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John 6:25-31

Jesus’ Discourse About the Bread of Life

6:25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, 1  they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 2  6:26 Jesus replied, 3  “I tell you the solemn truth, 4  you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate all the loaves of bread you wanted. 5  6:27 Do not work for the food that disappears, 6  but for the food that remains to eternal life – the food 7  which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has put his seal of approval on him.” 8 

6:28 So then they said to him, “What must we do to accomplish the deeds 9  God requires?” 10  6:29 Jesus replied, 11  “This is the deed 12  God requires 13  – to believe in the one whom he 14  sent.” 6:30 So they said to him, “Then what miraculous sign will you perform, so that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 6:31 Our ancestors 15  ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 16 

1 tn Or “sea.” See the note on “lake” in v. 16.

2 sn John 6:25-31. The previous miracle of the multiplication of the bread had taken place near the town of Tiberias (cf. John 6:23). Jesus’ disciples set sail for Capernaum (6:17) and were joined by the Lord in the middle of the sea. The next day boats from Tiberias picked up a few of those who had seen the multiplication (certainly not the whole 5,000) and brought them to Capernaum. It was to this group that Jesus spoke in 6:26-27. But there were also people from Capernaum who had gathered to see Jesus, who had not witnessed the multiplication, and it was this group that asked Jesus for a miraculous sign like the manna (6:30-31). This would have seemed superfluous if it were the same crowd that had already seen the multiplication of the bread. But some from Capernaum had heard about it and wanted to see a similar miracle repeated.

3 tn Grk “answered and said to them.”

4 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

5 tn Grk “because you ate of the loaves of bread and were filled.”

6 tn Or “perishes” (this might refer to spoiling, but is more focused on the temporary nature of this kind of food).

sn Do not work for the food that disappears. Note the wordplay on “work” here. This does not imply “working” for salvation, since the “work” is later explained (in John 6:29) as “to believe in the one whom he (the Father) sent.”

7 tn The referent (the food) has been specified for clarity by repeating the word “food” from the previous clause.

8 tn Grk “on this one.”

9 tn Grk “the works.”

10 tn Grk “What must we do to work the works of God?”

11 tn Grk “answered and said to them.”

12 tn Grk “the work.”

13 tn Grk “This is the work of God.”

14 tn Grk “that one” (i.e., God).

15 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”

16 sn A quotation from Ps 78:24 (referring to the events of Exod 16:4-36).

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