John Chapter 6

Published Aug. 30, 2023, 12:46 p.m.

RECAP Chapter 5: Jesus finds and heals a man cripple for 38 years.  He does this on the Sabbath.  Religious leaders point to Sabbath breaking as proof of not being from God and appear to ignore the miraculous healing.  Religious leaders recognize that Jesus is making himself equal with God and for that reason seek to kill him.  Jesus discusses his own authority as God's son and the 2 kinds of resurrection (to life and to death).  Jesus claims 4 witnesses to the truth of his claims:

John the Baptist  
His Works  
The Father  
Moses / The Scriptures  

Ch. 6 Preview:  
Feeding the 5000 is one of the few stories that is captured in all 4 gospels. (Matt. 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17)  Consider why John wanted to include this in his gospel.  This is a particularly long chapter in John's gospel.  Jesus will related the feeding of the 5000 to the "manna" (bread from heaven) that fed the children of Israel who wandered in the desert, and to his own body as spiritual food.  His words make his hearers uncomfortable.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii[a] worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” 15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

  • Andrew brings the boy to Jesus.  (Its only in John's gospel that we learn that it was a boy.)  It is Passover time (Spring time) "There is much grass in the place".
  • 5000 Men.  Could be 15,000 people if average of 3 bodies per "man".  200 Days Wages would not feed everybody.  Phillip seems to be the analytical disciple.  

  • Insecurity  or Security:  Which end of the spectrum are the disciples on at the moment of vs. 5?  Where do you tend to fall on that spectrum?

  • Consider verse 6:  Does John convey this as positive, negative or neutral?  What would happen if we adopt this perspective and really believed it?

  • 12 Baskets left over.  Collected by Jesus' command so that "nothing may be lost".  What is demonstrated by this super-abundance?  Why was it important to collect and measure the left overs?  
  • Is our salvation secure?  (John 3:35 John 10:29) Why is it important to know this?  What are some ways to reinforce this?
  • Why would they try to make Jesus King by force?  Why would Jesus not want that?

Jesus Walks on Water

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles,[b] they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

  • Walking on water follows Feeding the 5000 in Matt, and Mark.

I Am the Bread of Life

22 On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23 Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread[c] the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus[d] said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

  • Why do the people seek Jesus (according to Jesus v. 26)?
  • What is the mood of the crowd from vs. 22 to 34 ?
  • This is one of Jesus "I am" statements that are particular to John's gospel;  I am the bread of Life.

  • The crowd wants to "See and believe" (vs. 30.)  Jesus tells them "you have seen me and yet do not believe" (vs. 36).  Clearly, seeing is not believing. Why do you think that feeding 5000 men wasn't enough of a sign?  

  • Consider the concepts of  "appetites" and "expectations".  What appetites are active?  What expectations are present?  What is the result? 
  • Communion has been particularly divisive in church history (and remains so today).  Why do you think that is?

  • At the extremes, the elements of communion may be made into an actual "idol" or completely rejected as worthless.  Does this discourse of Jesus encourage a change in how you view communion?  Should communion be more important or less important to you (the answer will depend on the person answering it.)

  • There are things that Jesus makes clear and things that Jesus does not make clear.  What are some of each?
  • Jesus Makes Clear Jesus does not make clear.
  • 1 and 2 Cor. Provide a template for church discipline; both when to use it and how:  Paul encourages self-examination before taking communion. Why?  To avoid God's Judgement that might include sickness and death.  Earlier in that letter, Paul outlines what "judgement" from the church might look like and the hopeful result of it.  In his second letter, he ecourages eager forgivness and acceptance for the repentant sinner so that we are not overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.

    1 Cor. 11:27-32 says "
    27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.[a] 31 But if we judged[b] ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined[c] so that we may not be condemned along with the world."
    I Cor 5: 2(b)-5 says " Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord."
    2 Cor. 2:5-8 " Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him."

The Words of Eternal Life

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.

  • Grumbling and rejection was some of the apparent result of Jesus claim to be the "Bread of Life".   When Jesus asks the "twelve" how does Peter answer?   (This is the first time John uses "the twelve" to refer to the disciples named in the other gospels. -- He assumes you know what he means.)

  • We have something valuable to offer the listening world.  Why are we so timid about it?

Wild Tangent:  Proverbs 30
Agur  Jakeh  Ithiel  Ucal 

The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, the pronouncement. The man declares to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal:

The words of (The Collector) the son of (the Pious One), the pronouncement. The man declares (God is with us), (God is with us) and (is Consumed):
I am certainly more stupid than any man, And I do not have the understanding of a man;
3 Nor have I learned wisdom, Nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One.
4 Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His Son’s name? Surely you know!


  1. John 6:7 denarius was a day's wage for a laborer
  2. John 6:19 Greek twenty-five or thirty stadia; a stadion was about 607 feet or 185 meters
  3. John 6:58 Greek lacks the bread
  4. John 6:59 Greek He
skip_nextJohn Chapter 7 (and end of Ch.6)
  • Introduction to John's Gospel

  • John Chapter 1

  • John Chapter 2

  • John Chapter 3

  • John Chapter 4

  • John Chapter 5

  • John Chapter 6
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  • John Chapter 7 (and end of Ch.6)

  • John Chapter 8

  • John Chapters 9 and 10

  • John Chapter 10 and 11

  • John Chapter 12

  • End of John 12 and Chapter 13

  • John Chapter 14

  • John Chapter 15 and 16

  • John Chapter 17

  • John Selections from Ch. 18 and 19

  • John Chapter 20 and 21