And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, Rabbi, when came you here?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Rabbi, when camest thou hither?—This discourse took place in the synagogue at Capernaum (John 6:59). They are amazed to find Him here. When and how could He have come? He had not gone in the boat with the disciples, and no other boats had crossed but those in which they themselves came. On the title Rabbi, see Note on John 1:38.John 6:25-27. When they had found him on the other side — Namely, in the synagogue of Capernaum, as appears from John 6:59; they said unto him — As soon as the worship was over, and even before they quitted the place; Rabbi, when camest thou hither? — They ask this question because, as Jesus did not go on the preceding evening with his disciples, they expected to have found him on the other side of the sea, and could not conceive when he could come, or what imaginable means he could have of crossing the water. Jesus, modestly waiving the recital of those extraordinary circumstances which attended his passage, diverted the discourse to a more important and edifying subject; and knowing, by an intimate penetration of their very hearts, that they were governed only by carnal motives in this attendance upon him, humble and zealous as it might appear, he said — With great solemnity, Verily, ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles — Because, having been eye-witnesses of the miracles which I performed, you are convinced by them that I am a divine teacher, and are now disposed to hearken unto and obey my doctrine: but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled — And have from thence concluded, that you shall gain great secular advantages by following me: having been once fed, you expect that I will feed you frequently by a miracle; and the satisfaction you have found in that meal has made you conceive great hopes of temporal felicity under my administration. These are the views with which you are following me; but you are entirely mistaken in them, for your happiness does not consist in the meat that perisheth, neither is it that sort of meat which the Messiah will give you. 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. Labour not for the meat which perisheth — For bodily food, or for any merely temporal blessing; not for that only, not chiefly: not at all, but in subordination to divine knowledge and grace, faith and love; the meat that endureth to everlasting life — Which, by invigorating all the faculties of the soul, and making it wise and good, holy and happy, renders it incorruptible and immortal, entitled to, and prepared for, everlasting felicity. Which meat, or which life, the Son of man shall give you — If with sincerity, earnestness, and faith, you apply to him for it. It is his gift, χαρισμα, a gift of grace, Romans 6:23 : and yet we are commanded to labour for it, as if it were to be procured by our own industry, and sold upon that valuable consideration. But when we have laboured with the utmost diligence for it, still we have not merited it as our hire, but the Son of man gives it. And it is an encouragement, that he who has the giving of it is the Son of man, our kinsman and brother; for, in consequence of that, we may hope that the sons of men, who seek it and labour for it, shall not fail to obtain it. For him hath God the Father sealed — By this very miracle, as well as by his whole testimony concerning him. Having given him authority, he has given us assurance of it; having intrusted him with unlimited powers, he hath satisfied us by undoubted proofs that he has done so. Sealing a writing is a mark of the authenticity of it. God the Father sealed his Son, or manifested that he had commissioned him to be the Teacher, Redeemer, Saviour, and Governor of his church, by causing his Holy Spirit to rest on him, by the voice from heaven uttered once and again, and by the testimony he bore to him in signs and wonders.
they said, &c.—astonished at His being there, and wondering how He could have accomplished it, whether by land or water, and when He came; for being quite unaware of His having walked upon the sea and landed with the disciples in the ship, they could not see how, unless He had travelled all night round the head of the lake alone, He could have reached Capernaum, and even then, how He could have arrived before themselves.When camest thou hither? A curious and impertinent question, to which he doth not think fit to give an apposite answer, but at first letteth them know, that he knew their hearts, and what designs they had in following him; which was not to see the miraculous effects of the Divine power, the credentials of his commission from heaven, and to receive him as the true Messiah, and believe his doctrine; but they came upon so low an account as to be fed by him. John 6:59.
They said unto him, Rabbi; or "master", a name now much in use with the Jewish doctors, and by which they delighted to be called; and these men being convinced by the miracle, that Christ was that prophet that should come, honour him with this title, saying,
when camest thou hither? since he did not go with his disciples, and there was no other boat that went off the night before, but that in which they went; and they came over in the first that came out that morning, and he did not come in any of them; and therefore it was amazing to them, both when and how he came, since they could not devise how he should get there by shipping, and also how he should so soon get there on foot.And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 6:25-26. Πέραν τ. θαλάσσ.] in the synagogue at Capernaum, John 6:59. But πέραν τ. θαλ. has importance pragmatically, as showing that it formed a subject of amazement to them to find Him already on the western shore.
πότε] when? for it must have been, at the earliest, after the arrival of the disciples (John 6:22); and in this lay the incomprehensible how? no other boat having crossed, and the journey round by land being too far. They have a dim impression of something miraculous; “quaestio de tempore includit quaestionem de modo,” Bengel. Jesus does not enter upon their question, nor gratify their curiosity, but immediately charges them with the unspiritual motive that prompted them to seek Him, in order to point them to higher spiritual food. For γέγονας, venisti, see on John 1:15.
οὐχ … ἀλλ.] not “non tam … quam” (Kuinoel, etc.); the ὅτι εἴδετε σημ. is absolutely denied. Comp. Fritzsche, ad Marc. Exc. II. p. 773. In the miraculous feeding they should have seen a divinely significant reference to the higher Messianic bread of life, and this ought to have led them to seek Jesus; but it was only the material satisfaction derived from the miraculous feeding that brought them to Him, as they hoped that He would further satisfy their carnal Messianic notions.
σημεῖα] They had seen the outward miracle, the mere event itself, but not the spiritual significance of it,—that wherein the real essence of the σημεῖον, in the true conception of it, consisted. The plural is not intended to include the healings of the sick, John 6:2 (Bengel, Lücke, and most others), against which see John 6:4, but refers only to the feeding, as the antithesis ἀλλʼ ὅτι shows, and it is therefore to be taken generically, as the plural of category.
 See, concerning all the occurrences, ver. 26 ff., Harless, Luther. Zeitschrift, 1867, p. 116 ff.25. on the other side of the sea] This now means the western shore; in John 6:22 it meant the eastern. From John 6:59 we have the locality fixed very distinctly as the synagogue at Capernaum.
when camest thou] Including how? they suspect something miraculous. Christ does not gratify their curiosity: if the feeding of the 5000, which they had witnessed, taught them nothing, what good would it do them to hear of the crossing of the sea? ‘Camest Thou hither’ is literally ‘hast Thou come to be here:’ comp. John 1:15.John 6:25. Πότε, when) [They ask in astonishment, How could He accomplish] in so short a time, so long a way? The question as to time includes the question as to the manner.Verse 25. - When they had found him on the other side of the sea (other side than that on which the miracle took place, and yet near Capernaum. This contradicts the exposition which would make the site of the feeding to be on the Western side), they said unto him, Rabbi, when earnest thou? and how happens it that thou art here? The πότε ω΅δε γέγονας; is difficult to translate. The when? practically includes the how? also. The difficulty lay in the time. They were sure that Jesus had not started before the disciples, and they knew that there was no method by which the lake itself would have been available, and they want explanation. The news of his crossing the water after some fashion that would ally him to Moses, Joshua, Elijah, may easily have got disseminated, one report or another being rapidly circulated.
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