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B.W. Johnson Commentary on John 6:35-51

From The People's New Testament, B.W. Johnson, 1891

35. Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life. They ask for this bread. He answers, it is here; I am that bread. The work of God is that you receive it by believing upon him whom he hath sent. He that cometh to me shall never hunger. He that cometh shall not hunger; he that believeth shall not thirst. It is thus shown that faith is the power that brings us to Christ. We come to him by believing.

36. I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. They had asked a work in order that they might believe, which was a confession of their unbelief. They ask for the bread of life, but they can only partake of it by believing in him. He therefore points out the one obstacle to obtaining what they had asked for.

37. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me. Christ here, as elsewhere, shows that the power is of the Father. The Jews may reject him, but all whom the Father gives, of every race, will come to him. Christ is God's gift to men, but the believers are his gift to Christ. "The gift of the Father must not be understood of a predestinating decree. Here, and in other passages, when we read of God giving his Son to his people it is the moral and spiritual state of the heart that is thought of under the word. [350] This state of heart by which they are induced to listen to the voice of Jesus is due to God alone.--Schaff. God's chief agencies for preparing the heart are his providences, Christian influences, and "the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God."

38. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will. Christ will refuse none who come to him; all such are given by the Father and he came to do the Father's will.

39, 40. This is the Father's will. The Father's will is that "every one who sees the Son and believes upon him," thus coming to, following and abiding in him, shall have eternal life, and that in the resurrection day Christ shall raise him from the grave. These verses show, (1) That there is not any secret decree of election. The will of the Father applies to every one who believes upon the Son. (2) The condition of eternal life is a faith that leads to and appropriates Christ; that makes him the Lord of the soul. (3) Christ hath brought to light immortality. He is the "resurrection and the life."

44. No man can come to me, except the Father . . . draw him. Their obstinacy and unbelief (verses 41, 42) called out this. Two things are needful to come to Christ, the human will to come and the divine drawing (see John 5:40; Matt. 23:37; Rev. 22:17). God "draws" by the gospel. "It is the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16). If our will consents, so that we yield to the drawing, we will come to Christ.

45. They shall all be taught of God. Thus God "draws," and those who have heard and learned, come to Christ.

46. Not that any man hath seen. They are drawn by hearing the word, not by seeing. [351]

50. May eat thereof, and not die. Eternally. The Bread of Life, our Crucified Lord, is appropriated (eaten, made our own) by faith.

53-56. Except ye eat of the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood. Appropriate these by faith. Whosoever by faith trusts in the death of Christ and is "baptized into his death" (Rom. 6:3), spiritually partakes of the body and blood of Christ. So does he also who eats in loving remembrance of him the emblems that represent his body and blood. Verse 63 shows that his words must be taken in a spiritual rather than a literal sense. My flesh is meat indeed. Food indeed; for the soul, hence partaken of by faith. Dwelleth in me. See Rom. 6:1-8.

57. The living Father. Who is the fountain of all life.

58. This is that bread. Himself. He probably laid his hand upon himself as he spoke.

59. These things said he in the synagogue. In the ruins, called Tel Hum, supposed to be those of Capernaum, are found those of a synagogue known to have been erected in the Herodian period by its style of architecture. There is ground for believing that this is the one erected by the centurion that "loveth our nation" (Luke 7:5), and in which Christ spoke.

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