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Book of John
Chapter 6

The Gospel of John for Youth
Commentary by Pastor Ron Beckham

John Chapter 6

(Words in red in the Scriptures are the words of Jesus)

Verse 1. "After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias)."

Jesus had talked with the religious leaders for a long time (see John Chapter 5) and now He left them and walked north with His disciples. He went to the Sea of Galilee, which was also called "Tiberias" or "Gennesaret". In Old Testament times, it was called the "Sea of Chinnereth".

Verse 2. "A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick."

A lot of people were following Him - not because they loved Him, but because they enjoyed watching Him do miracles. We are to trust Him and love Him, and not just follow Him just because we hope He will do something for us.

Verse 3. "Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples."

Jesus spent a lot of time with His disciples (students) just like He wants to have time with you. He loves you and wants you to come to Him in prayer - often.

Verse 4. "Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near."

Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, started before the Law was given through Moses, centuries before. Passover lasts for a week and Jewish people are not to work at their jobs during that time. Passover is described in Leviticus 23:5-8 (in the Old Testament).

Verse 5. "Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, 'Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?'"

About 5,000 men were present, and it is likely that women and children were with them. What would you do if God asked you to make dinner for about 15,000 people? Philip probably had no money, and even if he did have money, he would not know where to buy food for so many people.

Verse 6. "This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do."

It pleases God that your faith will be tested. It should please you too, because you want your faith (trust) to grow in Him (your faith will grow when it is tested). Jesus already knew how those thousands of people were going to be fed, but He wanted Philip (and the others) to learn to trust in the Lord.

Verse 7. "Philip answered Him, 'Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.'"

Philip was answering Jesus that it would cost a LOT of money to feed so many people, and even if they had a lot, it still would not be enough for them. Philip was worried about what would happen.

Verse 8. "One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him,"

Andrew was the one who led his brother Simon Peter to the Lord Jesus (John 1:40-42), and he was just as worried as Philip (see verse 7)

Verse 9. "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?"

Andrew had been trying to find out if any of the people with them had food, but all he found was a boy with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. He knew it would not be enough to feed thousands of people.

Verse 10, "Jesus said, 'Have the people sit down.' Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand."

Jesus told his disciples (students) to have the people sit down and get ready for dinner. It was an open area and they all just sat down on the grass (like a picnic). There were 5,000 men but there were women and children with them, and the true number was likely about 15,000 people.

Verse 11. "Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted."

A miracle was happening. There was almost no food for all those people, but Jesus gave thanks to God the Father for the food, and started handing it out to them. They could have as much as they wanted, and there would be more than enough.

Verse 12. "When they were filled, He said to His disciples, 'Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.'"

This is amazing. There was not enough food - only five loaves of bread and a couple of fish, but Jesus had just fed thousands of people, and there was food left over! And He told his disciples (students), "pick up what's left!"

Verse 13. "So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten."

Jesus' disciples (students) did what He said and picked up all the leftovers from dinner. There only had been five little loaves of bread and a couple of fish, but after Jesus fed the people, there were twelve baskets full of leftovers! It was a miracle!

Verse 14. "Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, 'This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.'"

In Deuteronomy 18:15 (in the Old Testament), Moses said God would bring "a Prophet like me", and in Acts 3:22, we see that the Prophet Moses spoke about is Jesus Christ. The people had been waiting for that Prophet and when they saw the miracles of Jesus, they decided He was Him. (And He is that Prophet).

Verse 15. "So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone."

Jesus did not come here to become a king of this earth. He came to be the Savior of the world; to die for you and for me. The people were going to grab Him and make Him be their king, and so He went off by Himself. We don't need more kings - we need Jesus.

Verse 16. "Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea,"

Jesus stayed by Himself for most of the day. His disciples (students) finally got tired of waiting for Him, and went down from "the mountain" to the Sea of Galilee.

Verse 17. "and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them."

The disciples had been waiting for the Jesus for what they thought was a LONG time. It was getting dark now and they were tired. They got into a boat (many of them had been fishermen) and got ready to sail to the town of Capernaum. And Jesus STILL had not come to them.

Verse 18. "The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing."

We were on a boat out on the Sea of Galilee last year. While we were out in the middle of the lake, a strong wind started to blow and the water got very rough. Much of the time, the sea (actually it's a lake) is very quiet; but sometimes it can become dangerous.

Verse 19. "Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened."

The disciples were trying to make headway against the waves of Galilee (which can become very large) and were working hard. Just then, they saw Jesus near them, walking on the water. That would be like seeing someone fly through the air without an airplane. The disciples were frightened.

Verse 20. "But He said to them, 'It is I; do not be afraid.'"

The good news is that Jesus is with us and we do not need to be afraid. Just like He calmed the disciples, He can take away our fears, also.

Verse 21. "So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going."

They had been afraid of Him when they saw Him walking on the water, and would have escaped if they could, but now they knew it was Jesus, and they let Him come into the boat. Notice that IMMEDIATELY they were at Capernaum. You can try to do something for years, and when Jesus is with you in what you're trying to do; SUDDENLY it will be done.

Verse 22. "The next day the crowd that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other small boat there, except one, and that Jesus had not entered with His disciples into the boat, but that His disciples had gone away alone."

The Sea of Galilee is not large and it had taken the disciples a long time to get to Capernaum. Many of the people at that place had been with Jesus and the disciples on the other side. They knew the disciples (students) went alone (Jesus had not sailed with them). How did Jesus get to Capernaum, they wondered?

Verse 23. "There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks."

Tiberius was a city on the west shore of the Sea of Galilee, which had a famous health resort. The people from there had received food (bread and fish) after Jesus thanked the Father and the food multiplied enough so that all could eat. They came in small boats, looking for Jesus because they wanted more (see verse 26).

Verse 24. "So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus."

The crowd of people (there must have been a lot of them) couldn't find Jesus, so they got back into their small boats and went to the town of Capernaum, still looking for Him.

Verse 25. "When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, 'Rabbi, when did You get here?'"

The crowd of people finally found Jesus at the town of Capernaum. They knew He had not taken a boat, and they asked Him, "Rabbi" ("teacher"), how and when did You get here to Capernaum?"

Verse 26. "Jesus answered them and said, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.'"

Sometimes people followed Jesus because He did miracles and they wanted to see what He would do. These people went to Him because they were hoping for another free meal. What we really need to do is follow Him because we love Him.

Verse 27. "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal."

People often spend their whole lives trying to get money to buy things (food, toys, houses, or whatever). It is OK to buy things but we need more than that. Jesus is the "bread of life" (verse 48) and He will feed you inside, in your heart. He gives food for your soul and will satisfy you.

Verse 28. "Therefore they said to Him, 'What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?'"

Like most people, they had been working hard, and they wondered, "How can we do work that would be pleasing to God?" Many people work HARD to please God, so this is a good question (the answer is in the next verse).

Verse 29. "Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.'"

God the Father sent God the Son (Jesus Christ) to this earth. When you believe in Jesus and trust in Him as your Savior, you have done the work that will please God.

Verse 30. "So they said to Him, 'What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?'"

These were the people that had seen Jesus feed thousands of men, women, and children, after He blessed a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. They had seen all the "signs" they needed and the truth is, they just did not WANT to believe.

Verse 31. "Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.'"

Back in the Book of Exodus when the people of Israel were hungry, God gave them "manna" (which means "what is it?") outside of their tents every morning. They just woke up, went outside, and there was breakfast! It was very healthy for them to eat; it was like bread, and it tasted good.

Verse 32. "Jesus then said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.'"

They thought the man Moses had given their ancestors "manna" (see verse 31) every day, but it was really God who gave it to them. God has something much more in store for us. He has given us Jesus, Who is the "Bread" that will satisfy your soul. He is the true "Bread" sent from heaven - to you.

Verse 33. "For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."

We think we're alive but we don't know LIFE until we meet the Lord Jesus. He is like bread that suddenly comes to a hungry man.

Verse 34. "Then they said to Him, 'Lord, always give us this bread.'"

The crowd of people that was listening to the Lord Jesus, liked what He was saying, and said they would "always" like to receive bread from heaven. We shall see in verse 36 that they did not understand what He was saying.

Verse 35. "Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.'"

Jesus Himself is the "Bread" you have always needed. Down inside of people is an empty place we try to fill but don't know how. Jesus will satisfy the hunger and thirst that is inside of you. He can make you feel glad. Just trust in Him.

Verse 36. "But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe."

People say, "If only I could see God - then I would believe. The crowd around Him had seen Jesus. He is God the Son - they had seen God but did not believe in Him. Seeing is nice but believing is better.

Verse 37. "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out."

When you come to Jesus, it means that God the Father has given you to God the Son as a special gift to Him. He is your gift and you are His. Jesus loves you and me, and you can trust that when you belong to Him, He will keep you safe - forever.

Verse 38. "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."

When Jesus was on earth, He TOTALLY followed the will of God the Father. We aren't very good about following orders, but He is. He was sent to die for the sins of the world and He did precisely that. God's will is that you will be SAFE in Christ Jesus (see verse 39).

Verse 39. "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day."

God the Father has given you and me to God the Son. If you trust in Jesus, you will NEVER be lost (because He loses nothing), and you’ll be raised to LIFE with Him on the last day. There is a "last" day, and when it comes, you and I will be safe, if we TRUST in Jesus Christ.

Verse 40. "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."

What is God's will for me? What must I do to be saved? It's all right here in this verse. God's will is that we BELIEVE in Jesus Christ and trust Him. If we do, we will have life that lasts forever. When the end of the world comes, we will be safe because we will be with Him.

Verse 41. "Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, 'I am the bread that came down out of heaven.'"

The people of that place happened to be Jews, but this is true of so many people. We think we know about Jesus, but we don't KNOW Him until we ask Him into our hearts. They were "grumbling" (complaining) about Him, but He really IS the "bread that came down from heaven."

Verse 42. "They were saying, 'Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, I have come down out of heaven?'"

They knew something about the parents of Jesus. They knew who His earthly parents were, but they did not understand He is the Son of God. Mary was His mother, but Joseph was His STEP father. Jesus’ Father is God.

Verse 43. "Jesus answered and said to them, 'Do not grumble among yourselves.'"

Most people spend a lot of time complaining about things. If they aren't complaining, they're THINKING about what they don't like. Jesus said to them and to us: "Don't waste your time beiing like that!" The Son of God has been given to us - We can have JOY in Him.

Verse 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."

Do you feel drawn to the Lord Jesus? Have you already come to Him? You are being drawn to Him by God the Father. When you are His, you won't need to fear death and you will live with Him - forever!

Verse 45. "It is written in the prophets, 'and they shall all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me."

Jesus quoted Isaiah 53:45 from the Old Testament, where it says, "all your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children." If we understand God's Word (the Bible), it is because we have been taught by God -and- We will come to Jesus Christ and trust in Him.

Verse 46. "Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father."

Jesus continued talking to the people around Him. He told them that NOBODY has ever seen God the Father - except Jesus, for He has seen the Father. If we want to know about God, we must come to God the Son and put our trust in Him.

Verse 47. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life."

If you believe in Jesus, you will live forever. If for some reason, your body seems to "die" for awhile, you don't need to be afraid - the "real you" can never die, when you love the Lord.

Verse 48. "I am the bread of life."

Are you "hungry" for something and don't know what it is? You need Jesus. He is like "food" for those who love Him, and He will satisfy your soul.

Verse 49. "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died."

Jesus was speaking to a group of Jewish people (as a human, He was a Jew). After their ancestors were rescued by God from slavery in Egypt, they grumbled at God (they wanted food). He gave them "manna" (which is Hebrew for "What is it?"). It was outside their tents every morning - but Jesus points out that the same people grew old, and they eventually died!

Verse 50. "This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die."

If we get everything we want in life, it will not be enough to save us, because all of us grow old and eventually die. But Jesus offers us something wonderful. He has given us Himself, and when we believe in Him, we will live with Him - forever!

Verse 51. "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh."

Jesus gave His life for you and me. He came from heaven and became a man (but was still God) and He died in our place. He never did anything bad, but He took the punishment we deserve for what we have done. To "eat" this "bread" means to BELIEVE in Him. If we "eat" of Him (trust in Him), we will live with Him - forever!

Verse 52. "Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, 'How can this man give us His flesh to eat?'"

It's so simple to trust in God through Jesus Christ. But like this group of Jewish people, we often make things complicated, by asking "How" in everything. It's not the "How", it's the "Who", and His Name is Jesus Christ.

Verse 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 yourselves.'"

Jesus gave everything He had for you and me. He gave up His wonderful home with God the Father; He took a human body which could get hurt and would eventually die --- and then, He was killed for the things WE have done. To "eat His flesh" and "drink His blood" is to believe in Him and what He has done for you and me.

Verse 54. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

To "eat" His flesh and "drink" His blood, is to believe in Him, trust in Him, and thank Him for what He has done. He died for you and for me. He has gone back to the wonderful place He has with God the Father, and whatever happens to you in this life is only for a time. If you believe in Him, you will be with Him - forever and ever.

Verse 55. "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink."

People are so busy doing things like making money and getting food, but there's more. When you really love Jesus and trust in Him, He will please you inside - He will satisfy your soul. One of the things He does is send you His Holy Spirit, who will be with you; and you never have to be afraid again.

Verse 56. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him."

If you really TRUST in Jesus, and believe He has forgiven you for all you have done, He will abide (live) in you, and you will live in Him. In His flesh and blood is His LIFE - and He gives His life to you. You never need to feel lonely again.

Verse 57. "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me."

God the Father sent Jesus Christ to this earth. Jesus, who always was God the Son, became a human being like you, with a body that could be hurt, just like yours. God the Father kept Him safe (Jesus lived because of Him), until it was time for Him to die for you and me. If we believe in Him and that He died for us - we will LIVE forever.

Verse 58. "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever."

Jesus was telling those religious people that we need more than our religious beliefs, and more than the things of this world. We can eat a full meal today and just be hungry again tomorrow. But if we take this "bread" (believe in Jesus and trust Him), we will live forever.

Verse 59. "These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum."

We were in the ruins of the synagogue at the town of Capernaum, just last year. Everything of this world, including the buildings and all that is in this place, will someday fall apart. We must trust in Jesus Christ and give our lives to Him. Buildings fall down but we will live.

Verse 60. "Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, 'This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?'"

Everybody has a choice when they listen to the words of Jesus, and the words about Him. We can either believe in Him or not. It's our choice, just like it was for His disciples (students). Some of them loved Him and followed Him, and others did not like what He said.

Verse 61. "But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, 'Does this cause you to stumble?'"

Sometimes words can be like things we stumble (trip) over. Jesus knew they were upset at what He had been saying, and He was asking them, "Do My words upset you?" (He knew they were upset).

Verse 62. "What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?"

Jesus was speaking to a people who wanted things. Their country (Israel) had been taken over by the Roman Empire. And they hoped God would give them everything they wanted (like the "bread" of the last few verses). Jesus was asking, "Do My words upset you?" (verse 61). "What if I just leave you and go back to the place I came from?"

Verse 63. "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life."

If you really want to be ALIVE, you will trust in Jesus and receive the Spirit of God. You might get everything of this world that you want, but you'll find it is - nothing! The words of Jesus will give you LIFE through the Spirit of God. Listen to Him, receive His Holy Spirit, and LIVE!

Verse 64. "'But there are some of you who do not believe'. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him."

Jesus knew that many who were listening to Him at that moment were just there because they thought they could get something from Him. They did not believe in Him and He knew who they were. He knew from the beginning that Judas Iscariot would betray Him. He knows you and me - if we love Him; He knows that we do.

Verse 65. "And He was saying, 'For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.'"

There are many people who live their whole lives and NEVER come to the Lord Jesus. To come to Jesus is actually a GIFT, not only to you, but also to His Son. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and SOME will come to Him, which is God's gift to Him - and to you.

Verse 66. "As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore."

"If only I could have been with Jesus and SEEN Him," you might be thinking. But see this: Many had that privilege, WASTED the opportunity and did not follow Him. God chose this time and place for you, and NOW is the time for you to trust in His Son.

Verse 67. "So Jesus said to the twelve, 'You do not want to go away also, do you?'"

The question is to you and me, just like it was to Jesus' special twelve "disciples" (students) who were later called "apostles" (sent ones): Do you want to follow Him? Or do you want to go away? EVERYTHING in life and in eternity depends on your answer to that question.

Verse 68. "Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.'"

Simon Peter had the right answer! If we left Him, where would we go? Jesus is the only one who can tell us how to find everlasting life. He is the way (John 14:6) and there is no other.

Verse 69. "We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."

We will see that when Peter's faith would be tested, he would not do so well. But Peter believed, and even the smallest faith is enough in the sight of God. The Lord would bring him through anyway, and He will keep you safe, too.

Verse 70. "Jesus answered them, 'Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?'"

We know from verse 71, that Jesus was talking about Judas Iscariot. Jesus chose that man but knew about him from the beginning, that he would be the man who would inform against Him.

Verse 71. "Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him."

Isn’t it amazing that God knows – everything! And He has a purpose in all that He does. Judas did not trust in Jesus, but he had a purpose and Jesus chose him to be a disciple. Let us truly give our hearts and lives to Jesus out of love for Him, and we will NOT end up the way Judas did.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

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