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John vi. 22—40. 22. The day following, when the people, " when the multitude," which stood on the other side of the sea, “ which had been by the side of the sea," saw that there was no 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,
The multitude whom Christ fed with five loaves and two fishes, were prevented from following the disciples the same night, in their passage along the side of the lake, because they were not furnished with boats; but the next verse informs us how they were enabled to follow them the next day. The evangelist seems here likewise to have intended to inform us of the reason why the multitude were surprised to see Jesus where they found him, because there were no boats to transport him thither, except those in which themselves or his disciples went.
23. (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias *, nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks.)
24. When the people, “ multitude," therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took
• Or, Of Tiberias. · See Wakefield.
came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus *.
25. And when they had found him by the side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, “ Teacher," when camest thou hither?
Jesus does not choose to gratify their curiosity, by informing them that he came thither without the assistance of a boat, by walking in a miraculous manner upon the water; nor does he, as they probably expected, commend their zeal in following him; but intimates to them that they must be actuated by different views, before they could be such followers as he should approve and encourage.
26. 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.
You follow me not because you are convinced, by the miracle which you have seen, that I am a divinely authorized teacher, but because you have had a plentiful meal, and expect to enjoy the same favour free quently in my company.
27. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life,
That is, labour not so much for food the use of which is temporary, as for that food the effects of which are eternal, producing and supporting an ever
* This could only be a part of the multitude: for it is not to be supposed that five thousand persons could find boats enow at one place to transport them.
lasting existence; meaning hereby the doctrines of the gospel.
Which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed, rather, “ for to him hath the Father, even God, set his seal.”
This last clause refers to the miracles of Christ, which
gave him the authority of God for teaching, in the same manner as a prince setting his seal to a writing, gives to that writing authority to convey his sentiments.
28. Then said they unto bim, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
The works of God are such things as he has required, and as are acceptable to him; and the Jews desire to know what those things are which they must do to obtain the divine favour, the answer to which is contained in the next verse.
29. Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, such work as he requires, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
That ye believe him to have a divine commission to teach mankind, who shows you by his miracles that he has received one, and now claims your attention to his instructions.
30. They said therefore unto him, What sign showest thou then, that we may see and believe thee? What doest thou work?
That is, What miracle dost thou perform? Show it to us, that, seeing it, we may believe that God hath sent thee.
31. Our fathers did eat manna in the desert, as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
This is a quotation from the Psalms : " Because they,” that is, the Jews, “ believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation, though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, and had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.' Ps. Ixxviii. 22-24.
It seems extraordinary that those who had seen the miracle of feeding five thousand men with a very few loaves should require any fresh evidence to prove that Jesus was a divinely authorized teacher. They seem to admit that he had wrought this miracle, but at the same time to express a wish that he would work some iniracle in the clouds, to prove that he was the Mes. siah, like that which Moses performed in giving them manna. The Pharisees and Sadducees had the same idea, when they said to Jesus, Show us a sign from heaven, Matt. xvi. l. This temper discovered so much obstinacy and perverseness, that Jesus gives designedly obscure answers to their questions, intending hereby to discourage such men from becoming his disciples, and to disgust and drive them away.
This will account for the difficulties which occur in the remaining parts of the chapler.
32. 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.
If the word true be understood with bread in the first instance, as well as in the second, it will render the sense of this verse more clear. For instance: “ Moses gave you not that true bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from hea
ven.” That is, the bread which Moses gave you did not deserve to be called the bread of heaven; for it was of a material nature, and supported a perishing life; but what my Father now gives you, in the doctrine which I preach, is of a spiritual nature, supports an everlasting life, and therefore justly merits the denomia nation of the bread of heaven.
33. For the bread of God, such as he is ready to acknowledge as his, is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
By this description Jesus evidently means himself, whom he might very well speak of as coming down from heaven; not on account of a personal and local descent; for Jesus, including the whole man, the body as well as the mind, had never yet been in heaven; but because he had a commission thence, The way in which Jesus gives life to the world, is by teaching the doctrine of eternal life, which proves the means of an everlasting existence.
34. Then said they unto him, Lord, “ Master,” evermore give us this bread.
This bread bears such honourable names, being called the bread of God and the bread of heaven, and produces such important effects, giving life to the world, that they earnestly request they may be always filled with it.
35. 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.
To come to Christ and to believe in him, which occur in this verse, signify the same thing as do likewise the terms hunger and thirst; for they both signify the want of a fresh supply. There is a reference here to the manna of which he had been before speaking: he