52. See Poole on "Matthew 14:23", and following verses to Matthew 14:33. See Poole on "Mark 6:46", and following verses to Mark 6:52. And when even was now come,.... The last of the evenings, when night was coming on; for the first of the evenings took place before they sat down to eat, when the above miracle was wrought; see Matthew 14:15.

His disciples went down unto the sea; of Galilee, or Tiberias, to the sea side; and this was by the order, and even constraint of Christ, who would have them go before him, that he might be clear of the multitude, and have an opportunity for solitary prayer, See Gill on Matthew 14:22, Mark 6:45.

{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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 6:16-21. Comp. Matthew 14:22 ff., Mark 6:45 ff., which do not refer to a different walking on the sea (Chrysostom, Lücke).

ὡς δὲ ὀψία ἐγένετο] According to John 6:17, the time meant is late in the evening, i.e. the so-called second evening, as in Matthew 14:24, from the twelfth hour until the (σκοτία, John 6:17. See on Matthew 14:15.

εἰς τὸ πλοῖον] into the ship, in which they had crossed over (John 6:1). In it they now return to the western side of the lake. So Luthardt rightly. But it does not follow that Jerusalem could not have been the place of departure in John 6:1; John 6:1 rather implies that they had travelled from Jerusalem to the western shore of the lake, and had crossed over from thence.

ἤρχοντο] They were upon their return journey, coming across, but the coming was not yet completed. Lampe and Paulus erroneously speak of their actual arrival, what follows being taken as supplementary. In Mark 6:45 Bethsaida is named (on the western shore). An immaterial discrepancy. See on Matthew 14:22-23.

καὶ σκοτίαδιηγείρετο] describing how little they could have expected that Jesus would come after them.

John 6:19. ὡς σταδίουςτριά κοντα] indicative of an eye-witness, and almost agreeing with μέσον in Matthew 14:24, for the lake was forty stadia or one geographical mile wide (Josephus, Bell. iii. 10. 7).

θεωροῦσι and ἐφοβήθ.] Correlatives; quite unfavourable to the naturalistic interpretation, according to which ἐπὶ τ. θαλ. is said to mean not on the sea, but towards the sea (so Paulus, Gfrörer, and many, even B. Crusius; but see, on the contrary, note on Matthew 14:25).

John 6:21. ἤθελον, κ.τ.λ.] comp. John 1:44; but observe the Imperfect here. After Jesus had reassured them by His call, they wish to take Him into the ship, and straightway (while entertaining this ἐθέλειν) the ship is at the land, i.e. by the wonder working power of Jesus, both with respect to the distance from the shore, which was still far off, and the fury of the sea, which had just been raging, but was now suddenly calmed. The idea that Jesus, to whom the disciples had stretched out their hands, had just come on board the ship, introduces a foreign element (against Luthardt and Godet), for the sake of bringing the account into harmony with Matthew and Mark. The discrepancy with Matthew and Mark, according to whom Christ was actually received into the ship, must not be explained away, especially as in John a more wonderful point, peculiar to his account, is introduced by the καὶ εὐθέως, etc., which makes the actual reception superfluous (Hengstenberg, following Bengel, regards it as implied). An unhappy attempt at harmonizing renders it, “they willingly received Him” (Beza, Grotius, Kuinoel, Ammon, etc.; see, on the contrary, Winer, p. 436 [E. T. p. 586]; Buttmann, N. T. Gk. p. 321 [E. T. p. 375]), which cannot be supported by a supposed antithesis of previous unwillingness (Ebrard, Tholuck), but would be admissible only if the text represented the will and the deed as undoubtedly simultaneous. See the passages given in Sturz, Lex. Xen.; Ast, Lex. Plat. I. 596. John would in that case have written ἐθέλοντες οὖν ἔλαβον.

εἰς ἣ ὑπῆγον] to which they were intending by this journey to remove.

The miracle itself cannot be resolved into a natural occurrence,[228] nor be regarded as a story invented to serve Docetic views (Hilgenfeld); see on Matthew 14:24-25. The latter opinion appears most erroneous, especially in the case of John,[229] not only generally because his Gospel, from John 1:14 onwards to its close, excludes all Docetism, but also because he only introduces, with all brevity, the narrative before us by way of transition to what follows, without taking pains to lay emphasis upon the miraculous, and without adding any remark or comment, and consequently without any special doctrinal purpose; and thus the attribution of the occurrence of any symbolical design, e.g. prophetically to shadow forth the meetings of the risen Lord with His disciples (Luthardt), or the restless sea of the world upon which Christ draws nigh to His people after long delay (Hengstenberg), is utterly remote from a true exegesis. Weizsäcker’s narrowing of the event, moreover,—abstracting the miraculous element in the development of the history,—into an intervention of the Lord to render help, does such violence to the text, and to the plain meaning of the evangelist, that the main substance of the narrative would be thus explained away. The design, however, which Baur propounds, viz. that the greedy importunity of the people might be set forth, only to experience the cold hand of denial, and to bring out the spiritual side of the miracle of the feeding, would not have required this miraculous voyage in order to its realization.

[228] Ewald probably comes to that conclusion, for he takes θεωροῦσι, ver. 19, to denote a mere vision (phantasmagoria?), and ἐφοβήθησαν to signify disquietude of conscience: “He finds them not pure in spirit.”

[229] Who, moreover, in the deviations from Matthew and Mark, possesses the deciding authority (against Märcker, p. 14).16–21. The Sign on the Lake; Walking on the Water

16. when even was now come] S. Matthew (Matthew 14:15; Matthew 14:23) makes two evenings; this was in accordance with Jewish custom. It is the second evening that is here meant, from 6 p.m. to dark.

went down] From Matthew 14:22 and Mark 6:45 we learn that Christ ‘constrained’ His disciples to embark: this points either to their general unwillingness to leave Him, or to their having shared the wish to make Him a king by force. S. Luke omits the whole incident.Verses 16-21. -

(2) The mastery of the forces of nature - a "sign" of love. Verses 16, 17. - Now when it became evening. This must have been the "second evening;" for the miracle itself was said to he wrought when the day began to decline (Matthew 14:15; Luke 9:12). The first evening (ὀψία) lasted from three to six p.m., the "second evening" stretched from sundown to darkness (σκοτία). The night was drawing on. His disciples went down from the higher ground or grassy slopes to the sea (ἐπὶ τὴν θάλασσαν), and having embarked in a ship, they were making for the other side of the sea to Capernaum; or as Mark (Mark 6:45) says, "towards Bethsaida." This occasions no difficulty to those who remember that there were two Bethsaidas - one, "Bethsaida Julias," on the northeastern end of the lake; and the other near to Capernaum, called "Bethsaida of Galilee." The two towns were so near that the latter Bethsaida might reasonably he regarded as the port of Capernaum. Even (ὀψία)

An adjective; ὄψιος, late with ὥρα, hour, understood.

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