And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he said, I came down from heaven?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Is not this Jesus?—Here is something definite. He has spoken of being the Bread of Life, and of the Bread from Heaven. Putting together John 6:33; John 6:35; John 6:38, they in effect quote His words. But His natural descent and birth was in its outer facts well known, though all its mysteries were still stored in the mother’s heart, and waiting for the human life’s completion before they should be revealed. “Jesus Bar-Joseph” would be the name by which He was commonly called; Joseph and Mary had been known, probably, to many in the crowd; attention had now for more than a year been fixed on Him; and the genealogies would have been searched and local inquiries made. All these indications point to an ordinary life in a Galilean village. It is human, and therefore they think it cannot be divine. They can conceive a coming in the clouds of heaven: that would be a miracle and tell of God; but the birth of a child is no miracle! the existence of life itself—and such an existence, and such a life—is no sign! All this they cannot read. “How does He then say, I am come down from heaven?” (Comp. John 6:38 and Note on John 7:27.)
he said, I am the bread, &c.—Missing the sense and glory of this, and having no relish for such sublimities, they harp upon the "Bread from heaven." "What can this mean? Do we not know all about Him—where, when, and of whom He was born? And yet He says He came down from heaven!"
whose father and mother we know? for Capernaum and Nazareth were not at a great distance from each other; so that Joseph and Mary might be personally known by the inhabitants of Capernaum, and they might be intimately acquainted with them.
How is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? they could not tell how to reconcile these things, not knowing either his miraculous conception and incarnation, nor his divine sonship; otherwise his being made of a woman, or born of a virgin on earth, is consistent with his being the Lord from heaven.And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)42. Is not this] Or, Is not this fellow; the expression is contemptuous.
whose father and mother we know] ‘We know all about His parentage; there is nothing supernatural or mysterious about His origin.’ Nothing can be inferred from this as to Joseph’s being alive at this time: the probability is that he was not, as he nowhere appears in the Gospel narrative; but this cannot be proved.
how is it then, &c.] Better, How doth He now say, I am come down.John 6:42. Οἴδαμεν) we are personally acquainted with [novimus], or rather, we know about [scimus]. Joseph was dead; but the remembrance of him remained.—πῶς, how) So John 6:52, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”—οὖν, then) On this very account they ought to have thought, that there was in Jesus something higher [than what outwardly appeared].Verse 42. - They were saying (ἔλεγον) - the one to the other, murmuring in critical and angry mood, and not necessarily in his hearing; for he did not reply to their express assertion, and proceeded rather to enlarge and reiterate the great theme which he had already deduced in the hearing of his disciples. Weiss (vol. 3:6) thinks that John has here introduced an amplification which belongs to a totally different connection. Is not this Jesus, the Son of Joseph - (cf. John 1:46; Luke 4:22). We cannot argue from this passage whether Joseph was living still or had died. The murmuring is explicable on either hypothesis. The traditionary impression is that "Joseph" had fallen asleep. Either hypothesis is compatible with the language - whose father and mother we know? They may have merely meant "whose reputed parentage is well understood," without implying that either one or other no longer lived. The fact of his parentage was admitted. This is an apparent point blank contradiction to the descent of his humanity from heaven. The supposition of the truth of the immaculate and supernatural birth of Jesus is perfectly compatible with the ignorance of the "Jews" about it. This deep mystery of love could not be made matter of public discourse, nor do our narratives suggest that the fact itself was promulgated until after the Resurrection. Whatever was apprehended by the sacred society of the hill country of Judaea, or laid up in the breasts of Joseph and Mary and of the few who pondered these strange things in their holy circle at Nazareth, we know not. The synoptic narratives, though they assert the mystery, do not give the smallest indication that it was ever referred to. or made an article of faith, by Jesus himself The difficulty that besets this passage is rather the silence of John, both here and elsewhere, concerning the manner of the Lord's birth. He, who knew the mother of Jesus, and must have been acquainted with the language of Matthew and Luke, says nothing in vindication of the words of the Lord. Here was an opportunity for putting the "Jews" in the wrong, by endorsing the synoptic account which he did not embrace. We have already seen (cf. notes, John 1:14; John 3:1-6) that the underlying presupposition of the miraculous birth is the best explanation of his own words. Still his silence is remarkable. It is best accounted for by the fact that he was evermore looking to the moral, spiritual significance of all the miracles he records, as well as of those to which he vaguely refers. He is content with the words of Jesus. They are the surest explanation of the synoptic narrative. The Jews, on the basis of their general knowledge, are struck with consternation. How (now) therefore doth he say, I have come down out of heaven? This was not an irrational nor a malignant criticism. This question must have been asked by those who heard for the first time the stupendous claim. It would not seem that these interrogations were put in the heating of our Lord. His "answer" goes back to the "question" as it shaped itself in the hearts of the disciples, and involves some of the deepest truths which he had previously communicated to Nicodemus. He demands and must have a new humanity, a regenerated audience, subjects for his kingdom who are born anew or from above. He who came down from heaven insists that his true disciples must become what he is - heaven born, must have a life out of heaven. They must be "of God," they must "hear" and "learn of the Father," must be drawn by Divine hands, if they would or should come to him. No lip-homage, no fickle desire for the Messianic kingdom, would satisfy him.
Not implying necessarily that Joseph was still alive, but merely the fact that Joseph was recognized as the father of Jesus.
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