Gospel of John 2015 – 04 Lesson 4 John ch. 6



Anderson, Paul. N.  The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel: An Introduction to John.  (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2011).


Brown, Raymond E.   The Community of the Beloved Disciple: The Life, Loves, and Hates of an Individual Church in New Testament Times.  (Paulist Press, New York, 1979).


________________.   The Gospel According to John I – XII.    Volume 29 of the Anchor Bible Series, Series edited by W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman.   (Doubleday, Garden City NY, 1966).


________________.   The Gospel According to John XIII – XXI.    Volume 29A of the Anchor Bible Series, Series edited by W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman.   (Doubleday, Garden City NY, 1970).


Elowsky, Joel C. editor.  John 1 – 10.  Volume IVa of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series edited by Thomas C. Oden.  (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2006).


__________________.  John 11 – 21.  Volume IVb of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series edited by Thomas C. Oden.  (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2007).


Keener, Craig S.   The Gospel of John: A Commentary  Volume One(Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody MA, 2003).


_______________  The Gospel of John: A Commentary  Volume Two(Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody MA, 2003).


Lewis, Scott M.  The Gospel According to John and the Johannine Letters. Part of the New Collegeville Bible Commentary series edited by Daniel Durkin O.S.B.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 2005).


Maloney S.D.B., Francis J.   The Gospel of John.   Volume 4 of the Sacra Pagina series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S.J.   (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 1998).


Martyn, J. Louis.  History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel.  One of the Classics in the New Testament Library series whose editorial board is C. Clifton Black, John T. Carroll, and Beverly Roberts Gaventa.  Third Edition.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).


O’Day, Gail R.  The Gospel of John: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections.  In Volume IX of the New Interpreter’s Bible whose editorial board is convened by Leander Kick.  (Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1995).


Sloyan, Gerard.   John.   Part of the Interpretation series edited by Mays, Miller, Achtemeier.

(John Knox Press, Atlanta GA, 1988).






John Chapter 6


After this, Jesus went across theSea of Galilee(of Tiberias).

A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.

The Jewish feast of Passover was near.


When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,

he said to Philip,

“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”

He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.

Philip answered him,

“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little (bit).”


One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,

“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;

but what good are these for so many?”

Jesus said,

“Have the people recline.”

Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.

So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.


Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,

and distributed them to those who were reclining,

and also as much of the fish as they wanted.

When they had had their fill,

he said to his disciples,

“Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”

So they collected them,

and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.


When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,

“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”

Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.



When it was evening, his disciples went down to the sea, embarked in a boat, and went across the sea toCapernaum. It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.  When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. But he said to them,

“It is I. Do not be afraid.”


They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading. The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks.


When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came toCapernaumlooking for Jesus.

And when they found him across the sea they said to him,

“Rabbi, when did you get here?”


Jesus answered them and said,

“Amen, amen, I say to you,

you are looking for me not because you saw signs

but because you ate the loaves and were filled.

Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.

For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”


So they said to him,

“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”

Jesus answered and said to them,

“This is the work of God,

that you believe in the one he sent.”


So they said to him,

“What sign can you do,

that we may see and believe in you?

What can you do?

Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:

‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'”


So Jesus said to them,

“Amen, amen, I say to you,

it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;

my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.

For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”






So they said to him,

“Sir, give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them,

“I am the bread of life;

whoever comes to me will never hunger,

and whoever believes in me will never thirst.


But I told you that although you have seen (me),

you do not believe.

Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,

and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,

because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.


And this is the will of the one who sent me,

that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,

but that I should raise it (on) the last day.

For this is the will of my Father,

that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life,

and I shall raise him (on) the last day.”


The Jews murmured about him because he said,

“I am the bread that came down from heaven,”

and they said,

“Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph?  Do we not know his father and mother?

Then how can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”


Jesus answered and said to them,

“Stop murmuring among yourselves.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,

and I will raise him on the last day.

It is written in the prophets:

‘They shall all be taught by God.’

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.


Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God;

he has seen the Father.

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.


I am the bread of life.

Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;

this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven;

whoever eats this bread will live forever;

and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”


The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,

“How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them,

“Amen, amen, I say to you,

unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,

you do not have life within you.


Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,

and I will raise him on the last day.

For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.


Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father,

so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.

This is the bread that came down from heaven.

Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,

whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

These things he said while teaching in the synagogue inCapernaum.


Then many of his disciples who were listening said,

“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,

he said to them,

“Does this shock you?


What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?

It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.

The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

But there are some of you who do not believe.”

Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.  And he said,

“For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”


As a result of this,

many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.  Jesus then said to the Twelve,

“Do you also want to leave?”


Simon Peter answered him,

“Master, to whom shall we go?

You have the words of eternal life.

We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Jesus answered them,

“Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?”

He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot;

it was he who would betray him, one of the Twelve.






Hunger and homelessness today.  Food insecurity.  Working poor.  Obesity among us as well.

Jesus as the bread of life in this context?


Multiplication of loaves and fishes – only miracle in all four of the gospels.


Jesus’ identity with God the Father the major point.


Faith is about believing in the God who is being revealed to us over the course of our lives.

It develops from our personal experience of God – especially in the difficult times of our lives


Eating of the body and blood of Christ at Eucharist is joining ourselves to the suffering Christ who sacrificed himself to save a sinful humanity – we are called to then humble ourselves to follow Jesus in humble gospel living.


We go looking for God, all this time He is looking for / walking with us.  He is already here and has already found us.


Paul Bernier: “The real issue is that Jesus, in his love and compassion, is able to provide for our needs, and has given us the means to satisfy them.”


Jewish background includes the Passover story (manna in the desert), Elisha multiplying the barley loaves.  Jesus is even closer to the Father than Moses.


Murmuring present in desert, in early church, today.

Pray, speak directly to those responsible, encourage others to pray


“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”


Cannibalism?  Sarx (body in most physical sense)  the sinful corrupt, flawed body of believers on earth   Make room for the outsider in our community, all the imperfect ones


“You cannot deal with a perfect, all-forgiving, all-understanding God in heave, if you cannot deal with a less-than perfect, less-than forgiving, and less-than understanding community here on earth.”  Ronald Rolheiser


Eucharist as a ritual given to us to celebrate our underlying unity in times of discord and disunity





Moloney p. 193 notes that many modern scholars note the geographical difficulties in this portion of the gospel.  Chapter 6 (set in Galilee) comes after chapter 5 set in Jerusalem.  (In chapter 4 Jesus was in Galilee).  Perhaps, they suggest, this chapter is out of order and it should be chapter 4, 6 in Galilee; then chapters 5, 7, 9 and 10 in Jerusalem.  Moloney rejects this as giving too much importance to geography.  John has organized things so that the Jewish feasts, obviously important to a Jewish rooted community, are laid out in order.


Moloney p. 195: “The chapter is a coherent piece of carefully articulated Christian reflection on Jesus and the Jewish Passover.”


Sloyan p. 62: “If the entire Fourth Gospel is devoted to disclosing who Jesus is so that people can believe in him, this long narrative does it by showing him to be nourishment for the soul better than the manna of Moses’ day.  The lawgiver (Moses) by his petitions kept alive a people fated nonetheless to die.  Jesus is the person who, “devoured” in faith, will keep a people alive forever.”


Martyn p. 125: “Moses’ acts are typological prophecies of Jesus. It seems clear that John wants to lead the common folk from a confession of Jesus as the Prophet-Messiah to a faith which he considers more adequate.”    He sees this gospel as a conversation taking place in the synagogues and Jewish community.  Go from what you know to something deeper.  In numerous incidents John has Jesus push past any of the limited suggestions that people were considering.


Take, give thanks, distribute – same words as at the institution of the Eucharist


Numbers 11:13 Moses asks the LORD “Where am I to get the meat to give all these people?”


Elowsky p. 209: cites Cyril of Alexandria: 5 loaves = 5 books of Moses, the two fish = the teachings of the apostles and of the evangelists.


Bread from heaven – manna in the desert

Bread from heaven –  food (bread and fish) consumed by the 5,000

Bread from heaven  – Torah through Moses, Wisdom in Sirach

Bread from heaven  – Teachings of Jesus

Bread from heaven –  Jesus himself

Bread from heaven –  Eucharist


For the Gospel of John – one who has faith hungers and thirsts for the right things


Keener p. 673: “…hearers rooted in a Jewish framework would have recognized an epiphany of the one true deity: God was the one who walked on the waters (Job 9:8).”




Job 9:6-10:

He shakes the earth out of its place,

and the pillars beneath it tremble.


He commands the sun, and it does not rise;

he seals up the stars.


He alone stretches out the heavens

and treads upon the back of the sea.


He made the Bear and Orion,

the Pleiades and the constellations of the south;


He does things great and unsearchable,

things marvelous and innumerable.


The grumbling / murmuring of those who heard Jesus recalls the grumbling of the Israelites against Moses in the desert.







  • Read and pray over John chapters 7 & 8.
  • Read the commentary pages 42 to 51.
  • Ponder and pray over the questions in the workbook for this unit.  Which questions are most important to you?


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