Wesley's Notes on the Bible
After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
6:1 After these things - The history of between ten and eleven months is to be supplied here from the other evangelists. Mt 14:13; Mr 6:32; Lu 9:10.
And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
6:3 Jesus went up - Before the people overtook him.
And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
6:5 Jesus saith to Philip - Perhaps he had the care of providing victuals for the family of the apostles.
And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him,
There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
6:15 He retired to the mountain alone - Having ordered his disciples to cross over the lake.
And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea,
6:16 Mt 14:22; Mr 6:45.
And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.
And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.
So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.
But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.
Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.
The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone;
6:22 Who had stood on the other side - They were forced to stay a while, because there were then no other vessels; and they stayed the less unwillingly, because they saw that Jesus was not embarked.
(Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)
When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.
And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?
Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
6:26 Our Lord does not satisfy their curiosity, but corrects the wrong motive they had in seeking him: because ye did eat - Merely for temporal advantage. 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, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth - For bodily food: not for that only not chiefly: not at all, but in subordination to grace, faith, love, the meat which endureth to everlasting life. Labour, work for this; for everlasting life. So our Lord expressly commands, work for life, as well as from life: from a principle of faith and love. Him hath the Father sealed - By this very miracle, as well as by his whole testimony concerning him. See Joh 3:33. Sealing is a mark of the authenticity of a writing.
Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
6:28 The works of God - Works pleasing to God.
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
6:29 This is the work of God - The work most pleasing to God, and the foundation of all others: that ye believe - He expresses it first properly, afterward figuratively.
They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
6:30 What sign dost thou? - Amazing, after what they had just seen!
Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
6:31 Our fathers ate manna - This sign Moses gave them. He gave them bread from heaven - From the lower sublunary heaven; to which Jesus opposes the highest heaven: in which sense he says seven times, John 6:32,33,38,50,58,62, that he himself came down from heaven.
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
6:32 Moses gave you not bread from heaven - It was not Moses who gave the manna to your fathers; but my Father who now giveth the true bread from heaven. Psa 78:24.
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
6:33 He that - giveth life to the world - Not (like the manna) to one people only: and that from generation to generation. Our Lord does not yet say, I am that bread; else the Jews would not have given him so respectful an answer, John 6:34.
Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
6:34 Give us this bread - Meaning it still, in a literal sense: yet they seem now to be not far from believing.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
6:35 I am the bread of life - Having and giving life: he that cometh - he that believeth - Equivalent expressions: shall never hunger, thirst - Shall be satisfied, happy, for ever.
But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
6:36 I have told you - Namely, John 6:26.
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
6:37 All that the Father giveth me - All that feel themselves lost, and follow the drawings of the Father, he in a peculiar manner giveth to the Son: will come to me - By faith. And him that thus cometh to me, I will in nowise cast out - I will give him pardon, holiness, and heaven, if he endure to the end - to rejoice in his light.
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
6:39 Of all which he hath already given me - See Joh 17:6,12. If they endure to the end. But Judas did not.
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
6:40 Here is the sum of the three foregoing verse s. This is the will of him that sent me - This is the whole of what I have said: this is the eternal, unchangeable will of God. Every one who truly believeth, shall have everlasting life. Every one that seeth and believeth - The Jews saw, and yet believed not. And I will raise him up - As this is the will of him that sent me, I will perform it effectually.
The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down 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?
Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
6:44 Christ having checked their murmuring, continues what he was saying, John 6:40. No man comes to me, unless my Father draw him - No man can believe in Christ, unless God give him power: he draws us first, by good desires. Not by compulsion, not by laying the will under any necessity; but by the strong and sweet, yet still resistible, motions of his heavenly grace.
It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
6:45 Every man that hath heard - The secret voice of God, he, and he only believeth. Isa 54:13.
Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
6:46 Not that any one - Must expect him to appear in a visible shape. He who is from or with God - In a more eminent manner than any creature.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
I am that bread of life.
Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
6:50 Not die - Not spiritually; not eternally.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
6:51 If any eat of this bread - That is, believe in me: he shall live for ever - In other words, he that believeth to the end shall be saved. My flesh which I will give you - This whole discourse concerning his flesh and blood refers directly to his passion, and but remotely, if at all, to the Lord's Supper.
The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
6:52 Observe the degrees: the Jews are tried here; the disciples, John 6:60 - 66, the apostles, John 6:67.
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
6:53 Unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of man - Spiritually: unless ye draw continual virtue from him by faith. Eating his flesh is only another expression for believing.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
6:55 Meat - drink indeed - With which the soul of a believer is as truly fed, as his body with meat and drink.
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
6:57 I live by the Father - Being one with him. He shall live by me - Being one with me. Amazing union!
This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
6:58 This is - That is, I am the bread - Which is not like the manna your fathers ate, who died notwithstanding.
These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
6:60 This is a hard saying - Hard to the children of the world, but sweet to the children of God. Scarce ever did our Lord speak more sublimely, even to the apostles in private. Who can hear - Endure it?
When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
6:62 What if ye shall see the Son of man ascend where he was before? - How much more incredible will it then appear to you, that he should give you his flesh to eat?
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
6:63 It is the Spirit - The spiritual meaning of these words, by which God giveth life. The flesh - The bare, carnal, literal meaning, profiteth nothing. The words which I have spoken, they are spirit - Are to be taken in a spiritual sense and, when they are so understood, they are life - That is, a means of spiritual life to the hearers.
But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
6:64 But there are some of you who believe not - And so receive no life by them, because you take them in a gross literal sense. For Jesus knew from the beginning - Of his ministry: who would betray him - Therefore it is plain, God does foresee future contingencies: But his foreknowledge causes not the fault, Which had no less proved certain unforeknown.
And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
6:65 Unless it be given - And it is given to those only who will receive it on God's own terms.
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
6:66 From this time many of his disciples went back - So our Lord now began to purge his floor: the proud and careless were driven away, and those remained who were meet for the Master's use.
Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
6:68 Thou hast the words of eternal life - Thou, and thou alone, speakest the words which show the way to life everlasting.
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
6:69 And we - Who have been with thee from the beginning, whatever others do, have known - Are absolutely assured, that thou art the Christ.
Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
6:70 Jesus answered the - And yet even ye have not all acted suitable to this knowledge. Have I not chosen or elected you twelve? - But they might fall even from that election. Yet one of you - On this gracious warning, Judas ought to have repented; is a devil - Is now influenced by one.
He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.