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John 6: 26-35 From the Commentary on the Whole Bible (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, 1871)

John 6

26. Ye seek me, &c.—Jesus does not put them through their difficulty, says nothing of His treading on the waves of the sea, nor even notices their question, but takes advantage of the favorable moment for pointing out to them how forward, flippant, and superficial were their views, and how low their desires. "Ye seek Me not because ye saw the miracles"—literally, "the signs," that is, supernatural tokens of a higher presence, and a divine commission, "but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled." From this He proceeds at once to that other Bread, just as, with the woman of Samaria, to that other Water (Joh 4:9-15). We should have supposed all that follows to have been delivered by the wayside, or wherever they happened first to meet. But from Joh 6:59 we gather that they had probably met about the door of the synagogue—"for that was the day in which they assembled in their synagogues" [Lightfoot]—and that on being asked, at the close of the service, if He had any word of exhortation to the people, He had taken the two breads, the perishing and the living bread, for the subject of His profound and extraordinary discourse.

27. which the Son of man—taking that title of Himself which denoted His incarnate life.

shall give unto you—in the sense of Joh 6:51.

him hath God the Father sealed—marked out and authenticated for that transcendent office, to impart to the world the bread of an everlasting life, and this in the character of "the Son of man."

28-31. What shall we do … the works of God—such works as God will approve. Different answers may be given to such a question, according to the spirit which prompts the inquiry. (See Ho 6:6-8; Lu 3:12-14). Here our Lord, knowing whom He had to deal with, shapes His reply accordingly.

29. This is the work of God—That lies at the threshold of all acceptable obedience, being not only the prerequisite to it, but the proper spring of it—in that sense, the work of works, emphatically "the work of God."

30. What sign showest thou, &c.—But how could they ask "a sign," when many of them scarce a day before had witnessed such a "sign" as had never till then been vouchsafed to men; when after witnessing it, they could hardly be restrained from making Him a king; when they followed Him from the one side of the lake to the other; and when, in the opening words of this very discourse, He had chided them for seeking Him, "not because they saw the signs," but for the loaves? The truth seems to be that they were confounded by the novel claims which our Lord had just advanced. In proposing to make Him a king, it was for far other purposes than dispensing to the world the bread of an everlasting life; and when He seemed to raise His claims even higher still, by representing it as the grand "work of God," that they should believe on Himself as His Sent One, they saw very clearly that He was making a demand upon them beyond anything they were prepared to accord to Him, and beyond all that man had ever before made. Hence their question, "What dost Thou work?"

31. Our fathers did eat manna, &c.—insinuating the inferiority of Christ's miracle of the loaves to those of Moses: "When Moses claimed the confidence of the fathers, 'he gave them bread from heaven to eat'—not for a few thousands, but for millions, and not once only, but daily throughout their wilderness journey."

32, 33. Moses gave you not, &c.—"It was not Moses that gave you the manna, and even it was but from the lower heavens; 'but My Father giveth you the true bread,' and that 'from heaven.'"

33. For the bread of God is he, &c.—This verse is perhaps best left in its own transparent grandeur—holding up the Bread Itself as divine, spiritual, and eternal; its ordained Fountain and essential Substance, "Him who came down from heaven to give it" (that Eternal Life which was with the Father and was manifested unto us, 1Jo 1:2); and its designed objects, "the world."

34. Lord, evermore give us this bread—speaking now with a certain reverence (as at Joh 6:25), the perpetuity of the manna floating perhaps in their minds, and much like the Samaritan woman, when her eyes were but half opened, "Sir, give Me this water," &c. (Joh 4:15).

35. I am the bread of life—Henceforth the discourse is all in the first person, "I," "Me," which occur in one form or other, as Stier reckons, thirty-five times.

he that cometh to me—to obtain what the soul craves, and as the only all-sufficient and ordained source of supply.

hunger … thirst—shall have conscious and abiding satisfaction.

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