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Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at

John Chapter 6

John 6:1

joh 6:1

After these things - The history of between ten and eleven months is to be supplied here from the other evangelists. Mat 14:13; Mar 6:32; Luk 9:10.

John 6:3

joh 6:3

Jesus went up - Before the people overtook him.

John 6:5

joh 6:5

Jesus saith to Philip - Perhaps he had the care of providing victuals for the family of the apostles.

John 6:15

joh 6:15

He retired to the mountain alone - Having ordered his disciples to cross over the lake.

John 6:16

joh 6:16

Mat 14:22; Mar 6:45.

John 6:22

joh 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.

John 6:26

joh 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.

John 6:27

joh 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.

John 6:28

joh 6:28

The works of God - Works pleasing to God.

John 6:29

joh 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.

John 6:30

joh 6:30

What sign dost thou? - Amazing, after what they had just seen!

John 6:31

joh 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, Joh 6:32-33, Joh 6:38, Joh 6:50, Joh 6:58, Joh 6:62, that he himself came down from heaven.

John 6:32

joh 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.

John 6:33

joh 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, Joh 6:34.

John 6:34

joh 6:34

Give us this bread - Meaning it still, in a literal sense: yet they seem now to be not far from believing.

John 6:35

joh 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.

John 6:36

joh 6:36

I have told you - Namely, Joh 6:26.

John 6:37

joh 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.

John 6:39

joh 6:39

Of all which he hath already given me - See Joh 17:6, Joh 17:12. If they endure to the end. But Judas did not.

John 6:40

joh 6:40

Here is the sum of Joh 6:37-39. 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.

John 6:44

joh 6:44

Christ having checked their murmuring, continues what he was saying, Joh 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.

John 6:45

joh 6:45

Every man that hath heard - The secret voice of God, he, and he only believeth. Isa 54:13.

John 6:46

joh 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.

John 6:50

joh 6:50

Not die - Not spiritually; not eternally.

John 6:51

joh 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.

John 6:52

joh 6:52

Observe the degrees: the Jews are tried here; the disciples, Joh 6:60-66, the apostles, Joh 6:67.

John 6:53

joh 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.

John 6:55

joh 6:55

Meat - drink indeed - With which the soul of a believer is as truly fed, as his body with meat and drink.

John 6:57

joh 6:57

I live by the Father - Being one with him. He shall live by me - Being one with me. Amazing union!

John 6:58

joh 6:58

This is - That is, I am the bread - Which is not like the manna your fathers ate, who died notwithstanding.

John 6:60

joh 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?

John 6:62

joh 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?

John 6:63

joh 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.

John 6:64

joh 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."

John 6:65

joh 6:65

Unless it be given - And it is given to those only who will receive it on God's own terms.

John 6:66

joh 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.

John 6:68

joh 6:68

Thou hast the words of eternal life - Thou, and thou alone, speakest the words which show the way to life everlasting.

John 6:69

joh 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.

John 6:70

joh 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.

Next: John Chapter 7